A lot of Christian couples enter into a dating relationship with the intent of eventually marrying the person they are dating. Dating for the intent of marriage is something that I find no real problem with, but when a couple decides that marriage is the goal, and not the hope of the relationship, problems will almost always arise.
What does it mean for marriage to be the "hope," of the relationship? Through my analysis of young love, I have discovered that when marriage is not viewed as a guaranteed outcome of the relationship, it causes the couple to proceed with much more caution, especially in the area of creating boundaries. When marriage is the "hope," of the relationship, it changes the couples mentality, and it almost always leads to the couple having stricter boundaries.
When marriage is the "goal," that is when problems usually arise. When a couple enters into a relationship with the understanding that they are going to eventually get married, they start acting like a married couple. Men in these situations will most likely allow the relationship to develop at such an incredibly fast rate that the couple is usually "in love," before they know anything about each other. When you convince yourself that you are going to marry somebody, couples stay together longer than they should, and make compromises that they should not make in order to "keep the magic alive."
Another danger of having marriage as the "goal," is that the couple is usually much more likely to make compromises sexually. When marriage is the goal, and the relationship is growing at fast rate, it is no wonder that people become more likely to make sexual compromises. Relationships develop in three major areas: Emotional, Physical, and Spiritual. These 3 aspects of relationships must grow at a similar rate, because they work like a three-cord rope. If somebody tried to pull two of the cords of that rope, but leave the other one behind, that rope is going to become damaged, and torn. The cord that gets left behind is going to be desperate to catch up to the other two cords. So, if a couple is experiencing an intense level of emotional and spiritual closeness, the relationship is going to desire that same level of intensity physically.
When the couple has the understanding that they are "going to get married anyway," this becomes a justification to sin sexually. I cannot tell you how many couples I know that have sexually sinned and justified it by saying that they were going to be "getting married any way." This is manipulation at its finest. When a man begins to say to a woman that it is okay for him and his girlfriend to have sex because they are going to get married anyway, he is not actively demonstrating love to his girlfriend. Love is patient. Love is not self-seeking. If a man allows for sexual sin to happen, he has stopped loving his girlfriend in that moment. To love somebody with a Christ-like love is to help them grow towards holiness, not manipulate them towards sin.