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We sat across from one another at a tiny table, in the midst of a crowded restaurant brimming with happy, chatty diners.

It was a warm and sunny day for the most part—except the air was punctuated by a tiny dark cloud, and it was hanging directly over our heads.

He doesn’t want us to have any contact for a month.” Just like that, my friend was sent into a tailspin. And why had God communicated something so different to him than He had to her?

She hadn’t seen it coming, and neither of us knew what it meant. As difficult as my friend’s experience was, her story is not unique in the Church.

Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more: What would it look like to date in the freedom of that reality?

What would it look like if the goal of dating was not the perfect marriage, but a better love of God and neighbor?

For some, perfection looks like a fairytale—a romantic love story with a happily ever after.

For others, the perfect relationship is a holy bargaining chip: As long as you can stay pure and keep Christ central, God will reward you with marriage.

But here’s the good news: the Gospel is not the story of our perfection, but of God’s redemption.And freed from the pressure to “get it all right,” we will find Christ’s yoke is so much lighter than the burden of perfection.Sharon Hodde Miller is a writer and a doctoral student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.Would that spell the end of random devastations like the one experienced by my friend?Not entirely, but perhaps Christian dating relationships would be a little less riddled with angst.

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