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Dear parent and young person,

It is my hope that the contents of this book are helpful as you navigate
the waters of dating in preparation for marriage. It is my prayer that you
have an eternal, high, Christ-glorifying view of marriage. Marriage was
created by God for his glory and man’s good. The Bible teaches that
marriage is good and is the expected norm for men and women. God has
placed within us the desire to love and to be loved. This desire is good
and should be pursued in its proper time.

In all my years as a pastor, few topics generate more interest or created

more angst than dating and marriage. Consistently parents contact me for
guidance and resources that will help them prepare their child for mar-
riage. I’m delighted that parents are taking an interest in this critical area
of their child’s life. It’s my hope that this resource will instruct you in
biblical principles of marriage and equip you to prepare your child for
marriage beginning at the earliest possible age.

Douglas Wilson speaks of the importance of preparing your child for

marriage when he says

“If you were going to live in a foreign country, would you pre-
pare? If you were going to become an astronaut, would you pre-
pare? If you were going to become a concert pianist, would you
prepare? And so how do your sons prepare for the mystery of
marriage? Or are they just making time until it “happens” to

Culture has contaminated our view of marriage by making it a radical,

self-fulfilling, romance-intoxicated, Christ-neglecting “thing.” Prepara-
tion for marriage begins today as you teach your child biblical principles
about marriage, pray for your child’s spouse, and help your child protect
their heart from sexual immorality. Knowing what God desires for a
young person will help that young person prepare for one of the most
important decisions of their life.

Young person, it may be strange to think of yourself as a married person;

however, it is also one of the most profitable thoughts that you can have.
You should picture the day that you will enter into a wonderful union
with your spouse. As you imagine looking into the eyes of your spouse
there is nothing more special that you can give him or her than the gift of
your whole self – pure and blemish free.
© 2012
Our society makes it exceedingly difficult to be holy and is communicat-
ing powerful messages about dating and marriage. Contrary to what is Table of Contents
being communicated through the media and in most schools, dating is a
major decision in your life. You should not take lightly the topic of dat- How to use this resource Page 1
ing. Who you date and eventually marry will affect every aspect of your
life. In areas that matter as much as dating, I believe it is far better to be Session 1: What is Marriage? Page 6
cautious than to make costly mistakes. Many adults have regrets about Session 2: Why did God Create Marriage? Page 8
the dating decisions they made while in middle or high school. May you
avoid the same fate and look back on your dating days with fondness Session 3: Genesis 2:18-25: The Foundation of Marriage Page 10
because your actions where pleasing to God, your parents, and your fu-
Session 4: Distortions of Marriage - Homosexuality and Page 13
ture spouse. And most importantly, may you choose for yourself a
spouse who loves God and who complements you as the two of you dis-
play the Gospel through your marriage. Session 5: Role of Men and Women - Head and Helper Page 16
Session 6: What is Dating? Page 21
This resource was created to help you prepare your child for marriage.
Too often, the church shares this experience with a young person and Session 7: Dating and Parents Page 24
does not include the parent in any significant way. This robs the parent of Session 8: What Kind of Person Should You Date? Page 26
an opportunity to nurture their child’s faith and minimizes a child’s abil-
ity to journey with their parent during an important milestone of life. It is Session 9: Are You the Kind of Person that Someone Else Page 30
my desire to see parents taking an active role in the preparation of their Would Want to Marry
child for marriage. Session 10: What is the Purpose of Sex? Page 34

The words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer are fitting for all young people to hear, Session 11: Is it Okay to Have a Crush? Page 36
“Ask [God] to establish your marriage, to confirm it, sanctify it, and pre- Session 12: Boundaries and Dating Page 37
serve it. So your marriage will be ‘for the praise of his glory.’”
Session 13: Why is it Important to be Pure? Page 39
Session 14: How Does a Young Man or Woman Stay Pure? Page 41
Session 15: Joseph - An Example of Purity Page 45
Josh Mulvihill
Appendix Page 49
Pastor to Children and Families
Grace Church of Eden Prairie References Page 50
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How to use this resource This book is a tool to prepare you, not a straightjacket that you have to
stick to word-for-word. Make it your own and work hard to make it inter-
This resource was created so the parent(s) and child can share this impor- active and engaging. If further study is desired, I highly recommend God,
tant milestone of life together. Parents, we want to help you succeed in Marriage, and Family by Andreas Kostenberger and This Momentary
nurturing your child’s faith. Young person, we want to encourage a Marriage by John Piper.
strong bond between you and your parent and for you to take your dating
and marriage cues from them. Parent and child should work through this material together in person
instead of reading the material separately and then coming together for a
I envision the parent(s) and child going away for a weekend to discuss short discussion. This will communicate to the child that the content is
marriage, dating, and purity. While this resource can be completed in important and worthy of your time and energy. Make prayer a vital as-
multiple sessions at home, parents have found it most helpful to get away pect of this process. Prayer reveals your dependence upon God and in-
for a short time and work through the material in a special outing with vites his presence in your midst to expose motives and the condition of
their child. The goal isn’t to race through the material so you can check it the heart.
off your to-do list. The goal is to make sure your child has a biblical un-
derstanding of marriage. This resource is broken down into three sec- Before you get started
tions: marriage, dating, and purity. Before talking about what marriage is and how to prepare your child for
a Gospel-centered marriage I want to address a handful of topics that will
 In section one, your child will learn what marriage is and why help you succeed in this effort. Even the best parents are capable of mak-
God created it. Parent and child will study Genesis 2:18-25 and ing the worst mistakes. Over the years I’ve seen parents make five errors
will consider two distortions of marriage; homosexuality and when discussing marriage with children: parents take their marriage cues
divorce. from the wrong source, emphasize past mistakes too heavily, repeat sin-
ful family patterns, wait too long to address the topic of marriage with a
 In section two, we will focus on dating. What’s the purpose of child, and have not captured their child’s heart leading to information
dating, how old should a person be to date, what is a parent’s dump.
role in a child’s date life, what kind of person you should date, if
you are marriage material, and biblical criteria for choosing a Start with Jesus, not your parents
spouse. Your parent’s marriage was powerful. It shaped you. From its success or
failure you formed beliefs about what marriage is and how it should
 In section three, a child will learn about sex from a biblical per- work. These beliefs may or may not be correct. And these beliefs are of-
spective, whether or not it is okay to have a crush, physical ten held deep down in your core, so deep that they may have never been
boundaries when dating, why it is important to stay pure, and thought about critically or compared to the biblical teaching of marriage.
how a young person stays pure. We end this section with a case
study of Joseph. My caution is that your parent’s marriage should not be the benchmark
for your marriage. Too often that is the case. Marriage patterns are cre-
To get the most out of this experience, a parent should prepare before ated simply by imitating or rejecting the example of our parent’s mar-
sitting down with the child and should be comfortable enough with the riage. A man-centered theology begins with a working or failing mar-
material so they are not relying on reading directly from the book. It riage. A God-centered theology of marriage starts with the Gospel and
might be helpful to have two copies of the book, one for the parent, and Jesus’ covenant relationship with the Church. There’s a big difference.
one for the child, so each can follow along. When it comes to marriage, start with Jesus, not your parents.
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Choose the correct foundation  Emphasize consequences. How do you help your child under-
There’s a lot of bad teaching about marriage available today. And lots of stand marriage? Show them the results of sin. What did it cost?
it comes from well-intentioned Christian leaders. I’ve probably thrown What were the hidden consequences that you didn’t anticipate?
away more books on marriage and parenting than I have kept on my From a child’s perspective, it often appears that there are no con-
shelf because so many books on the subject are not biblically sound. The sequences to sin and everything turns out fine. The media glori-
average book on marriage is more heavily influenced by psychology than fies sexuality immorality while concealing the costs of sin. There
theology. To be fair, psychology provides valuable contributions that were consequences, let your children know that.
strengthen marriage. But, psychology has infiltrated the minds of many
pastors, counselors, and scholars and has become the foundation from Ask God to break sinful family patterns
which they teach. Families are full of brokenness and dysfunction. What God created as
good has often been distorted and the result is hurt, bitterness, and scars.
The Bible has a lot to say about marriage. It is very clear and easy to un- The Bible is clear that the sins of parents are often repeated for multiple
derstand. We will take our directives about marriage from God himself generations (Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 5:9). Our children, for good or
as found in the Bible. Before picking up a book on marriage, we should bad, become who we are as parents. When we watch our children, we see
pick up the Bible and find out what God has to say about the subject. ourselves in them, our strengths and our sins. Ask God to break any sin-
While there are excellent resources we can turn to, some which will be ful pattern in your family. Applied to marriage, this could include anger,
referenced in this work, the Bible will be our main source. Do you know unbiblical divorce, abuse, adultery, and many different sexual sins.
what the Bible teaches about marriage in Genesis 2:24, I Corinthians 6
and 7, Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18-19, and Matthew 19, to name Starting early
a few? If not, this is the place to start. The time to begin to talk to your child about marriage and sex is today.
Parents no longer have the luxury of waiting until a child reaches their
Don’t glorify past mistakes teen years to have “the talk.” By this point, children have been exposed
It takes great discernment to know how much information to share with a to countless hours of media images and have been given a sex education
child about past mistakes. We want our children to learn from our errors by the world. Children have become curious at younger ages and are
and to avoid the same path, but we do not want to destroy our character seeking answers to questions that have been forced upon them. If parents
or credibility in the process, nor do we want to glorify a past mistake. are not providing biblical guidance on these important subjects children
The goal in sharing anything is to encourage a child to obey God and to will find answers, but they will likely find them from the wrong sources.
follow his ways. The following guidelines may be helpful:
Research on the adolescent brain shows that boys and girls have their
 Speak in generalities. There is a big difference between stating first real crush at age ten (before puberty), and suggest that these crushes
you went too far physically before marriage to sharing the details are connected to natural maturation of the brain, not hormones. What this
of that mistake. means is that by fifth grade your child is becoming curious about, inter-
ested in, and even obsessed over the opposite gender.
 Share greater detail for greater maturity. Older children can
handle, and may ask for, details. If the child is simply curious for Many well-meaning parents wait too long to speak to their children about
more information, there is no need to share. If the sharing of de- sex, dating, and marriage. Christians parents must instill biblical princi-
tails helps the child to be holy, then it may be advantageous to ples of marriage in young people, and for most, this must begin earlier
share more. Your discernment is critical. than anticipated. If your child is in the public school system, they are
already hearing “there are no normal families, and that all family struc-
tures are equally valid.” 2
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They are receiving a vastly different message about marriage than what 1. Don’t apologize for speaking about sex. God created sex and
the Bible teaches. In some schools, beginning as early as kindergarten, made men and women sexual beings. Your child needs to know
children are taught about homosexuality, sex education, and liberal views that you have marital sex and that your sex is better and more
of marriage. The world is not waiting to teach your children about these fulfilling than what is portrayed in the media.
important matters, nor should you.
2. Don’t avoid the subject. It’s not taboo, despite what your child
By the time parents begin to have the discussion with children, often may say or feel. As a pastor to young people I’ve fielded lots of
around the early teen years, most children have been exposed to lots of questions about sex that should have been covered in the home,
sexual content, heard multiple views of marriage, divorce and homosexu- but were not because parents avoided the subject. Your child is
ality, and have had questions bouncing around in their head for some wondering how sex works, what it’s like, if it hurts, what is ac-
time. By this point, children have begun to form opinions and a belief ceptable and what is not, and a ton of other questions. You might
system based on the information that has been available to them. Parents want to ask your child to write down questions they have about
need to be proactive and stay one step ahead of the child. This takes great sex, dating, and marriage. You may be surprised!
discernment as we do not want to answer questions the child is not ask-
ing, but we do not want to be the last voice in our child’s life; we want to 3. Don’t let your child’s response persuade you to change the sub-
be the first and strongest. According to the Bible, no child is too young to ject. Your child may act like they are having a root canal when
learn about marriage. The truths of Genesis 2:24 apply to a five year old talking about sex. Be prepared for rolling eyes, blushing, silence,
and to a fifth grader. comments such as “gross,” and much more.

