WHAT IS DATING?
Before I proceed, I need to clarify the use of the word “dating”. In many Christian circles, the word and concept of dating usually evokes bitter reactions. The reason being that many are used to dating as a platform for sexual immorality.
How did this come to be?
You know, in older times, marriages were contracted by parents for their children. There was no discussion with the young people about their choices and preferences, so very few ever got the chance to “fall in love” with someone before marrying him or her. Parents chose, kids acquiesced, and some found love out of mutual respect with their spouses AFTER they wedded.
Of course, it was quite common that though the parents approved of the family they married into, the son or daughter in-law was an apple that fell far from the family tree. Neglect and abuse were rife in marriages those days.
Anyway, with time, society began to see the wisdom in letting the young people choose whom they wanted. Still, it was common that the person one saw and admired from afar had dark shades to his character that came as a shock which were discovered after the wedding. So, humanity evolved again and opportunities for intending couples to relate face to face and get to know each other before committing to a life long marriage gradually took hold.
Such occasions where the young persons who were meeting in a bid to know and understand each other had to be scheduled. A date and time had to be set and “dating” came to be. Back then, it was all about honor. The two persons probably sat somewhere and talked or took a walk all the while discussing and getting to know each other. The men were charged with the safety of the ladies and were expected to return the ladies to their homes at a decent hour.
It must have been beautiful because it was based on a code of honour. However, just like every other good thing in human history, it got corrupted. Dates no longer focused on getting to know each other for many people; it degraded to the point where going on a date implied trying to get the other person to consent to sex at the end of the day. Date rape became an entity with significant statistics in some societies and date rape drugs became essential commodity for some.
So, it is understandable that Christians who witnessed the degradation would frown when dating is mentioned and those of us who were born after the decay would have no good impression to associate with the word. But it’s not the words used that’s the problem but the loss of honour that brought on the decay.
Funny thing is, whether we appreciate the word or not, dating is part of our contemporary society and we engage in it. We use other expressions like “going out”, “going to the movies”, “buying lunch” and so on. The important thing is that the focus is on getting the chance to know each other well enough to decide whether to continue romantically, to pedal back to platonic friendship or run for one’s life.
So, throughout this series, whenever you encounter words in the notes that seem to have a popular ungodly connotation (e.g. boyfriend), think of the initial honorable reason that such a word came to be in the first place; most likely, that’s what I’m referring to.
We’ll pick up from here next time.
In case you missed it, Understanding When and Whom to Date Part 1 is here – http://wp.me/p6rlMY-9F