While I have attempted to generally avoid the topic of religion in this blook, I have received numerous emails about what place spirituality has within a dating relationship. Because many of the readers of this blook have a religious preference, I will comment on those issues here. Even though my thoughts and comments will be from a Christian bias, I believe that many of the principles are also transferable to couples of non-Christian faiths.

Disclaimer over. Let’s get on with it.

Here is the basic principle: by ourselves, spirituality isn’t a romantic experience. However, when we engage in spiritual practices with someone we are romantically interested in, those very same behaviors can and often do produce deeper feelings of intimacy for the couple.

Intimacy isn’t a bad thing. It’s what we are all looking for – especially within dating relationships. So, intimacy doesn’t need to always be avoided. In fact, it will be largely unavoidable in any relationship where two people want to be intimate with each other. For that reason, any spiritual behaviors that a couple does together (prayer, singing, service, etc.) will naturally create even more romantic intimacy between the two. Thus, the question becomes whether or not those deeper feelings of romance and intimacy are reasonable for a man and a woman who are not married to share.

Prayer is the most ubiquitous example.

When I pray with my wife, it creates unique feelings of intimacy between the both of us that really no other behavior can (regardless of what we are praying for). She doesn’t get the same feeling when I bring her flowers as when we pray together. There is nothing else that we do that even comes close to replicating it. Furthermore, I don’t pray with other women one-on-one like I do with my wife. So, not only is our praying together a unique spiritual experience because of the feelings it produces, it is also unique because it’s not an experience that we share with just anyone.

The more unique and exclusive the behavior, the more intimate it will be.

So, is it too intimate for a dating couple to pray together?

Probably.

There are many different ways dating couples pray “together.” Some shared prayer experiences are not that intimate – like a casual prayer before a meal, for example. Others, however, are very romantic – like praying aloud for the other person while alone with them.  There is a spectrum of exclusivity and uniqueness that makes some prayers intimate and others not.

If you will forgive the crude comparison, the same spectrum can be found in physical intimacy as is found in spiritual intimacy. There are some instances of physical touch that aren’t all that romantic or intimate. There are others, however, that are. What’s the difference between the two? Exclusivity and uniqueness in where we are touched and by whom.

In both cases, the behavior becomes an exclusive gift that one person gives to another (that neither person is willing to give anyone else). It is a very “naked” exchange – if you catch my drift. And it feels good, it’s fun, and both people want more of it.

So, the principle is the same in either physical intimacy or spiritual intimacy:

The more unique and exclusive the spiritual behavior, the closer and closer it mimics the intimacy that is meant only for a married couple. And the more a dating relationship resembles a marriage relationship, the more passionate and irresistible (lustful) it becomes. And a relationship that is built upon passion and lust is both unstable and unsustainable. It is a relationship that is seeking all of the benefits of marriage without any of the commitment.

Therefore, I generally advise couples to avoid the practice of unique and exclusive spirituality together (just as I advise avoiding unique and exclusive physical touch) until engagement at the earliest – if not all the way until marriage.

 

What do you think about this?