Discussing that which is embarrassing Your child’s heart

If you watch TV, scan the internet, go to the movies, or read magazines, Parents, fight for your child. Fight for their heart. Only if you have their
you get the idea that the only people having great sex are the ones who heart will they listen to instruction on issues that matter this much. Show
are not married. If marital sex is portrayed in the media, it is shown as your child the love and affirmation they need so they do not seek this
bland and boring. Our culture has pushed marital sex to the back room affirmation in a dating relationship. Fathers especially need to be mindful
and celebrates immoral sex.3 That’s why young men and women today of pursuing their daughter. A young girl with a sexual problem usually
require the training of older, godly individuals to acquire a biblical per- has a security problem. For various reasons, she did not receive enough
spective on sex. securing love from her father, and she is out looking for it in other
Just because the media doesn’t talk about marital sex, doesn’t mean you
shouldn’t. The Bible contains an entire book on the subject: the Song of Session 1: What is Marriage?
Solomon. God talks about sex and so should you. Plan to talk with your
child about sex. They are thinking about it and curious about it. God has It is important that your child understands where marriage came from
placed you in your child’s life as their primary spiritual educator. Be- and what God’s parameters are for the institution. God has ordained mar-
cause of the sexually immoral culture we live in, there are few topics that riage and family as the foundational institution of society. Marriage must
your child needs more from you than this one. be understood from Scripture not from psychology or from popular cul-
ture. Statistics reveal that culture continues to devalue marriage as we see
Do you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable talking to your child about more states consider legalizing homosexual marriages, rising teenage
sex? For your child’s sake, quiet any fear and muster the strength to talk pregnancy, increased divorce rates, and a sexualized society. Crumbling
about sex. The more it is talked about, the less it will feel awkward. Sur- marriages leave children to wonder if marriage works. Strong secular
rounding this subject, I have three encouragements for you: voices seek to minimize marriage and cloud one’s thinking about the
purpose of marriage and a man and woman’s unique roles.
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Marriage is to be elevated and celebrated. John Piper believes, “There A covenant. Marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman cre-
has never been a generation whose general view of marriage is high ated by God and publically entered into before him. It is preceded by
enough…Some, like our own, have such low, casual, take-it-or-leave-it leaving parents, consummated in sexual union, and normally crowned by
attitudes toward marriage as to make the biblical vision seem ludicrous the gift of children. A covenant is a promise. Biblically, a covenant can-
to most people.”5 not be dissolved because it is not merely a human agreement, but a rela-
tionship under God. It is a solemn promise and a guarantee which carries
Marriage is: certain obligations with it.

Created by God. Marriage was not the invention of men and women. Temporary. Marriage is a momentary gift. There is no marriage after
Marriage is from God and for God. God created marriage to establish a death (Mark 12:25). Earthly marriage is a portrait of the churches cove-
unique relationship between a man and a woman so that he may bless nant relationship with Jesus. The picture of faithfulness and love between
them and bring glory to himself. Genesis 1:27-28 make this plain to see, husband and wife gives way to the reality of covenant relationship with
“God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; Christ. An earthly marriage gives way to the eternal reality. Death dis-
male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said solves marriage; this is why widows are free to remarry.
to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.’”
Talk about it together
For God’s glory. Marriage exists for God’s glory as a means to display
the Gospel. That’s why you should get married. And that should be the 1. Do you see yourself getting married one day?” Why or why not?
primary aim for your marriage. Your love for a spouse is a picture of
Christ’s love for the church. As people watch your self-sacrificing, other- Session 2: Why did God Create Marriage? Three purposes of
centered, servant-minded marriage it reminds people of Jesus’ sacrificial Marriage
love for his people.
It is critical that your child understand these three purposes for marriage.
Good. In 1 Timothy 4:1-5, Paul points out that an aesthetic mindset had When the day comes for a young person to date and choose a spouse,
invaded the church. This erroneous teaching suggested that those who these purposes should be in the front of their mind. In many ways, these
were more spiritual abstained from certain foods and did not marry. Paul become the criteria for choosing a spouse. Can Jesus be glorified in a
reminds Timothy that everything God created, including marriage, is marriage to this person? Would I want to have and raise children with
good and not to be rejected. Marriage is a good gift to be entered into and this person? The child who understands why marriage was created will
enjoyed. be equipped to fulfill these purposes in marriage and will not make mar-
riage something God never intended it to be.
The expected norm. Biblically, singleness is spoken of as a gift and not
the expected norm. A minority of people, such as the apostle Paul, may The three purposes of marriage are:
have God’s calling on their life to remain single (1 Corinthians 7:7). The
majority of young people should plan to grow up, and in God’s timing, 1. Picture of the Gospel. Marriage between a man and a woman is
get married. God spoke the design of marriage into existence when he meant to reflect the relationship between Christ and the Church.
said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast This is the essence of marriage. When we have a clear, biblical
to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). understanding of the relationship between Christ and the Church
we can better understand the purpose of marriage. We pattern
marriage after this relationship.
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God designed marriage to be a picture. All marriages are intended to 3. Pleasure. 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 teaches that marriage helps fulfill
point to a greater reality. Marriage is a living, breathing reminder of Cal- the basic needs that men and women have. Marriage is the
vary. Just as Jesus gave himself sacrificially for the church, husbands proper context for sex and is to be the only legitimate source of
should sacrificially give themselves to their wives. Wives are to live in romance in a person’s life. Sex is good and godly (1 Corinthians
submission to their husbands just as the church submits to Christ. A dis- 7:1). Sex outside of marriage is wrong (1 Corinthians 6:18-19)
integrating marriage presents a distorted picture of the Gospel to the and one of the reasons young men and women should get mar-
world as Jesus would never abuse, neglect, or leave the Church. Every ried (1 Corinthians 7:2). God intends for young people to grow
marriage, including your future marriage, refers to Jesus’ relationship up, get married, and then have sex – in that order. Marriage was
with the Church (Ephesians 5:31-32). created before, not separate from, sex. Biblically, any time sex is
separated from marriage it is a distortion to God’s created norm.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp wrote, “A Urges for sex should be understood as urges for marriage.
Wedding Sermon from a Prison Cell” and had this to say about marriage:
God created sex for pleasure. God gave man and woman sex or-
“Marriage is more than your love for each other…In your love gans whose only purpose is to produce pleasure. The bride in the
you see only the heaven of your own happiness, but in marriage Song of Solomon eagerly anticipates physical intimacy with her
you are placed at a post of responsibility towards the world and husband: “My beloved put his hand to the latch, and my heart
mankind. Your love is your own private possession, but marriage thrilled within me” (Song of Songs 5:4). These are hardly the
is more than something personal – it is a status, and office. Just words of a woman who is indifferent towards sex. This wife ex-
as it is the crown, and not merely the will to rule, that makes the emplifies the pleasure that God intends within the covenant of
king, so it is marriage, and not merely your love for each other, marriage.
that joins you together in the sight of God and man.”
Talk about it together
Marriage is more than one person’s love for another. The purpose of
marriage is to display God’s covenant-keeping love between Christ and 1. What does it mean that marriage is a picture of the Gospel?
his people. Marriage is patterned after Christ’s love for the church and
this is the picture we are to reveal in our marriage. 2. Take a moment and look at other Christians marriages; consider
how clear the Gospel is being displayed through their marriage.
2. Procreation. In Genesis 1:27-28 God commanded the man and Do you see the husband loving his wife like Christ loved the
woman to be fruitful and multiply. To be married is to have chil- Church? Do you see the wife submitting to the husband as the
dren – this is the biblical expectation. A childlessness marriage is Church submits to Jesus?
not to be desired or purposefully planned for. It is not a question
if you will have children, but how many children you will have. 3. Do you see yourself having children? If so, how many?
God’s plan to bring children into the world is through marriage.
Biblically, children are a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127), not Session 3: Genesis 2:18-25: The Foundation of Marriage
a burden as they are often viewed in America.
It is important that your child understand the biblical foundation for mar-
riage. On this topic, there is no more important passage than Genesis
2:18-25. We want the child to understand what the Bible says on this
subject and that God, the creator of marriage, has the authority to deter-
mine the boundaries for marriage. Remind your child that we do not get
to tinker with or change portions of the Bible we do not like or are in
disagreement with. When man lives in opposition to God’s order, family
dysfunction, marital destruction, and relational damage are the result.
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To make a point, show the harmful consequences of someone living out- Marriage is to be a life-long commitment that is unbroken. Di-
side the boundaries of Genesis 2 by using a current example of an ac- vorce is not God’s plan for marriage. Marriage is a serious com-
quaintance, celebrity, or athlete. God’s moral laws are timeless and are as mitment that should not be entered into lightly.
binding today as they were thousands of years ago. Cultural changes and
shifts in beliefs don’t trump eternal truth. 4. Marriage then sex. God intends for man and woman to be
united together in marriage before becoming one with each other
Fun Fact: The average age at which men get married is 27 and for physically. Genesis 2:24 states, “For this reason a man will leave
women it is 25. his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will
become one flesh”. Sex follows marriage. It is to be a result of
Genesis 2:18-25 teach five foundational marriage principles: marriage. Sex serves marriage and is never to be separated from
marriage. Why are we only to have sex with the person we are
1. Created to rule the earth for God. Man and woman were cre- married to? We become “one” with the person in body, emotion,
ated to be representative rulers for God over the earth (Psalm 8:6 and spirit. God commands us to wait until marriage. It is this
-8). In this sense, man and woman are created in God’s image kind of sex that brings maximum joy to the couple and glory to
and are “like God.” Just as God rules over the universe so hu- God. The best sex and the deepest human intimacy only happens
manity is given stewardship of the earth for God’s glory. In within the context of marriage. God joins a husband and wife
Genesis 2:18 “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be together in one flesh. Man does not create this union, which is
alone. I will make him a suitable helper.” It was not good for why the Bible says that man cannot destroy the union, “What
man to be alone because he could not fulfill God’s command to God has joined together, let man not separate.”
have dominion over the earth by himself. Together man and
woman exercise stewardship over creation, which includes hav- God gave man and woman sexual appetites. He created sex and
ing children. Marriage is the vehicle to fulfill God’s command to blessed it. This was God’s idea from the beginning of time. Al-
rule over the earth. though God gave sexual desire to humans, he imposed restrict-
tions upon those appetites. The Bible prohibits sexual activity
2. One man and one woman. The pattern that God established in prior to marriage and commands complete faithfulness within
Eden was that a man and a woman are married to each other. marriage (1 Corinthians 7:1-9). These boundaries are for our
Nowhere in the Bible is any other structure for marriage blessed delight.
or encouraged. God only made one “suitable helper” for Adam
and she was female. As has been said, “God created Adam and 5. No Shame. In Genesis 2:25 we are told, “The man and his wife
Eve not Adam and Steve.” From the beginning, God had a plan were both naked, and they felt no shame.” Adam and Eve had no
for one man and one woman to enter into the covenant of mar- regrets and no guilt. Wouldn’t it be great to enter marriage with
riage together. Genesis 2:24 tells us about this plan, “For this our future spouse in the same way? Those who enter into mar-
reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to riage by following God’s standards can be like Adam and Eve.
his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Marriage involves Righteous living removes feelings of embarrassment, humilia-
“leaving” ones family of origin and “cleaving” to one’s spouse, tion, and shame and leads to greater trust, security, and enjoy-
which indicates the establishment of a new family separate from ment in marriage.
the two original families.

