Should Christian Dating Couples Holiday Together?

Hey Joshua,

A lot of dating couples in our church go away on trips and holidays together. [My boyfriend] and I were wondering about doing the same but are unsure if it’s wrong to do so. What do you think?

Hey X,

Thanks for messaging me your question. I want to respond to you about holidays and vacations specifically, but I also want to write to you about the bigger question of dating in a way that pleases God. To society at large, your question is laughable. But our answer here is nuanced, as the Christian understanding of sex and romance is different from that of popular culture.

There is nothing in the Bible that directly says that Holidays together are wrong – and it is not for me to tighten the protestant strings of your conscience till they vibrate wildly like some spectral zither. There's nothing sinful in itself of a getaway together.

But you are probably asking about something more. You are probaly asking me about that little talked about F-word: fornication. Adultery is a married person having sex they are not married to. Fornication is an unmarried person having sex. Yes, as Christians we maintain that sex is only for marraige. And though a dating Christian couple can go away alone and have a great time without sex polluting it - you probably know from others that it can be the opportunity for very real temptation if you are not wise. 

As Christians, our greatest goal is to please God and our greatest fear is to offend him. We are a counter-cultural movement. We fight a popular lie in today’s culture that says 'fornication is fun, not fatal!' What's sad, is that so many of us flirt with this lie. Fornication – like all forms of sexual sin - is spiritually deadly. Read slowly what God has to say about it:

Flee from sexual immorality.
All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually,
sins against their own body.’
-1 Cor 6

But fornication and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you.’
–Ephesians 5

‘For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication.’
- 1 Thessalonians 4

Sin is far more deadly than arsenic or uranium. It took the death of the Eternal Son of God to provide a medicine strong enough to overcome its effects. Does God forgive all sin - including sexual sin? Yes, if the repentance is contrite and sincere. But the same Jesus, who says to the woman caught in the act of adultery, ‘I do not condemn you’ immediately says to her, ‘Go and sin no more.’ (John 8)

So, you two must ask yourselves: will taking this holiday alone together put the two of us in a position where we are tempted to offend God with our bodies (think beaches, swimsuits, cocktails, etc)? If so, don’t do it. If not - don't worry, be free. 

Dating people need a plan on how to please God in the conduct of their romantic relationships before they marry – whether on holiday or not. Sadly, few Christians actually have a plan.

Fear God Practically

Let me give you a practical example. I am friends with a single man. He is in his mid-twenties, he makes good money at his job, he doesn’t live with his parents and he is above average handsome – or so I’ve heard it said by some of the ladies. He is also a virgin. He has a girlfriend – and has had other girlfriends before this one. How is he still a virgin? Mere chance?

Simple. He practices the fear of the Lord.

And yes, the fear of God is to be practiced. It needs to work its way into how we make our decisions whether we feel worshipful or not. In his case, it means that when his girlfriend comes to visit him for the weekend – she lives in another part of England – he has arranged for her to sleep at the home of some friends overnight while he goes back to his own apartment. Is it a sin to sleep in the same apartment? No way! I know of Christian couples who - when visiting each other - have slept in the same room (separate beds) and have not been sexually active – a task many of us would find challenging. For my friend, not putting himself and his girlfriend in this potentially tempting situation is just one way in which he puts God first. Its not a dumb law that condemns him or that he judges others with - he simply finds it a useful way to avoid sexual sin. 

Now, if you have fornicated - Jesus can and will forgive you. He can wash you and make you clean. He also calls us in doing so not to be hypocrites but to be sincere in our repentance. Set whatever boundaries that you must to avoid temptation and – if you believe this boyfriend is a good choice – why not consider getting married sooner rather than later? Perhaps you should have him write me instead! 

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