Should Christian boyfriend/girlfriend couples go away on holiday together? I encounter this question semi-frequently and it’s a controversial one because it deals with a phenomenon quite foreign to the Bible: dating. So there are no explicit commands concerning this. However, there are some guiding principles that I reckon may help us.
1. Maintaining sexual purity
This may seem like the obvious one, but if going away on holidays together is going to give you (more) opportunities to ‘go further’ or push your sexual boundaries, don’t do it! And don’t be overly optimistic about what you can or can’t handle! The Bible has plenty to say about guarding your sexual purity. Flee from temptation rather than courting it!
- So if you’re going to go on a holiday together, choose separate bedrooms, or go with a group.
2. Being above reproach
You may go away and not push any sexual boundaries, but how does anyone else know that? I’ve known at least one Christian couple who swore they were not having sex and then the girl got pregnant. On one hand, sure, you want people to trust you; on the other, Christians are not called to rock bottom purity, but to be above reproach, so that no one can insinuate anything!
- It’s not enough just to say that you’re sleeping in separate beds / rooms.
3. Saving for marriage what is for marriage
Marriage is about more than just sex, despite the hype in some circles. It’s about becoming one flesh, sharing a life together, making an emotional investment that says “we belong together”. I take it that going on holidays alone together is part of that life sharing. It doesn’t mean it’s sinful to go on a holiday beforehand, any more than emotionally investing in the person you’re dating is (although I think we could work better at guarding our hearts as well!) but it does mean that you’re getting part of the glory of marriage early. In some ways, that’s what dating is in our modern culture, but I suspect that part of the reason we import such marriage behaviour into dating is because most of our non-Christian friends will live in de facto relationships – calling it dating but acting like marriage – and we want the same.
- Check your motives here – if you’re so keen to spend this sort of time together, why not just get married?
4. Being a witness to others
Linked to all three of these is the question of how you conduct yourself among non-Christians. Do they understand the high value you place on sexual purity? Are they actually convinced that you’re committed to that? Do they see that there’s something different about your dating relationship because marriage is still to come?
- Does the way you go on holiday witness that you are living a radically different life for Jesus?
Those are a few of my thoughts. What do you think?
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.