When I think of all the people I know who did date in high school, I can come up with only 2 or 3 couples who ended up with their high school "sweethearts". Most did not. And I remember the days of people pressuring you to have a boyfriend or to ask this guy or girl out. Really I was probably the odd one out, where there were one or 2 guys that I liked while in high school I didn't actually date them. The first and foremost reason being was that I wasn't allowed to date. I particularly remember my dad having to talk to the one guy that took me to a dance that my mom got very upset about it being date-like, and from then on out that boy never asked me out again. In some ways I was angry at my parents for doing that. But really I now can look back and see it was a good thing, because I have changed so much since then. To have gotten myself emotionally invested in a relationship would have probably limited my growing, at least for me. I had a lot to deal with prior to this due to unfortunate circumstances in an incident in my childhood, and really didnt come to grips with them till later. So probably having this rule for me kept me out of deeper trouble that I could have gotten myself into.
Then I went to college, and again some folks around me encouraged me to date. But in my mind now I knew that I wanted to be pursued. And not the other way around. So anything that came about never really materialized much. There was a summer incident in which I was taken advantage of, and really that scarred me for a while, but I got thru it. But really what got me thru it all and helped me to have a healthy view on it all was to see good examples around me. Examples of people dating with marriage in sight. With those committed to doing the best thing for the other person involved and him or herself so that they wouldn't be jaded and confused if it did end. I have to thank those people for helping me to see that there was a way that dating could be done right. I wouldn't have been able to grow into who I needed to be when God put in my path my now husband. Those people that I saw as good examples challenged me and listened to me and helped me to keep my higher standard. So when I met Keith and interacted with him and his friends, I knew what kind of guy I was looking for, one that wasn't gonna let me fall but build me up and make me into the woman that God wants me to be. Entering into a relationship with him it wasn't a casual thing, and he never took advantage of me, but really wanted what was best for me, and for this I thank him. I still thank him periodically for the fact that he was a major part of God's plan for helping me to see that I was ok, and to move forward away from the past destruction.
Maybe when it comes to teen dating I bring all that mess with me. I can't see it as good thing just to date someone without there being a bigger purpose there. I can't see the just wanting to date someone just to date someone to be a good thing. I don't think I would be me if I had this philosophy. I think if one does date you always have to think of what is best for the other person, and the best must be based of of Jesus's standard. If its gonna be something that is detrimental towards them it shouldn't happen in the first place. And it shouldn't be out of balance, as to forget all of your other relationships that you have. Your friends will really miss you if you leave them for a guy or girl, and it won't be the same when you come running back to them after being dumped.
For the few folks that I know that it worked that they actually ended married part way thru college after starting to date in high school, these guys are the anomaly and God definitely was working in them to keep them on the right path against the normal grain of what usually happens in high school and college. And for this I admire them. I do however think that a major factor of their success was the fact that both parties involved had strong relationships with God and probably was the basis for their meeting in the first place.
For the rest of people who aren't an anomalies in this, I really think that group dating and developing good friendships are the way to go. Also to focus on who God wants you to be rather than who society tells you to be is very important. Because if you focus on who God wants you to be, you can see clearer what your future vocation should be, whether it to be married, single or being a priest, nun, or brother somewhere. Forming strong friendships and learning how to interact with the opposite sex without being romantically attached help this out a lot. Because no matter where you are you are going to have to be authentically male or female in your vocation, and live out the relationship that Christ presents in the new testament, to love so much as to die for the other. And this will apply whether it be in marriage to a man or woman or to Christ through the church or as a single missionary in the world.
So to end, if a teenager reads this I say first, don't define yourself by who or if you are dating. And two keep your focus where it is supposed to be on God. If you are dating someone be sure that you treating them with the utmost respect and dignity that every person deserves so that both of you can keep your eyes focused on your savior. If you aren't dating someone, well to me that is awesome, because God is calling you to do something different at this time, whether it be to focus on how to achieve your goals, or to be able to be flexible to help somewhere or to think about where your relationship with God stands and maybe to think about your future vocation. No wallowing is needed when being single because this time is a gift given to you by God to be able to grow and be used for something greater.
I wonder how much of this I can use on Sunday. hmmm.