“Everyone knows that in most cultures dating is a prelude to marriage. But what many don’t know is that how we date greatly influences the kind of marriage we will have. The way we conduct ourselves while dating is an excellent indicator of the commitment as we will have to a future relationship and an indicator of the level of happiness we will enjoy.” (Dating Do’s and Don’ts”, Marriage & Family: The Missing Dimension united Church of God, 2007)
Our courtship period was short, only about six months. My beloved wife then was teaching at Mindanao College (now University of Mindanao, Davao City) while I was newly employed as Architect at then Office of the City Engineer also at Davao City. Obviously, we were already mature and working when we started dating.
Honestly, I’ve never read yet anything about dating before I got married. But at that time, I was already looking for someone to marry. My father kept nagging me to get married so that they will have grandchildren for I was the eldest of two siblings.
One of the reasons why I started late in dating for marriage was lack of money. In a way, that was to my advantage because I was able to focus on my studies and learned to be thrifty.
Did my late dating for marriage lead to our successful marriage? I supposed so because both my beloved wife and I were already mature enough, college graduates and employed when we seriously dated for marriage.
Oh yes, I did some dating for fun when I was still in college to know more about the opposite sex- – a girlfriend here and there. Marriage was out of my mind at that point in my life.
Fast forward, when our two daughters were studying in Philippine Science High School at Quezon City away from us, we allowed them to have boyfriends and date if they want to PROVIDED THAT “NO BELOW THE BELT” THING.” We told them that “TRUE LOVE WAITS”. It is lust that cannot wait. We added that their bodies are a “TEMPLE OF GOD” which they should not tarnish but should take very good care of. We trusted them and they did not fail us. In their early high school years, all of our children attended then a very good Youth Formation Seminar at Davao City managed by the Elorde couple every summer. For the benefit of our readers, allow me to present to you the highlights of the article “Dating Dos and Don’ts” mentioned earlier. These are:
1. The way we conduct ourselves while dating is an excellent indicator of the commitment we will have to a future relationship and an indicator of the level of happiness we will enjoy.
2. The foundation for a good marriage is laid long before the wedding ceremony. It is established when two people begin dating.
3. There is dating on a social basis of getting to know another person and dating for marriage.
4. Dating is not without its danger. Proper instruction from parents is very important such as sound biblical principles.
5. Beware of modern standards of dating. There is such a thing as paying the price for passion
6. Parents should determine when their children are ready to date based on their maturity and readiness to accept responsibility for their action.
7. Values Formation is imperative for our youth before they start dating.
8. Some of the terrible consequences of immoral dating are: 1) Lost of chastity, 2) Acquired sexually transmitted disease the worst of which is AIDS, 3) Commitment of grave sins, 4) Weakened foundation for marriage,5) Lost respect, 6) Became vulnerable to harassment and etc.
We challenge our youth to reflect and answer these questions:
1. Why should a woman value her virginity?
2. What is this new sexual phenomenon sweeping many nations nowadays?
3. What do you think by the phrase “true love waits”?
4. What is a covenant card?
5. Is the use of condoms and other contraceptives by the youth advisable?
Support your answer.
6. What is your opinion about premarital pregnancy?
7. How can youth organizations help in promoting “true love waits” movement?
8. What are some of the benefits in postponing sex before marriage?
9. What is your outlook on sex?
10.Who are supposed to engaged in sex? Why?
Lastly, let me say that people must learn to distinguish between LOVE and LUST. LOVE IS GOD and LUST is Satan. The former is focused on generous giving without expecting anything in return while the latter is focus on unconscionable taking for self-satisfaction without regard for others.