To Date or Not To Date: That Is the Question
By: Brooke C. ~ Christian Teen Writer
Heartbreak, temptation, and distraction: sound inviting? Not many people enjoy the feelings of heartache, but every day thousands of teenagers put themselves through it. The cycle is endless: fall “in love,” become inseparable, break up. This cycle and heartache is all part of the “dating game.” Many have a misconception about dating; they believe that it is a necessary process to find that “special someone.” Little do they realize, though, that God has a different plan. As
Dannah Gresh, author of And the Bride Wore White and nationally known speaker, said, “The point… is how much you’re willing to commit to God’s vision of your life, and being really open to that being the goal for how you date…God really says, ‘Where am I leading you? What’s the vision for your life?’ and then He’ll see who fits into it.” Many argue that dating helps one’s social skills, but God has designed humans to have a natural instinct and ability in dealing with the opposite sex. One can obtain those skills in other methods besides dating. Although dating can be beneficial in creating friendships and social skills, if one refrains from dating unintended for marriage, the results are often very beneficial.
Many college students face difficulties in deciding if they should date, determining the motive they should have, and realizing the consequences of dating. Scott Croft, author and presenter of a dating and courtship seminar, defines a dating relationship as a more than friendship affiliation, in which marriage may or may not be the ultimate goal; it can sometimes be considered “recreational” or “educational” (“An Introduction” 1). Dating often has a selfish mindset and assumes that one must “play the field” to determine what he or she wants in a spouse (Croft “An Introduction” 2). Because dating is often times selfish, men tend to get in a selfish habit and fail to fulfill the calling in Ephesians 5: 25, in which men sacrificially give themselves up for their woman. Selfish men fail to love their wife just as much as Christ loved the church (Croft “Biblical Relationship” 2). Dating also puts couples in compromising situations where decisions are often made in a hasty manner. Hebrews 13: 4 tells the necessity of the marriage bed to be undefiled. Steve Shadrach, writer and worker of the ministry of Student Mobilization, realizes that many teenagers often think they are “in love” or have “found the one,” but statistics show that fifty-five percent of people who marry when they are twenty-six or younger will get a divorce. Moreover, seventy-two percent of those who marry when they are twenty-one or younger will divorce. Although many people think dating is a necessity, it creates many problems and temptations, and many fail to realize the other methods of “finding the one.”
Courtship is a beneficial way to prevent the hardships of dating. Courtship begins when a man goes through the woman’s father to gain permission to start a relationship; marriage is always the direct goal. The Bible only addresses premarital socialization if the couple is presumed to eventually be married. Biblical evidence of marriage is found in Matthew 24: 38, Luke 20: 34-35, Numbers 30: 3-16, and the book of Song of Solomon. Couples who chose to court instead of date often have a more focused lifestyle, and they remember the calling of 1 Corinthians 7: 32-35, “An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's
affairs… An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit…I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” Single Christians should live their lives completely focused on God, without the distraction of finding and keeping a boyfriend or girlfriend. Biblical courtship has a humble mindset and follows the command of Philippians 2:3. In having this humble mindset, a courting man looks for a woman from Scripture’s perspective, not his own personal list.
Courtship is a more focused approach to marriage; it involves God and creates a safer environment for the couple, but many students still decide to date.
After much prayer and counsel, if one does decide to date, many precautions of proper conduct should be kept in mind. The dating couple should always stay in public. Romantic evenings can still be experienced in public places, but if the couple is truly serious about remaining pure, they would not want to go someplace private where they might be tempted. Females should always be careful to wear appropriate clothing because the way women dress not only affects the way others treat them but also the way they treat themselves. Women should always remember that true beauty comes from, “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3: 4). If females fail to recognize this, Marmee, from Little Women, might be correct in saying, “If you feel your value lies in being merely decorative, I feel you will find yourself one day believing that is all you really are”. Not only should women guard themselves physically in the way they dress, but also emotionally in the way they reveal their heart. When a girl wears her heart on her sleeve and is careless with her words and actions, the guy typically becomes less interested because he has already “won” his prize. Ruth from the Bible is a good example of someone who was governed by her value. She guarded her heart, and God blessed her for that (Gresh 88). Keeping the heart guarded should be simple, though, because if Christians are letting God govern the relationship, then they will automatically
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