Question For You

To Date Or Not To Date

I’m reading a book called Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham, Jr. The purpose of the book is to help us learn and do what it takes to raise sons and daughters who walk with God. Some friends of ours encouraged us to read this book as we started our homeschooling journey. But as I have been reading, I feel that all parents should read this book no matter where your children attend school. That is, if they desire that their children walk with God. In the very first chapter, Baucham is discussing dating and states this:
Modern American dating is no more than glorified divorce practice. Young people are learning how to give themselves away in exclusive, romantic, highly committed (at times sexual) relationships, only to break up and do it all over again. God never intended for His kids to live like this. And instead of stepping in and doing something, many Christian parents simply view these types of relationships as a normal and necessary part of growing up. Unless your child is wiser than Solomon, stronger than Samson and more godly than David (all of whom sinned sexually), they are susceptible to sexual sin, and these premature relationships serve as open invitations.
Well? Do you agree or disagree? Chime in.

11 thoughts on “To Date Or Not To Date”

  1. Love me some Voddie Baucham. 🙂 And, yes, I think he is right. I had never thought of it that way before: divorce practice. Oh me, oh my. The lessons I learned from dating I most certainly could have done without. I only followed what I thought I was necessary and normal in our culture and in the process learned that I was surely not as wise as Solomon, strong as Samson, or godly as David. How thankful I am for people like him blazing new trails so that I can teach my kids otherwise.

  2. I totally agree! Jodie and I are working to deposit this counter cultural approach into our kids heart. Another way that I have said this is what I call the playdoh illustration. I sat down w/ kylie and gave her a red playdoh heart….i told her this was her heart and that one day she will be able to give this to a man….our job (together) is to protect this heart so that when she gives it to a man, it will be in tact.

    I told her that boys will come along and if she gives a little piece of her heart to them, they may not give it back (i tear a piece of the heart off_….or that some may give her her heart back but it looks like this (black playdoh…representing a bruised heart)

    at the end of the illustration she is holding a shreded/bruised heart….great visual for kids! then i walk through that it doesn’t have to be that way. God will protect her heart, I will protect her heart, etc…

    sorry for the lengthy response…something close to Jodie and I right now!

  3. This is such great food for thought. I think the question of “to date or not to date” depends a lot on the person. For me, I did not learn what a healthy relationship looked like from my parents. It was only through dating that I learned how to fight fairly, mutual respect, what I was willing (and not willing) to tolerate and what type of man I wanted to spend my life with. Ideally, I realize, you should learn that from your parents, but I did not have that luxury.
    I’d love to better understand the alternative to dating. How do you know what type of mate best suits you without dating? It’s not as simple as finding a moral man or woman. Their has to be a personality match, amongst other things….
    I can very much see how traditional dating could be considered “divorce practice” but there must be some middle ground…

  4. I used to agree. My dad wrote a book on the subject, for cryin’ out loud [smile].

    But here’s the deal: The problems of modern dating are based in misapplications and misunderstandings of love, lust and sex. Today, much of culture sees saying “I love you” as more meaningful than intercourse. The church sees attraction as lust. And “love” is so vague it’s no wonder it’s confused with wanting the person sexually and deeply caring for an attractive person.

    Beyond this, I used to believe that modern dating was about “sticking with someone until something better came along.” I know longer believe that is the case–unless that has been made fairly clear to those in the relationship. In other words: “Recreational dating” does not exist in committed relationships, and in the recreational relationships that do exist–it’s expected [“hookup culture” anyone?].

    I agree: God never intended His kids to live like this… and yet… as is clearly pointed out in the passage quoted above: Scripture clearly doesn’t offer a more effective alternative.

    In other words: I agree that modern dating–just like the relationship approaches outlined in the Bible–can and does often lead to pain and things that are not God honoring. But the solution isn’t to look at the system and try to find a more “Biblical” one [such as grabbing virgins at a dance and carrying them off to marry them… which is certainly a Biblical approach to marriage… see the whole context of that story for more craziness], but rather to help instruct our children in the reasons why purity is important, the ways we deal with temptation and attraction, the ways we can interact with those of the opposite sex without falling into sin, etc…

    In short: Dating isn’t the issue. It’s how and why and what you do with it. As with all things: It’s the motivation, far more than action, that determines whether something is good or evil. Want a Biblical example? How about killing someone?

