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December 30, 2011

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Anonymous

Sounds good to me. No dating under our roof. Chaste courtship with the intent of marriage, yes. My daughter is only 5, but the villain in the recent Rapunzel movie sparked a lot of conversation about the 6th commandment. The 6th commandment being thou shalt not commit adultery, but we discuss it as "love others as an image of God". Use things, love people, don't love things and use people and so on. We've talked about how the woman who kidnapped Rapunzel used Rapunzel for her hair and how using people as a means to an end is a sin and not love and so on. Our children will not be permitted to date for fun, romance, physical experimentation etc. If our children expect their parents' blessings on a romantic relationship it must be a chaste courtship rooted in commitment with the intention of marriage and family. We don't want anything less than True love for them.

Shanna

I think if you teach your child the values of being a good christian, and the child learns and follows those values, dating as a teenager or college student wouldn't necessarily go against those values. I'm of the opinion that a little heartbreak is good for everyone to experience at least once (for one thing, after the pain subsides, much perspective is gained). A lot of the concerns you list (pregnancy, STI's) wouldn't be an issue if your child doesn't have sex. Plenty of christian teens put out, but plenty don't. It's a bit insulting to your child to discourage dating because you don't believe they have to self-control to say no. Dating does not inherently mean sex is happening.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from one of my friends father's after a break-up. He said, "If the next boyfriend doesn't work out, or the one after that, it's okay. This way when you meet the right one you'll know"

And, it's a bit insulting to say that dating without intent to marry is just practicing for divorce. If anything, I'd say it's helped me to figure out what I am looking for in a husband, so that I don't divorce.

Cady Driver

It's not a matter of saying that we don't trust our kids. I don't trust my toddler with a knife, why should I trust my hormonal teenager with a girl in a compromising situation? It's not an insult, it's called wise parenting. Plus, dating IS something that adults do to find a suitable marriage partner. Children aren't getting married and hardly ever find their spouse in their teen years.

All we are saying is that it doesn't hurt to wait. What's the big deal of a few years? Those are years that they could be really creative and free with their interests, not bogged down in a relationship that is destined to fail.

Lydia

I am a 29 year old, single female. Before G-d turned me around, I dated guys. Once my lIfe changed I gave up dating. I refuse to date (or even hold the hand of a man) until I married- and then I will obviously only be with my husband.

Proverbs 18:22 KJV says "whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing"- It is a lady's job to be found in the Lord, doing what is right, cultivating her spiritual life, learning, maturing, working to please G-d above all. It is a man's job to study G-d's Word and walk upright before Him, prepare his home for his bride, and be a man worthy of the woman the Lord has chosen for him. These may be old-fashioned views but they have worked for centuries so I'm not rocking the boat. I read a book called "Made in Heaven: A Jewish Wedding Guide" by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan- a wonderful book. One point that has stayed with me is an old story he tells about matchmaking. The point comes down to that God puts people together perfectly and we cannot. By dating and allowing our children to date (it is a modern concept) we and our children are playing matchmaker. A person does not have to date in order to get to know someone; being friends and spending time in groups takes care of that. Courting protects the heart from unnecessary heartbreak. Dating also places the participants in a state of pseudo-marriage.

Time and time again I have witnessed (and been a part of) couples who date and come to the conclusion they don't "need" marriage, have sex, move in, combine their assessts, and then, after a time, break up. Each person is then left with pain, bitterness, and betrayal. Dating should compliment a marriage, it is time set aside to allow a married couple to connect and cultivate their bond with each other. Dating isn't inherently bad, but neither is kissing- when in the right context.

Teenagers are going through so many changes in their bodies and it is up to their parents to guide them in the right path- Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart." it says, "the way he should go" not "whatever path you choose to teach."

Courtship teaches respect and boundaries while dating simply doesn't.

