I've decided to not date till college. Because of a few messed up relationships in my first two years of high school, I've come to believe that dating in high school does no good. Of all my friends, I can't think of a single couple where both persons are strong Christians, rooted deep in faith, and involved in church, and who have been together longer than three months. I've seen dating destroy many of my friends' friendships, whether through lust, bitterness, or just poor decisions. I've experienced enough heartache to know it's pretty foolhardy to wait till after high school, or better yet, the teenage years, to enter into a romantic relationship.
But that doesn't mean I don't yearn for that relationship. I'm not saying I don't lust. I'm not even saying I don't crush on girls anymore. In fact, I've done some research on myself and found that at any given time, I have a light crush on a girl. That crush rarely lasts longer than two weeks, and at that time, I have another light crush on another girl. Those crushes are so small and insignificant that it really only comes down to the fact I really enjoy being around that girl or I text that girl a lot.
The crushes that last longer than two weeks are always become lustful crushes. With those crushes, which I've had probably a dozen or so, I spend too much time and attention on a girl, and eventually, my attraction and attention become sinful. Apparently, I can't focus on a girl for that long without eventually thinking lustfully of her. That's one of the key reasons I don't date. I'm waiting a few years and using my time to build my defences to lust and temptation. When I do fall in love with my future wife, I want to be mature enough to not lust over her. Is that totally realistic? No. Unfortunately, as a teenager, with hormones running high, lust is something I can't stop 100%, so I get in the trenches with it to defeat it. I don't always win; unfortunately, I don't always lean on God when I'm bombarded with temptation. In those times, I fall. But when I do lean on God, I prevail. It's an on-going war between my flesh and spirit. So how do I counter temptation? I remind myself of Scripture. I pray for strength; I pray for my wife; I pray, pray, pray. And when necessary, I leave the room, change the subject, or go to something else. Now why, you might ask, do I put myself through such a grueling experience? It's because I want to love my wife purely. I want to love her for her heart, her personality, and her spirit, not her body. I respect her too much to want to disrespect her with my thoughts.
So why do I not date? Dating distracts me from God. As previously mentioned, if I crush too long on a girl, my thoughts on her turn impure. I desire pure and Godly thoughts. Dating doesn't spur me on to think such thoughts, so I have to cut dating out of the picture. Jesus talked about cutting your arm off or gouging your eye out to keep yourself from sinning. I apply to same principle to dating. Logic and common sense also encourage me to not date. How? Well, if a drunkard is trying to quit drinking, he's going to have to stay out of bars. Bars tempt him too much, so he has to avoid them at all costs. The same with dating. Dating tempts me too much, so I avoid it at all costs. And I could mention the drama, heartache, gossip, less money, less time with friends, and other things that are a downside to dating. But I won't :)
How do I know when the right time to date is? This is something I really struggled with earlier in the year. I went through a emotionally tumulus time battling with insecurities and a lack of trust in God's timing. Out of that dark time, I came out with a new mindset. It's now my conviction to not date until I'm ready for marriage. I'll know when that is when the time comes. My guess is that it'll be a few years, maybe more. I start college at age 17 and graduate at 21, and I'm not sure I want to add a girlfriend/fiance/wife to the already monumental stressful, time-demanding, money-draining years of college. My parents were married at age eighteen (Mom) and nineteen (Dad) and lived in an apartment together through the rest of college. But that was almost thirty years ago, and times have really changed. I turn eighteen in 13 months, and I know for sure that I can't get married then. I'm pretty sure I won't be mature and ready enough, let alone that I'll be broke thanks to college. And because of the uncertain times ahead, I doubt marriage will be the best option for me. Craig Groeschel, lead pastor of Lifechurch.tv, said, "You'll know you're ready for marriage when you ask yourself, 'Can I serve the Lord better, or worse, with her or him as my spouse?', and your answer is 'better'" (paraphrased). When I'm at the point when I meet a girl and our friendship has blossomed to the point that she as my wife would only benefit my relationship to the Lord will I even seriously consider a romantic relationship.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that I believe in courtship, not dating. No, courtship is not "Christian dating." It is so much more than that! If you don't know what courtship is, pick up Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship by Joshua Harris. I simply don't have the time or energy to explain that complex topic.