Skip to main content

Register for RELATION^OLOGY in-person high school or young adult classes. Save 30% NOW!

Boy meets girl.

Boy hooks up with girl.

The above scenario is so normal these days as to inspire yawns, but apparently it’s not all that boring to watch. Because even in a “family friendly” show like Stranger Things we get to see Steve Harrington and Nancy Wheeler hook up not once, but twice in the very first episode. And within the first sixty seconds of episode three they’re already in bed and out of their shirts.

However, the sad reality is that participating in the hook up culture will thwart your ability to thrive in your future marriage.


Let’s start with what I hope will be an obvious premise we can all agree on:

The hook up culture is defined by parameters which are in complete contradiction to the Biblical concept of marriage.

Hook up: Intentionally nebulous; could be anything from making out to making a baby.

Marriage: Intentionally defined by written and spoken vows made in public.

Hook up: Intentionally non-committal; if you stay until morning you stayed too long.

Marriage: Intentionally committed; if you part before death you left too soon.

Hook up: Almost always involves the use of alcohol – a lot of it – and maybe other recreational drugs, to numb inhibitions which would normally hold participants back from engaging freely in said hook ups (particularly the female participants).

Marriage: Alcohol shouldn’t be necessary to enjoy it, and if it is, see a counselor.

(Boys and) Girls just Want to have Fun

“So what?” you might think. What does it matter that the two are so different. Lots of things are different and that doesn’t make one bad and the other good.

But if we honestly look at the differences above, we can’t help but recognize that the hook up paradigm is inherently childish, selfish and reckless while the marriage covenant calls for great maturity, commitment and sacrifice.

“So what?” again you might reply. Of course people act more immature when they’re young, before they’re ready to marry and “settle down.” Isn’t that the privilege of being an adolescent (or adultolescent)?

The problem is simply this:

Once established, relational habits are hard to break. Especially bad ones.

And the hook up culture inculcates deadly habits that won’t simply die off just because you grow older. To the contrary, like a drug or alcohol problem, the relational habits fostered by hooking up must be rooted out of the heart, mind and life with a vengeance.

Well, they do if you want to learn how to thrive in a long-term, sacrificial relationship like marriage.

Moving from the Hook Up to Marriage

To help us see the difficulty of making the hook-up-to-marriage switch, let’s consider just one common aspect of the hook up paradigm: the predatory approach Steve displays in his hook ups with Nancy. It mirrors that of many guys (and ladies) on the prowl for their next sex fix and it looks like this:

“To get further physically I keep asking… then charming… pushing… then complimenting… manipulating… then joking… shaming… then teasing… lying… (then repeat)”

Once you have trained your sex drive to be aroused by, to respond to, and to be rewarded by this kind of predatory instinct, how could you imagine finding sexual satisfaction with only one person for a lifetime?!? In other words, if the hunt is all part of the fun, then where’s the fun when the hunt is over?

Of course, the media has an answer to that question: “When you find the right person you will no longer desire any other.” Indeed, in modern day fairy tales from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Twilight to Stranger Things this is precisely what happens. The predator changes their stripes when the magic one comes along.

Who can explain it! It’s just true love.

No. That is not true love. That is a fantasy. True love is more real than that. This is why it’s called true love.

In real life, if you let yourself get into the habit of sexually manipulating your partners, when you finally meet someone you’d like to “settle down with,” you will find the very act of “settling down” rather a downer.

Flipping the switch to the monogamy of marriage will prove daunting. Just ask anyone you know who lived a life of sexual promiscuity right up to meeting and marrying their spouse. After a few years (or months) the wolf will feel the call of the wild again. Change is possible, but learning to control your sex drive is actually far easier the less you’ve indulged it.

Again, this sexual predation approach to relationships, is just one of many aspects of the hook up culture which is completely incompatible with marriage. So if you haven’t already gotten into the hook up world, then please don’t! And if you already find yourself trapped in sexual patterns which define the hook up culture then get. yourself. free. now!

It’s never too late to start pursuing sexual purity.

Well unless you’re dead.

But if you were dead you wouldn’t be reading these words.

Fortunately you are. Which means you can find further inspiration to save sex for marriage in this LoveEd video series from our FMU YouTube channel.

Any questions or thoughts from our Sexual Things series so far? What about your reflections on the actual show, Stranger Things? Comment below!

Date Night Advice (DNA) series: Sexual Things
Episode 4: What Hooking Up Does To Your Future Marriage
Click here for the next post in the series.

DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

Dug this weekend’s DNA? Be a good friend and share with your friends on the social media platform of choice: Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, or Twitter.

The LoveEd discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE you fall in love!

It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.

Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.

Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!