Home dating/courtship Dating: Recipe for Disaster

Dating: Recipe for Disaster

by Kelly Crawford

Few subjects ruffle my feathers like the favorite past time of America’s youth–recreational dating. I’m ruthless on this one, so hold on.

And I feel I can be, because I ran with the best of them–and have all the battle scars to prove it.

I speak against it boldly only to try to save someone from its destructive clutches. Have you ever considered it to be “destructive”? Something so “normal”, so common, even among believers?

Chip Ingram (Living on the Edge Ministries) was speaking from Ephesians 5:3,4 this morning when I flipped on the radio….

“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”

He said we aren’t serious about the sins of immorality because we don’t understand the sacredness of the marital act of s*x, or the intimacy God intended. This passage says not only is fornication and immorality a sin, it is not even to be joked about. Do we take it that seriously?

(He asked how many of us laugh at Jay Leno’s opening bit which is often se*ual in nature…)

But this stood out to me:

“Let it not even be named among you.”

If the passage is clear (and many like it) that s*x before marriage is sin, and there should not even be one incident of it among believers, that it shouldn’t even be mentioned, tell me, where on earth did we get the idea to send our unbridled, unaccountable teenagers out into the dark, together for hours at a time, many of them dressed to evoke physical intimacy???

In case there is any doubt about what I’m saying, “dating the world’s way is not for the people of God!”

Because EVEN IF they do not succumb to the enormous pressure of physical intimacy (which includes activities other than s*x), a “date” assumes they have a romantic interest–which is already giving to another only that which God designed to save for one–a wife or husband.

(Off the subject just slightly…it still shocks me every time I hear a parent who is upset when they find out their daughter is pregnant. ??? It’s like giving your toddler a pair of scissors and being upset when he cuts his hair.)

Chip went on to describe how so many married couples struggle with wounds so deep they are incapable of intimacy with their spouses. Could it also have something to do with the hideous “divorce epidemic” that has strangled the church?

Why would parents want to give their children such a bad start to such an important part of life, one that is already a challenge?

If you have never thought about the destruction of dating, (which by the way is a fairly new concept in our culture…only 80 years old or so), I urge you to steer your mind out of the rut that tells us it’s “normal”, and think it through from a biblical perspective.

P.S. There is a plan B 😉

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RoseAnn October 23, 2008 - 11:11 pm

Amen! Thank you for sharing. God has one perfect person for each of us, so why “date” any number to get to that one? Thank you for your post. It is wonderful seeing more mommies with like minds.

Kristi October 23, 2008 - 11:37 pm

I totally agree. I have felt more and more strongly about this lately. The recent Duggar show episode just confirmed it for me. A huge part of raising our children to be Godly is delivering them to their future spouse, unscathed. That is OUR job. WE are to protect them. I carry major, long lasting scars from my dating years. Ugh.

Anonymous October 23, 2008 - 11:43 pm

For real? So if your “one person” dies then you commit to a sexless life?

Marriage, by the way, is a fairly recent concept that was devised to save property. Why people believe that it is “Godly” is mysterious to me…

Anonymous October 24, 2008 - 12:06 am

Okay, so when is your child of the age when it’s appropriate to allow them to marry? 18? 21? 30? And how will they find their “one person” if they aren’t allowed to have any romantic interest? Please clarify how it is we find the one we’re supposed to save ourselves for.

Anonymous October 24, 2008 - 12:10 am

Are you aware that your site has a “Quote of the Day” from Thomas Huxley? It’s pretty funny, especially since he’s known as the main advocate for Darwin’s theory of evolution. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Huxley

Craig and Heather October 24, 2008 - 1:16 am

I agree with your heart, Kelly. I hope we can instill in our children the need for purity and the respect for the future marriage relationship that virginity (Anyone else notice how that word tends to be used as an insult these days?) brings to the union.

Anon 1, I saw nothing in Kelly’s post about “if the ‘one’ person dies…” Read Romans 7:2. A Christian person who is widowed is free to remarry. In fact, Paul encourages remarriage of widows specifically to avoid sexual temptation (1 Corinthians 7:8,9)

The concept of marriage being between one man and one woman was instituted by God when He created Adam and Eve. No, the word “marriage” is not used, but they are called “man and wife” and “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24) and the concept is there–for those accept God as their authority and are able to see it.

