Home dating/courtship Recreational (Modern) Dating is Absurd

Recreational (Modern) Dating is Absurd

by Kelly Crawford

It is. The new (Yes, dating as we know it has only been around for a few decades, in which time, by the way, the divorce rate has sky-rocketed. The possible connection is noteworthy.) recreational activity of “girlfriend and boyfriend” at young ages, with no intent of marriage is one of the craziest experiments in human history, has had some of the most detrimental consequences, and YET, the majority of parents allow it–no encourage it, with hardly any thought to the aforementioned pitfalls.

We’re surrounded this season, by several new families being born, young men and women who have not “dated” until they were ready to pursue marriage, and watching the excitement, the newness of man and woman awakening love for the first time is one of the most fascinating things to me, especially because it’s so rare.

It’s common, when there is a discussion about “dating” vs. “courtship” or whatever you want to call it (because “courtship” means a thousand things to a thousand people, and I don’t even like the term anymore) that people get tangled up in the terms, conditions,  and “how-to’s.” Of course those are good things to talk about, but first we need to establish the simple premise that the mainstream form of dating is insane in the first place.

It literally breaks my heart to see Christian parents encouraging an activity that not only has NO roots in Scripture (and actually violates it when you look at the warnings of temptation), but also is a terrible concept, even on a secular plane, for preparing young people for marriage and adulthood.

Recreational dating is:

  • a distraction. Just when a young person is in a prime position to broaden his gifts, study, invest time and energy into his family, hone interests and talents, grow spiritually and so many other things, a dating relationship can become all-consuming, robbing him of his best years, time and energy.
  • unfaithfulness to one’s spouse. An unmarried boy and girl, man or woman, are to treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. To do more is to defile a person that will be someone’s spouse one day. Jesus talks about “presenting a spotless bride” for a reason. Purity, body and mind, was, and should be for us, an expected gift that our children give to their spouses.
  • completely pointless. To be involved romantically with someone you don’t intend to marry is something only the most recent generations think is normal. If you really think about, the idea is absurd and we should be ashamed for going along with this notion born from a self-indulgent, sex-crazed society, made popular when the birth control pill became accessible. That, if nothing else, should give us great pause.
  • a callousness toward divorce. Recalling feelings as fast as you first felt them and being able to “break up” without consequence, repeatedly, is the worst possible habit to form before marriage.

I am praying for a revolution among believers. That we would think about our choices and hold them up in light of truth, not compare them to what everyone else is doing. If we want something different for our children (it is now more common to be divorced than stay married) why aren’t we willing to raise them differently?


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Christin Slade April 1, 2013 - 6:32 pm

I agree with all your points. It’s probably the prime reason I continue to watch our youth get pregnant out of wedlock again and again and again. It’s heartbreaking.

Word Warrior April 1, 2013 - 8:03 pm

I agree Christin, it really is.

Lori April 1, 2013 - 6:52 pm

All of my children, but one, waited until they were marriageable age to “date.” Dating, when age appropriate, means to go out to coffee and hang out in groups to see if they might be “the one.” The one who had a girlfriend in high school said it was a mistake. I was always asking him if he treated her like a sister with all purity! They all are happy we protected them from youthful foolishness.

Word Warrior April 1, 2013 - 8:04 pm

What a blessing, Lori!

Jennifer April 1, 2013 - 10:29 pm

They never need any one-on-one time to know whether someone is their future other half for the rest of their lives?

healthyhappywelladjusted February 4, 2014 - 11:23 am

seriously? I know that I found my husband, and value his faith,unconditional love, respect for me, and trust him completely with my whole heart ONLY because I was allowed and encouraged to date when I was a teenager and in my early twenties. Knowing what made me feel empowered, valued, and complete only came about because I was able to sort through other relationships with guidance and support from my family. I’m sorry- but I disagree. I think that telling children that they should only be looking for a spouse when dating sells the experience short and ends with unhappy marriages filled with prayers to try and CHANGE a person instead of being able to find your perfect mate by growing and evaluating yourself and what you need with the love, support, and council of your family when you are young. Shame on parents who keep their children sheleterd and socially repressed- that’s how we get sex-apps like tinder and random people searching to hook up- because they are desperate for love and don’t know how to properly find it!

Kelly Crawford February 4, 2014 - 11:36 am

Actually, Healthy,

Yes, seriously. It’s interesting that though you apparently have never experienced/heard of/seen this “new” idea in action (which is really the old, original way of finding a spouse), you feel confident to say “that’s what’s wrong with so many marriages”, while simultaneously praising the common recreational model, but denying the horrific failure that it is. Very interesting way of coming to conclusions.

Keri April 1, 2013 - 6:59 pm

Very interesting topic!! We never encouraged our kids to date when they were younger. We now have four in their 20’s and two teens. One of our kids(for the sake of privacy here)didn’t date someone..but hung around with the group of young people and still got a heart-ache but has dealt with it. When you care about people-it can still happen. I know it could have been alot worse with much more heartache.When I hear people say things like “Guard your heart”, I know what they are talking about but it doesn’t always work that way when they are a little older and of marrying age and they start talking and sharing interests. Such is life. Don’t mean that to sound flippant.

We now have a 24yr.old engaged son! It really is the perfect story..lol.He met her at our church.She is the only person he has ever dated. She is from Germany and had never heard of courtship. He started by doing yard work for her dad who had hurt his back…right..They invited him one night to stay for dinner. The next visit to do more yard work, he asked her dad if he could see her and her dad said yes.In the beginning it was mostly at her house with family around. In three weeks time, he came home one night and said “I have found the one and she feels the same way”. My husband and I were like Woa!! slow down. They knew what they were talking about and are now engaged with the wedding in the spring of 2014.

It really has been a lovely thing to watch(for all of us)as they have figured out things and the time frame.He’s still saving money, working full time and starting his own business which she is already helping him with.They have had lots of time to talk and work out many issues.It has been one of the biggest blessings in my life to see how the Lord has guided them through all this and prepares them.Yes..Christian young people will take stands of purity without being told when it is in their hearts. Probably the key is that they were older. They are now 24 and 20.

We honestly didn’t give him any rules to follow except we did ask that he not be alone in the house with her when her family is not there. They are adults and we have been amazed as we have watched them set guidelines out of their commitment to the Lord and each other. We are by no means the experts here..lol. The Grace of God and their own faith and convictions are a wonderful thing! She still lives with her family and he still lives with us until the wedding.

With her family never having heard of courtship, my son was able to talk to her father about dating her and respecting her and simply because he knew him from church-He must have been okay with it and when my son let him know that yes..he wanted to marry her, her dad just asked him to wait until a certain time frame and then to let him know when he was going to propose. So when he did go to talk to him about that when she was out of town after the hardest talk of my son’s life-He got permission!! Praise God!

Looking forward to hearing other stories!

