We live in a culture that doesn’t respect the Bible’s claim for purity.  The idea of staying both physically and emotionally pure, as you wait for your future spouse, is not regularly practiced.  In fact, this idea is mocked.  You would think that a man of purity, such as Tim Tebow, should be a role-model for our children.  The remnant honors him, but our culture mocks his virginity.  Why?  Because it shines a light on their inner guilt and shame.   Remember the following: The enemy loves dating because it deceives God’s little-ones into sin and shame.

From ancient past up until the 1950’s, the idea of dating didn’t really exist.  We have become so accustomed to idea of dating, that we fail to recognize its danger.  Dating is a pseudo-marriage.  The couple becomes exclusive.  They are physical.  Often, the pseudo-marriage ends in pseudo-divorce, and the two people are the worse for it.  By the time marriage comes, they’ve been attached, torn apart, and reattached to so many people (both physically and emotionally) that they go into real marriage tattered and torn.  Most people, in hindsight, will admit to these facts.  And yet, parents continue to encourage or allow their children to date while saying, “Isn’t that cute?”

Dear Parent, It’s not cute when your child dates. It is setting them up for complete failure, regret, and disappointment.  A question I often ask others is the following: What good can come from two people dating, more than them just being friends?  I have never received an answer.  That’s because, the only real answer is, nothing!

The world, of course, encourages dating, claiming that without it, you will never find your spouse.  This is a farce.  And, truth be told, the world wants to sin.  Their flesh is drawn towards promiscuity, sensuality, and the desire of being wanted.  We, however, are the church, and are therefore called to be set apart.

I plead with you, parent, not to give into this demand of our culture.  For many well-intending parents, the problem lies with the peers of their child.  All of the child’s friends are dating, so the child feels pressured to do so.  They see their peers getting asked to Prom, and they want to be pretty and loved as well.  This is why the choosing of your child’s peers is so important.

About half of our culture says that sex before marriage isn’t a good idea.  That same group of people, however, will say that holding hands, kissing, and other such activity is perfectly appropriate before marriage.  Let us consider such a claim.  God made sex, kissing, and all that’s “in-between”, and He made it wonderful.  He didn’t, however, intend for us to stop at kissing.  His intention was for a man and woman to start kissing, and continue on… (you get the idea).  This is where we set people up for failure by telling them that it’s okay to kiss, as long as they go no further.  This is like telling a hungry man to order an appetizer, but he can’t touch the main dish.  Again, in hindsight most will agree with this point: it’s foolish to allow people to kiss, and expect them to stop there.  Statistics say that once a couple holds hands or kisses, after 300 hours of time together, they will have sex.  It’s like a tiny snowball going downhill.

Did you know that holding hands and kissing are only for marriage?  This is easy to prove.  Hugging, for example, isn’t just for marriage, seeing as it’s acceptable for me to hug another woman (ex: goodbye hug, hello hug, happy birthday hug).  But would it be okay for me to walk with them hand-in-hand?  Would it be okay for me to kiss them on the lips?  Not at all.  Why?  Because these things were meant for marriage.

I knew a family once who had three children.  They were a very good, Christian family.  They did, however, allow their oldest son to date.  As often goes, sex, regret, and heartache followed.  The parents were devastated.  I encouraged them and the son, that he was forgiven, and that they should learn and move on.  Then the second son came into high school, and was allowed to date.  I was a bit shocked, but then again, that’s what the American culture encourages.  The same thing happened.  I counseled them in a similar manner.  Finally, it was time for their daughter to date, according to the culture.  What did they do?  I think you’ve already guessed.

It isn’t easy to unplug from the matrix of popular thought, especially when you are greatly plugged into it (peers, movies, music, etc…).  This is why we are commanded, as God’s saints, to NOT conform to the pattern of this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our mind.

Don’t prohibit your child from dating; rather, convince them how it can be very destructive.   Show them, as is appropriate, the stories of horror that surface every day, along with the regret and shame of those who have dated.  You must shepherd and guide their hearts (Proverbs 4:23).

Marriage is a friendship.  Our children need to know that friendship, instead of dating, is a perfect platform for seeking out a future spouse.  Courtship is biblical: Two people who are friends, guided and protected by their parents, as they seek out if God wants them to be together.  Set them up for success by not allowing them to be alone.  This can save your children from heartache, lies, and regret.  Being alone before marriage is dangerous.  If we guide our children and protect them, they will thank us in the end.  The world may disagree, but God will say, “Well done”.

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