Dating – Then and Now –Part II
Could the dating practices of the past work today? Why would that type of dating not work today? It could and it should. Dating/courting today is somehow behind a cloak of secrecy. If you like someone, you are not supposed to express that.
It was not a problem for me to ask a brother if his sister had interest in me. In that way some embarrassment could be avoided on both parts. It was not unheard of for a sister to tell her brother that one of her friends had interest in him.
Friendships would develop in a casual manner and could continue to grow if there was mutual agreement. As friendships became more serious, we would “go steady.” Before that time both were free to date other persons. If you were going steady, you would only date that one person. That would be a time to know the person and their family even better. Eventually engagement (lasting typically 3-6 months) would culminate in marriage.
All of this passed off the scene in many places due to books that were written, seminars that were popular, and church groups that felt a need to control the practices. The current system of dating/courting is troubling for many youth. Sure, you know friends for whom it worked out perfectly. Those ‘perfect’ situations reinforce the current practices but leave many young men and women adrift amidst uncertainty and confusion.
Courting today means marriage. That is too much of a commitment to make with little knowledge of the other person. That is one reason young people are reluctant to begin courtship. They agonize over asking a girl or saying yes to a young man. The commitment is just too high to make to someone you hardly know. Dating provided time for getting to know the other person without that commitment of marriage.
I know, life is supposed to be perfect. Books and seminars and Bible schools have made that plain. But, it is not plain. It is confusing. Life is not perfect. Life is for joy and for living. Will there be problems? Of course. Life has joy and sorrow. That will always be.
So many young men are being turned-down. Why? So many young ladies are not being asked. Why? When I see all the wonderful young ladies who are not dating today, I can only ask one question, Where are the young men? They should be dating and marrying these girls.
Many young men are being rejected because the commitment to court means marriage. The girls are not ready to make that commitment to someone they hardly know. After a young man is rejected several times, he can easily feel rejected and give up. So girls, give the young men an opportunity to prove themselves. Accept a date for a social evening and get acquainted. I know, this sounds like heresy but, this is how we lived and it was good.
Many young ladies are not being asked. Why not? It seems that many young men are looking for more impressive girls (whatever that means). It is time for that to change. Men, ask someone who is not on everyone’s list. You will be blessed and so will she.
Many good, hard working, smart, talented girls are not even being asked. I see these girls. I hear their stories. Many of then would just love to be married. They would be wonderful wives and mothers. Make their friendship, spend time with them. Be a gentleman. Get to know them and their families. Be worthy of their time.
No one is perfect but, someone could be perfect for you. Just because someone is not a carbon-copy of your ideal does not mean that they are flawed. They, like you, may need some encouragement to be more Godly and diligent. Marriage is wonderful. It is God’s way of continuing His work among His creation. We are all part of that.
Marriage is God’s plan. “Be fruitful and multiply” was the original commission to mankind. It is still the commission today. Jesus reinforced that in Matthew 19. Exactly how to date and marry is not spelled out. We need to provide the best ways of doing that in our culture.