3. One man, one woman, one lifetime. Marriage is to last a life-

time. Jesus quoted Genesis 2:24 in Matthew 19:5-6, but added
the words that are commonly heard at weddings, “what God has
joined together, let man not separate.”
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Talk about it together Homosexuality violates God’s design for marriage in three ways:6

As a family, work through this question and activity: 1. Reverses marriage between man and woman. Homosexuality
is at odds with God’s design for marriage at the most basic level
1. Read Genesis 2:18-25 and Matthew 19:5-6 out loud. What truths – between one man and one woman. Genesis 2:24 and Mark 10:6
do these two passages teach us about marriage that are especially speak of marriage in heterosexual terms, not homosexual. Homo-
important today? sexuality is never encouraged or endorsed in the Bible.

2. A friend of yours mentioned he sees nothing wrong with homo- 2. Marriage roles disappear. Homosexuality violates the comple-
sexuality. How would you respond? mentary roles God gave to man and woman. According to Gene-
sis 2 and 3, man is given charge of his wife as the head, while
Session 4: Distortions of Marriage – Homosexuality and Divorce the woman is placed alongside him as a suitable helper. Differ-
ences in gender are critical to marriage because marriage roles
Marriage has been used and abused by society. It’s been mistreated and are tied to gender. Thus same-sex marriages cannot participate in
misunderstood. Marriage distortions are rampant, from adultery to polyg- this aspect of marriage. A revolt against gender roles is a revolt
amy. While there are plenty of marriage distortions to focus on, I have against God.
chosen two, homosexuality and divorce. Because divorce is common and
homosexuality is becoming culturally acceptable, children must know 3. Having children is impossible. Homosexuality does not fulfill
what the Bible teaches on these subjects. If a child is taught what mar- God’s command to “Be fruitful and multiply.” Having children
riage is, the child will also know what marriage is not. is not a choice of marriage, it is a biblical command. Having
children is a central element of marriage and part of God’s de-
What does the Bible say about Homosexuality? sign; which is one of the reasons infertility is so painful.

Homosexuality was a persistent problem in the Old Testament; from Homosexuality is a drastic departure from the biblical model of marriage
Sodom and Gomorrah, the Gibeonites during the time of the Judges, and at almost every point. This is one of the reasons it is severely spoken
homosexuality during the reign of ungodly kings, as well as in the New against in the Bible. According to Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, homosexu-
Testament. Romans 1:24-28 says that homosexuality is unnatural, dis- ality is wrong. The Bible clearly states that it is unnatural, sinful, shame-
honors the body, is shameful, and brings about God’s future judgment. 1 ful, and dishonoring to self and God. A sexual relationship between two
Corinthians 6:9-11 refers to homosexuality as a sin, causes unrighteous- men or two women cannot be called marriage as it is something entirely
ness before God, but can be cleansed by the blood of Jesus. I Timothy different and spoken of as wicked in the Bible. If you are a boy, God in-
1:9-10 reminds us that God’s moral laws exist to reveal what is good and tends for you to marry a girl. And if you are a girl, God intends for you
what is evil. Homosexuality is mentioned as a sin which is sexually im- to marry a boy.
moral. Leviticus 18:22 clearly states, “You shall not lie with a male as
with a woman; it is an abomination.” What does the Bible say about divorce?

