Is it OK to Date While Separated?
- Friday, November 16, 2012
People who believe sex is for married people know the struggle to remain sexually chaste as they fall in love and move toward marriage. Even if they believe they should wait until marriage, when love intensifies many become sexual. Some feel guilt. Others justify it with their stated intent to marry. No one is surprised when it happens.
Though immoral by their beliefs and values, they insulate themselves against strong guilt by justifying their behavior because of their deep love for each other. That is why I call it insulated immorality. It can shield a person so securely from his own beliefs and values that he can make a speech at a Christian conference and receive a standing ovation, though he knows that he will spend that very night in a motel room with a certain woman in his audience.
Why would anyone be surprised that a man who allowed himself to fall in love with the woman who “is the one” moved further in that relationship and spent the night with her?
“Because it is wrong!” you might say.
I agree. However, it is also wrong for a married man to allow himself to develop a relationship with a woman who is not his wife. His relationship with her did not become wrong when they stepped into a motel room. It became wrong when he dated her. Dating started the process. Unless he is immoral without conscience, Dinesh did not spend the night with her purely for sexual reasons. He spent the night with her because of his emotional bond with her.
That bond resulted from a relationship that had no right to exist.
Therefore, if we wish to take a moral stand against a married man – even a separated one – spending the night with a woman who is not his wife, reason demands we take our stand against the process that led him there. Insulated immorality develops through a process over time. Preventing the process removes the possibility.
Unwise Actions Lead to Unhappy Consequences
I truly feel for Dinesh, his wife, and, though it may shock you, Denise. Clearly I believe that Dinesh and Denise should never have dated and that they crossed moral and spiritual boundaries. However, they likely are good people who never meant to do anything wrong. They probably started on the destructive path without realizing where it headed. By the time they understood the destination, they were not willing to abandon each other. Of course, I speculate because I know neither of them. Yet my speculation is more than wild guessing. At our organization, we help people with similar stories every day.
By the grace of God, we help most of the couples (3 out of 4) overcome and salvage their marriages.
Unfortunately, we cannot undo the consequences of their bad decisions. No matter how good a man Dinesh was, is, or will be, his actions cost him his position at The King’s College and may have driven the last nail in his marriage. His rise in reputation and respect in the evangelical community has been replaced by scandal. By God’s grace, he may overcome that, but it will take years.
The lesson for all of us – especially for separated men or women – is to consider the consequences. What did Dinesh gain? What did he lose? Every decision has a consequence. Every act a result. On our current courses, what will we gain or lose?
As often happens, when Dinesh’s world crashed around him, he listened to the wisdom of others, at least to the point that he suspended his engagement with Denise. That is not unusual. Commonly, when people reap their sown seeds they find themselves no longer in the relationship that led them there.
I do not write this to cause Dinesh any greater difficulty. Instead, I would be happy to help him and his wife save their marriage if the opportunity presented itself. I will rejoice when he rises above the current situation and God uses him again.
No, I do not wish to add to his burdens, but point to his consequences as a warning to others.
If you are separated, please seek the help to salvage your marriage. If you date others, admit to yourself the purpose of dating…or at the very least, the destination of dating. If you wish to be free, and are not willing to salvage your marriage, be honest and talk divorce with your spouse. Be honest with yourself, your mate, your children, your church, your relatives, your friends, and your life.
Truth sets you free. Deception destroys.
Publication date: November 16, 2012
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