Dating in high school is overrated
Even though this might sound strange to someone born in the early 1900’s, today’s teenagers find it normal or cool.
For these reasons, the term dating or courting has become extinct.
I don’t assume that teenagers are any more equipped than these folks in their maturity and life experience to encounter that kind of power and risk. So that’s the meaning of dating I’m assuming he has.
As soon as they have done a few things together — homework, ball game, went out to eat — and since they’ve done a few things together for that reason, the feeling arises that there should be a little bit of specialness in the relationship.
So, is dating in high school foolish but occasionally fruitful?
Or is it potentially a good place to find a strong and godly spouse?
That view will, of course, set a Christian young person wonderfully and wildly apart from the view that is pervasive in culture and in media — namely, that it is perfectly acceptable to have sex outside marriage with one provision: that it be consensual.
A specialness that implies he doesn’t do this with a lot of other girls, and she doesn’t do this with a lot of other boys. I can imagine an exceptional situation in our culture where two young people are extraordinarily mature and spiritual and marriage is planned for age eighteen — right after high school.
In other words, pretty quickly people who are doing things together because they like each other are going to feel some sense of proprietary action here, some possessiveness, a kind of desire for some special focus or qualified commitment, not marriage, not engagement, but something else. My generation said, “going steady.” Now that seems to imply something that to me is absolutely natural. Such relationships seem perfectly natural and good. The question becomes, “Is it wise for a sixteen-year-old to step into that river that flows towards marriage? That would be, it seems to me, a remarkable exception that proves the wisdom of the rule — namely, that the maturity level of teenagers is not great enough to make such massive decisions.
What I think that implies for high school is that young people should be encouraged to do things in groups that include both young men and young women, but that they hold back from pairing off.
I would encourage Josh and other teenagers who might be listening that if they don’t see the wisdom in this, you should listen carefully to your parents and follow their counsel.
It’s as if every switch on the mainframe of their moral life gets turned off while one massive desire button is alive and well.