Scripture presents a way to obtain a life's mate. God tells us to know it. This implies learning it. Of course, there must be a way, which there is. And it isn't like the world does it. Our Judeo-Christian culture essentially followed a Scriptural model with occasional battles against sinful lust. If one were to take the Biblical pattern, laying out the key components in a list, and compared that list to what occurs when dating is practiced, one would find that the Godly pattern is contradicted on every major point by dating. Dating is the way of "the Gentiles which know not God." That doesn't mean that Christians can't or haven't relied on the Gentile method. This is why the warning. God doesn't want Christians acquiring a wife or husband like the world does. Dating has been that way.
We haven't yet looked to the Bible to find out God's way. For the time being, however, let's call that method courtship, betrothal, or arranged marriage. In the early history of the U. S., the whole country mainly acquired a life's partner through courtship. That pattern continued through the 18th and 19th centuries. Not until the late 19th century and early 20th century did dating become a method utilized. Christians opposed it. Then more and more did this become the pattern until finally the situation reversed itself. A majority dated and a minority courted. Until finally almost everyone dated and almost no one courted.
As a response to the changes and then consequential problems, men started preaching versions of Christian dating. With dating so diametrically opposed to God's way, Christians will certainly compromise Scriptural standards with dating. They may abstain from fornication (although most don't---conservatively, over 75% lose their virginity during their teenage years), but they will not keep from violating other Scriptural teaching. Colossians 3:5 lists the sins that are committed leading up to fornication, all of them prohibited: "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." Does dating tend away from covetousness, evil desires, or inordinate affections? Dating asks for these, almost begs for these. God didn't intend for two people of the opposite sex to spend a great deal of time in close proximity without those two having certain desires which are intended only for marriage. In other words, only married people, or at least betrothed, are to date.
But for the time being, to stick to the text of 1 Thessalonians 4, God prohibits acquiring our life's mate like the world does. Then it says in v. 6, "That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. " In this process of obtaining a life's mate, no one should defraud anyone. To defraud is "to deprive by obtaining something wrongfully without the consent of the owner." Lots of people can have something taken from them in dating. Either the female or the male can have his purity taken by the other. If they don't marry, then the future life's mate has been defrauded of something that belongs to him or her. And the father can have something taken from him, especially based on 1 Corinthians 7:36-38:
36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. 37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. 38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.
The text says: "No man defraud his brother." The brother gets defrauded and that brother could certainly be the father. The girl or lady first belongs to the father. That's why the whole giving the daughter away at weddings. He is actually supposed to be giving her away, not just something symbolic. Most daughters are already taken before they ever walk the aisle. This should signal something to you about what's wrong with dating.
And we shall find out more later, Lord-willing. Consider this, though. The Lord is the avenger of those who defraud a brother in this matter. God is very concered about what we do.