It seems to me that more and more people these days get their ideas of what love, relationships and marriage are about from the movie stars. They seem to think that the more boy friends or girlfriends you have before you get married, the better. I mean, how else are you going to know who the right one for you is?
Easy actually, by following the Bible and following your common sense in a Godly manner.
In the book Guidance and the Voice of God, the authors explain to us how we get our decisions in life a little mixed up. They postulate that what we regard as big decisions in life (who to marry, what house to buy, which job to take) are in fact the small decisions, and the small decisions in life (what am I going to say when I hurt myself, what movies am I going to watch, what am I going to do with my time) are the real big decisions.
So this means that all our little everyday decisions are important ones. Do you swear? Do you watch the right movies? Do you listen to the right music? Ask yourself the question, "Would Jesus do/watch/say/read/listen to this?"
But why are these seemingly insignificant decisions so important? Because one day when you're looking for a spouse, you'll be making your decision in a similar manner, and you'll no doubt look for those exact things in him or her too. Does she swear? What music does she listen to? Does she watch movies that Jesus approves of?
You see, when you make the small decisions count, and you make sure that all these small decisions are in line with God's will and God's commands, then naturally you'll do the same to the bigger decisions in life. And so the same rules that you apply to your small decisions, you'll apply to your big decisions, which means that in everything you do, you will do it in a Godly manner.
In another book I've read, called The Relationships Revolution, the author explains how Jesus found companionship and intimacy in His friendships with the 12 disciples (later called apostles). He had close friendships with each and every one of them, and He found his companionship in them.
Not that I'm inferring that you should be single, but rather that you should build on your friendships. Boyfriends and girlfriends will come and go over the years, but you will always have your friends with you. And who will you go to for comfort after you've broken up? Your friends, naturally.
So you see, having a circle of good, Godly friends is very important. They will be there for you when you're down, you can be there for one of them when they're going through a rough patch, and you can develop some really close and intimate (not physically though, for obvious reasons: that's reserved for your spouse) relationships with them. In fact, I personally think that your friendships are more important than your relationships.
Now you might think, at this stage of this post, that I've swayed off topic here. Let me show you how this all fits together.
The ultimate goal of any relationship is (or should be) marrying that person. When you go into that relationship you should be marriage-minded. That means you need to be ready to get down on your knee (if you're a guy) and propose to the potential boyfriend or girlfriend. But how can you know that you would want to marry this person? Isn't that the goal of going out with them? A firm "No."
Your wife or husband should be your best friend. Which means you need to be friends with this person before you marry them. And since you should only enter into a relationship with someone if you think that there is a high probability of marrying them, you should therefore be good friends with them before you start going out with them.
On a side note, I have a personal theory that if there were more relationships built on friendships, there'd be less cases of mortal enemies after you've broken up.
Why should you be friends with the person before you form a relationship with them? Because then you'll know before you get into the relationship whether or not you two will get along well, what your clashing points are, how to annoy the other person, how to please the other person, and a whole host of other things.
A relationship should be approached in a serious manner, with a lot of careful thinking and planning. You should be asking yourself, "Am I willing and ready to marry this person? Is this person ready to marry me?" You should seriously be looking to settle down. If you're not ready to propose to that person, don't go out with them.
Ok, so by this stage you're either agreeing whole-heartedly with me, or you're disagreeing whole-heartedly. And if you're disagreeing with me, you're probably thinking, "But I want to have a boyfriend now! I don't want to have to wait 3 years for a relationship! I don't want to be lonely!" Let me refer you to a post I made a while back then, called "What is love?" and tell you that you're being selfish, and all you're looking for is what you can get out of it.
In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 it talks about how there's a time for this and a time for that... essentially there's a right time for everything. God knows the desires of your heart, and sometimes when things don't seem to be going our way, its God just gently telling us that this is not the time for that, its rather the time for us to concentrate on Him, and listen to Him. And if we do that, then trust me, God will honour the desires of your heart, like He did mine. Look at me, I'm married!