Do you have a boyfriend yet, Paula?” I roll my eyes and shake my head just thinking of the many times someone has asked me that question. In our culture today, this is a fairly 1)justifiable question to ask an 18-year-old girl. However, this 18-year-old does not have a standard response. I say, “No, I don’t need one.” Most girls would say this just after a 2)devastating breakup, and they say it 3)bitterly because they don’t want to discuss it. Neither is true for me. When I say it it’s because at this point in my life I truly don’t need one.
I don’t see the point in having countless boyfriends before finally settling down with Mr. Right. This system of finding a mate is similar to the concept of going to a pond and kissing frog after frog, hoping that one of them will turn into a prince. I find the concept of dating foolish, and so I am going to practice 4)courtship.
Courting simply means that you don’t get into a serious relationship with the opposite sex until you are certain that this is the person you will marry. This method would be like waiting for the frogs to turn themselves into princes and then kissing the prince. Until then, going out with groups of friends is the best way to find Mr. or Mrs. Right.
Until I read the book I Kissed Dating Good-bye by 5)Joshua Harris, I was fairly neutral on this subject because I wasn’t interested in having a romantic relationship. Since reading this book, however, I am thoroughly convinced that courtship is the wisest and most godly way to find a husband or wife.
One of the biggest problems with conventional dating is the emotional 6)roller coaster it creates. Well, perhaps a more accurate analogy would be a 7)demolition derby. When you invest so much of your time, money, and energy into someone without a serious commitment to speak of, your heart is bound to get 8)shattered. Many young people today get very intimate in their relationships, but what they fail to realize is that intimacy doesn’t mean commitment.
Another fault with dating is that it skips the neutral friendship stage of the relationship. By doing this, you not only miss out on a great friendship, but you never really get to know the person for who they are. A dating couple tends to show only the best sides of themselves, so you never really get to know someone for who they truly are. In a friendship, you often get to see both the good and the bad of a person, and there is nothing to lose if the person turns out to be a 9)jerk.
True love is often a forgotten concept in American teenage culture nowadays. It is commonly understood that love means having a physical relationship with someone or feeling good when you are with that person or just thinking about that person. This “love”, 99% of the time, is really a selfish love, which isn’t love at all. Selfish love is an 10)oxymoron. The entire concept of love is about forgetting yourself and your needs and wants to be concerned about someone else. In a dating relationship, much of the focus is on how much fun you had or how you felt while with that person. This is certainly not love. Love is not about feelings. Love is not about you. Love is sacrificing your own desires so that the other person can have the best.
One thing that I’ve decided to do in my life is to guard my heart. I have seen too many of my friends open up their heart to a guy only to have their hearts broken. I want a full, unbroken heart to offer to my husband, so I’ve decided not to even get interested in anyone unless I know he is the one God has chosen for me—that is if He even wants me to marry.
I would like to take this story as a sort of analogy to what guarding my heart is about:
I’m standing in a room crowded with young men. As I look around, I’m tempted to pick out which one should be my husband. I force my eyes closed and 11)blindfolded so that I cannot look. I must resist the temptation to peek or else I will see one of the young men and think it’s him, my future husband. I must wait for him to come over to me and take my blindfold off when it’s time. I will see only him in the room. He will be all I could ever want in a husband and I will be absolutely content. This is how I must guard my heart. I just have to wait patiently for him, so that I don’t 12)set my heart on a frog instead of a prince.