When I was in high school, dating and church seemed to go right together. During my junior and senior year, our youth group was essentially a spin off of the show Friends with everybody having dated everybody at some point. There were more love triangles on our trips than there were Bibles. This type of thing was never really encouraged, but I can’t really recall anyone ever addressing it either. Unfortunately, this prevalence of relationships most often resulted in drama and pain rather than spiritual growth and community.
When I came to Bluegrass, I hoped that we might be able to avoid this pitfall. Fortunately, we have not really had this issue. I’d like to think that it is somewhat due to my efforts in helping students acquire a healthy perspective on dating. It’s not that I think dating is evil, I simply find it to be unwise if the couple fails to keep their relationship in perspective.
If you ask many of our students what I think about dating in middle school and high school, they will likely say that I think it is kind of stupid. And I do. Besides the fact that only about 0.1% of the high school couples will get married, I also think that dating has the ability to take over a kid’s life, lead them into temptations, and skew their future relationships.
Romantic relationships, particularly within the church group, also create a whole new avenue for drama. Recently we had a guy who just sat by himself in the corner for a whole night refusing to be a part of the group. Turns out one of the girls in the group decided to stop texting him that day. Having experienced what I have and having seen what I have, when dating does arise in our group, I have a simple guideline that I ask to be followed. I ask that if a romantic couple forms in our group, that they would meet with me for a quick ten minutes so I that I can remind them of a few things such as:
- Church events are not dates.
- Physical contact and church events don’t really go together.
- They are responsible for not letting this relationship cause drama while they are together or when they break up.
- I expect them to be able to act as independent people in separate groups and at events when necessary.
- They are not married, nor should they act as if that is the case.
- I want them to make wise choices when they are together and always honor their parents’ wishes in their relationships.