Word Warrior April 1, 2013 - 8:03 pm

I love to hear about different family’s stories–thanks for sharing yours!

Jennifer April 5, 2013 - 10:49 pm

Kelly, please read my FB status when you have the time; I need you and my other friends. Thank you.

Jen April 1, 2013 - 7:38 pm

I absolutely agree with this! I am the only girl my husband has ever kissed. We met our Jr. year in college. He was very up front with me and told me that he wasn’t interested in kissing me unless he could tell me that he loved me and wanted to marry me. It only took a few weeks for me to realize he was my future husband. Our wedding day was the one year anniversary of our first kiss and his wedding band is made from the gold that was once my purity ring. His kisses are a constant reminder of how treasured I am and his wedding band is a symbol of the commitment I made to him before I even knew who he was. Even though our children are toddlers, we still share our story with them. They are never too young to instill such important values in their hearts! We are very excitedly celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary this summer.

Word Warrior April 1, 2013 - 8:02 pm

Praise the Lord, Jen!

Jennifer April 3, 2013 - 9:39 pm

Do men ever wear purity rings, Jen?

Cindy April 1, 2013 - 8:04 pm

Had this conversation with my dad a few days ago. He let me date. I hope he doesn’t think I blame him, but what an awful, awful thing that was for my future. Dating made me feel anything but loved. I remember wondering how my father could just let me go with these guys. Not a single one of them was good enough for a decent girl. Which I wasn’t. Because I felt unloved because my father let me go out with them. Vicious cycle, that. 😉

Word Warrior April 1, 2013 - 9:06 pm

Same experience here, Cindy. My dad knew something was terribly wrong with the system. He would *beg* me to “just be friends”, which was a silly, desperate effort to try to stop a train wreck.

tereza crump aka mytreasuredcreations April 2, 2013 - 2:49 am

Sounds like my story which ended in a train wreck: married to a guy who had a child with another woman while married to me and then divorced me. By the Grace of God, the Lord arranged my second marriage to a godly man who had put into God’s hands his destiny. We met and married within 5 weeks. We spent 2 hours together, then 5000 miles apart getting to know each other via phone and internet. I am from Brazil, he is American. He came to get me, asked my parents’ permission and blessing. We flew back to the US at the end of the week and got married a week later. God’s doing… crazy stuff… really outside the box. No dating, no courting. Just meeting, hearing God speak and say we were meant for each other and obeying.

12 years later… we are still happily married with 4 beautiful children. We both just wished that we had been obedient when we were younger (we married at 29 and 39 y.o. respectively) so that we could have met earlier and enjoyed each other so much more.

That’s why one thing I tell young people why the time: don’t date… put your life in God’s hands, He has amazing things for you. 🙂 God is good!!!

Gabriella April 1, 2013 - 8:28 pm

Your kids have not started dating or courtship yet. With all due respect, shouldn’t you wait till you have some experience in this matter? It may be more complex than you think. Young adults can (and will) make their own decisions–as they should, since our training should be done at this point.

When you have a few kids in their 20’s, Kelly, that will be the time for this post!

Word Warrior April 1, 2013 - 9:05 pm


First, you don’t know that. So don’t assume things you don’t know.

Secondly, you don’t wait until your kids are grown to teach them a concept. The post is about not encouraging/allowing your kids to recreationally date. I have kids. I am fully qualified to speak on raising them.

Beth M. April 1, 2013 - 9:21 pm

I don’t see why experience as a parent of dating/courting children is necessary to this discussion. Having been through it herself should be more than enough. My husband was the first person I ever dated, but he had dated a few other girls before we met. It doesn’t upset me, but I can tell those relationships hurt him. I am very grateful not to have a string of exes and broken relationships behind me.

I don’t really care whether whether you call it courtship or dating, nor do I care about the particulars of the process, allowing or encouraging young people to engage in romantic relationships before they are ready to seriously consider marriage is playing with fire. Of course young adults can and will make their own decisions, but parents can and should influence those decisions, starting by talking about such things far in advance.

Eva April 2, 2013 - 11:00 pm

Whoa. Um, how do you know Kelly hasn’t had experience with this in her past? And maybe she had bad experiences which is why she never wants her kids to have to go through them? I think she’s a little bit harsh on this subject but did you consider that maybe she has the right to be?

Michelle April 3, 2013 - 8:40 am

The author’s own experiences with dating/courtship/waiting as a young adult give her authority enough to write this article about her opinions. We raise our children and train-them-up based on our own experiences and beliefs. That is the only way a parent can guide her children. She need not wait to experiment on her own children before formulating a thought on the subject. That would be absurd.

Hayley April 1, 2013 - 10:05 pm

I totally agree and this topic is close to my heart. My husband and I have just celebrated our 16th Anniversary of our marriage to one another (I’m 34 and he’s 38.) In Australia especially that’s rare (to marry so early.) We met at church when I was a week off 18 and he was 22. He was unemployed at the time. I was encouraged by a lady who was 26 and divorced (I was not a new Christian but a baby Christian when it came to understanding of Christian values) what to do to find a husband even though the thought had never crossed my mind. I believe God had it work for my good anyway. My parents just wanted their space and for me to have a good time. I didn’t see any point in going out night clubbing only to get drunk and not remember whether it was a good time or not. So I went to church instead 🙂 My parents consider themselves Christian but are anti-Christ in their values and lifestyle so that’s how I was raised and expected me not to marry the “first one to come along” but to date and be intimate with multiple men or women (if I felt inclined that way.) God protected me through all this and I ended up frustrated with the older “godly” woman and just prayed in exasperation to the Lord “is my husband at this church or not otherwise I’m off on a working holiday to England?” (I have dual citizenship…my mother is English and my then married mother met my dad in a pub over there.) Probably not the best way to pray about a future husband but the Lord used it all the same and He guided me when I was desperate for guidance and the church offered none either. He answered me and said yes and I heard Him (I couldn’t believe I got an answer as I didn’t really expect one.) From that time to becoming married was three weeks and we then had a fancy wedding 18 months later. I’m expecting our 11th child in August and we homeschool and are establishing our home business and are moving to a farm we just bought; it’s very exciting 🙂 I think the idea of waiting can be good sometimes too.
In our society people also wait to long and have just as many problems (sometimes more) than people who marry “young.” The media now call a woman with a first child at 40 a “young mum” that used to be considered an old mum. Peoples marriages aren’t lasting longer or are not happier because the median marriage age is around 30. The Bible says if a women be passed “the flower of her age” (I think it says) it says not to prevent them from marrying. So that’s if she’s menstruating. I think the average age for menses is a little lower than it used to be but I think generally the Bible had young marriages in mind, with some exceptions. I think women’s “education” has increased the “proper waiting period” before marriage in the West and it is now starting to impact the third world through “education programs” which are tied to birth control/population reduction of coloured people. The people driving this don’t like black people or disabled people (or true Christians.) I love all these people BTW just in case I’m accused of being “racist” a term coined by a homosexual to be used against white people (I don’t think we are any better either…caveat.) There are no distinctions with the Lord we are all one in Christ Jesus, Amen. Ok a little off topic there I know, sorry. I think if your marriage is in Christ (marriage isn’t a bit of paper BTW) and both of you believe it is then it will last, end of story no matter the circumstances; all things are possible with Him. Past relationships can come back to mentally haunt us and can be worked through by His Grace and He can erase memories, Amen. Just my .2c, thank you Kelly for bringing this up. It’s good to have something to aim at in our families as far as standards; even if they don’t always work out that way. We are to train them in the way they “should” go not the way they would go based on their own sinfulness…don’t give up the battle Kelly {{{HUGS}}}. I see this sometimes when you have someone who shares their moral conviction (what their aim is with their life or their families) and someone who hasn’t had it work out the way they had hoped tell the one who hasn’t gone through it yet they shouldn’t have such high expectations/morals because it doesn’t always work out (it didn’t for them.) I don’t have to take crack cocaine to know it’s going to be bad for me; I can see it’s effects on others. Don’t listen to the detractors Kelly, you have sound advice. I hope this has made sense it was meant to encourage Kelly that this was a timely post, even if it only applies a little to Kelly, anyway Kelly was young once too; we all were and have something to contribute. God bless you all.