As the creator of marriage, God alone has the right to set the parameters In Mark 10:9 Jesus says, “What God has joined together, let man not
of the institution. One of the parameters is that marriage is not between separate.” Jesus elevates marriage and reminds his listeners that from the
two men or two women. In Mark 10:6 Jesus says, “From the beginning beginning God created marriage to be lifelong and unbroken. Of all rela-
of creation, God made them male and female.” Therefore, homosexuality tionships, none can be taken with such reverence, and none regarded
is a distortion of the biblical teaching of marriage. with so much caution, as that relationship between man and woman.
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Marriage is to be entered into with much thought and in the fear of God. “Marriage is not mainly about being or staying in love. It’s
There is no other decision in life, short of faith in Christ, which affects mainly about telling the truth with our lives. It’s about portraying
life nearly as much as who one chooses to marry. Those who choose a something true about Jesus Christ and the way he relates to his
good spouse and base their relationship on Christ will experience much people. It is about showing in real life the glory of the Gospel.”8
Let us uphold the sacredness of marriage. We must have a high view of
God designed marriage to be permanent. Genesis 2:24 says that a man marriage. Divorce falls short of God’s ideal for marriage. Divorce is a
should “hold fast to his wife.” In Malachi 2:16 God speaks strongly departure from God’s design and a failure on behalf of man.
against failed marriages and says, “I hate divorce.” In Luke 16:18 and
Mark 10:11-12 Jesus states that anyone who divorces a spouse and re- Session 5: Role of Men and Women – Head and Helper
marries commits adultery. In Matthew 19 religious leaders asked Jesus if
it is lawful to divorce a spouse for any reason. Jesus’ responds by saying There is much confusion and ambiguity over the proper roles of husband
God does not approve of divorce, but allowed it in the Old Testament as and wife. But there need not be! The Bible is clear regarding the role of
the lesser of two evils. Depending on one’s interpretation, the Bible gives husband and wife and that those roles are distinct from one another. Con-
provision for divorce in cases of unrepentant sexual unfaithfulness sider the way Ephesians 5:22-25 speaks about the role of husband and
(Matthew 19:9) and abandonment by a Gospel-rejecting spouse (1 Corin- the role of the wife in marriage.
thians 7:15): only the most severe situations. Rather than divorce, the
Bible suggests separation for a time with the hope of reconciliation (1 “Wives submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the
Corinthians 7:10-11). husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the
church, his body, and is himself its savior. Now as the church
Marriage is a picture of the Gospel. Just as Jesus will never leave or for- submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to
sake the Church, husband and wife are not to leave or forsake one an- their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the
other. Jesus made a covenant promise with his people that he would church and gave himself up for her.”
never leave us or forsake us. “Therefore, what makes divorce and remar-
riage so horrific in God’s eyes is not merely that it involves covenant- Husbands are compared to Christ; wives are compared to the Church.
breaking to the spouse, but that it involves misrepresenting Christ and his Husbands are compared to the head; wives are compared to the body.
covenant.”7 Despite rebellion and sin, God has not left his people. God Husbands are commanded to love as Christ loved; wives are commanded
referred to his covenant people in the Old Testament as adulterous and to submit as the Church is to submit to Christ.9 These roles are not re-
the Church in the New Testament as unfaithful, but he did not divorce versible any more than the roles of Christ and the Church are reversible.
them. Jesus keeps his covenant forever. Marriage is a display of that! We
are to take our cues for marriage from Christ. We are to forgive our This can be seen most clearly when seeing the impact of sin on the mar-
spouse as God has forgiven us. We are to bear with their sins as God riage relationship. One of the consequences of sin is a complete reversal
bears with ours. As much grace as we received on the cross, we are to of roles assigned by God to the man and to the woman. Sin twisted and
give it to our (future) spouse. This is true whether a person is married to distorted marriage roles. That is why we read in Genesis 3:16, “Your
a Christian or non-Christian. desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” One of the
consequences of sin is the unwillingness of a wife to submit to her hus-
Ultimately, this means that divorce isn’t about you and your relationship band and a husband’s abdication of his headship.
with another person. Divorce is the repudiation of a covenant. It doesn’t
end the marriage or start anything over. Instead, it defaces the icon of the The Bible is clear about the major responsibilities of a husband toward a
Gospel God has embedded in the union of man and woman in marriage wife and a wife toward a husband. We can refer to this as the job descrip-
(Ephesians 5:22-31). John Piper has an insightful thought worth reading: tion for husbands and wives.
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I want to encourage you to read the role of husband and wife so that you Christ led by dying on the cross for his bride, the Church. Leadership is
know what is expected of you and so that you know what to look for in a not to be viewed as a right or privilege, but as a responsibility to bear.
spouse. This will be helpful in choosing the right person to marry.
To provide. The husband is to “nourish and cherish” his family
Husbands (Ephesians 5:29). This has both a physical and spiritual component to it.
The husband is to provide spiritual food for his family by leading it in
Conformity to Christ. The aim of a godly husband is to see his wife family devotions. The husband is called to see that the needs of his fam-
conformed into the image of Christ. A husband’s desire for his wife is to ily are met by providing food, clothing, and other necessities of life. Exo-
be the same desire Christ has for the church. Notice the key words in dus 21:10 speaks of this reality, “If [the man] takes another wife to him-
Ephesians 5:25-27, “that he might sanctify her” and “that she might be self, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights.”
holy.” Your spouse will hinder or help your relationship with Jesus. This passage was spoken of in the context of multiple wives and slaves,
Solomon loved the Lord, but chose wives from pagan nations that didn’t but it points out the truth that a husband is obligated to provide for his
worship the one true God (Exodus 34:16, Deuteronomy 7:1-3). Eventu- wife. It is the man’s responsibility to make sure his family has food, shel-
ally, these women won Solomon over to their gods and Solomon turned ter, clothing and the basic necessities of life.
his back on God (1 Kings 11:4).
A man is not ready for marriage until he is ready to work and take care of
To love and cherish his wife. Ephesians 5:25-30 makes this point. his family’s finances (Proverbs 24:27 and 1 Timothy 5:8). A man’s abil-
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself ity to provide for his family means more than simply having a job. It
up for her.” This is the most radical thing to say to any man contemplat- means he is able to provide for and manage the financial needs of his
ing marriage. A husband’s love is a compassionate, self-denying, cross- home. This means every man needs to know how to balance a check
bearing love. This is in contrast to a dictatorial, self-exalting, harsh lead- book, make a budget, build a short-term and long-term financial reserve,
ership. The husband is called to die for his wife. This guards against give 10 percent back to God, and has a proper understanding of debt.
abuses of headship as the husband is to love like Jesus loved. That love is Children must know biblical principles of finances and be taught to be
best embodied as the husband leads, protects, and provides for his wife stewards of God’s resources in the family.
and family. The husband is also to treat his wife with respect and dignity.
The woman, like man, is created in the image of God. She shares equal To protect. The spiritual dangers that families face today are many and
worth with her husband and is to be treated in high esteem. Woman is subtle. Your wife needs a brave warrior, not a wimpy coward, standing
man’s partner in filling and subduing the earth and is worthy of full re- between her and danger. Protecting a family may entail a physical com-
spect. Proverbs 31:10; 28 states, “The heart of her husband trusts in ponent to it, but it most certainly means having biblical wisdom and dis-
her…her husband also, he praises her.” The man of Proverbs treats his cernment. Husbands need to pray for their family every day and fight
wife with respect and dignity, so too should husbands today. against Satan and the forces of evil. Husbands need to pray that their
family would be delivered from evil and can pray the prayers of the Bi-
To lead. The man is to bear primary responsibility for the marriage and ble. Set media standards, clothes standards, and friendship standards.
is given ultimate authority over the family. Genesis indicates man bears Young man, you are a sword wielding warrior called to fight for your
primary responsibility by being the recipient of God’s command to over- family.
see the Garden of Eden and not eat from the tree (Genesis 2:15-17) as
well as Adam’s naming Eve (Genesis 2:23). It is man, not the woman, Wives
who is held responsible for sin (Genesis 3:9; Rom. 5:12-14). In Ephe-
sians 5:23, Paul says, “The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is To be a helpmate. Genesis 2:18 states, “It is not good that the man
the head of the Church.” This reference to the head involves leadership should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” It was not good
for the husband. The type of leadership is servant leadership. for man to be alone in his ruling of the earth; he needed help.
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Woman was created to help man fulfill God’s call to have dominion over Proverbs for women regarding marriage
the earth. In addition, Paul states “wives, submit to your husbands, as to
the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). Husbands are not told to be their wives help-  Every wife will either build the home or tear it down (Proverbs
mates or to submit to their wives’ authority. This is a unique role re- 14:1). If a woman walks with the Lord she will build, if she
served for women. It means that a woman seeks to honor and affirm her walks away from the Lord she will destroy.
husband’s leadership and help carry it out according to her gifts.10 To be  A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgrace-
a helpmate means to follow a husband and yield to his leadership. ful wife is like decay in his bones (Proverbs 12:4). A crown or a
cancer; what a choice!
To manage the household. The clearest example of this is found in  The wife is not to forsake her husband and seek her love else-
Proverbs 31 were the wife has made her home the priority of her life. where (Proverbs 2:17). They are to enjoy one another and grow
This does not mean a woman cannot work outside the home, only that in their love for each other and for the Lord.
the home is first priority dictating involvement elsewhere. A woman is  A husband should look for a woman who has wisdom and dis-
not ready for marriage until she is ready to manage her home (Proverbs cretion (Proverbs 11:22), not just physical beauty. A prudent
31:10-31). This means every young woman needs to know how to cook, wife is from the Lord (Proverbs 19:14).
clean, care for children, work hard, set boundaries with time, and keep a  He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from
home running smoothly. the Lord (Proverbs 18:22). One of the forms of God’s goodness
comes in giving man a wife! When a husband takes her for
Women (and men) are not ready for marriage until they are ready to bear granted he grieves both her and the Lord. He should love her and
and raise children. Marriage and parenthood go hand-in-hand. The crown be loyal to her all the days of his life.
of marriage is children, yet culture tries to convince married couples that  Better to live on the corner of a roof than share a house with a
children are a burden not a blessing (Psalm 127:3). If a woman or man quarrelsome wife (Proverbs 21:9). We should look for a spouse
can’t or won’t parent, this is a strong reason not to get married. If a per- that produces unity and harmony in the home. If ones dating
son marries unprepared, or worse, unfit for parenthood, there is a possi- days are filled with conflict, expect that to continue in marriage.
bility that she will become such a parent.
The finest description of the ideal wife is found in Proverbs 31:10-31. It
To respect her husband. Ephesians 5:32 says, “Let the wife see that she is written as an acrostic poem with the initial words of the twenty-two
respects her husband.” This implies that the husband is not perfect. He is verses all beginning with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet as a
flawed and the wife sees where he can change. As a wife submits to device to help people commit the passage to memory. Perhaps Jewish
Christ first, she will then be in a position to submit to her husband. This parents instructed their sons and daughters to memorize this section of
will enable the wife to appreciate the husband for the strengths he has scripture and use it as a guide in their lives and in their homes. What kind
and respect him as her head even while patiently waiting for his further of wife is described in Proverbs 31?
transformation into the image of Christ. It is a tragic situation when a
woman longs for her husband to be the spiritual leader of the home and  A woman of character (Proverbs 31:10-12). Character is more
he will not step into that role. A woman can respect her husband by important than jewels and beauty (1 Peter 3:1-6). Marriage does-
keeping 1 Peter 3:1 in mind, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, n’t change a person’s character. If there are character weaknesses
so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a before marriage, expect those same defects to be there once mar-
word by the conduct of their wives.” This is a warning against nagging, ried. A husband or wife who hopes to change a spouse after be-
or excessive exhortation, by a woman that seeks to change her husband. ing married is destined for disappointment.
There is a kind of speaking that is counterproductive. Women, try to win
your husband by your “respect and pure conduct” (1 Peter 3:2).
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 A woman who works (Proverbs 31:13-22). Proverbs paints the When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You
picture of an amazing wife who goes to the market to get food know that your name is safe in their mouth." Billy - age 4
(14-15), buys real estate (16), plants a vineyard (16), is up early
and is busy. She is not idle, but works vigorously (17). "Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne
 A woman who is generous (Proverbs 31:20). and they go out and smell each other." Karl - age 5
 A woman complements her husband (Proverbs 31:23).
 A woman who oversees the home (Proverbs 31:27). A wife in- "Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French
structs her children, plans for the future, and makes the home the fries without making them give you any of theirs." Chrissy - age 6
center of her world. She manages food, finances, clothing and
does so faithfully day and night. Such a wife is worthy of praise "Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends
(28-29). even after they know each other so well." Tommy - age 6
 A woman who fears the Lord (Proverbs 31:30). The most valu-
able attribute is a wife who treasures God and obeys him. A wife "Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he
without the fear of God is a wife to be feared! is handsomer than Brad Pitt." Chris - age 7

Session 6: What is Dating? What is the purpose for dating?

Ask your child to come up with a definition for dating. Allow your All that we do, including dating, should be pleasing to God. 1 Corin-
child to wrestle with the definition for a while. Some responses may be: thians 10:31 reminds us, “So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you
do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Being in a relationship
Having no desire to be with anyone else  A
(exclusive) The word dating is not found in the bible. In biblical times, and through-
Having a boyfriend or girlfriend  A out much of history, marriages were arranged. Dating did not exist in
Playing the field  A biblical times. The Song of Solomon provides us with the closest picture
Getting to know one other  A of dating in the Bible.

A very broad definition of dating is when a man and a Viewpoints of dating:
woman spend time together, for the purpose of getting to know each
other, with intentions of marriage. 1. Dating – Yuck! I’m never dating. I will always be single.

Although there is pressure to date, do not feel you must. Recreational 2. Dating is purposeless. Courting is the only acceptable
dating and casual romance produce scars and hurt. It is wise to refrain means of finding a husband or wife. You are only going to
from dating until you are ready for marriage. If your purpose is marriage enter into a relationship with someone if you believe you
and your motives are pure, then God delights in your looking for a will marry them.
3. Date for fun. Dating is a process that can be enjoyed. A
Just for Fun: What does it mean to love? mindset for this view may be, “Who cares about marriage! I
date for other reasons…fun, sex, intimacy, or kissing
"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint friends.”
her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even
when his hands got arthritis too. That's love." Rebecca - age 8 4. Date to prepare for marriage. This view sees dating as
necessary to learning what we are looking for in a spouse
and to helping us learn who we are as a person.
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5. Date to discover your spouse. The main purpose is to How old should a person be before dating?
discover if the person that we are dating is a person that we
Recommend by can or should marry. If one holds this view, it means we Many well-meaning fathers have answered this question by stating, “Not
Josh Mulvihill would not date unless we are planning to get married in the until my child is 30.”
near future.
What is the right age to date? 13, 16, 18, 21, 30 years old? The same an-
We could always find our wife (husband) like the tribe of Benjamin swer cannot be given to every child, for there is not a hard and fast age
found theirs. They went to the annual festival in Shiloh and hid in the requirement to date.
vineyards. When the girls of Shiloh came out to dance, the men rushed
from the vineyards, each man catching and carrying off one to be his The issue isn’t age, but maturity. The real question is whether or not
wife (Judges 21:15-23). you are mature enough to handle the responsibility of dating.

