Dating Q&A: Why would restrictions enhance joy?

Last night at Sola, (our student ministry) in honor of Valentine’s Day this weekend, we decided to take a look at God’s design and purpose for romance. After the sermon, we let students anonymously text in questions they had about love, dating, marriage and romance. However, in our short 15 minutes we had, we were unable to even come close to answering even a fraction of all of the questions. So, I will do my best now to go through and answer as many of them as I can. 

What do you mean by “sometimes limitations and restrictions aren’t meant to deaden your joy, but are meant to enhance it”?

This was when I was speaking of the intimacy that Adam and Eve share as described in Gen. 2:25, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Adam and Eve enjoyed the union of being spiritually, emotionally and physically naked with one another. There was no aspect of their life that they didn’t share, no shame, suspicion, or withholding from one another – they were “one flesh”. This is the crescendo of God’s symphony for romance, crashing with symbols of joy and love – but it is a song that is only sung within the concert hall of the covenant of marriage: one man, one woman, together for life.

Now, because we are impatient creatures, we tend to want to just have bits and pieces of that kind of melody, even though the time for our song hasn’t come yet. So, we start treating a boyfriend or girlfriend like they are kind of our spouse, and connect to them spiritually, emotionally and/or physically in an inappropriate way. We spend all of our time with them, stop seeing our friends, and rely on them for everything, or we start having sex or giving them access to our bodies in ways that only our spouse should. And if we do that, we spoil the beauty of the symphony. It is like we are start the song when only half of the band has arrived, and they are still tuning their instruments – it won’t sound good and dishonors the beauty of what it could be.

God has designed romance. This means that He knows how it is to be used and enjoyed best. And His design for the consummation of romance is to have that crescendo meet in marriage. Last night I likened love and sex to a fire; a fire is a great thing, as long as it is in a fireplace. But if we try and build a fire on our rug in our living room, the results will be disastrous. The limitations of the fireplace help enhance the joy of a fire, not deaden it. Removing the limitations is what, in fact, leads to the deadening of joy.

As Christians, we do not believe that you should wait to enjoy the intimacy of marriage because we have a low view of sex, or emotional transparency, and we just don’t like them. No, the exact opposite is true!  We have the highest view of intimacy and sex and emotional transparency, and we want the best kind there is! So we do it the way the Designer has taught us. John Piper wisely says, “God is not a cosmic killjoy. Rather, God hates what kills your joy.”

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