Though my oldest children are now 12 and 13, we haven’t given a lot of thought to dating around here. Thankfully, they still seem far from interested in the idea. I know the trend among Christians seems to be to forbid dating, at least as our culture knows it, and to prefer “courtship”, a situation in which the young man spends time with the girl and her family and there is not much one-0n-one going out and the goal is always marriage.
I don’t know what we will do with our kids, and I don’t think this model is a bad one. But it can seem kind of, well, unromantic, can’t it? I am a product of ’80s movies and while I know on one level that Christian courtship is still about love, it seems to lose some of the flair and passion that we associate with romance and falling in love. Let’s say that while the young couple still gets together through their own choice and mutual decision, there is an added layer of practicality thrown on top. They need to be well-suited. Her parents need to approve. Spontaneity is lost.
So I was interested to find while reading on of my favorite authors, Frank Boreham, the assertion that it is Christianity that has allowed romance to flourish in the world:
“Only in a land that has felt the spell and influence of Jesus would sweethearting, as we know it, be possible.” (Faces in the Fire, Kindle Loc. 2142)
Boreham’s point is that throughout history marriage has been entered into for so many reasons — “by barter, by compact, by conquest . . . ” — that marrying purely for love is a pretty radical idea, historically speaking. Furthermore, he attributes its rise to Christianity. And one can certainly see that marriage, as it is spoken of in the Bible and particularly the New Testament, is very much a loving union.
I am not sure how far I want to go with this, but I think it is interesting that while we tend to downplay romance as something too emotional and detrimental to our values, that the idea of it comes originally from Christian roots.
How does this affect what our policy on kids dating will be? I have no idea. But if you want to tell me how you have approached it with your kids, I am all ears.