Emotions and feelings were created by God and are evidence that we  A you be trusted to be alone with the opposite sex?
want and need relationships. When we start romantically dating some-  A you know how to treat a person of the opposite sex?
one, and move beyond the friend stage, our minds, heart, and bodies be-  A you know what God requires of you as an unmarried person?
gin going through a God-made process that is supposed to culminate in  A you a person of conviction and will you live by those con-
the commitment of marriage. We begin this process of becoming one as victions when they are tested?
we deeply connect emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Eventually,
there is no where else for us to go, so we complete the process of becom- Who sets the standard for the appropriate time to date? Your par-
ing one in the sexual sense. This leads me to believe that the purpose of ents. You should not assume that you will be permitted to date at age 16.
dating is to find a husband or wife. Maybe that is why the Song of Solo- Based on your maturity, this is something that your parents will need to
mon reminds us three times “not to awaken love until the time is right.” determine.

If we understand that the purpose of dating is to find a husband or wife Sad Fact: Marrying as a teenager is the highest known risk factor for
this means we are not dating in middle school and probably not dating divorce. People who marry in their teens are two to three times more
much in high school. It is not likely that we will get married at this time likely to divorce than people who marry in their twenties or older.11
of life or marry the person that we dated in high school.
Session 7: Dating and Parents
Ask your child the following question: What are the advantages of wait-
ing to date? Allow students to think and answer before you say anything. The topic of dating and purity is not private information that parents have
They may mention the following answers: no business knowing. You should be open and honest regarding
thoughts, intentions, and experiences with dating. The following is im-
 Awant to marry
Focus on being a person that someone would portant for you to know regarding your parents involvement with your
Focus on our relationship with God  A date life:
 A
Avoid emotional scars from past relationships
Protect ones purity  A Talk about it: As a family, read Ephesians 6:1-3 out loud. Do you be-
lieve that you are to “honor and obey” your parents in all areas of life -
including your date life?
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Your date life is under your parent’s authority. Ephesians 6:1-3 is a Parental involvement. Parents should be concerned if a climate of se-
reminder that children are to obey their parents. Obedience extends to crecy develops. A young person often assumes parents know far less than
your date life. Submission to parents in your dating relationships is right they really do and believe adolescents know far more know they really
and good. If parents set dating guidelines or restrictions, they should be know. As a result, young people often seek out the advice of other young
willingly obeyed. people when they should be interacting with parents. Sadly, this becomes
the blind leading the blind, and the results for many young people can be
Your parents have the right to be actively involved in your dating disastrous and lifelong. Parents should be concerned if a child seeks a lot
experiences. Just remember, your parents aren’t trying to embarrass you of time alone or away from the family or if a child develops a habit of
or make your life difficult. They are concerned that you will choose a secrecy. Sexual impurity with young people is always accompanied by
good spouse. lying.

Expect the following: Being single?

1. Evaluation. Your parents need to assess your maturity level be- What if I don’t date or want to date? Am I weird? No. In fact, Paul calls
fore dating. If you want to date earlier rather than later, learn to you blessed.
be a person of respect and responsibility. In the eyes of parents,
freedom comes with responsibility. If you are a trustworthy In I Corinthians 7:7 Paul says, “I wish everyone could get along without
person in other areas of life, then you will most likely be a marrying just as I do. But we are not all the same. God gives some the
trustworthy person in your dating life. gift of marriage, and to others He gives the gift of singleness. Now, I say
to those who aren’t married, it is better to stay unmarried, just as I am.
2. Communication. Your parents will want to talk with you about But if they cannot control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It
your dating experiences. You need to be in regular, open, and is better to marry then to burn with lust.”
honest communication with your parents about your
relationships. Paul calls singleness a gift and suggests that being single can be prefer-
able to being married because the single person has more time and en-
3. Involvement. Your parents should be involved in deciding who ergy to serve God and serve the Church than a married person does. In
you date. Fathers may want to interview their daughter’s dates. other words, there is nothing wrong with living a life of singleness. A
Daughters should be honored by this level of involvement. married person has to give time and energy to their family which limits
Parents may want to meet and get to know your date. This is not the amount of time a person can serve God. Paul provides one criteria for
an unreasonable expectation for your parent to have. considering marriage; if a person struggles with lust and has a difficult
time controlling themselves sexually, they should marry.
4. Boundaries. Your parents should help you set and keep
boundaries. If your parents tell you that you cannot have a Session 8: What Kind of Person Should You Date?
person of the opposite sex in your bedroom, they are helping you
set wise standards for your sexual purity. Whatever boundaries It is no small issue deciding who to date. Much care should be taken in
you agree upon, these are boundaries that you are to obey choosing a date. A young person who wants a spouse needs to remember
(remember Ephesians 6:1-3?). certain key biblical principles as they approach the topic.

Fun Fact: The most likely way to find a future marriage partner is A Christ-follower. Notice that I did not say a Christian. Many people
through an introduction by family, friends, or acquaintances. 12 call themselves Christians, but live nothing like Christ demands. We
should date and marry someone who follows Jesus Christ with every fi-
ber of their body.
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How a person answers the question “Who do you say Jesus Christ is” Why is it not okay to missionary date? The last thing a non-Christian guy
and “how does your relationship with Jesus impact your beliefs and be- is thinking about is Jesus. He has other motives for going on a date with
haviors?” is the watershed issue when dating a person. you.

2 Corinthians 6:14-15 clearly says, “Do not be yoked together with unbe- Is the man or woman you are attracted to a follower of Jesus? Proverbs
lievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or 31:30 reminds us, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a
what fellowship can light have with darkness? What does a believer have woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” This applies to both men
in common with an unbeliever?” Ruth said, “…Your God shall be my and women and is advice to which we should all listen. This means you
God.” (Ruth 1:16) We should desire the same. need to date Christians who love the Lord.

Talk about it: Ask your child, “Is it ever okay to date a non-Christian?” Levels of Relationship
A child may answer:

 As long as it is not a serious relationship Christians

 As long as we don’t get married
 It’s okay if the goal is to help the other person become a Christian
(missionary dating)
Christians &
There is a destructive and false piece of romantic thinking that believes, Non-Christians
if I find the right one, the one I really am attracted to, the one who makes
my heart go pitter-pat, pitter-pat, it doesn’t matter...

- what they believe or

- whether they are a Christian or
- whether they go to church or
- if they even love God

All that matters is the chemistry that exists between us. We’ll work the
‘”church thing’" out later. After all, why should this “religious issue” get
A person that helps you grow more like Christ. We are called to be
in the way of true love? To those ‘"in love’" this seems right.”
holy as God is holy. We are told to imitate Christ in all that we do and to
bring glory to God. If our purpose in life is to become like Jesus and re-
The Bible clearly says, “Do not connect yourselves with unbelievers in
flect his glory to others. – this should be true of your date life. The per-
this manner.” There is no special-instance clause. Why would it be dan-
son you date and marry should help you become more like Christ. Your
gerous to date a non-Christian even if it was not a serious relationship?
relationships should help you focus on Christ first. Matthew 6:33 states,
You may grow to love the person and then you are in a very difficult
“But seek first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things
situation. Faith needs to be the strength of a relationship, not the cause
will be given to you as well.” There is the danger of becoming so de-
for division.
pendent on a boyfriend or girlfriend that you are not growing spiritually
on your own. Do not lose site of the reality that your lifestyle and choices
should help others become like Christ as well.
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In this area, maturity matters. Women, you are looking for a man who 4. The quarrelsome woman (Proverbs 9:13). It is better to live in
respects, and men, you are looking for a woman who submits. Boys must the corner of an attic than to be around a nagging woman
learn to honor and respect girls. Young women should seek a young man (Proverbs 21:9; 25:24). It is better to be out in the desert than to
who has a deep, ingrained habit of honoring women. be around a quarrelsome woman (Proverbs 21:19). The Bible
teaches men to stay away from mouthy women.
A person that has your parents’ approval. Remember, your dating
relationship falls under your parents’ authority. Parents should help dis- Proverbs teaches certain women are to be desired as a wife:
cern character and teach you what to look for in a potential mate. Wise
parents are actively involved in their child’s romantic relationships. 1. A faithful woman who they can rejoice with sexually (Proverbs
Fathers should want to get to know their daughter’s date and should 5:18) and be captivated by (Proverbs 5:19). A godly wife can
know his sexual history, as this will indicate whether or not this young outdo all the one-night stands in the world!
man is likely to be faithful to his daughter. Parents of daughters must be 2. An edifying woman who builds her home (Proverbs 14:1) and
prepared to exercise judgment while parents of sons must be prepared to builds up her husband (Proverbs 31:11-12).
provide godly and restraining advice. Both sons and daughters need help 3. Prudent wife who makes wise choices (Proverbs 19:14). This
to know what to look for in a spouse. woman is such a blessing that Proverbs says she is “from the
Keep in mind: One of your dates will one day be your husband or wife. 4. A woman who works hard (Proverbs 31:27-28). This passage
Choose wisely! teaches two truths. The woman’s priority is to be the home. The
woman’s place is not only the home, as she is active on many
Happy are the marriages which observe three rules:13 fronts.

1. Marry only in the Lord and only after God’s approval and bless- These brief lists are a good reminder who a young man should look for in
ing. Psychology has added too much baggage to choosing a a wife, and who a young woman should aim to become. For a glimpse of
spouse. God’s criteria list is short, “equally yoked.” Make sure what a future spouse will be like, look to that person’s parents, especially
your future spouse treasure’s Christ and you will do well! the parent of like gender. Children learn how to be a spouse by watching
2. Do not expect too much from your spouse, remembering that parents, not from the person they marry. The majority of lessons will be
marriage is the union of two sinners, not two angels. taught by the same-gendered parent.
3. Strive for one’s growth in Christ. The more holy people are, the
happier they are. Session 9: Are You the Kind of Person that Someone Else Would
Want to Marry?
Proverbs teaches certain women are to be avoided:
It is shortsighted of us to only be concerned with who we will marry. We
1. Disobedient women. should be even more committed about being a person that others would
2. Seductive women. Proverbs teaches that it is a blessing to be want to marry. There is a saying that “nice guys finish last.” Maybe that
spared from this woman (Proverbs 2:16; 6:24; 7:5; 30:20). is true in business or athletics, but not in marriage. Nice guys usually
3. Immoral woman. The immoral woman looks good (Proverbs have great marriages and that is what we are after.
7:10) and sounds good (Proverbs 5:3), and promises to feel good.
But the Bible teaches that adultery is a form of suicide (Proverbs Five areas that we should focus on:
6:32). 1. Focus on learning how to love God. Matthew 22:37 says,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your
soul and with all your mind.” Am I focused on loving God?
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4. The quarrelsome woman (Proverbs 9:13). It is better to live in soul and with all your mind.” Am I focused on loving God?
the corner of an attic than to be around a nagging woman
(Proverbs 21:9; 25:24). It is better to be out in the desert than to 2. Focus on learning how to serve others. Philippians says 2:3-4,
be around a quarrelsome woman (Proverbs 21:19). The Bible “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility
teaches men to stay away from mouthy women. of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also
Proverbs teaches certain women are to be desired as a wife: for the interests of others.” Am I others-focused or self-focused?

