Youth Corner: Dating
Dating. The words and images rush through everyone’s heads. The first date. The movie that you saw, and the restaurant that you went to together. The jokes that you shared and the special moments that you spent together. Most dates bring back happy memories of good times spent together, but just what exactly is the purpose of dating? Why do people date? What do people do on dates? What are some good things to do on a date?
Dating is something that links all teens. Almost all teens have, at one time or another, felt those butterflies in their stomach when that “special someone” walked past them and actually said hello. You dreamt of the day when the two of you would get together. You might even carefully planned your wedding in your mind. However, these are not very real expectations of dating. Most of the time you will not end up marrying the boy who caught your eye in Spanish class your sophmore year or the “most beautiful girl in your class” whom you caught looking at you occasionally in grade school. However, if these expectations are not reality, then what exactly are the real reasons for dating?
Dating accomplishes a number of things. It helps you look at all the qualities of someone and really get to know him or her as a person. It teaches you a lot about people and different ways to interact with them. It allows you to build stronger realationships with other people as well as bettering your present relationships. Dating draws you closer to other families, and makes you more aware of the differences between your family and others.
The eventual purpose of dating is to lead you to find the person whom you will someday, God-willing, marry. It will help you to know exactly what qualities you are looking for in a future spouse. This is probably the hardest part of dating because when you are “in love” with someone you tend to overlook their less-than-admirable characteristics and see only the qualities that you find attractive. One of the best ways to overcome this problem is by getting input from others. Ask your family first. See what they think of this person. They are the people who have known you the longest and that have you best interests in their hearts. Also ask your friends what they think. See if the way that you view the other person is the same as that of your best friend. What do they see when they really get to know the other person? Finally, look deep into your heart. See if this is really someone whom you could spend the rest of your life with.
Ask yourself questions like: Are they easily angered? Do they think they are better than other people? Will you be able to handle their weakness for every day of the rest of your life? If not, then maybe this is not the person for you. There are lots of ways that you can see for yourself what the person you are dating is really like. Take them different places with you. Are you embarrassed by what they do or say? Do you share common interests and values? Are they Christian? Are they willing to attend church with you and pray with you? I realize that God can use you as His tool in sharing the Word, but you wouldn’t compromise what you believe to make them more comfortable, would you? These are some very important questions that you need to answer before you get involved in a serious relationship.
Finally, the best part of dating — the actual date! What are some cool things that you could do on a date? You can go outside and make a snowman or snow angels. Take some of the neighbor kids sledding. You could stay inside to bake cookies and make hot chocolate. You could put a puzzle together while watching the football game. You could go to a Christian concert together or attend a youth group activity. Spend some quality time together with the other person and their family. The possibilities are endless! But no matter where you go or what you do, be sure to ask you Lord and Savior to go with you.