Beth April 2, 2013 - 7:17 am

Ive never really understood the big deal over dating vs. courtship. I grew up in a Christian family. I was allowed to date. I met my husband when I was 15. At first, he really just came over and hung out with our family (he was a friend of my brothers) or we would go to school things together. After a couple of years, my parents knew him well enough that they were comfortable with us going on actual dates by ourselves. Then I married him. 🙂 I don’t know, maybe that is courtship and not dating?

Rachel April 2, 2013 - 7:47 am

Beth, it does not sound like typical dating to me. When I think of dating it is more a cycle of hook up, break up, hook up, break up….until you find the one. The idea of going out with lots of people until you find what you like. What you had, while not intentionally courtship, was closer to that than “dating”. You are blessed to stumble into that!

Beth April 2, 2013 - 12:09 pm

You might be right about that. When I got older, and before my now husband and I were exclusive and serious, I did go out on occasional dates with others. They were just for fun and I never developed any kind of emotional attachment with them, so I didn’t really experience the whole break up, get back together thing. I was only allowed to go on dates with boys that my parents knew their families. And my parents always knew where we were going and when we were supposed to be home. I guess courtship to me means a boy approaching the father, getting permission to pursue his daughter and the couple always having a chaperone. I had a friend who did the courtship thing and it turned out very badly and she was hurt. Her parents basically pressured her into the relationship and treated them as an engaged couple and she was nowhere near ready for marriage. I guess dating and courtship like the post said can mean many different things to different people. In any event, it was obvious that God brought my husband and I together and I am so very blessed!

Jennifer April 7, 2013 - 3:44 pm

I don’t think a chaperone is necessary or beneficial in every meeting.

Beverly April 2, 2013 - 7:48 am

I think it is mostly about attitude. I started dating in college, and I NEVER dated anyone I couldn’t see myself marrying. Otherwise, dating is pointless.

Kimberly April 2, 2013 - 8:35 am

I thought my parents were strict and not being a religious family they were compared to my friends I couldn’t date until 17 and when I had reached the age to date I couldn’t wait. I was to only date in groups and a friend asked me to go on a blind date. I was so excited and that night turned out to be one of the worst experience any girl should have to go through. I was alone with this guy and he raped me. I froze and then hid from everyone. Instead of telling I reclused and decided to act as it never happened. I started to drink and by the the time I graduated high school was promiscuous. Praise God He saved me that summer and I met my husband. I only share because my parents thought they were strict and it would protect us from getting pregnant young. I have raised my boys to believe there is already someone out there chosen by God to be their helpmeet and when they wait and trust Him He will supply their need. My oldest is 20 and is waiting for the right one. My other boys are 16 and younger and they talk to girls from various places but they don’t pursue anything for marriage. Just friendships and I think it is good to know how to treat others of the opposite sex. Not as objects to gain pleasure but as tender vessels and good natured friendships can be good learning tools. It has taken me 21 years of marriage to be willing to even discuss this incident over 22 years ago. I only pray I can help others before they go through something as horrific as a rape or any violation.

Erica April 3, 2013 - 4:36 pm

I can completely sympathize with you. My parents tried to be “strict” telling me not to date, or giving me an age limit at when I could date. Yet I was able to go to church functions – and youth group activities. My parents never had “the talk” with me because in their eyes I couldn’t date so it was a non-issue. I also pulled away and didn’t want to talk about it…I was 15 and it happened in the church by a fellow youth group member. Before it happened I was completely believing that I was going to be a virgin until I got married. But drinking & drug use led me down a different path – and while ‘dating’ I believed that I had already lost my virginity so having sex was no longer an issue. Boy was I wrong!

Now I know better…and thankfully God has used what happened to me for me to be better parent to my own children. I talk to them all the time about dating/sex/marriage. My main message is that they need to grow up and find themselves (see who it is God wants them to be), not to mention develop a firm and steadfast relationship with God, before they are even ready to be married…or date (whatever you want to call it). Thankfully the only types of relationships that any of my kids have had was with one of my 15 yr olds – and they were strictly online relationships with girls that also went to his online school…they lived across the country so no fear of sex or anything bad happening. I am thankful that he had those experiences because he realized that dating at his age was just not for him. The girls played games and acted like a lot of young girls (non-Christian girls I should say) as far as their mannerisms, speech, and actions.

I’m sorry that you suffered silently for so long. But it great that you have used that experience to guide your own children.

Word Warrior April 4, 2013 - 8:12 am

Kimberly–I am so sorry for the horrible thing that happened to you. I fear that it happens much more than anyone is aware. I, too, had some horrible experiences at a very young age that set me on a destructive dating path. Praise God for His mercy and healing, but those things DO stay with you.

Charlotte Moore April 2, 2013 - 8:42 am

AMEN!!!! Oh, how I wish I had known this years ago for myself and for our kids. Thank the LORD we celebrate our 46th anniversary this month. Had some heartbreaks before we met though. Thank the LORD I never had to worry about getting pregnant though as we were taught it was wrong before marriage.

Keri April 2, 2013 - 8:57 am

I was just thinking about when my older kids were in their teen years.Most of the kids they hung around with were really not into dating. It was when they hit the late teen years that many of these young adults(18-19)started getting into the dating scene.My kids watched them and they watched many heartaches happen. Some of these resulted in young marraiges that sadly ended up in divorce. That was enough for my kids to see and want to avoid this.

