Should A Man Treat A Girlfriend Like A Wife?

Chris Grace - June 6, 2017

Dear CMR,

Suppose two people are dating in which there is a mutual commitment before God for marriage in the future. They have a deep, unbreakable bond of friendship, love, and trust that is rooted in the Lord.  Minus  the physical oneness aspect of marriage, these two feel as if they are one in mind and spirit. 

Here’s the problem: they are not financially ready to marry, and their families are not ready for them to either. Is it wrong for a man to treat her with the same love and care that he would his wife while only dating? What should they do?


Timing is Everything

Dear Timing is Everything,

You have posed a great question. Your description sounds like there is a good and solid foundation for a relationship, and I don't read anything that would concern me. In fact, I wish other people in similar circumstances would approach such issues with as much thought and prayer and trust. 

It would seem that each should continue to love God with all of their heart, mind and soul, to seek to honor Him, and to treat each other like they would a brother or sister in Christ. Once the financial/familial issues are settled, then moving forward would seem to be only a matter of timing. Provided such things as the physical relationship is kept in check, maintaining the current level of intimacy seems appropriate.

Chris Grace

Christopher Grace serves as the director of the Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships and teaches psychology at Rosemead School of Psychology. He and his wife, Alisa, speak regularly to married couples, churches, singles and college students on the topic of relationships, dating and marriage. Grace earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Colorado State University.


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