I am all about not adding to the Law of God. So, in my mind, this is not that.
Hebrews 13.4 says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled.” The second half of that verse is fairly simple. But the first half seems under-appreciated by most. Is the author of Hebrews simply saying, “If you have no sexual intercourse outside of marriage, then you have completely upheld marriage in God’s eyes”?
My guess is most of you agree that it is more than just the physical act of sexual intercourse that is forbidden outside of marriage. But if you do not guard all of marriage, you will end up drawing arbitrary lines. You will end up asking the (foolish) age-old question, “how far is too far?” like when a drunkard asks “how much wine is too much?” or a sluggard asks “how little work is too little?”
I say, “let marriage be held in honor among all!” Any benefits of marriage outside the covenant of marriage is sin in God’s sight. It does not honor marriage. This includes, and is not limited to, any romantic actions. Our kids are supposed to be able to look across the congregation and be able to tell who is married (or at least engaged) and who is not by the way couples act. We should be scandalized by seeing non-married couples holding hands without a ring on their fingers (or at least a ring on hers).
I fear non-married “couples” are one of the biggest blindspots of our generation. Let me be clear that dating outside of marriage is not sinful (how else are singles to get to know one another?). Romance is. The reason any of you cannot fathom dating without romance is because you are so defiled by our culture’s view of romance outside of marriage being ok! If someone can prove to me that holding hands is necessary to figure out if you want to marry someone, then by all means, I will repent.
But if you are married, and you would never hold hands with someone who is not your spouse, then you already deep down agree with me. Let all of marriage be sacred in your sight. It helps people understand Jesus’ devotion to His bride.