Marci Rapp, MarSea Modest Swimwear

We do not encourage "mixing" while in high school, except maybe in groups. My boys didn't date in high school, came to Israel to study (bible) after highschool and then joined the army for 1.5 years. After army is when they started to date, as they were now thinking of marriage, even thought they weren't finished school, or working full time.
When they dated, now in their early 20's, they didnt touch their dates. They would go out with them no more than 3 times, after that it was considered serious and leading to marriage. Their dates were for the purpose of finding a marriage partner, not for just having fun.
Two of them married the girls within 3 months of meeting them. Another took a year, but they knew they were to marry withing a month.
Our marriage practices are to abstain during and after menstrual cycles for a minimum of 12 days, (intimacy to be resumed after the women immerses in a ritual bath) for holy reasons, but it also re-establishes the physical bond, and re-enforces the intellectual and platonic relationship of the couple, and seems to work.
The point is, physical intimacy in the Torah observant world, is very holy, is reserved for marriage, and only certain times within marriage.
Dating in this world, is also for purposes of finding a partner.

Emily R

Perhaps I can add a unique perspective on this issue as I was one of those teenagers whose parents (mainly mother) decided dating isn't good. I've only dated one man--my husband that I've now been happily married to for 2 1/2 years.

I think most of the arguments against not dating are short-sighted. I have an awesome marriage, and, while the process of getting married was super hard for me (I was a terrified commitophobe), not not dating was not the reason for that.

My only caution is to avoid oversimplifying the issue. In my mother's ideal world, God will tell two people they are supposed to get married--and only then is it appropriate to start a romantic relationship. Frankly, I think this view is crazy and damaging and is not even based on good theology (my mother and I still share the same faith). One of her primary motivations for raising me and my siblings this way was pain avoidance. In her ideal world, there would never be any breakups. In some cultures that might be possible, but I don't think it is in ours. And I don't think avoiding pain is a good reason for not dating until you're ready for marriage.

There are lots of others, however, like the ones you mention :)

Food for thought: What do you consider marriageable age? While I totally agree that ideally it's not good to go looking for a romantic relationship until one is actually looking for a spouse, some teenagers might fit into that category. This is a whole 'nother topic, I know, but I believe the trend in our society toward later and later marriages is unhealthy. If you're going to get married in your early 20s (as many many people did a generation ago) then dating in your middle/late teens might very well be appropriate. All I'm saying is that the idea of waiting till marriageable age is not as simple as it might seem. My younger sister was convinced she was going to marry her high school boyfriend--and so were many members of both families. She didn't. What do you say to a high schooler in that position, though? People do marry their high school sweethearts.

Shanna

There's a bit of a difference between giving a toddler a knife and letting two teenagers go to the movies together. But, to use the knife analogy, I was shown basic cooking skills growing up, one of which was how to properly handle knives. As an adult, I know how to use a knife without cutting myself. I did not cut myself with any knives as a child, and haven't as an adult. As a teenager, my mother went over the importance of being able to tell another person "No." and that someone who wouldn't respect my "No" wasn't a good person. And that I was to respect any other persons "No" for the same reasons.

It really comes down to your individual teens, and how mature they are. Some teens don't take well to their freedom, if you will, being curtailed. If one of your teens is determined to date or marry young, then you might have a harder time then if a teen would rather pursue an interest. LIke Emily R says, if at root of this decision to not allow dating is pain avoidance (to me, pain avoidance would include teen pregnancy and STI's, because those can certainly cause emotional pain) , it might be wise to re-think at the very least your motivations. After all, over-protection can be just as harmful as no protection. If it's more to instill your belief that dating is not appropriate till one is ready to marry for religious reasons, then thats your interpretation.

