A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment. --Jane Austen
When I was eleven, my parents took me to see Joshua Harris (author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy Meets Girl) speak. After hearing him, I announced that I never wanted to date (don't get me wrong--I've always wanted to marry, I just decided dating wasn't a necessary step toward marriage). Since then, my opinion has changed a tad, though I still find myself in the minority where dating is concerned. Even in Christian communities, which was surprising to me at first--though now I'm used to it.
So, without further ado, here are some of my thoughts on dating:
I think of dating as a way to find a spouse...therefore there is no reason to date until I'm old enough to seriously think about marriage. I'll be 19 on Thursday, but I still feel very, very young, in many ways. I don't believe I'll be ready to marry for at least a few more years--which for me translates to not dating for at least a few more years.
After much research and prayer, this is the conclusion I've come to. I will date someone, but...
1.) Only when I'm old enough to seriously consider marriage (I honestly don't know when this will be, but I know God will give me a peace when the time is right)
2.) It must be someone I am good friends with, who is a Christian, and is mature and ready for marriage.
3.) The relationship must progress slowly, and must begin with the intention of deciding if marriage is right for us. I want to keep my heart guardedly open, if that makes sense. I want to be able to give my future husband all my love, and not have to deal with the regrets of past relationships that went too far too fast emotionally.
4.) The relationship must be firstly focused on God; secondly on each other. If the relationship doesn't further both our relationships with God, something will have to change (whether that means our attitudes toward it, or cutting the relationship off altogether).
Harris says in Boy Meets Girl, dating can be good, and courtship can be bad. What you call it really doesn't matter--what matters is your attitude going into it.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Mine are still fairly incomplete, and prone to changing slightly. :)