    Just tossing that out there. I’ve got tons more thoughts on all this, but it’s enough to fill two books thus far… unfortunately, I’m lazy and haven’t finished writing them yet.

    ~Luke

  5. I agree. I heard this quote “way back” in my dating days, and agreed with it then, even as I was dating (yeah… Practice what you preach is something I had to work on and still am in some ways. Lol). When i *finally* did it the right way (more like courting; only dated when I thought I would marry the guy, for real, and mostly hung out in groups, and asked my parents for advice, etc.), I really did end up marrying the guy, and I was so glad i was so cautious and did it how I did. I’ve seen dating ruin way, way, WAY too many of my friends’ lives. I still agree.

  6. Wow! Now we have homeschooling and an appreciation for Voddie Baucham in common! We got to hear him speak and meet him about a year ago. You just reminded me that we wanted to get this book. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Our 25 yr old daughter was so upset throughout high school because she never had a date. My husband & I prayed for God to protect her from the disaster of teenage dating. Our daughter now says that she’s so very thankful that she escaped the whole dating scene in high school! The on again off again dating and going from one person to the next is a recipe for disaster for young people! Not sure how to change this practice but I do know that God is not pleased with this behavior!

  8. This book sounds great. My husband and I are going to have our first child next April (YAY!) and I am on the lookout for good books on raising godly children.

    I totally agree that dating as our culture defines it is not a great idea at all. I was led by God not to date during high school, until I met a certain boy my senior year. We started going out in April, got engaged in December, and married the next August. I have never dated, kissed, or even held hands (romantically) with another man besides my husband. This is a HUGE blessing to me and I praise God for it often. I know this does not happen much in our society, and I am so grateful to God and my parents for protecting me in that way.

  9. We have taught our daughter to lead with her head – how or is he in love with Jesus – how is his family – how does he treat people around him – how hard does he work – even down to where is his place in his family (because this can have a huge benefit or a huge issue for some peeps). If these are not to her standards – to God’s standards – she “moves on”. She doesnt risk her heart. She can learn all these things out in a group environment – in fact, she can learn most of these things before he even realizes he is a potential match for our daughter.

    We then spend ALOT of time with this child – dinners – hanging out with the family – games. We have only had one boyfriend and honestly – he fit all these above and I would have LOVED for him to have “stuck”. And it wouldnt surprise me if someday he does. They are good friends and it basically ended because they were just such good friends, as strange as that sounds.

    Talking about stuff like this all the time, when appropriate and casually has really helped. ITS JUST SO ARGGHHHHH!!!!!! It can drive a mom and dad to really want to just pick a mate and lock them in the basement until old enough!

  10. I agree. I also agree with Luke who said that it’s the way it is BECAUSE of the heart, etc. If Christian people knew how to “date” where they discipline their mind and are only getting to know one another as friends,treating and thinking of each other as brothers and sisters in the Lord, etc…it wouldn’t be what it’s become.

    As for an alternative…Since I was 13, I believe that the best marriages are made between those who are friends first. And I still believe that. (After 15 years of marriage.) So how else to do it? Well….1) Seek God, not a spouse. He’ll bring one if that’s His perfect plan for you. 2) Seek good friendships with your brothers and sisters in the Lord, and learn to treat them well, as God would have us love one another. The skills that are needed in marriage are the same skills that are needed in friendship. (At least the ones that we’re allowed to “practice” before marriage.)

    Like the other Katie, my husband is my only on everything, and I, too, feel so blessed to have no memories of anyone but him. But I’d like to tell Jennifer that I think it’s actually more possible to chose your children’s spouses than many would like to think…if you factor prayer and spiritual authority into it. My in-laws chose me. Literally…as a 13-year-old. They told me I could have whichever son I chose. Needless to say, I was shocked and hardly knew what to think about it…other than I knew which son I liked, even then. But he was five years older and certainly wasn’t looking at a 13 year old, so I disciplined my mind and we became friends for 5 years…and then friendship turned to love, and we each knew the other was the one before our first “date.”

    And THAT is why I say the alternative to dating is simply becoming friends, and leaving the love in God’s hand.

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