Anon 2, I’m sure Kelly can answer for herself, but it is entirely possible to meet, enjoy the personality of, and get to know a person without going on “dates”. In fact, if the person you marry is not a true friend first, it is likely the relationship won’t last anyway. Once the flame of infatuation–or physical attraction or whatever finally smoulders down you need something more substantial to be able to hold the marriage together.

How many people have married– then a few years later divorced “the man/woman of their dreams” because they learned months AFTER the marriage vows that they really didn’t have anything in common? If you aren’t stuck in the “strut to attract attention” dating mentality, you actually have the ability to see more clearly whether a person is the right one. And a person who spends their time in a real relationship with God isn’t going to miss it when He brings the right individual into their life.

Just my thoughts on the subject…


Terry @ Breathing Grace October 24, 2008 - 5:55 am

What you said…:-)

Okay, I thought I didn’t have anything to say until I glanced over at the comments.

Anon 1, For the record, sex, despite the lies of the culture does not rank with food and water. One CAN live a sexless life and be fine. However, your question seems totally irrelevant to the issue being discussed. Who said anything about a sexless life? Marriage is the antidote to that!

Anon 2, marriage is new? Really? We Christians believe God instituted it in the beginning, way back in Genesis. In order to understand why we believe it’s godly you would have to familiariaze yourself with the Bible. Well, actually you have to have a life changing experience with God Himself so I can totally see why you may think we make no sense.

Sarah October 24, 2008 - 6:27 am


Mamma J October 24, 2008 - 8:40 am

Good one this morning, Kelly! I feel the same way.

We recently viewed the Dugger episode about dating and saving your first kiss for the wedding day and my 13 year old son said, “I want that! That’s my goal!”.

We have discussed it before, but now that he has said, “That’s my goal!”, it is my job to protect his heart and make sure he is successful.(As it was before only with renewed fervor)

He has other goals, yes, but none so important as his relationship before God with his spouse. A covenant.

Why does our culture not see that dating is just practice for divorce? Becoming emotionally attached to a person only to be hurt and broken from them is NOT mature. Having self control is.

Only another by-product of our selfish ‘I-want-it-all-right-now-who-cares-about-tomorrow’ society.

Shannan October 24, 2008 - 8:54 am

Granted, I’m not Christian, but even I can see some points where dating is bad. It make a relationship something that’s really easy to bail on. You get used to it. I wonder if that’s part of the reason why, though I love my husband, so far, I HATE being his wife. 🙁

Dani October 24, 2008 - 9:51 am

Great post! I am so glad that courting is something DH and I did by happenstance. We met in college and neither of us had ever dated. We were friends for a year, within that year we decided that we were attracted to each other. We finally sat down and had the talk, we both felt that we were to be married one day. So we did “date”, but with marriage as the end result not to get to know each other better. If we had not wanted to marry each other we would have never “dated”. So I think what we did would be considered courting.

We decided these things with out ever being physical in any sense and actually did not kiss until we had been courting for 6 months. I really wished we would have saved it all until marriage, but you live and learn.

We will be teaching our children that dating is not good and courting is best. I am glad that we are able to show them our experience as an example of that.

Thanks Kelly for putting this topic out there. And Terry, thanks for your comment to the Anon posters!

Mommaof10 October 24, 2008 - 11:18 am

Amen, Amen & Amen……

Great Post!

Recording the Faithfulness and Provision of God for Future Generations

MandyMom.com October 24, 2008 - 11:26 am

I think so many people think, “Hey, I’ll address dating when we get to that point,” but it’s something we need to address while our children are young.

I was really into dating- had alot of boyfriends, and now I look back with PAIN over those years because I wish I didnt have memories of intimacy (even if it was se*, it WAS se*ual). I think dating sets us up for thoe moments in marriage when we think, “I should have married ____” or “____ treated me better when we were dating”.

The Henderson Family October 24, 2008 - 11:32 am

Great post!! Praise the Lord as He has led us to teach our children this from birth. They both have always known that they would not date and would save their first kiss for marriage. Our oldest is 13 and can not imagine it any other way. I pray more Christians realize the danger in dating.

Word Warrior October 24, 2008 - 11:52 am

As several have mentioned, is is CRUCIAL that this is taught early, which may require a number of changes in our thinking and/or lifestyle.

More to come…

Anonymous October 24, 2008 - 11:56 am



Stephanie October 24, 2008 - 12:22 pm

I completely agree Kelly! I am anxious to see your next posts on the subject!

Kim M. October 24, 2008 - 1:35 pm

Wow, I am so looking forward to ANYTHING you can post on this. I know very little about courtship personally, but I want it for our children. Except what to do? Where to start?