Although my son and his fiance have kind of a long engagement-they got engaged in Aug. with the wedding in the spring of 2014, they have been told by some Christians that they should not have a long engagement. It really is a good thing for them as they are preparing in so many ways for marraige and are able to discuss so many things that my husband and I would never have thought of discussing before marraige.

One thing I would like to mention and I’ve probably made comments about it before, is that when we bring them up for the Lord, even when we make mistakes(His grace is so sufficient)and our kids see us admitting our mistakes and asking for forgiveness and they see us changing our ways-they will forgive you and move on. They can grow to be Strong Christian men and women for the Lord.

I think it is important to talk to them about all these things when they are young. In some ways the fact that many of us homeschool will shelter our kids from certain things (and yes..that can be a good thing in so many ways)..I recently told our youth director in a conversation..”I’m not going to apologize for sheltering my 14 yr.old”..I know he probably thinks we are a little odd at times and we are..lol..so I’m okay with that! We are actually very good friends with him and his wife and he is close in age to my oldest son..Okay-my point..We do need to shelter them when they are younger but as they are growing up..WE WE We as parents need to be the ones telling them and teaching them about the stuff in the world that they are going to see and hear about when they are grown.When we ask..he will give the wisdom to the time frame.

Don’t be legalistic in your upbringing of your children! One of the biggest surprise with my son now being engaged is some of the comments from people in church. Most of them think it’s great and are very supportive and happy for them. Every once in a while I get the..”Well..My Sons are not getting married until they are finished with college and own a house”..or “My son will NEVER be alone with a girl(always chaperoned)..or that my son sits to close to his fiance in church..There are more that I will refrain from..lol.

Don’t fear that your kids are going to make the same mistakes you did in your younger years. Yes..they will make mistakes. Will you be there to listen and pick them up and remind them of forgiveness? My husband and I have discovered that kids raised in a Christian home..can have their own faith and convictions and values and obedience to the Lord!

David April 2, 2013 - 9:40 am

+1 on the encouragement to not be legalistic. I dated before marriage but learned a lot through experience (more emotional maturity), my wife didn’t date and I was blessed that she chose me.

I think a lot of the courtship stuff is just a source of false pride. Try to figure out who your kids are and encourage them to avoid poor decisions. Do not yield whether they date or not on physical contact. Most kids, teenage boys especially, are not mature enough to handle that kind of thing.

Just a contrarian opinion from a person who has seen it all in American Christian subculture.

tammy April 2, 2013 - 10:35 am

A hearty amen especially to your last paragraph. We need to think intentionally and act on that intentionality. A needed post!

Rebekah April 2, 2013 - 11:58 am

Not intentionally, but by God’s grace, my husband and I were each others first. I am grateful to my husbands philosophy that he would never kiss a girl he would not be married to. I see so much heartbreak from the dating cycle, and I’m thankful to be spared that.

My children are taught to not date. I do not have a definition of this exactly, but I think the heart of the matter is not spending time with someone just to spend time with them, or fill a hole. I think dating, courting, whatever must be done with the intention of this person being the friend you will spend your life with. Good friendships are adequate ways to get to know if the relationship is lasting, and then an appropriate plan can be made from there. My husband knew I was the “one” when we were very young, much faster than I did. I know many men say they know pretty confidently, and early on who is the right girl as well.

The fact is, no one wants to be married anymore, and just dates anyway, which is hurtful, wasteful, and wrong. I know many people want to argue that dating is not wrong, but they are missing the heart of the issue! This is not a conversation about a set of rules, but about the state of our kids hearts, their respect for others, their values and our job as their protectors.

Parents really need to examine the values they are building and the attitudes of their hearts on this matter!

Gail April 2, 2013 - 12:36 pm

When I look back, I wish my only relationship had been with my husband. It leaves so much history in our memories. Along with other choices I made. I think it is very important to be upfront with our kids at the appropriate age what our experiences were and talk about what makes a good friendship, relationship, marriage, etc. Young people don’t know what to look for, and it is typically a taboo subject for families to discuss. I know I never had those types of discussions with my family, and even if they didn’t stop me from dating, it may have made me stop myself or at least be more thoughtful about it. And, in all honesty, this has nothing to do with Christian beliefs, although I am one. It has to do with the real damage that it can do that you will continue to reflect on throughout your life because you cannot erase the memories you don’t want to think about. I also think that it is important share that once you have sex, it is harder and harder with each relationship to wait, and it is easier to have a one-night stand just so you don’t feel lonely when you go to sleep that night—but you will in the morning!!!!

Toni April 2, 2013 - 12:46 pm

This article is great… The real focus of dating should be marriage (getting to know this person well enough to find out if he/she will be the right, God-given partner for them). It doesn’t matter what you call it, if dating (or courtship)is for that reason, then I believe it will have God’s blessing! But… just a warning, your heart can still get broken. As a Christian young lady in a non-Christian home, I determined to only “get to know” someone in a dating fashion if I believed they may be a possible husband. My heart did get broken a couple of times because after time, either he or I had to break off the relationship. That just made my relationship with my husband even sweeter when we committed our lives to each other, and God has blessed us with almost 22 yrs. of marriage.

Carolina April 2, 2013 - 8:15 pm

Recreational dating is a very good practice for divorce: I am with you today, but do not know about tomorrow.

Jennifer April 2, 2013 - 9:06 pm

Please, dating to look for a spouse is not like marriage at all.

Barkis April 3, 2013 - 6:43 am

You’re right Jennifer….which is why it does nothing to prepare you for marriage. There are always exceptions, there are always those who dated serially without making mistakes, there are always those who “feel” that their dating experiences were well and good, but I hope we can all agree that the current “hook-up” culture does nothing for anyone. Children as young as 10 or 12 are encouraged to have boyfriends/girlfriends, pre-teens and teens are encouraged, even expected, to have intimate physical and emotional relationships. But no one usually expects these relationships to last. We even have a name for it: puppy love. Our culture treats these date and ditch relationships as normal, as part of growing up, and if by chance one of those relationships does begin to lead towards marriage, we (and I mean that in the collective sense of society) begin to panic, claiming that they are “too young.”
Of course there is no need for legalism, or a 5 step program for finding your spouse. This will look different for each family, and probably even for each child. But that doesn’t mean we should just sit back, and let current culture dictate how our children view dating/courting and marriage. We may not all agree on the “how to’s” but I hope we can all agree that the current dating culture and divorce rates show that something has gone terribly wrong. It would be foolish to sit back and say “Well, kids will be kids. It’s just part of growing up.”

Jennifer April 5, 2013 - 10:25 pm

Courtship is not like marriage either, but I’m guessing you believe that does prepare people for marriage. I despise our hookup culture, but have no problem with adults dating adults to see if it goes to marriage.

