Leaving Dating Behind
A roadmap to marriage


“Why would you choose to court?” many of my friends asked with perplexed surprise. “Everybody dates!”

The fact that everyone around me had followed the dating pattern was by no means proof of its success. At the age of 17, only one family that I had known from childhood was still together and sailing smoothly. Even my parent’s marriage was under constant construction. “This is hopeless,” my mind concluded after a local pastor hooked up with a deacon’s wife. We do not drive automobiles identical to those from fifty years ago. Instead, brilliant minds have invested hours searching for improvements. It baffled me that many Christians were not analyzing the statistics of marital carnage, but were still blindly embracing the world’s dating model as their only transportation to the altar. I felt it was time we determined the defects, fixed the flaws, and finally presented a refurbished vehicle for furthering a relationship. I endeavored to do just that.

Some people will defensively declare, “Well, we dated!” However, I have yet to meet a modern couple who followed ordinary dating without any regrets. I am aware that exceptions exist, but most couples have crossed that solid yellow line, a visible boundary, and just “happened” not to crash. With each generation there are more fatalities: couples break up, marriages do not last, and families are destroyed. This is a predictable result of dating, because the world’s dating philosophy does not work.

The History of Dating

According to a study done at the University of Florida , the sexual revolution began with the “silent generation” during the 1940’s, and this wind of rebellion continued with a notable surge until the 1960’s. Teenage pregnancies spiked, and morality grew to be a despised ideal that was easily thrown away by “free thinkers.” Respect for parents, government and those in authority dissolved within a few decades. Fear of God was lost, and some educators claim that during this time “God died,” though they will find out very differently one day. The humanistic philosophy placed man as divine judge, and society screamed “Just do it!”

It was through this “sexual revolution” that our current dating philosophy evolved. The Bible says that you shall know a tree “by its fruits.” Dating has resulted in a completely rotten dung hill of produce. But what is dating anyway? If you think about it, nobody knows. It is a shape changer, without definition or form. Within dating the word “immoral” does not exist, because there are no real guidelines or boundaries. If the couple feels something is right for them, then that is okay. God’s law is usually left out of it. The term “dating” travels on a course directly parallel to the morals of society. It is degenerating with each generation. Let me demonstrate. In the 1940’s when a couple planned a “date,” it meant that the gal’s “fella’” was coming for dinner at her ma and pa’s house. Afterwards, they would sit on the stiff-backed floral furniture, while Pa appeared to absorb himself in the local newspaper. They might then take a stroll, sneak a kiss, and say goodnight. “Dating” in the 60’s already had a far less wholesome ring, as couples made out in their polished autos parked at the swanky drive-in theater. In our present day, dating has been depicted by the many celebrity examples to mean “having sex in a committed way but not living with each other—yet.” The concept of a dating couple not being intimately involved is made to seem as strange and unusual as a one-eyed alien. The world has presented immorality as the norm. Many young people are not even aware that there is a better path.

I have met several new Christians who excitedly discussed with me their desired purity in relationships. “This time I’ll do it right,” they vowed. Then I have sadly watched as they fall again and again. The problem is that they are searching after an ideal Christian destination with no idea how to get there. They are trying to get to a new place in relationships, but are still driving on the same old road, in that undependable vehicle they are so familiar with: dating. Though dating is somewhat undefined, there are several major reasons why the world’s model for relationships does not work.

The world's way: Uncommitted
God's way: Committed

The world's way: Unaccountable 
God's way: Accountable

The world's way: No boundaries
God's way: Boundaries

The world's way: Follows feelings
God's way: Follows God

The world's way: Discontent
God's way: Content

The world's way: Selfish
God's way: Unselfish

The world's way: Physical connection
God's way: Spiritual connection

The world's way: Love as a feeling
God's way: Love as an action

The world's way: Future is undefined
God's way: Future is marriage

The world's way: Emotional bankruptcy
God's way: Emotional wealth

The world's way: Self-focused
God's way: God-focused

The world's way: Foolish
God's way: Wise

The world's way: Chance
God's way: Faith

The world's way: Despises purity
God's way: Protects purity

The world's way: Passion
God's way: Love

Christina Rogers has written for Lifetimes Magazine, The Old Schoolhouse (a homeschool magazine), and Streetbrand (a magazine for Christian youth). She has been interviewed in the US and the UK. She is the young author of Leave Dating Behind, which is available at Family Christian Stores nationwide and at  www.emeraldhouse.com.