1. A faithful woman who they can rejoice with sexually (Proverbs 3. Focus on learning how to respect everyone. Ephesians 5:33
5:18) and be captivated by (Proverbs 5:19). A godly wife can says, “each one of you also must love his wife as he loves him-
outdo all the one-night stands in the world! self, and the wife must respect her husband.” Am I respectful to
2. An edifying woman who builds her home (Proverbs 14:1) and everyone?
builds up her husband (Proverbs 31:11-12).
3. Prudent wife who makes wise choices (Proverbs 19:14). This 4. Focus on learning how to be responsible in life. I Chronicles
woman is such a blessing that Proverbs says she is “from the 7:40, “All these were descendants of Asher - heads of families,
Lord.” choice men, brave warriors and outstanding leaders.” Do I take
4. A woman who works hard (Proverbs 31:27-28). This passage my responsibilities seriously?
teaches two truths. The woman’s priority is to be the home. The
woman’s place is not only the home, as she is active on many 5. Focus on learning who you are as a person. Les and Leslie
fronts. Parrott say the following, “If you try to find intimacy with an-
other person before achieving a sense of identity on your own,
These brief lists are a good reminder who a young man should look for in all your relationships become an attempt to complete yourself.”
a wife, and who a young woman should aim to become. For a glimpse of Do I have a growing understanding of who I am in Jesus Christ?
what a future spouse will be like, look to that person’s parents, especially
the parent of like gender. Children learn how to be a spouse by watching The best way to find a great Christian spouse is to work on following
parents, not from the person they marry. The majority of lessons will be Christ in your own life. The following example makes this point:
taught by the same-gendered parent.
“Like attracts like. It’s a primitive illustration, but the fisher-
Session 9: Are You the Kind of Person that Someone Else Would man’s experience is true. The bait determines the catch. If you
Want to Marry? want to catch catfish then you should fish with chicken livers. If
you want to catch largemouth bass then you should fish with a
It is shortsighted of us to only be concerned with who we will marry. We lure. If fishing doesn’t illustrate then maybe flowers will. Did
should be even more committed about being a person that others would you know that certain types of butterflies are attracted to certain
want to marry. There is a saying that “nice guys finish last.” Maybe that types of flowers? The common Monarch butterfly is most at-
is true in business or athletics, but not in marriage. Nice guys usually tracted to the dogbane and buddleia plants. The same is true in
have great marriages and that is what we are after. our lives. How we conduct ourselves in speech, dress, entertain-
ment, and lifestyle will determine the type of people that we will
Five areas that we should focus on: attract.”
1. Focus on learning how to love God. Matthew 22:37 says,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your Young person, look to yourself first. A young person should want to be
the kind of spouse that someone would want to marry.

How do I know if I have found the one for me from God?

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So how can we know who the right person is? Some people say “you just Session 10: What is the Purpose of Sex?
know.” Maybe you do, but I want my kids to have a better measuring
tool that subjectively guessing. I have heard others say, “I have never felt I can think of no other topic that is thought about more by adolescents
so good.” Feelings are great, but shouldn’t be relied u0 solely to make a and spoken of less by parents. Children need help thinking theologically
decision. Feelings eventually wear off and if our love is confused as a about sex, because, like every area of life, we want to submit our sexual
feeling, it is natural to think that we are no longer in love. One of the rea- practice to the Lord and understand his purpose for sex. Genesis 2 states
sons people fall out of love is because their love is based on changing that a man and woman are to be “one flesh” signifying sex is central to
feelings. We shouldn’t confuse the pitter patter of our heart with love. the topic of marriage. In order to have a healthy marriage a person must
That is infatuation. There is nothing wrong with infatuation until it be- have a biblical understanding of sex.
comes the foundation for marriage.
Why did God create sex? Sadly, the majority of attention on the subject
So how can we know who the right person is? We look for clues and in- is focused on how to have great sex instead of why Christians engage in
dicators to help us make an informed decision. The following tests marital intercourse. The Bible has an entire book devoted to the celebra-
should give us a good idea whether we should pursue a relationship or tion of sex within marriage. This book is inspired by the Holy Spirit,
break it off. If we answer “no” to any one of these tests, that should be a without error, and authoritative. It is intended by God as a primary
huge red flag for us. Some “no’s” should dictate that we end the relation- source of guidance for those who are single and those who are married.
ship. Other “no’s” should be like a yellow light that prompt a couple to That book is the Song of Songs written by Solomon. C.J. Mahaney has
have a discussion. Ideally, growth would need to occur in certain areas this to say about the Song of Songs:
before the relationship could continue to move forward towards mar-
riage. Solomon’s Song of Songs is an entire book of the Bible devoted
to the promotion of sexual intimacy within the covenant of mar-
How do I know if a guy/girl is the right one for me? riage. It’s an eight-chapter feast of unbridled, uninhibited, joyous
1. The Gospel test: Can the Gospel be clearly displayed in your immersion in verbal and physical expressions of passion between
marriage? a man and a woman. Not a couple of verses. Not a chapter or
2. The Jesus test: Are they a Christ follower? two. God didn’t consider that enough. He decided to give us a
3. The character test: Do they display the fruit of the Spirit? whole book! But can the Song of Songs really be about sex? Is-
4. The kid test: Can I see myself having and raising children n’t the Bible about, well, spiritual stuff? It sure is. And sexual
with this person? intimacy within marriage has profound spiritual significance.14
5. The longevity test: Can I see myself waking up next to this
person for the next 50 years? God created sex. If sex is from God it’s appropriate for God to tell us in
6. The compatibility test: Do we get along and have fun to- Scripture how to understand and enjoy it. God did not leave something as
gether? powerful as sex for us to figure out. “Where are Christian couples sup-
7. The service test: Are we more effective serving God together posed to look for a model of God-glorifying sexuality? If not to Scrip-
than alone? ture, where? To Hollywood? Pop Culture? Pornography?”15 Guidance on
8. The Spirit test: Have I prayed about this decision? Am I at the subject of sex is not to be taken from our own desires or from sur-
peace to move forward with marriage? rounding culture, but from Scripture.
9. The friend and family test: Do your friends and family ap-
prove? What is the purpose of sex? The world says sex exists for our own
10. The dating test: Have we dated for a year or more? pleasure and personal fulfillment and promises enjoyment without the
context that God designed it for. It also says sex “saves.” Rose, in the
Ask God to show you his will. If there is an overwhelming sense of un- movie Titanic, said of her lover, “He saved me in every way that a per-
easiness, this may be the Holy Spirit speaking to you. son can be saved.” The Bible makes clear that God is love (1 John 4:8).
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Love is not God. When love is made the object of worship, sex turns into Session 11: Is it Okay to Have a Crush?
an idol. Sex is part of God’s calling to live our life for the glory of God.
To do that, we must understand God’s purpose for sex. Crushes are natural, normal and healthy. It is exciting to feel like the
world revolves around another person. There is an intense desire to spend
1. To have children. After God made humanity, he said to them, every waking moment with the person. It is not wrong to think that
“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue someone else is beautiful, desirable, or incredible. A crush becomes sin-
it” (Genesis 1:28; Genesis 9:1). Marriage is not simply about a ful when it causes us to fantasize, compromise, or combust.
man and a woman, but about God’s command to have children.
Sex leading to children enables man to obey God’s command Crushes are only a phase. Eventually, the feeling fades and the butterflies
and fulfill God’s plan to subdue the earth. The creation of chil- disappear. We need to move to a deeper kind of love. Lasting love can
dren is “sex in the service of God.” only grow when infatuation diminishes. Crushes cannot sustain a rela-
tionship, but they can ignite them. A crush is an introduction to someone
2. A gift to man and woman. The Old Testament joyfully affirms who could potentially be your husband or wife. It is the temporary glue
the beauty of sex in marriage (see the Song of Solomon and that gives us time to evaluate the person we are with, to consider the
Proverbs 5:15-19). It is a gift to be enjoyed in the confines of more important issues of character and compatibility.20
marriage. Sex is a gift because it is a means to deepen martial
intimacy and build companionship. Keep in mind: feelings do not equal love. Nothing interferes with com-
mon sense more than hormones.
3. Is for the public good. Undisciplined and disordered sexual be-
havior carries with it a high cost in family breakdown, resent- What is wrong with kissing a guy/girl?
ment, bitterness, and hurt. Sex outside of marriage destroys fami-
lies, ruins churches, and leads to the collapse of governments. Song of Solomon and Proverbs have some great wisdom on this topic:
Ordered and regulated sexual relationships benefit society as
relationships are not destroyed and healthy families can form.16 Start slowly. “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” (Song
of Solomon 3:5)
Sexual temptation arises from our sinful nature. Thus, according to
Douglas Wilson, even young people whose parents filter “the corrupting Proceed with great caution. It is better to restrain than to move too fast.
influences of the world, will still discover, after thirteen years, right on Proverbs 6:27 asks, “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his
schedule, perhaps to his dismay and perhaps to his delight, strong sexual clothes being burned?”
corruptions within.”17
Focus on the person, not the body. You need time to get to know a per-
Parents must assume a difficult sexual struggle will occur in their sons’ son. Moving too fast physically puts the emphasis of the relationship on
life. Having made this assumption, a father must talk with his son and the wrong thing.
teach him.18 He does this by teaching what the Bible says on purity, lust,
and masturbation and by checking in with this son instead of waiting for Remember, everything that is done on a date is done in full view of
his son to come to him on this subject. Every son needs guidance and God. Proverbs 5:21, “For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and
accountability from his father in this area. The purity of sons and daugh- he examines all his paths.”
ters ought to be a regular item of prayer.19
Talk about it: Should physical touch be off limits until a person is mar-
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Holding hands, hugging, and kissing should be symbols of a secure rela- This analogy provides a great example. The first two men believed they
tionship, not a way to win someone’s affection. The minute we bring could get close to the edge without any problems. The third wanted to
physical affection into a dating relationship, things change, expectations stay away from danger. When it comes to our purity, we should have the
increase, and communication shuts down.21 Commit to get to know a same mindset. Our question should not be, “How far can I go physically
person and take it slow. without falling off the edge?” We should be asking ourselves, “What do I
need to do to stay away from danger?” Young people often feel a sense
Problems with long, drawn-out kissing and touching: of accomplishment if they have saved something for marriage while the
Bible teaches they must save everything for marriage.
1. It becomes the focal point of the relationship. n
Boundaries define who you are. They describe what you think and feel
2. It leads to compromise in other ways. Notice the progres- and what you are willing to do. A healthy dating relationship requires
sion in Proverbs 7:13-23. “She took hold of him and kissed good, solid, and well-defined boundaries.
him…Come, let’s drink deep of love till morning; let’s enjoy
ourselves with love!...With persuasive words she led him Boundaries are about drawing lines. They tell us what is acceptable
astray…All at once he followed her like an ox going to the and what is unacceptable. Boundaries create guidelines that we are fol-
slaughter.” lowing.

