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?
a) Can you maintain a guard around your heart? Will your relationship allow you the space you need to protect your intimate, delicate emotions?
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?
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?
Now that you know my definition of the term “dating” and how I’ll be using in the future, I wouldn’t mind hearing what you think of when you hear someone say they’re “dating.” It’s always entertaining to figure out what someone really means by that term, particularly when it’s a 6th grader (*cough cough* My husband was that kid. Yes, I tease him mercilessly about it. He still loves me for whatever reason.)
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you’ve probably heard me mention these things a few times.
Really?! You want to discourage us right out of the gate?! I mean, come on, people!
Look, I know we’re still young in our married lives, but we can testify to the fact that marriage is hard work. Conflicts abound, opinions differ. He leaves his socks beside the hamper. I can never seem to decide what to order at McDonald’s. We make big life decisions together. We minister together. We’re NOT PERFECT. Just hang around us for ten minutes and you’re likely to hear us banter about one thing or another.
But we love each other. Deeply. Boundlessly. Without reservation. We are committed to our marriage, to make it better, to stick by each other till death parts us. No questions asked.
Which is one of the reasons we so proudly sport our Union28 tees. How easy can it be to support your spouse? Just throwing on that special tshirt for a day. It reminds you of how much you really admire and care for and respect your spouse. And it gives the rest of the world a tiny kick the in pants–Hey you! Yeah, you! You’re married? You should be proud of that!
Because I support this company in its righteous endeavors to uphold the sanctity of marriage, I am hooking up with them as an affiliate. I am so honored to have the opportunity to share Union28 with all of you. I hope you’ll take a look around their store and if you make a purchase you can use this special discount code to get 15% off any regular-priced Union28.net apparel. Simply enter the code U28KNM15 at checkout! (Code is valid through April 30th, 2012.)
I Peter 3: 3-4Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
And above all, seek the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. THAT kind of beauty shines through any physical appearance and is the truest form of femininity.
edited to add: This mini-dissertation uses the lens of high school dating, but please know that I believe these principles can be applied to dating at any age and stage of life.