Barkis April 6, 2013 - 7:47 am

If by courtship you mean young people who are pledged to each other by their parents and who never spend one waking moment alone together before marriage, then no, I would have to say I don’t believe that really prepares you for marriage either.

And “dating” as it’s typically known in our culture, a chance meeting between people who find each other attractive and spend almost all of their time alone, putting themselves in tempting situations, never getting to know the person’s families….no, I would say that type of “dating” doesnt’ do anything to prepare you for the realities of marriage, of life done together.

It seems that our disagreement comes from a different defition of the word “dating.” I don’t really care what people call it, there has to be an intent to know someone and to seek marriage with them to even remotely begin to prepare for marriage.

Carolina April 2, 2013 - 8:17 pm

also: in each relationship we give away something (physical or not) that can never be recovered.

Annie D April 2, 2013 - 9:30 pm

After 20 years of marriage, I can say with confidence that nothing in my dating years taught me anything useful about being married. Thanks for raising this standard, Kelly. I read it to my 11 year old during school time today. She gets it.

Jodi April 2, 2013 - 9:36 pm

why do we continue to support school dances (other than a senior prom just for seniors) at our local schools. I am proud to say my school district does not try to raise money for the school by holding dances for any younger than 17!!!

Candice April 2, 2013 - 9:52 pm

Thank you for this article. I completely agree.

Eva April 2, 2013 - 11:41 pm

I think age doesn’t really matter too much, just the person’s maturity. My parents never dated anyone but each other. They met when my mom was 13 and my dad was 19, so of course nothing went on then. But they ended up going to the same college 2 years later, and started dating when my mom was 16. They got engaged a few months later, and got married a month after my mom turned 17 and when my dad was 23. I was born 10 months later. Most people would think they were too young, but they obviously were mature enough. My mom just had their 10th child and they have been married for 18 years. I am 17, and going to the same college they did this fall (BYU Idaho)! It is basically the place where Mormons go to find other Mormons to marry, while getting a great education. I think it has the highest marriage rate out of any university in America. This scares me a little, because I don’t feel mature enough to get married yet! But I am relieved a little, because pretty much if someone asks you on a date there, it is because they are looking for someone to marry. So if you aren’t ready for marriage you just say no! I am glad I will be away from home though. I love my home and my family so much, but I don’t like the idea of my parents watching me all the time, monitoring who I date, etc. I will always seek their advice and counsel of course, but dating, when you are at the stage to marry, is something people need to do on their own. Parents shouln’t have a place in it other than to offer advice and counsel.

Jen April 3, 2013 - 8:12 am

As with most of my concerns about the posts here, it’s the dogmatic/judgmental way in which they are presented that bothers me. Of course, you are entitled to your beliefs and to do as God directs you to for your family and children, but presenting the opposite as sin is what bothers me. I don’t believe that scripture presents a hard and fast rule one way or the other so in this “gray” area, it may be nice to be gracious to those who don’t necessarily hold your beliefs about something that God has not clearly stated is sin.

Also, I know of quite a few “arranged” marriages or courtship marriages that have ended in divorce or been very unhappy even abusive. Courtship certainly doesn’t guarantee a godly, loving marriage. To assume so is absurd.

Word Warrior April 3, 2013 - 9:25 am


I think the post must hit a nerve for you, based on the knee-jerk accusation of my “dogmatic and judgmental” tone. I have laid out nothing in the form of “rules” or guidelines to be called “dogmatic”.

It is a dangerous thing for Christians to assume Scripture doesn’t present principles for all of living. Finding a spouse is no exception. Your comment insinuates that you can’t look to God’s Word for any guidance in the most important decisions of life if it isn’t laid out, verbatim, for you.

Recreational dating is an activity where young people are encouraged and exposed to a level of temptation far beyond what adults are expected to endure. That’s just the beginning.

They are encouraged to have feelings for a person that most likely will not be their spouse but someone else’s. Romantic attraction is forbidden in Scripture, among young singles.

“Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” 1 Timothy 5:2

Based on that Scripture alone, Christians can say, with all confidence, that our culture’s form of recreational dating does not encourage this behavior. That is not dogmatic, it is biblical.

Furthermore, how is it possible to present a bride “pure and spotless” to her husband when she has engaged in multiple, romantic relationships during her youth? Even in the rare exceptions of physical purity, there is emotional purity, just as vital, if not more, to the health of a marriage.

You know of “courtships” that have failed. I do too. We don’t formulate principles around a pragmatic, cursory glance of others’ experiences. I know pastors who have affairs. It doesn’t mean that being a pastor is the root of the problem. Sin reigns among humans. We don’t follow a pattern because it is “fail-proof”; we follow, as much as we can discern, what is right and true from Scripture because it is right and true.

Perhaps a deeper study of this subject might be in order before you react from your emotions.

Hannah April 4, 2013 - 3:03 pm

OKAAAAAYYYYYYY. Upon reading some of these comments, I decided to leave another comment.

1. Be VERY, VERY careful when posting/reading a single verse. Context is very important when reading or talking about God’s word, as in any conversation now. Example: 1 Timothy 5:2. “Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” 1 Timothy 5:2

This does not forbid dating. Dating does not automatically impurity. But yes, one does need to be extremely careful when getting romantically (or otherwise) involved.

Hannah April 4, 2013 - 3:04 pm

OOOPS. Wha..?
Didn’t mean to post this as reply to this specific comment… Oops.

Word Warrior April 4, 2013 - 3:10 pm


Context IS important. But that doesn’t eliminate using a verse to extract a principle for applying to our lives. When one goes on a typical, recreational date, the implication in our culture is that it is romantic. Even if an innocent “holding hands” is all that is involved, that act alone disregards this admonition of treating a young man or woman as a brother or sister. It is a very applicable verse to guide our motives and behavior as it applies to the topic of dating. In America, I don’t think “dating” is ever considered an activity two people decide to engage in because they feel “brotherly or sisterly” toward one another 😉

We have to apply some logic, combined with Scripture, on specific subjects that aren’t explicitly outlined.

Mrs B April 5, 2013 - 7:29 pm

Bible Study time…oh Wonderful!!!
Exodus 20:14
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Matthew 5:28
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
1 Corinthians 6:9
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived:neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
1 Thessalonians 5:22
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
Proverbs…oh just read a chapter a day and you’ll get the picture :-).

If we are guiding our children toward a walk with God, we have to point them in the right direction with what HE has to say about the matter. Of course they may choose differently, God grants the opportunity to them as surely as He has to us. But if we have done our job as a parent or guardian or influential adult, we’ve pointed them to what God says about entering into the covenental relationship HE designed.