Beck

My parents took the "no dating unless you're planning to get married" approach. At 20,I was home from college for the summer, and met a guy. He took me to his Bible study group, met my parents,said all the right things, and six weeks after we met he said he wanted to marry me. Because of my parents' requirements, I thought this was wonderful. I went back to school in the Fall, and he started complaining about the time I spent with my friends and family, calling me four times a day to see where I was,resenting the time I spent studying, asking that I spend ALL of my time with him, because "he was the most important person in my life, telling me not to go on a mission trip because he was "scared something would happen to me." I felt trapped, because in my mind, I had already made a commitment to spending the rest of my life with this person. Four months later, I ended the relationship, devastated because I couldn't reconcile my expectations for the other parts of my life with what this person was asking from me in our relationship. I was convinced that this meant I needed to be single for the rest of my life. It was months, possibly over a year before I realized that this "relationship" was covered in warning signs for abuse, and it was an incredible blessing that I was able to escape early, and relatively unharmed.

So...I guess my point is that *rules* about dating aren't enough, and that sometimes,breaking up is the right thing to do. Simply saying "I don't want you to pursue a relationship with someone you do not intend to marry isn't enough"...it needs to be coupled with frequent discussion of how partners should treat each other and what a healthy relationship looks like.

Me...well, over the next ten years, I got over my hangups,had some incredibly dear male friends, dated a couple of great guys, and ultimately, married my best friend, with whom I'm busy living happily ever after :)

Cady Driver

I sincerely appreciate hearing all of the opinions and experiences of the readers. I would like to reiterate, though, that I am mainly speaking of children dating in this article. I think that responsible adults and even older teens can date or court to find a spouse.

I don't think that marrying someone that one doesn't really know is a great idea. It might be a recipe for disaster and I'm sorry that you, Beck, had that experience. I know it's painful.

And Shanna, I love how you stir the pot, but it was interesting....the other day I was speaking with a friend and she said, "You know, I was WAY more liberal in my thinking about parenting, schooling and children BEFORE I had kids. After I became a mother, it put life into perspective and suddenly I saw the issues with more clarity."

I've heard this before, too...."I was a GREAT parent...before I had kids." :)

I agree that some teens are more mature than others and should be treated accordingly. I still hold fast to the idea that children are not emotionally ready for relationships, heartbreak and the pressures that come with dating.

A little waiting won't kill them.

Shanna

It's cool. It goes both ways.
http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/29/are-fathers-politics-changed-by-having-daughters/
Having children is a major life changing event. It's not surprising that certain views can change, but it would be naive to suggest that views only go from liberal to conservative. Statistical (and anecdotal) evidence suggests that some parents go from conservative to liberal.

I think a lot of disagreement with your stance comes from inconsistent use (in society, not really your doing) of the word children. Sometimes it means under 10, sometimes it means under 18-20. Few would (especially on this blog) would agree with 13 year olds dating, but 18 year olds is a bit grayer.

Barbara C.

I don't want my girls to do dating as it has been practiced for the past 50 years or so, either, as a recreational activity. I would like for them to follow more of a courtship model.

The point is not to only date someone you plan to marry, but you only date when you feel that you are in a position to pursue marriage. This means entering into a relationship with the clear understanding that you are both determining if you belong together rather than one person wanting to get married and the other just "having fun" or both just kind of wandering around in the relationship desert just to "see what happens".

My oldest of four daughters is nine. I've already talked to her about how dating relationships can only end one of two ways: marriage or someone/both people getting hurt during a break up. The more break ups you have the more baggage you carry into your next relationship and eventually your marriage (especially if you have been physically affectionate). It's better to get to know someone in a less emotionally intense setting over a long period of time. (For instance, I was attracted to a guy, but I wrote him off when I learned he had a girlfriend. Over time we became good friends, but by the time he became single I knew that we would not make a good romantic match and set him up with another friend instead.)

I've explained to her that when we hug and kiss someone, especially a boy we are attracted to, it can cause chemicals in our brains to make us trust that person before we really know them. That person may not really be worthy of our trust, but we've already allowed our brain to be fooled leaving our heart vulnerable to being hurt.

One reason that I remained a virgin until marriage was because the guy who gave me my first kiss dumped me the next day. I wasn't really even that in to him, but I was emotionally devastated. I knew that if I had sex and that happened it would be a million times worse. Looking back I wish I had been less generous in giving away so many kisses.

