That means intimacy between sinners is dangerous, because we’re prone, by nature, to hurt one another — to do what feels good, instead of caring for the other person; to promise too much too soon, instead of being patient and slow to speak; to put our hope, identity, and worth in one another, instead of in God.Intimacy makes us vulnerable, and sin makes us dangerous.I got lots of things wrong in dating, but as I think back over my mistakes and failures — dating too young, jumping from relationship to relationship, not being honest with myself or with others, failing to set or keep boundaries, not listening to friends and family, not prizing and pursuing purity — one error rises above the others, and in many ways explains the others: My dating relationships were mainly a pursuit of intimacy with a girlfriend, not clarity about whether to marry her. With the right heart, and in the right measure, and at the right time, these are all good desires.
In a Christ-centered , those same risks do not exist.
We are together — in sickness and health, in peace and conflict, in disappointment, tragedy, and even failure — until death do us part.
If we want to have and enjoy Christ-centered intimacy, we need to get married.
And if we want to get married, we need to pursue clarity about whom to marry. The right kind of clarity is a means to the right kind of intimacy, not the other way around.
God did not mean for us to risk so much in our pursuit of marriage.
For sure, we always make ourselves vulnerable to some degree as we get to know someone and develop a relationship, but God wants us to enjoy the fullness of intimacy within a covenant, not in some science lab of love. One test for whether you are pursuing clarity or intimacy is to study the questions we ask in dating.
But is there a unique prize for the believer in marriage?
Yes, it is Christ-centered emotional and sexual intimacy with another believer.
Yes, they’re each still themselves, but they’re too close now to ever be separated again (Mark 10:9). There is too much at stake with our hearts, and too many risks involved, without a ring and public vows.