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What does it look like to love someone like God loves us, to serve someone, to glorify God in a dating relationship that’s not yet in covenanted matrimony?The Bible doesn’t offer a “Dating 101” guidebook, but we want one.Scripture sets some clear boundaries to keep us from chasing our own fleshly appetites off the cliff, but within those borders is a garden, a fertile land with enough room for freedom and creativity for us to speak our desires to God and hear His voice.And when we invite Christ, through trust and unceasing prayer, to breathe air and sun into our garden, it blooms with original beauty and exotic fragrance that matches our God-given gifts, personalities, and purposes.They fret over how much physical touch they can allow before they breach purity, then worry whether they’re being too legalistic—a four-letter word among Christian millennials.

I have friends who were deeply hurt by Christian boyfriends or girlfriends—and their wounds sting with the confusion that they had truly believed God was blessing their relationship.

None of them believes in sexual abstinence like I do, yet they also don’t sleep around, but saved their virginity for someone they thought was special.

Somehow, our dinner conversation turned to the value of watching porn to learn about sexual needs and proclivities.

The younger Harris who penned , which sold more than 1.2 million copies and inspired many young millennials to swear off dating, had seemed so convinced that he was right, so assured that the type of courtship he prescribed was the most Biblical path to marriage.

Now, at age 42, he’s not so certain, and he’s dealing with backlash from now grown-up readers who feel his book was misleading or harmful. Whatever people took away from the book, I saw in his young self a genuine desire to honor God when he wrote, “Every relationship for a Christian is an opportunity to love another person like God loves us.” The big picture of love, he wrote, is “serving others and glorifying God.” I said “Amen” to most everything he wrote—yet when it comes to applying that general principle of love into each individual’s unique, complicated relationship, the area within the perimeters of that principle can feel so vast, so cloudy, so abstract.

We want it so badly because we fear the unknown, the ambiguity, the risks of failure and heartbreak.