Continued from last week

Going steady is the lazy, selfish, foolish, short-sighted method of dating. It eliminates the opportunity for a host of vital aspects of social development.

Of course, going steady among teens invariably seems to mean premarital sex. Acting on selfish desires of the moment, this is a decision to steal from the happiness of your future marriage, including stealing from your future mate—and from both parties in the future marriage of your momentary sex partner.

While boys may not admit it, they know that going steady over a longer period of time also makes it much easier to convince a girl to compromise sexually. Inhibitions tend to disappear with familiarity.

Determine to always demonstrate the necessary willpower to make the right choice now instead of choosing “to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Heb. 11:25).

There is another serious potential side effect of going steady for a long time: Even without fornication, if you spend all your time with that person, you will inevitably later compare your future spouse to him or her.

Also, the emotional distress of a breakup—or several breakups—at a young age can also distort your overall view of the opposite sex. Here is the biggest—and almost entirely unseen—problem in this. Consider. It has been said that “early dating leads to early marriages, which lead to early divorces.” Each steady-dating breakup functions like a miniature divorce, making each additional “divorce” easier. A lifelong pattern can develop from what seemed so harmless in the teen years.

If you are a teen in a “steady” relationship, you probably feel your situation is different. You probably think that you love each other. Yet, if this were true, you would immediately break it off. You would wait until you were both able to properly develop the relationship and, more importantly, until God shows you that He is guiding it, which will be done on His timetable not yours!

Dating—The Lost Art

Most would scoff at the idea that dating is an art. However, this is largely because it has become a lost art. Generally speaking, there are simply no common guidelines or principles governing modern dating. Driven primarily by impulses of the moment, people fall into shallow ruts, doing what they feel passes the test of peer pressure.

In generations past, parents taught their children what to do on dates—and what not to do. Parents imposed rules involving dress, where teenagers could go, what was permissible and what was not and when to be home. And these rules were enforced. In addition, young people were taught how to conduct themselves, the problems of going steady, and the dangers of premarital sex and alcohol, and of falling in with the wrong crowd. (In a tragic and telling commentary on society today, the “wrong crowd” has seemingly become the only crowd.) They were also taught to respect the other person—boys were to be gentlemen, and this meant treating girls like ladies, because these girls were being taught to conduct themselves like ladies.

Such teaching included proper etiquette, the difference between good and bad manners. Just watching young people eat today can be a painful experience, a veritable assault on the senses of older people. (So many today slump over and eat like hogs slopping at a trough!) There was a time when people understood that manners mattered, and those who lacked them did not get to the second date!

I recall the teaching—even “coaching”—that my parents gave me in the 1960s, when, terrified, I went on my first date to a dance. My older male cousin helped me with certain dance steps, including how far apart to stand from the young lady I was escorting. I did not date often, but when I returned home, as a rule, I had to give an account of the date to my parents. They wanted and enjoyed hearing “particulars,” and I enjoyed discussing these evenings with them.