The Art of Dating

I was recently having a conversation with a dear friend about dating and relationships. We have a mutual friend who married her only boyfriend, and he tragically died not long ago after they had been married for several years. She's recently found herself back in the "dating" world after a "gentleman" befriended her. We have been worried about her, and her children, because we see red flags everywhere from this man. I won't get into the details of that, but suffice to say we've been there, done that, and were blessed enough to get out of the situation. Our dear friend, on the other hand, has not had the same types of life experiences. As I was telling my friend, our life's story shapes how we see the world. Everything we have gone through, be in good or bad, teaches us a lesson. And it's through those lessons we see the world around us. Our mutual friend only had one boyfriend, and was blessed enough to find her life's love with him. But as a result, she never experienced the same lessons we did growing up to shape her worldview to be a bit more...guarded I suppose would be a good word.

Growing up, I had boyfriends. I had supervised "dates" where the young man would come to my house for dinner, we would watch TV or play video games, all under the supervision of my parents. When  I was a bit older-16- I was allowed to go other places that were also well supervised. This taught me a lot. It taught me to respect myself, what I wanted in a life mate, etc. If there was something "shady" about the fella, my parents could see it and would let me know that my naive views of the person were wrong. I had the experience to teach me how to see these things. When it was time for my niece to start dating, it was discussed to not allow her to date at all until she was 18. Ok....I can sort of see their point there, but at the same time she would have been missing out on a lot of life lessons to teach her what sort of husband was meant for her. She had some doozies when it comes to bad life lessons haha! But all for the greater good.

While I do agree the main objective to "dating" is to eventually find a spouse, it is also (to me) dangerous to have our children feeling as if they are being groomed to marry their first boyfriend/girlfriend. Courtship, when properly supervised, is all about discovering yourself with another. It is about discovering compatibility, and if we encourage our children to marry the "first one who comes along..." we may be denying them very important life shaping lessons that they will need in the future.