March 14, 2012

The One where Dating {Could} Be Good

practically speaking_square Continuing on from my explanatory discussion on dating, I wanted to address the issue of whether or not dating can be good, specifically in the context of teenage relationships. 

1} For my thoughts on defining the term "dating," check out Monday's post

2} Now, depending on your definition, I may or may not have dated in high school. But I did go on dates (I just honestly didn't consider them dates until recently...they were "just to a dance" after all. :D) The large majority of people I know (my husband included) dated in high school--seriously or casually. Which tells me I should address the issue of I've chosen to date during my teenage years. What now? Can I still make God-honoring decisions? 

While the instances of unhealthy teenage relationships far outnumber the healthy, I believe it is possible to date and maintain righteous living. And the funny thing is, it uses the same points I made in my previous post on dating.

a) Can you maintain a guard around your heart? Will your relationship allow you the space you need to protect your intimate, delicate emotions?
This is the tricky part! Most girls love with all their hearts and souls. They pour everything into their relationships. But THAT, I believe, is the problem. If you give all of your love to that boy, will you have any left to give the man you marry? (Because you probably won't know for quite some time whether he's the One.)   Practically speaking, you will need to maintain daily prayer and Bible reading to keep your mind on things above, not on earthly things. You will need to fill your life with friends and music and books and activities that help you focus on God's will--not personal gain--for your life. 

 b) Will true friendship be the foundation of your relationship? I didn't want to lose friendships by way of a bad dating relationships, but I've seen instances where it is possible to avoid that brokenness. 
But before you start dating a guy, ask yourself, "Would I want to be best friends with this boy? Or am I just feeling totally attracted to him and ignoring the qualities I wouldn't want in a friend?" It's true that "love is blind"--in the scope of infatuated love, that is. You can ignore all you want, but in the end if you're not interested in being best friends with that guy, then move on.  

Best friends should want to share all of their hopes and dreams, even failures and shortcomings with each other. They should want to make each other better. They should be willing to disagree--even argue--about the issues that matter all in an effort to see eye-to-eye. 
c) Ask yourself--are you entering this relationship because you can honestly see this person being the type of man you would want to marry?
You don't need to be ready to get married or be divinely convinced that "He's the One," but you should at least be convinced that he is a reasonable candidate for your heart's keeper. The dating period will tell you if your initial inclinations were accurate or not, but in the beginning it's important to ask yourself that question. Otherwise, in my opinion, you're dating just to date--and why waste your time.

I have a lifelong friend who found her husband our junior year of high school. They dated, he proposed, and they were married the summer after we graduated. They're coming up on their 8th wedding anniversary; they have a beautiful son, steady jobs, and a lovely home. They made it. Proof that it IS possible.

3} Concerning the subject of whether or not the dating advice changes with age--In general (and having talked to a few friends of various ages and experiences), I would say, "no." Godly dating principles cross age gaps. I (of course!) have many more thoughts on this subject, particularly concerning college dating relationships, but that will be explored another time. :) Way to keep you hanging, eh?

1 comment:

  1. Melanieeee....
    Me and Alisha are a little confused by the end of this post... 'The subject of' ...


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