Jules October 24, 2008 - 2:58 pm

As a parent of a son who is pursuing the courtship route I can say that it has enormous value for the whole family! This beautiful girl that our son is courting and who has been introduced to the family, we feel free to love without any reservation or fear that next week/month/whenever there’ll be a new love interest.

Our eldest son followed the modern route, and even though he only seriously dated one girl, we didn’t feel the same sense of freedom to love and open up to this girl until the time of their wedding.

Also, as a parent it’s a real blessing to see your children making decisions about a marriage partner after much prayer, thought and seeking advice of others rather than letting their hormones dictate their behaviour.

Kelly L October 24, 2008 - 3:06 pm

Wonderful Post! My daughter is 8 and we have already begun to talk about this. Although I had never heard anything like it, we went to a Barlow Girl concert 3 years ago. They said they asked the Lord if they could date. His answer? “NO. I didn’t make your hearts to be broken over and over.” I had never heard that! What an impact it made for me and my husband and then 5 yr old girl. A great book to teach our children this concept is “The Princess and the Kiss” by Jennie Bishop. My daughter even uses the names of the unGodly princes to identify the kind of behavior she sees in life. I know there is a similar book for boys, but cannot remember the name. Sorry for the long post, thought someone would want to know about the great book.

Civilla October 24, 2008 - 3:16 pm

So, give us “plan B” already!

Catherine R. October 24, 2008 - 3:59 pm


One thing I think needs to happen is that we equip young people for marriage, something that is also sorely lacking. Then you won’t have to wait till you’re 40 because you’re too immature to handle it. The longer a person spends past sexual maturity, the greater the chances of them getting into some seriously bad habits, especially in this world.

Personally the whole “gift of singleness” thing in the Christian culture is driving me nuts. Not everyone can “be like Paul”, that’s a rare calling. The vast majority of us are “burners”!

I can attest to the damage of dating though. I have lived with guys and had far too many notches in the belt, if you know what I’m saying. I wish someone would have provided guidance to me and told me it’s okay to prepare for marriage and not go around “practicing” on every guy I meet.

Catherine R. October 24, 2008 - 4:03 pm

One more thing. Going around being intimate with people outside of marriage has serious consequences when you do finally get married and try to do things right.


when you have Jesus you are NOT comdemned to live a life of tragedy! Healing can and does happen.

The Mangerchine's October 24, 2008 - 4:31 pm

It is sad to look at middle school and high school kids dating and trying to act like they are married adults. Trying to mimic the intimacy, closeness, etc., all of these things that they are not emotionally prepared for yet, nor ready to commit to and bare the consequences and responsibility of.

It is sad for the array of hearts that have been given away prematurely, numerous times, and are now wounded and carrying baggage, all of which could have been avoided if relationships had not been pursued until marriage was being pursued.


HC October 25, 2008 - 11:14 pm

Hey, Kelly, can you tell me what radio program/stattion you were listening to with Chip Ingram?


Anonymous October 30, 2008 - 2:24 pm

Sorry, I don’t see how courtship is a “one-size-fits-all” method, if you don’t live in a tiny town or a tightly constructed church. I don’t, and I don’t believe in hiding behind my house’s walls until the perfect man happens to stroll by. You can only protect your children so far; once they’re adults, they should make these decisions for themselves and it is NO longer your job to deliver them “unscathed”.


Word Warrior October 30, 2008 - 3:02 pm


At what age does a young woman no longer need protection and the loving guidance of her parents? And where did you get that information?

BTW, I said the opposite of “courtship is a one-size-fits-all”…I said it is NOT that. It’s different with everyone. It’s an idea, not an activity. It can work for virtually any situation, even a less ideal one with uninvolved parents.

Rebecca June 11, 2015 - 3:46 pm

So grateful for modern day prophets, who have guided us on this issue. I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and when young people follow the guidelines put in place, they can successfully navigate the dating scene, remain clean and pure before God, and still enjoy the benefits of getting to know a variety of personalities before committing to marriage. My husband and were both pure (never did more than kiss, no making out either) when we married, despite the fact that I dated dozens of young men, and dated a fair number of girls also. Almost all of our friends in college followed the same path–you must be clean and pure before God to be married in the temple, and thousands of LDS youth do it every year.

Rebecca June 11, 2015 - 3:47 pm

I meant “he” dated young women. Ha ha! 🙂

Kelly Crawford June 11, 2015 - 5:31 pm

I’m glad you clarified that. 😉


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