Dating: A History and a Resolution

What’s your view on dating? Most people I know use dating as a way to eventually find a husband or wife. I did the same thing. Is this the best way to accomplish such an important life-changing decision?

When I look at the history of dating, I see that it began primarily with arranged marriages. A few hundred years ago people didn’t date – their parents arranged the marriage. This was mostly fine, but sometimes it was very bad.

Because of the bad experiences, and as society became increasingly wealthy, courting formed. I’ll not get into all the details of courting here, but it was a way for two people, who were probably brought together by their parents, to get to know one another before setting off into marriage. It was meant to form a friendship bond in the security of chaperoning.

Through the periods of arranged marriages and courtship it was VERY dishonoring to have any kind of behavior that was sexual. Society frowned on it, and you’d be shunned. If you were female it was especially so for she was supposed to protect her purity.

From the 1830’s to around 1900 society’s wealth increased and people became more interested in leisure activity. This led to a shift from courtship to unsupervised dating. Today, dating is the norm, and the social evils associated with sexual promiscuity have all but disappeared.

My question for you and your children is this: What can you do as a “date” that you can’t do as best friends?

As I see it, the purpose for dating is to be exclusive to the other, but these days as soon as people start dating the physical side of dating starts.

What I’ve seen through experience and working with hundreds of teens and young adults is that dating is meant to bring two people closer together, however two people may be friends and may be developing that relationship of intimacy, but when physical/sexual activities start it sabotages the couple’s ability to grow closer emotionally. As dating continues the sexuality of the relationship furthers, but the emotional connection atrophies. This leads to two people eventually getting married, but waking up one day and realizing they don’t really know one another.

I believe dating as it is done today contributes to the rising rate of divorce in America.

As I talk about the physical side of dating, I must add that I’m not just talking about sexual intercourse. Even French kissing can cause harm. If it causes either of the partners to lust then there is sin involved, and if that is the case the relationship is straying from God. There are a couple of rules to remember in dating – if you must date.

Ephesians 5:3 says, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” (NIV)

Mark 9:42 says, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” (ESV)

If your actions cause your date to sin, then your sin is considered as weightier. This is no light matter.

May you see that dating is not really necessary. May you develop relationships that are heavy on the friendship and light on the physical as you look for a future spouse. If you are a parent, may you protect your children and really look into the ideas of courtship. And may the current divorce rate be lessened by new commitments from the current and future generations.

For more reading on this subject for you or your teenager, may I suggest “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” by Joshua Harris and “Dateable” by Justin Lookadoo.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, please shoot me a note at As always, if there is anything I can pray for you, contact me at the office at 245-1611 or via email at God bless you!


About Johnathan Dobbs

I'm a Christian first. I'm a husband and father second. Then I am an avid outdoorsman (hiking, camping, climbing, canoeing, fishing, etc...). Right now, I have a passion for climbing and card tricks. I am the minister for the Aztec church of Christ in Aztec, NM. I look forward to meeting new people and hearing from all. View all posts by Johnathan Dobbs

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