3. It is difficult to control thoughts. f Boundaries should be decided before dating. The time to decide
boundaries is not when we are kissing someone. We have no blood left in
“Since you are not married, don’t act like it.” (Passport2 Purity, Dennis our brain and we are likely to be guided by our feelings rather than logic
Rainey) at a time like this.

Session 12: Boundaries and Dating Talk about it: Define your boundaries. Take some time and allow your
child to write his or her standards for dating. He can answer the follow-
Share the following story: There was once a queen who lived at the top ing questions:
of a very tall and steep mountain. The path down from her castle was
wide enough for a cart to comfortably travel up and down it. But there Who would you be willing to date? Do you have any standards that a
were deadly cliffs on both sides of the path. Because the queen was person must meet before you will date them?
wealthy she employed a strong man to pull her cart up and down the
path. The queen was interviewing for a new strong man. Three well-built What is the earliest time of your life that you would consider dating
men applied for the job, each with bulging muscles. There was no doubt someone? What if someone asked you out or you were interested in
that all three men could physically do the job at hand. To choose her cart someone earlier than this time of life?
-puller, the queen asked but one question, “How close to the edge of the
cliff do you believe you can safely navigate without falling?” The first Physically, what is your standard?
man confidently answered, “I can come within one foot of the edge with-
out any problems.” The same question was asked to the second strong a. Talking to members of the opposite sex
man. He responded by saying, “Without issue, I can come within six b. Spending time in groups
inches of the edge and still face no danger.” The third strong man c. Back rubs
thought for a moment and replied, “I will stay as far from the edge as d. Hugging
possible for I do not wish to endanger the life of the queen.” It was the e. Being alone with the opposite sex
final strong man that the queen chose as her cart-puller. f. Kissing
g. Passionately hugging and kissing
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h. Lying down while kissing But what you do in the body affects your spiritual relation-
i. Touching below the neck ship with God. Matthew 5:8 states that “God blesses those
j. Touching below the waist whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.” Do you feel
k. Taking clothes off distant from God? Is there sin in your life that needs to be
l. Intercourse attended to? “But your iniquities (sins) have separated you
from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so
What safe-guards do you need to consider in order to remain pure in a that he will not hear,” (Isaiah 59:2). We cannot grow spiritu-
dating relationship? ally if we are not living a pure life.

A. What would you be ashamed to tell your future husband/wife 2. To be used by God. “In a large house there are articles not
you did with another man/woman. only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are
B. What physical aspects of a relationship would you like to for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses
save for your future husband/wife. himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble
C. What boundaries do you need to put in place to make sure purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do
this happens? any good work,” (2 Timothy 2:20-21). Impurity prevents us
from being used mightily by God.
Share your boundaries with the person you are dating. Towards the
beginning of a relationship you should clarify your standards. This will 3. Because purity is the heart of holiness. Holiness finds its
do one of two things. First, if the person is dating you for physical rea- origin in our heart. Proverbs 21:8 states, “The way of a
sons, this will weed them out quickly. Second, we are much more likely guilty man is crooked, but as for the pure, his conduct is up-
to stick to our boundaries if the other person is aware of them and knows right.” The old saying is true “garbage in, garbage out.” If
the line that they are not to cross. Proverbs 27:12 says, “A prudent per- you fill your mind with impure things, impure words and
son foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions. The simpleton goes actions will come out.
blindly on and suffers the consequences.”
4. To strengthen your relationship with your future spouse.
Keep in mind: All but one of your boyfriends or girlfriends will be If you want a solid, strong relationship with your future
someone else’s husband or wife. Live righteously! spouse, one of the best things you can do is commit to pu-
rity. Impurity weakens a relationship, compromises a mar-
Activity: Write a letter to your future spouse telling them your desires. It riage, breaks down communication, creates mistrust, and
would be great to deliver this letter to them one day! jeopardizes the spiritual dimension of a relationship.

Session 13: Why is it Important to be Pure? 5. What you give away you can never get back. To make this
point, get two pieces of construction paper, glue them to-
Holiness is a big deal to God. God desires us to be holy as he is holy. gether and let them dry. After they dry, try to pull them
From cover to cover the Bible speaks of blessings for those who obey apart. You will discover that it is impossible to get the two
God and curses for those who disobey God. Those who are pure in their pieces of paper apart without having pieces of one paper
date life will be blessed by this choice. Why be pure? stuck to the other. The point of this example is to show that
physical involvement is not harmless. We give of ourselves
1. Because what you do in your body impacts your intimacy with when we are physical with another person.
God. There was a belief in Corinth that the only thing that mattered
was the spiritual. If you prayed, went to church, and were involved in
communion then you could do whatever you wanted with your body.
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Proverbs has plenty of reasons why we should stay pure:  I am going to marry this person so it doesn’t matter.
 I can control myself and won’t go any further.
1. Physical sin ensnares us. “The evil deeds of a wicked man
ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast” (Proverbs
 We won’t go all the way.
5:22).  We are in love.
 It feels good.
2. Lack of discipline in areas of purity is foolish and com-
 It won’t hurt just one time.
pared to death. “He will die for lack of discipline, led astray
by his own great folly” (Proverbs 5:23).  Most of my friends have done much more.

1. Obey God’s Word. Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a young person
3. It costs us our life. “All at once he followed her like an ox stay pure? By obeying your word and following its rules.” The more
going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till we obey God, the easier it is to remain pure. We can pursue God’s
an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, best by being obedient to him. It helps to recognize that we obey
little knowing it will cost him his life” (Proverbs 7:22-23). God because it’s for our best. It benefits us to be pure. God wired us
that way.
4. We will pay for our choices. “Yet if he is caught, he must
pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his
Example: Let’s assume you have a driver’s license. You are driving
house” (Proverbs 6:31).
down the road and you see a sign that says, “One Way Street.”
5. We are destroying ourselves. “But a man who commits Here’s what doesn’t happen. You don’t see that one way street sign
adultery (or any sexual sin) lacks judgment; whoever does so then say to yourself, “That sign is limiting my freedom.” We don’t do
destroys himself” (Proverbs 6:32). that. We see the sign and know, if we go the wrong way on a one
way street, we are going to get seriously hurt. We make sure we’re
6. Robs us of peace. Sin always creates anxiety and robs us of
going the right way because we recognize selfishly that this traffic
joy. That is why 1 Peter 2:11 says, “Abstain from sinful de-
law is for our best.
sires, which war against your soul.” The “war” is a thief. It
steals all that is good. It replaces joy with sorrow, peace with
God’s plan is similar. We obey God’s plan because it’s for our best.
anxiety, and patience with anger.
It will require some patience and perseverance on our part. God pro-
vides rules for our protection and so the life that we live is the most
These are costly consequences and should be powerful motivators to re-
powerful, free, wonderful life that there is. So settle this issue now.
main pure. No one should be willing to pay such a hefty price tag for a
Say to God today, “I’m going to pursue your best in the area of my
fleeting moment of pleasure.
purity. I’m going to trust you that your love will fulfill my deepest
longings. I’m going to recognize that what you have planned for me
Session 14: How Does a Young Man or Woman Stay Pure?
is good and I want that.”
Talk about it: Ask your child, “What excuses might a person give for
2. Run from Impurity. 2 Timothy 2:22 says, “Run from anything that
stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do
right. Pursue faith and love and peace, and enjoy the companionship
 I can’t help it. of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” We are to flee from
 No one is perfect. anything that is impure. If it causes you to sin, avoid it, stay away
 I’m only human. from it, get rid of it, flee from it.
 I tried and I can’t change.
 God created me with these desires.
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3. Males, don’t look at things you shouldn’t. Psalm 119:37 says, Females, get your approval from God. Is it more important
“Turn my eyes away from worthless things.” Guard your eyes. This what a guy thinks about you or more important what God thinks of
is the first line of defense. Once we let junk into our mind, we have you? Often, the girls who get dates or are popular are the ones
already lost the battle. Job tells us, "I made a covenant with my eyes whose clothing standards are not good. Refuse to use your body as
not to look lustfully at a girl” (Job 31:1). the platform for relationships.