We've talked about how dating shouldn't be isolated between a boy and girl but should involve friends and family, because sometimes people who aren't as emotionally invested in the relationship can see a problem that she might not. And I think parents have a responsibility to make sure that their child and his/her potential spouse have a reality check with them. For instance, any man who wants to marry my daughter better be prepared to answer certain questions (like about his financial situation)...not because I think there is only right answer but it is amazing what people getting married don't talk about or resolve before they get married.

And then I've talked to my daughter about how she shouldn't be wasting her time on romantic relationships until she is ready to consider marriage because it can really be a waste of time. So many tweens and teens spend so much of their time obsessing about their love lives (or lack there of) or trying to keep up with a dead end relationship when they could be DOING other things that would be so much more fulfilling.

All of this is without even scratching the surface of the virtues (such as chastity) promoted by our Catholic faith. We've also talked about how God might not even call her to marriage. God might prefer that she serve Him as a single person or consecrated religious. It is important to me that she discerns God's will for her life whatever that may be, but if she's following God's will she won't go wrong.

Now all of this being said, I have not set any hard and fast RULES. When my daughter asks about when/how she will be allowed to date, I tell her we will figure out more clearly when she gets closer to sixteen. I know how I would ideally like things to work, but that might not fit the reality of our situation when the time comes.

For right now I just tried to give her the best information I can, help develop her critical thinking skills, and try to counter the mainstream attitudes towards dating (especially as it is portrayed in the tween and teen television shows).

Laura--The Sushi Snob

In my religion, dating before the age of 16 is discouraged (although some do it anyway, but that's beside the point). Even then, teens are discouraged from forming serious attachments until they feel emotionally ready to pursue marriage...of course, there are quite a few teenagers who break these rules, but mostly it's because parents don't really enforce it. My parents did, but I didn't date at all until I got to college. My dating choices were...very limited to say the least.

There is something to be said for "dating to marry". There's a big problem at my alma mater with guys who just want to "hang out" with girls. It causes a lot of drama, sadly. I actually thought I was dating a guy one summer, but it turned out he just wanted to hang out. It was heartbreaking, to say the least. But I later found out he had some serious moral and mental problems that would have made a more serious relationship disastrous, to say the least. God was looking out for me, that's all I can say.

Six weeks after that break-up, I met the man I would marry. He actually courted me, despite his extreme shyness. We've been married for a little over two years now and we're expecting a baby girl in March--I still say I'm lucky to have him :)

Kim

I find it really interesting that people who want teens to date seem to have this unwavering support for it, regardless of any parent's right to decide what is and isn't appropriate for their children. We treat children too much like adults in our culture, we give them way too much freedom and way too much space. Are we then surprised when we have high rates of teenage pregnancy, drug use and abuse, suicide, criminal behavior, and more? We need to wake up as parents, take the reins, and reclaim control of raising our kids. I think we all have the right to agree or disagree with one another on different issues, but we cannot possibly disagree that teens these days are spiraling into areas that they have no business dealing with (emotionally, physically, and mentally). Thanks for you post!

Hannah

I started my first and only relationship when I was 17 with the purpose of courting a gentleman and good friend. This came after requesting my dad to give me a ring when I was 14—not a ring of sexual purity, but one of dedication to avoiding any intimate relationship for recreation. Yet…none of this followed any demands or expectations from my family. By the time I hit my teens, my parents trusted they'd done a decent job and let me think for myself. Had they put down strict, childish guidelines, I would have fought and rebelled viciously. Instead, I was encouraged to think as an adult. So I did.

Yitzhak Klein

What's a date?

Living in Israel, my kids have an environment most north american parents probably aren't familiar with.

My kids go to public school. The school is religious and segregated by gender (the state pays for that in Israel!) Most people in our community send their kids to such a school.

