To Date Or Not To Date Is

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To Date Or Not To Date: Is That The Question? Essay, Research Paper Alas, the teenage years. They are years so full of life, emotion, changes, and new information. Filled with homework, football, video games, music, and of course…dating! Ah yes, the age-old ritual of dating…or is it? You know, dating really isn’t that old. It started somewhere around the 1920’s, when our modern-day culture was starting to move more towards and attitude of the here-and-now. Everybody’s mindset became more geared toward instant gratification. After dating became more common and widely accepted in our nation, many problems started arising in relationships. Divorce rates started to soar and pop music began singing songs about broken hearts (Harris, 1997). Is this ritual of dating the

cause for all these problems? If so, then as Christians, should we abandon our society’s mating rituals and declare dating wrong or evil? This is the question that has puzzled me for many years, and so I now write on what my research into this controversial topic has thus far concluded. Before dating came into existence, there were a variety of different cultural approaches to marriage. Two of the most widely used have been courtship and arranged marriages. Courtship is where a young man, or possibly an older man, goes to the father of a girl that he knows to ask his permission to begin courting his daughter with the intent of marrying her. You couldn’t just court one person and then if it didn’t work out, break up and move on to the next person. Once you courted someone,

you didn’t back out. You only courted if you intended to marry. Arranged marriages were totally different. In an arranged marriage, you had little to no say-so upon whom you would marry. Parents of one child got together with parents of another child and made the arrangements for their children to marry (Harris, 1997). So why does our culture do this dating thing? To answer that question, I think we first need to look at our need as humans for intimacy. From the beginning of time, since God gave us the gift of life, we have this need for a companion. “And God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone…so He made a woman, and brought her unto man”” (Gen. 2:18a, 22b ASB). You see, we have this drive instilled in us that drives us toward intimacy with another human

being. In order to do that, our society has come up with this system of dating. Where you can get to know people of the opposite sex in an intimate way, without marrying them first, in order to make sure it’s someone you love. In the other systems of acquiring a mate you didn’t have the great luxury that we enjoy now, where you can get to know a person before you decided to marry them. In those systems, the person was either already picked out for you, or you picked him or her out and then got to know that person. That’s why our culture turned to dating. We want to be able to choose whom we marry, and to be able to make sure it’s someone that we love. That in and of itself isn’t a bad idea, but dating was quickly abused as our impatience stepped in and the system

quickly turned sour. Instead of using dating to allow two people to get to know each other a little more intimately, as it was intended to do, many people tended to let their impatience drive their dating life and they started getting way too intimate, way too fast (Clark, 2000). “Well, what’s wrong with being intimate,” you might ask, “I thought you said that God created us to be intimate.” To that I will say, “You are right.” There is nothing wrong with that – except becoming intimate too soon and in the wrong way. You see, God created us to be intimate with a significant other, but He also designed it to be within certain boundaries. For example, God designed a man and a woman to be intimate by having sex, but only within the confines of marriage. “Therefore