Mrs B April 5, 2013 - 7:43 pm

Oops… Should’ve included the rest of..,
1 Corinthians 6:10
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Look, as a parent I know I haven’t lived the perfect model life for my children to follow. And I can’t put my hands on their feet 24 hours a day to direct their sometimes wicked deceitful hearts (per Jer 17:9). But …

2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Sooo…prayerfully and hopefully our precious children’s hearts are not hardened to hear what The Lord wants to communicate to them. He loves them better than the world with its conventional wisdom and cultural “norms”, right????

Jennifer April 5, 2013 - 10:10 pm

Well, there’s no way to get to the covenantal union unless there’s some romance BEFORE marriage. Romantic feelings and love, that is. The brother and sister feelings have to end somewhere before the rings go on.

Jennifer April 5, 2013 - 10:14 pm

“Romantic attraction is forbidden in Scripture, among young singles”

Kelly..that surely can’t be possible. Not in the entirety in which that sentence seems to present it, which is why I’m asking for clarification. For one thing, romantic feelings can happen REGARDLESS of whether any actions do; you can’t stop any and all attractions from occuring. Secondly, as I said above, there has to be some romantic feelings SOMEWHERE before marriage, or you might as well indeed be marrying a brother or sister.

Word Warrior April 6, 2013 - 7:54 am

To clarify what I mean,

I think that verses urges us to shun the recreational mentality of viewing every person of the opposite sex as a potential romantic partner–the “hook up” culture you mentioned. That isn’t to say that at the point one is pursing a spouse, and gets to know someone he/she feels might be the one, that romantic feelings would be inappropriate. I would add, that many decided to act on those feelings until marriage is imminent.

Jennifer April 6, 2013 - 12:51 pm

Thank you, that’s what I was asking about.

Mrs B April 5, 2013 - 10:26 pm

I don’t think it’s too hard to get beyond those brother -sister feelings if we really trust God to show us who He’s designed for us;-).
But trust is a scary thing–and that’s why leading our children in this direction isn’t merely a case where we can take them out to lunch and give them a box with a purity ring. A LOT must go into raising a person who trusts God with all aspects of his life: romantic, financial, emotional. As adults we too struggle with this same challenge. But…
Ephesians 6:12
…we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

We have to trust God. And we have to encourage our children to trust God. And we have to encourage each other to trust God. Because this fight–this war is in places we can’t even see or imagine.

Jennifer April 5, 2013 - 10:47 pm

The war in spirit, you mean? I can imagine; my insides are dead from battle. Or I would prefer that they were.

Mrs B April 5, 2013 - 11:29 pm

I hear ya, precious Sister!
Matthew 11:28-30
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Jennifer April 5, 2013 - 11:33 pm

He’s given me nothing. I’m dying alone.

Mrs B April 5, 2013 - 11:34 pm

And there is Someone Who knows even better than me…

Isaiah 53:1-5
Chapter 53
Who hath believed our report?
and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant,
and as a root out of a dry ground:
he hath no form nor comeliness;
and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:
and we hid as it were our faces from him;
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows:
yet we did esteem him stricken,
smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed.

Mrs B April 5, 2013 - 11:38 pm

Lord, please bless precious Jennifer. Let her feel Your love in the depths of her profound loneliness and despair. Please let her know that You loved her first, and You love her best. In Jesus name I pray. Amen

Jennifer April 5, 2013 - 11:47 pm

Thank you Mrs. B. God bless you.

Mrs B April 6, 2013 - 12:08 am

God bless you, sweet sister!

Hannah April 10, 2013 - 2:22 pm

OH!! Thank you, Mrs. B!! You don’t know how much of a blessing those references are. I knew they were in there, but I couldn’t tell you the references, and I need them right know… And.. Just thanks.

UM. Yeah, I’ll have to post a different comment.

Brittany April 3, 2013 - 8:31 am

I am so grateful for the fact that I never “dated” as a teenager. I did go on my first ‘date’ at age 20. It was intentional on my end, because I wanted to figure out what I was looking for in a husband. I intentionally chose a Godly man that could possibly be my husband. We ‘dated’ for three months, and during that time I discovered exactly what I was looking for and decided that he was not the man God had for me. I didn’t date again until I was 24. I met the man who was to be my husband and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was the one for me. Ironically, he did date, and even had a girlfriend at the time (he really regrets this part of our story lol), but over the course of 5 months of prayer, him doing yardwork for my mom, and more prayer, we were able to pursue a relationship. 5 months after the decision to date/court, we were engaged and then married a year after that.

My little sister has a similar story. The difference between our stories and others, is that when we did date, we did so intentionally, with the intention of preparing for marriage.

Deborah April 3, 2013 - 9:41 am

When I was in college the chaplain held a Bible study on what the Bible says about dating. He packed the house. No other fellowship meeting was better attended. He said the Bible does not mention dating. It says treat one another like brothers and sisters and do not deceive one another. Then he defined all the sins to avoid before marriage. That was that. No one ever mentioned the term courtship.

Cassandra April 3, 2013 - 10:24 am

1. I don’t think it’s fair for your children to pay the price of your sins. Most people don’t learn from the mistakes of others. Without context or a personal risk, it’s not going to make sense until or unless they experience some things themselves. Preventing your adult children from experiencing life because you don’t want them to “make the same mistakes” that you did is selfish. Of course, you want to help and protect them if and when you can, but a person cannot mature if they know that their parents are their to catch them before making a mistake, or stop them from learning.

2. If you believe that you’ve raised your children right, then by the time they’re adults, they should have a strong base of what’s right and wrong and how to do things themselves.

In most places in this country, 18 years old means adult. You can drive, vote, serve in the armed services, live on your own, work, etc. So why would an 18, 20, 24 or 30 year old adult need chaperones?

A couple to be married needs privacy to discuss intimate things such as possible children, finances, etc. before they take that commitment. If they (well, I have to refer to young women, since they are bred to be homemakers and mothers) are expected to be 100% ready on their day of marriage to cook, clean and procreate, they should be able to handle sitting with their fiancee alone without mommy, daddy and a bunch of little kids watching and listening.

3. Why is it that if you date several people, you’re giving away pieces of your heart, but that if you have several children, your love multiplies?

4.You said ““Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” 1 Timothy 5:2”

– Perhaps I wasted years earning a college degree in English, but I read this passage as a guideline to look for a spouse not among those (much) younger or older than you, but among those of similar age.

Just my thoughts.

Kelly L April 3, 2013 - 11:36 am


Not trying to contradict you on everything, but your first point is the problem with a lot of Christians and why we are not beacons for non-believers; we look just like them. The Bible says God gives wisdom to anyone who asks. Wisdom allows us to see the outcome of our actions without actually giving in to the the temptation. Based on the Book of Proverbs, we should be able to learn from the mistakes of others or that book was just a waste of time for the author and God. Since God doesn’t waste time, I believe we are to learn from the sin/mistakes/folly of others. I believe that is God’s intent.

I tell my daughter all the time that only the unwise have to learn the hard way or learn by doing. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Prov 1:7 What comes to mind is the wet paint sign. How many people still touch it to see if the sign is true?