After school hours there is youth group. Youth groups are national organizations, also state subsidized, with scores of local chapters. It's where kids go to hang out after school in a supervised environment, and over half the kids in our social group go to religious after-school youth groups. Younger kids are supervised by counselor-aged teenagers. The local chapter is run by a girl doing national service, who's just a year or two older than her senior and junior class couselors. I love young adults who take up big responsibilities.

The youth groups are not segregated. You have high-school age kids working together and hanging out together in an framework encouraging constructive activities (volunteering, leading younger age groups), but definitely NOT oriented toward sexual interaction. This is, after all, a religious youth group.

Now, this is not dating. Dating in our community is a serious business you undertake when you're looking for a spouse. Still, the youth group is where teens meet and learn to interact with people of the opposite sex who might be considered candidates for a spouse someday, though definitely not now. It doesn't seem to hurt anyone.

I have two daughters, ages 20 and 22, who are constantly going to classmates' weddings. "Where'd she meet him?" "Oh, they've been going out forever, since [youth group]."

My third daughter is a high school senior. She's already met her heartthrob (name a secret), at a social group for religious youth who are seriously into the arts. But though this relationship is serious it's not yet a serious relationship. Next year he's going to a talmudic seminary, and after that to combat service in the army, while she's going to be one of those youth-group chapter directors and afterward, if she survives, to college I guess. By the time they're done with all that they'll be ready to be serious, if they're still serious about each other (this is my daughter's thinking). Somehow I'm not worried, and I'm sure I'll like his parents.

Nim

This is really an interesting topic. I was raised by parents that told me you wait for marriage to be in a physical relationship with a boy. I was allowed to date at 16, and I dated alot! Really....Went ice skating with Billy on Sat. night, and next week to the movies with Tommy! And I have to say guys never did anything inappropriate.....they respected my values. I found the girls that did physical things became attached emotionally to the boy.......as nature intended, and I didn't want that to happen to me because I had a lot to do and see before I was tied up in marriage.

So, dating worked fine for me.....Yes, I had some heartbreak, but not enough to bother me all that much.....I had a great time and lots of wonderful memories, and never lost respect for myself. I got to see what I wanted and didn't want in a partner. And I found out that when a guy really likes you, he will not pressure you, and he will wait as long as he has to.

But, I was raised in a different world. At the time, TV shows were Father Knows Best, Leave It To Beaver, I Love Lucy.....so you had support. Now, all the media is trash,.......and our children are brainwashed and desensitized at a very young age that sex is fine, it is no big thing, it is normal to sleep around. A sick, terrible message, I think. So, how do you raise your kids to have good morals.....It seems telling them what my parents told me just isn't enough..............

Lennor Dy

Hi!

I absolutely agree with waiting before going into a realtionship because maturity is very important for it to work.

True Love Waits right?

Eliza H

I had sex with my high school boyfriend. I was 16, and head over heels in love. He was incredibly respectful, in love with me, and truly a great guy. While we thought we would get married at 16, we didn't, and that was for the best.

Being in relationships with several people has taught me how to communicate with others, how much to ask of others, and what not to put up with from others. It has been a year since my last relationship, and I am a happily independent single woman. But I would not give up my relationship experiences for anything. Yes, they ended in hurt. But life is painful, and these situations helped me to learn how to deal with it.

I have a very strong moral compass. I believe that one can die content if one has caused much more happiness than spread pain, in this life. I believe in respect, and treating people well, and the beauty of each human being. I believe in compassion and love for one another. But I also believe that sex before marriage helps us develop even more intimate relationships and understand what true love is.

Cady Driver

Thank you for your perspective, Eliza. I would have to respectfully disagree, though, that having sex at a young age is important for aiding a person in their growth in regards to relationships. What is not mentioned here are the risks that children expose themselves to by engaging in sex so young. While you might have escaped pregnancy or an STD, not everyone is so lucky.

Mary

I would definitely agree. Thats some thing that my husband and I are planning on implementing on our children as they get older. I think it is a perfectly reasonable way for children to focus more on the future rather than the here and now. That was what I was taught and those were the standards that I lived by. I'm extremely thankful for the opportunity to mature on my own without the pressures of a serious relationship at a young age.

