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Teaching our children about dating

March 11th, 2010 / 3 Comments

It’s a radical idea, but a good one.

My daughter’s teacher, the school Christian club adviser, told the kids that her approach to dating is that she hopes to marry her first boyfriend.

What did she say??

Let me clarify. She doesn’t mean she’s going to blindly marry the first guy she happens to go out with.

She means that she’s going to be very careful about who she chooses as a boyfriend. Given the culture today when it seems it’s fashionable to go from one guy to another, this is a very radical concept. It implies that –

1. She would only date someone with the potential as someone she would perhaps want to marry, not just someone who is fun to be with, but with no future.

2. She would only date someone when she herself is in the stage of life to get marry. There would be no point in having a boyfriend in high school when she is obviously not ready to get married then.

While this concept is so counter cultural, certainly not what you see on TV shows or celebrity news,  it is catching on among many Christian young people I’ve talked to.  It is not a new idea, but one that has not been mainstream.

Approaching dating  with this principle of marrying your first boyfriend actually makes a lot of sense. Afterall, what is the purpose of having a boyfriend? Is it just a recreational pastime? Is it to satisfy your ego? To relieve your loneliness? To have some fun? To enjoy that “feeling of being in love”? I’ve been there, and looking back, I regret every relationship I had, until I met my husband.

Some might ask, “But isn’t it more healthy to have some experience? Doesn’t dating more help you find out what you want in a relationship?”

A mother called Dr. Laura and said her husband does not allow their son to date in high school, but she believes he should be allowed to date.

“Why do you want you son to date?” Dr. Laura asked.

“Doesn’t he need the experience? It’s part of growing up, isn’t it?” The caller replied.

Dr. Laura bluntly replies, as she is so good at doing – do you want your son to get experience in how to get into girls’ pants??

Well, that’s being honest!

I know parents who think it’s “cute” when their children have a boy/girlfriend. I’ve seen 6th graders holding hands and in a “relationship.” It’s not cute. It’s rather sad.

Marrying your first boy/girlfriend means no regrets. It means no drama, no heartaches, no baggage to bring into the marriage.

Experience and maturity for marriage does not come from having multiple boy/girlfriends. Traveling, getting an education, going out with groups of friends,  doing volunteer work – these are the ways to encourage our children to grow.

After hearing my daughter’s teacher talk about her experience, I am challenging my children to do the same – to aim to marry their first boy/girlfriend. It might not work out that way, but the approach is right on.

Do you agree or disagree?

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  1. Oy! I don’t know if I agree or not yet, but this post helps me with an issue that’s approaching fast! Thanks, Katy.

  2. Hmmmm…This post made me ponder about how I think about dating. It may be too late since I have two daughters ages 20 and 18. Both girls haven’t really dated. This generation hangs out with a group of friends. There is no “real” dating in the traditional sense. However, as one of my daughters navigates college/adulthood and another one is on the cusp, I have to say I look forward to my girls dating. I married at 21 to my first love. And while I have no regrets marrying Bill and having my girls, I am now divorced. Why? Because I married the first decent man who paid attention to me. But ultimately I married my dad…someone who wasn’t emotionally around. If you’ve had a fantastic healthy childhood with all the right tools to date and marry a really great person then more power to you. If not, then I think dating allows our children to discover what they ultimately want in a partner and stay in a healthy committed marriage.

  3. Michelle, I think I am seeing the same thing that young people now hang out in groups, which is not a bad thing. Those interactions also help them discover what they want in a partner.
    More importantly, it helps them to mature and know more about who they are so they can pick the right kind of guy.


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