Sunday, January 01, 2006

Evaluating Dating

If the problem of courtship is that it has a tendency to stifle normal romantic interaction between the opposite sexes, the problem of dating is that it allows too much. Courtship, if anything, is careful. Dating, as practiced by many Christians, seems without any set structure, any means by which two people thoughtfully think through their relationship and its bigger implications.

This is a big reason for the rise of courtship in certain Christian circles. Many Christians have been alarmed at the way that young people have followed their culture in their dating. Dating is often done without physical standards, parental or church involvement of any type, and a greater goal. It is simply irresponsible and dangerous for two young people in an age where their hormones are working overtime and their emotions want desperately to attach to not give careful attention to the way their relationship proceeds. Strangely, many Christian parents seem unaware of the dangers of dating. Sure, that sounds alarmist. But take a look at the amount of Christian couples who fall into physical sin (often grave) before marriage, and you realize that a change is needed.

The drawbacks of traditional dating are obvious. Usually, a man takes a shine to a girl, generally with too much weight given to her physical appearance, and then asks her out. The two commence a relationship that is neither well-defined or headed anywhere special. Ask the guy about marriage and he's likely to back up a few steps. "Whoa, bro, I'm not ready for anything like that. Chill out--this is just a relationship." The irresponsibility in this statement is obvious. But at the same time, it's interesting that the dating couple often gets to know one another far more intimately than many courting couples. This is so because they do what couples must do before marriage: get to know one another. This can be and often is overdone, but it is essential that couples learn much about their boy/girlfriend before taking significant steps. There are many couples out there who successfully check all the boxes of courting but who, at the end of the process, realize they don't possess adequate knowledge of the other to proceed. There has to be a better way than courting as it's traditionally practiced, and dating as it's traditionally practiced. But what might that be?


Blogger Arthur Dimsdale said...

Since I died I have been watching courtship closey, sitting quietly n the room when men and women feel out situations.

Among single men and women with children my observation is that the four date rule is in effect. Coffee/lunch is one. Lunch/Dinner is two. An anfernoon or evening hanging out with the new fri9end's children is three. Another afternoon or evening with the friend doing some activity--watching a video, going on a hike, cooking a meal--and they end up with intercourse, date four.

It isn't exactly a science, and everyone is a little different, but Hester Prynne and I got togher in four meetings (not counting my preaching) and the four date rule is pretty much still operative.

arthur dimsdale

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not convinced that a couple has to have extensive knowledge of each other to marry. Each ought to be, or their parents ought to be, convinced that the couple each knows God and is committed to His word. Knowing each other other is something for marriage, though one may come to know friends, etc. and marrying a friend is not a bad thing, knowing a person is something that takes place over time.

If marriage is a picture of Christ and his Church, one may say that Christ does know the church well, but does the church know the Lord well? I think not as well as we will. What is important for the church is that she trust and submit to her head. And of course, as Christ gave himself for his bride, so the guy must be willing to put his wife above his own interests.

I think that is the essentials.


4:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i would like to respond to al's post. first of all, where does the bibly ever convey the idea that christ "marries" the church. the idea is a ridiculous grasping of an insecure individual. second, the notion that the bride should "submit to her head" is not a christian ideal. to then say that christ somehow condones the submission of a wife by saying that he "gave himself up for his bride" is based on the foolish idea that christ married in the first place.

11:13 PM  

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