Females, you shouldn’t give guys things to look at. Females must 6. Keep your lips and hands to yourself. We are told, “Do not give
be mindful of the clothes they wear. Tight and/or revealing clothes the devil a foothold,” (Ephesians 4:27). This seems to imply that
should not be worn. A good rule of thumb is that your top should anything that might cause us to compromise should be avoided.
be no lower than four fingers from your Adam’s apple. Skin is not in.
Underwear is to be worn under clothes. Bra straps should not be re- Example of the wolves and ice. In Alaska the wolf population had
vealed as some kind of fashion statement. You should be able to raise grown and food had become scarce. Wolves began attacking and killing
your hands above your head without showing your mid section. No live stock, which cost ranchers money. The ranchers discovered a crea-
Daisy Dukes. This might draw attention to you, but it is superficial. tive way to control the wolf population. They would get a large chunk of
You want a guy to like you for what is on the inside, not because of whale blubber and put razor blades just under the surface of the blubber.
what he sees on the outside. They would freeze the blubber and strategically place them in locations
they knew wolves frequently visited. The wolves would come upon the
4. Guard your heart. “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the blubber and, due to it being frozen, could not bike chunks off. The
well-spring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Our heart is our core. Our be- wolves would begin licking the blubber. After a short time the blubber
haviors flow from our heart. Thus, we must defend our heart. We would wear away exposing the razor sharp blades. Because the wolves
must take care to protect what enters our heart for what is in our had been licking a frozen piece of meat, their tongues were numb. With
heart affects our beliefs and our behavior. every lick, the blade sliced deeper and deeper. By the time the wolf real-
ized what had happened it was too late. The dead bodies of wolves could
Males, guarding your heart is attached to the visual. What we see be found near the blubber.
affects our purity. Keep your eyes straight ahead and refuse to look
at anything that is impure. The danger we face with impurity is the same danger the wolves face.
We are slowly numbed to the hazard that lies before us. Because we have
Females, guarding your heart is attached to the emotional. Fe- exposed ourselves long enough we are unaware that we are in a perilous
males often seek physical attention from men because they are trying situation. Drift happens slowly. Impure choices are a combination of
to fill an emotional need. much compromise. In the end, you’re the one who’s being destroyed.

5. Males, think about right things. Philippians 4:8 says, “Fix your 7. Ask for help. No amount of willpower will help a person change.
thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things Having the help of others is vital. The first person to turn to is your
that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are parent. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one, because
excellent and worthy of praise.” Sin never begins by accident. It they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend
starts small and builds over time. The snowball effect happens. Sin can help him up.” Statistics tell us that most guys/girls feel that
picks up momentum until it is moving very quickly downhill. they’re the only ones who struggle with impurity. Most guys feel like
it’s just them, it’s their own deal.
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Here are three questions that every student needs to answer: because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing
1. Have I been honest with God and others concerning my and sin against God?” (vv. 8-9). Joseph did not cave to temptation.
purity? He did not give in to feelings. Joseph rationally knew that his master
2. Am I humble and broken-hearted over it? had been very kind to him and that sleeping with Potiphar’s wife
3. Have I asked God to help me walk in His ways? would be very wicked. What would have happened to Joseph if had
given in to Potiphar’s wife? We can assume that God would not have
Session 15: Joseph – An Example of Purity used him in the same way, for the means that caused Joseph to end
up as the number two man in Egypt was his purity.
The Bible is filled with examples of men and women who faced the same 6. Joseph stood his ground. “And though she spoke to Joseph day af-
challenges we face today. Joseph provides a great example of purity for ter day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her” (v. 10).
us to follow. As a group, study Genesis 39. This is a man with convictions! Although Potiphar’s wife was persis-
1. The Lord was with Joseph. The first thing we learn about Joseph is tent, Joseph did not give in. Time and time again his answer was no.
that “the Lord was with Joseph” (v 2). We can assume that Joseph In fact, Joseph refused to be around her so that he would not give
was living a life that was pleasing to God. For God was blessing Jo- into temptation or give the appearance of impurity.
seph by giving him success in everything he did (v. 3). His master, 7. Joseph ran. Potiphar’s wife made one last effort to seduce Joseph.
Potiphar, noticed that God was with Joseph (v. 4). Joseph’s lifestyle Her effort was so strong that we are told she grabbed Joseph and
was powerful enough that it impacted others around him. ripped his coat off. “She caught him by his cloak and said, ‘Come to
2. Joseph was a man of character. Joseph had enough character that bed with me!’ But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the
Potiphar trusted him with everything he owned. We read, “So he house” (v. 11). Joseph removed himself from an impure situation and
(Potiphar) left in Joseph’s care everything he had; with Joseph in was victorious to maintain his purity.
charge he did not concern himself with anything except the food he
ate” (v. 6). How many of us have someone that we would trust with Joseph is a great example for us to imitate. Joseph did not experience
everything we own? Not many of us. For us to trust someone to this success in purity by chance. We are led to believe that Joseph was a man
degree, they must prove themselves to be trustworthy. The fact that of convictions. Convictions are not developed in an instant. They are
this is told to us suggest that Joseph was a man of incredible integ- forged through much thought and through the many choices that we
rity. make every day – both big and small.

3. Joseph was physically attractive. “Now Joseph was well-built and What if I have already messed up?
handsome” (v. 7). God blessed Joseph with good looks. The ugly
truck didn’t find its way to his door. What if we have been impure in our thoughts or actions? What should
we do? Guilt is often associated with impurity. The reaction for many of
4. Joseph’s good looks and lifestyle were appealing to Potiphar’s
wife. “After a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, us is to run from God, avoid talking to him or reading the Bible. We be-
“Come to bed with me!” I bet Joseph’s character enhanced his good come much like Adam and Eve who hid after they sinned. Just as God
looks. Whether that is true or not, Joseph was faced with an appeal- did with Adam and Eve, he seeks us out. He wants to restore our rela-
ing proposition from Potiphar’s wife. (As a side note, it is interesting tionship with himself. We can have a fresh start! The Bible teaches us
that we are never told the name of this impure woman.) What did truths and steps regarding times when we have not walked in God’s
Joseph do? ways.”

5. Joseph understood the consequences of his actions. We are told,

1. Realize the impurity in your life. We cannot change without diag-
“He refused…my master has withheld nothing from me except you,
nosing the problem.
Page 47 Page 48

2. Understand that God forgives. God is a God of second chances. He  King David said, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted
sent his Son Jesus to deal with our sin problem. God tells us that it is away through my groaning all day long. For day and night
our choice to accept or reject his forgiveness. Isaiah 1:18 gives us a your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in
beautiful picture of God forgiving sins, taking what is stained and the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and
making it white as snow. First and foremost, we must understand that did not cover up my iniquity” (Psalms 32:3-5). When David
God has provided a way to restore our relationship with him. It was a remained silent he wasted away.
costly solution, for he gave His son Jesus as a sacrifice to pay for our
faults. God is serious about wanting a relationship with us. He does  You may say, “It’s not hurting anyone else. It’s not affecting
not want our sin to separate. Thus, we must accept God’s forgive- anything else in my life. It’s just between me and God.”
ness. That’s why it’s a trap - because nobody else knows about it.
Because it’s just you in isolation, you will build the walls of
3. Believe that God cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we
your own shame and guilt.
confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness.” If we want to experience the
There comes a point in life when we need to make a stand and say
life changing power of this verse, we must confess our sin of impu-
“impurity is not good.” This is not what the Lord wants me to be doing. I
rity to God. God’s forgiveness covers all acts of impurity. There is
am settling for much less than I could have.” There comes a point where
nothing that we have done that God will not forgive. In the quiet of
each of us must answer this question: Do you love the sin more than you
your heart, or at some later time, confess to God. To confess means
love the Lord?
 Admit
 Declare yourself guilty
 Acknowledge
 Agree with God
4. Repent from sin. When we understand what God has done for us it
leads us to a place of repentance. Romans 2:4 says, “Do you show
contempt for the kindness, tolerance, and patience, not realizing that
God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” Repentance is a nau-
tical term and means to turn around. It means we change our course.
There must be brokenness and remorse for the wrong we have done.
5. Confess your sins to others. James 5:16 tells us, “Therefore confess
your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be
healed.” Sin that is hidden has us in bondage. When sin is brought
into the open the chains are broken. We need others to walk with us,
exhort us, and encourage us to faithfully follow God. We cannot suc-
ceed on our own. We need others.
Page 49 Page 50

Appendix References
What about living together? Douglas Wilson, Future Men, p. 148
Don’t live together. Not only is this disobeying God, but statistics show
that you are putting your relationship in a difficult place. Sixty percent of Albert Mohler, Culture Shift, p. 54
couples that get married in the United States, lived together before they
got married. The University of Wisconsin has found that couples who C.J. Mahaney, Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God (Wheaton, IL:
cohabitate, couples that live together before they get married are fifty Crossway Books, 2004), p. 107
percent more than likely to divorce than those who wait to live together
until they get married. Douglas Wilson, Future Men, p. 137
What if I have been sexually abused? John Piper, This Momentary Marriage. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books,
First of all, realize that you are not damaged goods. There is immense 2009), p. 9
guilt that often accompanies abuse. The abuser often makes the victim
feel like it was the victim’s fault. This is a lie. Adapted from Andreas Kostenberger and David Jones, God, Marriage,
and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation. 2nd Ed. (Wheaton, IL:
Second, you need to tell a trusted adult about the situation. If your parent Crossway Books, 2010), pp. 200-201
is not the abuser, they should be told. A trusted adult can help you work
through the emotional pain that is felt. If you keep this bottled inside, it John Piper, This Momentary Marriage. p. 25
will be poisonous to your health. King David once said that as long as he
was silent about what was going on in his life “he wasted away.” We Ibid., p. 26
don’t want you to waste away. We want you to be healthy and thriving. It
usually takes the encouragement and perspective of another person to Ibid., p. 77
accomplish this goal. Although it will be difficult, opening up to an adult
will be the best step you can take. Ibid., p. 101
Divorce Statistics The National Marriage Project, 2004
People who grow up in a family broken by divorce are slightly less likely
to marry, and much more likely to divorce when they do marry. Accord- Ibid, 2004
ing to one study the divorce risk nearly triples if one marries someone
who also comes from a broken home. The increased risk is much lower, J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Vol. 1, (Grand Rapids,
however, if the marital partner is someone who grew up in a happy, in- MI: Baker Book House, 2007)
tact family.
C.J. Mahaney, Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God, p. 10
For large segments of the population, the risk of divorce is far below fifty
percent. Although the overall divorce rate in America remains close to Ibid., p. 13.
fifty percent of all marriages, it has been dropping gradually over the
past two decades. Also, the risk of divorce is far below fifty percent for Christopher Ash, Marriage: Sex in the Service of God, (Vancouver,
educated people going into their first marriage, and lower still for people BC: Regent College Publishing, 2005), pp. 110-111
who wait to marry at least until their mid-twenties, haven't lived with
many different partners prior to marriage, or are strongly religious and
marry someone of the same faith.
Page 51

Ibid, p. 137
Ibid, p. 140
Douglas Wilson, Future Men: Raising Men to Fight Giants (Moscow,
ID: Canon Press, 2012), pp. 140-141
Ben Young and Samuel Adams, The 10 Commandments of Dating
(Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2008), p. 23
Ibid, p. 64

Unless noted, all Bible quotes are from New International Version