Thank you!

Lourdes

I wholeheartedly agree with your post that it is wise to keep our kids from dating. How I wish my parents sat down with me and truly explained why it is so harmful for my soul to be dating and not even be thinking about marriage. If allowed to date, it definitely puts these hormonal teenagers in a situation where it is hard to fight temptations. I believe there is nothing wrong with getting to know each other in the presence of adults, but going off any dating, say at the movies, will only give them the privacy they want (but don't need) to prevent irrational decisions from happening.

Like you, my husband and I plan to make it a rule for our children not to date. I believe that if we teach our kids the importance of guarding their souls with each decision they make, they will hopefully understand the grave need for them to guard their purity. I wish so much not to have gone through all the hurt from dating and also the memories of my life before marriage. I want something better for my children, and I completely and full understand this post! Thank you for posting!

Lizzy

Caveat: Teen speaking here!
(My family certifies that I have the maturity of a mid-twenty-something though, so that's OK.)
My family and I have often have fantastic discussions about what we think is wrong with the discussions of Christian Sydney, which is primarily Anglican (the primary denomination of Chrstian Sydney, I mean. At least, I'm fairly sure it is.) The thing I find funniest is the way they advocate for a "Date-At-Snail-Pace" policy, as I've mentally dubbed it.
Now, please, don't misunderstand me. I'm not advocating for girls to have sex on the first date. BUT, I do think it is a mistake for people to have Very Serious Discussions about what's going to happen if *gasp* they go out to the café for a chat. And when I say chat, I do just mean a conversation over coffee, or that kind of thing. Not even a real date. Just a chat to get to know each other better over coffee at the café. At that rate, you spend four years in one relationship, because you take every step oh-so-slowly. The discussion about what it means to be married is LESS serious than the one about what it means for the universe if two people decide to date.
In my view, dating's like a screening process, and you want to see if these people are the ones you could envision spending your life with. The other purpose, for some, might be to have some simple fun – and again, I don't mean to imply anything sexual in that.
My sister's engagement party is the day after tomorrow. She's marrying a boy who's almost a year younger than her in January, is not her first boyfriend, lives in Canberra (three hours' drive away) and is in the army. They met on the dance-floor of a debating tournament in Adelaide. They've been dating for the past eighteen months, and I think it's fair to say that they weren't taking it 'slowly', as it were. In a long-distance relationship, you're either in it to win it, or it won't last very long; you just don't have time to fool around.
But they're a great couple, the guy's amazing to her, and as far as I'm concerned, come January, they're both the most blessed people in the world; I can't wait to visit them in Canberra next year.
My sister is my role model, even though we're both very, very different. She dated when she was in school, was one of the best debaters in Sydney through high school, graduated Prefect and debating Captain, and led on multiple Christian camps, as well as doing Duke of Edinburgh and a bunch of other stuff. It doesn't have to be one or the other, is what she taught me, and I think that one of these days, I could get the knack of doing well academically and having a social life.
I turned fifteen years old yesterday. I've had only one serious crush, and when I found out the guy had a girlfriend, I was disappointed, but not heartbroken. I've never had a boyfriend, and I don't think I will have on in the near future.
However, this is more to do with the fact I'm disinterested in romance in general, in addition to the fact that I don't have a social life. Friends? Absolutely! I have a big group of fantastic girlfriends. Also a factor is that I attend an all-girls school.
If/when I date, I doubt my age is going to come into it. I doubt my parents would mind, either. They know me, and they trust my judgement, as well as our dogs' judgement.

