Several months ago I was invited by the Sichuan University of Finance and Economics and the Sichuan University of Nationalities to conduct a seminar on “Setting Boundaries in Dating.” The purpose of the seminar was to provide an opportunity for dialog and reflection with the participants, who are expected to get married within the next decade, and to help ensure that when that time comes they would use their utmost wisdom in making the most important decision of their lives.
During the two seminar sessions, several hundred lively and interested young people raised a number of questions. Among the questions, the most important one was “how to date.”
Legitimate reasons for dating
From the mail I receive and the questions from young people, it is clear that dating nowadays has strayed from its legitimate purpose. What concerns people about dating now is sensual gratification and sex. No wonder there are so many people who are hurt by their dating experiences. Dating should be something that is full of joy and happiness. When you know the legitimate purpose of dating, you can enjoy your dating experience.
One of the basic reasons for dating is social interaction. Wholesome dating experiences can prepare you for a happy, mature, and long lasting marriage. Unwholesome dating, on the other hand, is fraught with the tragedy of a frail and shortened married life. We see this happen far too often.
Another reason for dating is, of course, to choose a spouse. Dating provides you with the opportunity to refine your power of observation. It enables you to make certain what type of personality and disposition is best suited for you. Dating provides the best opportunity for you to find your ideal spouse, and to decide whether the person is the one you would want to spend your life with.
The purpose of dating is not sexual adventure or sexual conquest. Nothing is more of a hindrance to the development of a friendship than immature sex. When premarital sex is the primary aim of dating, it usually blocks the kind of communication dating is designed for.
What is the first point in dating?
Josh McDowell, the world renowned lecturer and author of 77 books, said in his Givers, Takers & Other Kinds of Lovers that what is so attractive about dating is the fact that it creates an atmosphere in which the two people could become friends.Therefore, going to a movie on the first date is an unwise idea. Imagine spending two hours sitting shoulder to shoulder in a pitch dark theater with eyes fixed on the screen. What one gets is entertainment, not communication. So, do your best to save the movie date for a later time.
Going to a movie on the first date is an unwise idea.
If you are not quite ready to get involved with a boyfriend, or if you are seldom asked for a date but are inclined to have a friendship with a male friend, you may then plan a picnic or a dinner with four or five girl friends and invite four or five male friends to join. If you are a male, you can do likewise. Note should be taken that the number of males and females in such situations need not be exactly equal lest the pressure of matching would becomes too great. After all, the primary purpose of such gatherings is to get to know each other and have a good time.
Today’s females, relatively speaking, are more open and more likely to take the initiative in social interaction with the opposite sex. For example, going Dutch on a date is no longer considered something offensive to a man’s dignity. Young people today are no longer that sensitive to the roles once played by males and females. Instead what they look for — and what they want to become — are understanding and caring people.
Cultivate wholesome dating
In order to have wholesome dating, careful thought must be given to the entire process from beginning to end. When you treat your date with sincerity and respect, your future dating should be filled with joy and happiness. This is the approach you should have for the one you love or the one who will become your spouse in the future. You will discover that you are also a beneficiary in the process. Josh McDowell’s book makes a number of suggestions about how to date. They are listed below. You might want to try them. It’s likely they will bring you much happy dating experience!
- Play bridge, checkers, or Scrabble
- Play simple ball games such as ping pong, badminton, etc
- Rowing, shooting the rapids, swimming and other water games
- Take a stroll in the suburbs, go window shopping, or tour the new city district
- Do chores together such as going to the market, washing clothes, washing cars
- Invite children from poor families, orphans, or neighbors’ kids and take them on hikes, picnics; teach them arts and crafts, and skills; cook with them at your house or theirs
- Do recreational exercises such as golfing, tennis, bowling, and skating
- Take part in community service, auction, or visiting the aged and handicapped
- Bicycle together, go diving, play miniature golf
- Do arts and crafts together
- Make gift items and Christmas gifts
- Make kites, fly kites
- Walk in the rain
- Find family photo albums, genealogies, and become familiar with each other’s roots
- Attend church worship service together and take part in other church-sponsored activities
- Take a train to a nearby town to have lunch or dinner
- Buy a monthly bus ticket and tour the entire city
- Go together to concerts, symphony orchestra performances, or plays
This article was written by: Serena WangPhoto Credit: Dave See