The Purpose of Dating – Part 1


So a couple of weeks ago, Steve brought up the mythic nature of marriage. It is one of the reasons we humans are so hopelessly drawn to one another. And if you have young adults who are hopelessly drawn to one another, here are some words for you.

To Review

Myth – according to MerriamWebster dictionary:

  1. a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon
  2. a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone; especially :  one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society

The reason we say marriage is mythic, is that it “serves to unfold part of the world view of” God. Man and woman, the masculine and feminine creations of God, joined back together as one. Not only reunited back to original physical wholeness (Man made in the image of God) but also deeply symbolic of Christ and His bride, the Church.


“This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church.” — Ephesians 5:32

If marriage is so mythic, which it is, then it only makes sense that we approach it with a process of care and thought. It’s called dating.

What’s Dating For?

When our kids were younger, we taught them a few key things about dating:

  1. The purpose of dating is to get to know the opposite sex – how they think, how they talk, how they make sense, how they confuse, etc., so you can learn how to effectively interact, communicate and have fun.
  2. Have fun getting to know the opposite sex.
  3. Don’t be alone together because there’s no need to be alone together. Group dating is great.
  4. Don’t fall deeply in love and talk about marriage. See #1.

Number 4 was the biggest rule (okay, maybe #3 too) because of an exceptional message we heard years before we even had kids – a message about his belief that today’s common dating routine trains our kids for divorce.

A Dangerous Cycle

The “typical” dating cycle of 12 to 20 year olds is to, A.) quickly fall MADLY, deeply, dramatically and COMPLETELY in “love” with someone and, B.) MADLY, deeply, dramatically and COMPLETELY break up with them a short time later.

The result is an adult who knows how to:

  • Easily and completely give their heart away
  • Expect that their heart will be completely broken
  • “Get over” a broken heart and move on
  • Repeat the process gain and again.

A person like that is primed and ready to repeat this cycle in marriage.

They are also primed to believe three myths about marriage.

Mythic Marriage Myths

And they are three VERY big myths:

  1. There is a RIGHT person and only one right person “out there” for them.
  2. This right person will NEVER hurt them because their relationship will be easy, painless, blissful, happy, etc., etc., etc…
  3. Once they find this person, they are good to go (see myth #2)

We’ll address these marriage myths next week, but for now, back to dating.

The Purpose of Early Dating

The primary purpose for early dating (and each household must decide what “early” means…) should be to get to know many, many people of the opposite sex. It is NOT to find the “love of your life” or “the one”, that will come later.

What tips about dating would you add for young adults?

photo credit: Mexico City Couple via photopin (license)