I would also say I don’t think it is “fair” for children to pay the price for parents’ sins either. But they do. It is generational sin. “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:5-6

That is why it is so important for us to get ourselves right with God and then to instruct our children according to God’s ways and not let them fall into sin just for learning’s sake. If not for them, then for their children and grandchildren.

Just a couple of verses and thoughts that came to mind…

Kathleen April 3, 2013 - 3:04 pm

My children are 28, 26, 23 (girls) and one son who is 21. We did not encourage “recreational” dating. We home schooled. Our kids did a lot of group activities with all ages, boys and girls.

My oldest didn’t date until she was in her early 20’s. She dated a backslidden Christian (he lied about his faith) and that ended badly. She dated a non-Christian and that ended even worse. My kids decided that they needed to get together and give “approval” when they started dating someone. They came up with this themselves – we didn’t say one word! My oldest hasn’t dated in 5 years. She’s decided to wait.

Daughter #2 started dating a youth pastor 2 years ago. Things began to get serious. He felt this wasn’t what God wanted and ended the relationship. Unfortunately, he lied about the reason and gave my daughter false hope. It took her a year to get over this because he was engaged to someone else 6 months after they broke up. We liked him and so did the siblings.

Daughter #3 has never dated. She’s had plenty of opportunities, but has turned down the men who have asked her because she didn’t feel a peace in her heart.

My son is in Bible college, and has not, thank God, fallen into the “ring by spring” crowd. Many girls go to Christian colleges to get their MRS degree, and he has steered clear of those girls. He has a lot of friends, both men and women, and doesn’t plan on dating until he graduates.

I am blessed that my children have decided to look to courtship rather than recreational dating. We have not interfered in their lives because they are adults and can make their own decisions. We just pray for wisdom and guidance for them and offer our opinions when asked (well most of the time).

One thing I always told my kids is that you don’t want to try on guys (or girls) like coats to see which one fits best. God will bring the right one in His time.

Heather Newcomb April 3, 2013 - 4:10 pm

Thank you so much for writing this article! My oldest is a 12 year old boy and my family has started mentioning having a girlfriend to him. I have tried to explain it to them to no avail…even a few days ago at the Easter dinner! I am printing off 2 copies of this well worded post and am going to pass this around for clarification. 😉 Your blog is a blessing and a source of great encouragement for me. Thank you!

Word Warrior April 3, 2013 - 4:52 pm

Thank you, Heather!

Summer April 4, 2013 - 9:46 am

Too funny! That’s what I’m going to do! Just want to have a well-worded thing to hand them and then say, “Here, read this, then we can talk!” Thanks, Kelly!

Keri April 3, 2013 - 7:20 pm

Kathleen, Thanks for sharing that. I think people need to understand that just because these young adults do not want to get caught up in the typical dating scene and they wait longer and they wait for Christians, does Not mean that they will not go through things! My daughter went through a similar thing and it was tough.She was thankful that she was not more involved. Sometimes there hearts will just get hurt because they care.

One more question. I have honestly tried to find the term “courtship”in the Bible and I have not. I do believe that we can all honestly put such an emphasis on that term and what it Must be that it can just get out of hand. I know there are examples in the word but as far as I can tell that term is not used.

Becky April 3, 2013 - 7:30 pm

Thank you Kelly for continuing to present the truth, even when it may not be popular! I appreciate the encouragement as my daughter is 12 and some of her peers are now taking an interest in the opposite sex, it’s hard to convince even other believers that this is not a healthy thing nor wise to encourage.

Eva April 4, 2013 - 12:41 pm

Are you saying it’s not healthy for girls to like boys? Because it is. god gave us these feelings for a reason, and of course we have to act wisely and righteously on them, and be very careful when we are still young, but it’s wrong to say that “It’s not healthy to like boys when you are 12.” It is totally normal. What you should be telling her is that it is normal for her to like boys but that it is not normal or right for her to act on those feelings until she is older.

Kim M April 3, 2013 - 9:26 pm

I am so thankful that you are faithful to post about this, Kelly. I had never heard a clear presentation of why it is not good to encourage dating until I started reading your blog. Again, thank you so much. I will be forever grateful to you and I’m hoping my boys will be as well.

Kim M April 3, 2013 - 9:28 pm

…which saddens me because as you know, my past is full of church and Christian school. The pressure to date was so strong in our school, it was almost unbearable.

Claudia April 3, 2013 - 9:47 pm

Thanks, Kelly, for your willingness to speak the truth, even when you *know* it will meet resistance. I came to know Christ at age 31, after many years of pointless, damaging dating. While I know I have been forgiven, I still, at age 46, have times where I struggle with bitterness toward because my parents did not protect me as a young girl. The consequences still affect me today. I still need God’s mercy for days when I’m reminded of my past. I have yet to meet a Christian woman who is thankful for her former boyfriends/relationships. The opposite is true! Not preparing my boys to walk in the truth and LOVE (His warnings~and yours~I know~ are not about RULES, but about LOVE) of God’s word would be like allowing them walk across a highway and *hope* they come out okay. I love reading all the different marriage stories in your comments! It is a beautiful reminder that we have such freedom in Christ to let Him write each love story.

Word Warrior April 4, 2013 - 8:16 am


I agree with you; and even though Brenda is right (the next comment), that God can and does heal, it doesn’t mean that sin doesn’t leave scars that deeply affect us.

I have healed much, but for years was tortured by my past. My husband feels the same way, even though he dated fewer girls. You just *know*, once the Lord reveals to you, how wrong and unnatural it is to have these past memories/experiences and how much it does hinder what God intended for marriage.

I’m praising Him that our children understand and agree with us how absurd recreational dating is. We are breaking the chains!

Summer April 4, 2013 - 9:49 am

Amen, Amen, Amen!!!!

Brenda April 4, 2013 - 1:19 am

I guess I am the odd woman out here. I didn’t become a Christian until my late 20’s. I spent my teenage years dabbling in the occult and progressively moved toward atheism. I had dated many men and lived with two before I met my husband. While I would never encourage anyone to live with someone before marriage, my experiences were painful ones, and I would certainly not want my children to have those difficult experiences, I don’t feel they have a negative impact on my marriage. If fact, I am thankful for these experiences because they led me to Christ, who is at the center of my marriage. I do not feel like I “gave away pieces of my heart” and now have an inability to love my husband fully.

I have been washed clean by the Blood of Jesus. Regardless of my sin, He forgives it. My husband proposed to me on the day I was baptized. To me, this makes me as “pure” as any bride. I do believe that sin can hinder our ability to love, but when we give everything to Jesus anything is possible! Even true love after dating! Jesus can heal any heart, no matter how many “pieces” of it people tell you you have given away.

