What age should someone start dating at?
What’s the point of dating?
Some of my students said things like, “to not be alone,” “to have something to do,” “to look cool.” Generally, they all seemed to nail it: dating is designed to help you see if this is someone you are going to marry. Unfortunately, giving relationships titles is too often an excuse to engage in risky sexual behavior and not feel as guilty about it.
I had my first girlfriend in 7th grade. I didn’t get married until I was 24. That means for 10 years I was pursuing an emotion instead of a person. And I’ve asked forgiveness from everyone in that decade.
The whole point of dating is to see if this is someone you are going to marry. And I didn’t get that. My heart was broken on a monthly basis because I invested wayyyy too much of my heart into dating relationships that should have just stayed friendships. And when I met my bride, we had to work through the baggage of all the I-love-yous that I said to someone who was not my wife.
But here’s the flip-side: I was encouraged by my parents to go on dates. And there is a difference. For example, I never went to Prom with a girlfriend. I took girls (as my date, not someone I was dating) who were friends of mine, and guess what? We had a great time! There were seasons when groups of my guy friends and groups of my girls who were friends would hang out together. And it was fun! You can enjoy the company of members of the opposite sex in a way that is enjoyable and not regrettable.
Because the reality is what you do now, what you say now, how you act now, where you go with her now, what you purchase now…is going to affect your marriage some day. And when you start dating, don’t freak out and get super deep and super serious immediately and crush any potential it might have had. The whole point of date #1 is to see if there will be a date #2.
Hebrews 13.4 is a pretty good focal point here.