Articles circulate daily–hourly–giving dating advice to couples about what they should and shouldn’t do. How far is too far physically? How do you respect one another as brother and sister in Christ? How do you plan good dates? And we all love those viral tear-jerking proposal videos.
Let’s be honest for a moment. Not every dating relationship is going to work out. Not all of us are going to marry the first person we date. So how do we take something good away from those broken relationships? Is there one thing that you could do together as a couple–no matter who you are dating–that would ensure even after a break-up that both would walk away with something that will benefit you both for the rest of your life?
I’m sure if you were to ask others, they might give you different advice. But you’re here. And this is my blog. And so I’m going to throw in my two cents. If there was one thing every dating couple should do, it’s this: memorize Scripture together.
Hear me out.
I wouldn’t say that much about my dating relationship with my wife Mindy was out of the ordinary or particularly admirable. We began dating at the end of our freshman year in college, and dated steadily until we got engaged two years later and married the year after that (too long of an engagement, if you ask me).
The thought of breaking up with Mindy never crossed my mind, but sometime in the first year of dating I wanted to make sure that we were doing something together that would prove beneficial whether things worked out or not. I can’t remember how I landed on it, but I decided Mindy and I should start challenging each other to memorize Scripture.
Mindy was game, and we started by each choosing a passage about 7-12 verses long and memorizing one verse from each passage per week. So over the course of 7-12 weeks, we would have two passages memorized. Of course, there were weeks we failed, and we took summers off, but generally we plugged along.
The other day I was looking back at what we accomplished together, and we memorized 13 passages totaling 107 verses. That may not sound that impressive over the course of a couple years. More determined couples could blow that number out of the water. The point is, we were building a treasury of Scripture that we would take with us forever.
The dating relationship has many aspects that make it a perfect environment for Scripture memory. First, memorization is extremely difficult to do on your own. When you have a partner, it becomes much easier. If you have a girlfriend or boyfriend, you have a built in memorization partner. Why not take advantage of that?
On top of that, if you are like me, there is a sort of indefinable pressure in a dating relationship to impress (for good or for ill). Why not harness that desire and use it to hide God’s Word in your heart? Sure, it may not be the most admirable of reasons to memorize Scripture, but who wants to be that guy or girl who shows up Sunday night and has to say, “I don’t have my verses ready…”?
Dating is also a place of energy and excitement. Making memories, getting to know someone new, fun dates. These generate a lot of adrenaline and energy for guys and girls–energy that could be spent in a lot of different ways. Many couples end up in trouble because they can’t figure out how to put that passion to good use. I’m offering you a hand up here. Scripture memory takes super-added effort; use the energy of your dating relationship to provide that helpful umph to make it happen.
Certainly, no relationship is a waste. We grow, we learn, we are shaped by the people we befriend whether we end up marrying or not. However, Scripture memory provides a concrete benefit from any relationship that bears eternal fruit.
Guys, would you like to take steps toward learning godly leadership? Why not approach your girlfriend about the exciting challenge of memorizing a chapter out of Romans or 1 John? Ladies, do you want to give your boyfriend something he will carry with him forever? How about passages that rehearse the gospel stored up in his heart?
It’s one thing dating couples can do that I can guarantee they will never regret.
***P.S.–This is not just for dating couples. Married couples should certainly get in on this action, too!