Kelly L April 5, 2013 - 4:50 pm

I do agree with that, Brenda. I am so glad you were able to give it all to Jesus immediately! That is a great gift. I wish I had accepted to be completely delivered and freed, too, upon accepting Christ. Too often, for many of us it is a process because we fail to realize how COMPLETELY Christ frees us and because we still hold onto doing things our own way. Dumb, but true…

Hannah April 4, 2013 - 2:31 pm

Okay, wow. Um. Will try to keep this brief, but feel free to ask me something.

FIRST OF ALL… I am a young person, but I have been studying this issue VERY vigorously, both in the Bible, and from other sources.
I’m going to just list off two of the big things that really bother me in this article.

1. All people date the same.
2. Dating ‘Not only has NO roots in Scripture (and actually violates it when you look at the warnings of temptation)’

Yes, for the most part, people date the same. Going out ‘romantically’ to ‘get to know each other’, is very… Twisted.. It causes break-ups (obviously), and just…. Lots of stuff.

****HOWEVER, many Christians I know, first of all, don’t even date yet, but second (of those who are older), DATE TO MARRY! *gasp*. You made an assumption that people don’t do this, which is true for the most part, esp. in the secular world.

And no, dating has no “roots” in Scripture. Why? As you said, it was not around until but a few decades ago. But, depending on the boundaries you put in place before dating, it does not go against the “warning of temptation”.

That’s all I’m going to say for now.

Word Warrior April 4, 2013 - 2:56 pm


I’m not sure which part of the post bothers you so much, especially since I didn’t oppose the idea of “dating to marry”, depending on how you define that. That’s precisely why I didn’t put a name to anything. My opposition (and I made it very clear) is to the practice of dating for mere recreation, without intent to marry. Yes, I have seen some older people, ready to marry, copy what looks very much like dating, but there is more seeking wisdom from parents and older couples as well as more discretion and intentionality of the whole process. I’m not interested in laying out what I believe it should actually look like, as that will vary from family to family, couple to couple.

Recreational dating is the target here. And most of that does, in fact, violate the warnings of Scripture to “flee temptation” and to treat members of the opposite sex as brother and sisters in purity.

Hannah April 5, 2013 - 12:31 pm

Yes. I do want to apologize for how I reacted. I proobablyy should have waited a while before responding, after I’d had time to think what you said through.

I do recognize now that you didn’t say anything against “dating to marry”, um… My bad.

Maybe I’m trying so hard to defend dating Christians, because, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve studied this issue, and/or the issue of sexual purity, a lot. I have set boundaries. Boundaries doesn’t get rid temptation altogether, but helps avoid it. And, is it truly possible to never be tempted?

It’s kinda like what you said about ‘courting’, the concept of dating should be defined. What do you mean by dating? What do others think dating is?

Here’s something I want to mention: in Biblical times, parents chose the spouse, which was often older. Joseph in his mid-twenties, and Mary 13. Sometimes the husband/wife were chosen before birth, and based on financial needs. Although, this meant that couples didn’t marry outside the faith.

Pauls view on this whole subject is 1. Avoid sexual immorality, but 2. Avoid marriage, unless you’re “burning with passion”. -That’s not all of what the Bible says on this subject, though, I’m not going to go through all of the Biblical standpoint.

Dawn Wright April 5, 2013 - 12:42 pm


Elizabeth McBride April 5, 2013 - 1:36 pm

My great grandparents dated, my grandparents dated, my parents dated, I dated, and my kids dated. That goes back to 1870. Dating is older than a few generations. I had a wonderful high school sweetheart. We dated 3 years, into college. We did not have sex. I married at 25, and wasn’t pregnant. Many people date without having sex. Not every teenager who dates becomes an unmarried mother.

Word Warrior April 5, 2013 - 1:53 pm


The post isn’t about recreational dating being bad or good based on outcomes; it’s based on what Scripture teaches (and what common logic teaches) about preserving our children for their spouses only (physically OR emotionally).

Watch this:

My great grandparents didn’t wear seat belts, my grandparents didn’t wear seat belts, my parents didn’t wear seat belts, nor did I or my children. We are all still alive. Does that mean that not wearing seat belts is the right, safe, smart thing to do?

You could fill in the blank with anything (ate junk food, did drugs, were alcoholics…) you get the point.

We don’t encourage our children to date recreationally because it isn’t right or wise.

Eva April 6, 2013 - 7:00 pm

Kelly, I have a question. What are your views on kissing, hugging, and holding hands before marriage? I know some people that waited until their marriage vows to kiss, and while I think that’s admirable, I don’t think it’s necessary. Of course, kisses and hugs before marriage should just be nice quick ones that show someone you love them, not Satan’s lust filled counterparts. What do you think? I would really like advice on this :)Thanks!

Hannah April 10, 2013 - 2:39 pm

I know I’m not Kelly, but I thought I’d offer my view.

Your body is designed, by God, to react a certain way* and it doesn’t know if there’s a ring on your finger or not, in a sense.

While kisses, hugs, and holding hands isn’t actually doing sex, it opens the door, per se, it encourages, it… You know? And, considering 1 Corinthians 6:9, we want to stay as pure as absolutely possible.

*Genesis 2, specifically verse 24.

So. That’s my opinion.

Janet April 11, 2013 - 5:15 pm

Great post, I wish I had time to read all comments. It appalls me how young this all starts. Last week, an intern at Children’s Hospital asked my 8yo how many girl friends he had. I let her know quickly that it was inappropriate, and why I thought so. I know she didn’t “mean anything by it”, but that is part of how our society got here in the 1st place—no one speaking up about such silly comments.

Daphne April 22, 2013 - 8:40 pm


Thank you for posting this. I am encouraged by your honesty and openness. Two nights ago I wept bitterly and with great panic at the thought of carrying the baggage from my past for a lifetime. I am 22 and the thought of decades of pain and tears ahead of me sometimes throws me into fear and panic. It’s very encouraging to see others that have been redeemed and that are setting a new standard for the generations to come after them. It is possible with God’s grace!

I didn’t know that there were other people like me who struggled with issues of bitterness towards their parents for not having protected them. I can only pray that God will use us to re-write our family histories.

Thanks again. God bless you. God bless your family.

Brencf January 31, 2014 - 6:27 pm

The “spotless bride” is so because of the shed blood of the Lamb. Comparing that to “not dating so as to keep yourself spotless” is at best sacrilegious.

DVGisHere February 4, 2014 - 5:09 pm

Some people do not want to get married at all; As mature adults we need to be able to understand that people are different, and to not be offended at the way other people live their lives. I understand that this is your personal opinion and that you have a right to express it.

But is this issue really that important? That people want to be in relationships but don’t want to marry one another right away. Marriage, in my humble opinion, is an absurd thing for me to be be thinking about at this point in my life. It doesn’t mean I don’t deserve to fall in love or have a relationship.


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