Jen

I would first like to start off and say that I am a young adult, still working on college, and I am in a relationship with a wonderful Christian man. He is the first boyfriend I have ever had and I am his first girlfriend. The way that we went about our relationship was pretty slow: we got to know each other in groups first and then started grabbing a quick lunch between classes just the two of us. We made sure to let one another know our intentions and individual values when it comes to dating, although at this point, we were not in any type of serious relationship. We both met each others families when they came to visit and after being on our one month-long break from school, we talked and decided to start our relationship. It has always been important to us to keep everything slow - from the physical and emotional aspects, and even how much time we spend together. Neither one of us had the intention to date unless it was the type of person that we would be willing to marry. However, we wanted to continue to get to know each other. I still do not know for sure whether or not I will marry him. I will only know when God reveals that to me, however, at this point, I am expecting to. I trust him, yet I am still cautioius with how much I open up to him and where our boundaries lie. I realize that while he is an important Christian male influence in my life, he is not yet my husband and I do not know for sure that he will be. Therefore, we try to respect God, one another, and our future spouses in all of our interaction. I am truly blessed by pour friendship and relationship and I have been guarding my heart. I even guard my own thoughts about the matter. For example, I did not change all of my plans for the future to include him as my husband, although it is important to think about whether or not he will be a godly leader for my household. We have talked about marriage, but more on what our individual thoughts and dreams are, rather than talking about the "what if's" of us being married. Most importantly, I do not expect him to be a spiritual leader for me, as a husband should be for his wife. We do speak about God and share prayer requests with one another, so that we are always uplifting and encouraging one another in our walks with God, which is in fact the greatest and most pure purpose for every marriage, friendship, and any type of relationship.

I think that it is important to remember that while there are some things that would benefit all people, there are also things that are more grey, and should really be prayed over and thought about for each individual person. While I think that we can all agree that children should not be dating, I think that it is important for older high schoolers and beyond to have coed relations (not individual, but in group scenarios). This can really be an excellent way for both young men and women to treat the other sex with the kind of respect and love that God has intended, but on a friendship level.


I also know that we all make mistakes in our relationships, but God's forgiveness and grace covers all of them. It is only through His love that we can attempt to live a pure and holy life that reaches all aspects of life and all of our relationships.

Leanne Pratt

I think if you and your husband want this, then you should do it. It's really up to you. I can tell you from a young woman's standpoint (23) that I am infinitely glad I didn't date during college, even though I did some in high school before I became a Christian. But my heart, I know it deeply, and I Know God on a much more intimate level because I've grown up with Him by my side. I honestly think it's the wisest thing to not allow children into relationships with the opposite sex before they are able to discern or understand the purpose of that or a mature way to handle another person's life. I also value that my heart will be entirely my husband's one day. :)

Yocheved

Barbara C., you wrote everything I wanted to say! I told my own 9yo daughter the exact same thing, pretty much word for word.

She's an extremely logical child, and said that it makes perfect sense to her. She sees no reason to date anyone until she feels ready for it. Sometimes she'll say she had a "crush" on a boy in school, but if pressed she'll admit that it's just that she admires certain qualities about the boy, and that there's no real romantic feelings involved.

As Orthodox Jews, we know that every single thing we do must be holy, and nothing is to be taken for granted or "just for fun".

MARIE

Hello,

I just stumbled upon this blog post and would like to offer my perspective. I am 24, I was not allowed to date as a preteen or teenager. My parents enforced it and I did not date a single person. At first I didn't understand why I couldn't date but over time I did. I feel blessed that my parents didn't allow me to date. I have seen so many young people in my age group destroy their lives because they started dating too early. Now that I am older and have been able to observe good and bad relationships, I feel that I am mature enough to handle a relationship the way God would have me to. I don't believe in wasting time dating someone without the mindset that this person MAY be my spouse. As humans we need to learn not to use each other for selfish gratification.I believe pointless dating is exactly that....pointless. Life itself will bring heart break and experiences to learn from. I don't need a man to break my heart in order to experience heartbreak and learn to overcome it. I don't need a man to mistreat me in order for me to know when man is treating me with respect and love. If you educate your children accordingly then the no dating rule is just fine. I am a stronger person individually because I was given the time to mature without the distraction of boyfriends. I am not saying that you can not date in high school without having sex and getting pregnant, but dating before marriageable age is a BIG risk .......really big.

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