“Don’ts on Dates, and Teenage Dating”
Nota Bene: Lightly edited and annotated [italics] for Anglican (and other non-Roman Catholic) audiences by The Anglophilic Anglican. Follow this link for the original.
One living in this modern age may think this list is antiquated. I ask you, has human nature changed? Are the Ten Commandments still applicable? Are people still born with Original Sin?
No, sin and virtue are not antiquated, they are just as real as they were 100, 500, 2000 years ago.
Father Lovasik puts before us some specific guidelines on how to have a chaste courtship. How important this is! It lays the foundation to a healthy and wholesome marriage. And if the courtship ends because one or the other sees too many obstacles, there will be no regrets…
We don’t play the dating game. We avoid many pitfalls this way and it has worked out beautifully for seven couples! You can see this post – Chaperones, Again? – if you would like to know more. That being said, this may not always be possible. So this list is excellent for all!
“Don’ts” on Dates
Though the following suggestions are directed mainly to girls, they are equally applicable to boys, inasmuch as boys will know what is expected of a decent girl and will cooperate with her in preserving her virtue.
I. Don’t forget that the chastity of your soul and your good name are your most precious possessions; protect them by mutual self-respect. Therefore, always keep your courtship on a high plane and follow a “hands-off” policy and by your manner give men to understand that your loveliness is not to be marred by unruly passion and sin.
II. Don’t permit expressions of love or friendship for another to be prolonged to the point of danger of lust because all sexual pleasure outside marriage, that is directly willed, intentionally procured or accepted is a sin. A selfish indulgence of your own passions regardless of the welfare of the one you “pretend” to love is not really love, but lust.
III. Don’t ever permit passionate kissing to mar your date, for true love is dominated by mutual respect for each other’s character, not by mere emotion, passion and lust.
IV. Don’t be so soft as to pay for an evening’s entertainment with cheap kisses, “necking” and” petting,” because a man who is not strong in chastity will probably take all you will give.
A decent man, even though he may be weak, does not respect that kind of girl. Don’t give a casual friend the caresses that belong only to the good Christian (ideally, Anglican) man you will some day meet, who will be your husband and the father of your children.
Note that passionate kissing is not prohibited always and for all time, but simply limited – like other expressions of physical intimacy – to those joined in sacramental marriage.
V. Don’t be so imprudent and reckless as to date this one and that one without knowing anything about them beforehand. Avoid being alone with strangers.
VI. Don’t consent to keep company in a parked car, for darkness and seclusion are favorable conditions for sin.
VII. Don’t allow your escort to enter your home late at night after a date; this would subject both of you to danger and suspicion.
VIII. Don’t fall into the bad habit of permitting long “good nights” and “passionate goodnight kisses.” These have brought about the death of many a friendship and killed many a soul.
IX. Don’t encourage a young man to visit your home too frequently, or to protract his visits far into the night or early morning, to the discomfiture of your family and the detriment of your own health, virtue, and reputation.
Turning night into day three or four times a week in courtship is not a good recipe for the preservation of health or the increase of corporal fitness; this is particularly true if the long visits are accompanied with an emotional strain.
X. Don’t seek out or continue companionship with others whom you know to be inclined to evil jests and words. Never let your date be marred by a single filthy story, but show your displeasure at once.
XI. Don’t take part in dances that may be a source of temptation to yourself or others. In dancing, don’t hold your partner too tightly, lest you become an occasion or a cause of sin.
Note: this is not a prohibition on dancing as such; but rather a warning to be cautious about the manner, so that it does not become an encouragement to engage in inappropriate and sinful behavior. Dancing (or doing anything else, for that matter) in an intentionally suggestive manner with one who is not one’s spouse – or even if they are, if it is in a public setting – is not only sinful in itself, but may lead others to sin.
XII. Don’t go to see movies that are not wholesome; even those that are only partly objectionable should be avoided.
Consider not only the rating (PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, etc.), but also the content: common reasons cited for a particular rating are violence, language, nudity, sexuality, drug use, and adult situations, but that list is far from comprehensive.
These days, even a “G”-rated movie may include topics and suppositions which are inappropriate for orthodox Christians (LGBT-favorable scenarios, for example). And just because one may be legally old enough to see a particularly-rated movie, doesn’t mean one should necessarily wish to subject oneself to it!
XIII. Don’t frequent taverns or roadhouses (bars or clubs) of questionable character; this is a disgrace to womanhood (and it’s not desirable for responsible manhood, either).
XIV. Don’t drink intoxicating liquor; it prepares the way for immorality by arousing the passions, blurring the mind, and weakening the will.
If of appropriate/legal drinking age, do not drink to excess, or to the point where judgement and inhibitions are affected. That is generally much less than people think!
XV. Don’t dress unwisely so as to invite lustful interest, but becomingly, so as to accentuate your best gifts.
Appearances do matter! They shape how others look at us; they also shape how we think of ourselves. Note that this is not a call to wear burkhas; it is not necessary to look frumpy to be modest. There is nothing wrong with being attractive! The key is to dress in such a way as to support and encourage self-respect, and also respect and consideration for one’s date, who if he is a decent man will be striving to master his baser urges… and if he isn’t, certainly doesn’t need any encouragement to yield to them!
XVI. Don’t smoke, not because it is morally wrong, but because it cheapens your personality and detracts from your womanly charm.
XVII. Don’t hold to the opinion that the only enjoyable date is an expensive date. Real fun is found not on dates where a lot of things are done for you, but on dates where you are doing things together. Get interested in foursome or six some dates; they cut the need for adolescent lovemaking to a minimum.
Double-dating or group dates may be beneficial, so long as one can count upon the others involved to share and support one’s desire for chaste courtship. Otherwise, they can be problematic. Peer pressure works both ways, and one is known by the company one keeps!
XVIII. Don’t fail to avoid dangerous occupations in courtship, or permit yourselves to be too much alone. Rather, take part in healthy worth-while hobbies and pastimes which you find mutually delightful and in which you can indulge without loss of mutual esteem or virtue.
Enjoy good music; read and discuss worthwhile literature; attend respectable dances and social pastimes, preferably such as are given under Christian auspices and with proper supervision; frequent unobjectionable shows on the stage or on the screen; go on hikes with other young people and take an active interest in various wholesome sports.
XIX. Don’t be so snobbish as to think that the social activities of your parish church are not good enough for you. You should feel privileged and honored to contribute to others’ success by your presence and cooperation.
XX. Don’t get involved in a relationship that may result in marriage with a non-Christian, or even one whose expression of Christianity is far different from one’s own, for married life is difficult enough without having a difference of religion and moral outlook as a cause for further trouble, such as the question of divorce, birth control, Christian (or even secular) education.
XXI. Don’t disregard the voice of your conscience upon returning from a date. If that voice is joyous and peaceful, your company-keeping is good and clean.
If it is sad, remorseful, accusing, something is wrong in your company-keeping, something that must be corrected at once or else the company-keeping must cease. The state of your conscience is a decisive test.
XXII. Don’t get serious about a boy who is not willing to prove himself by avoiding sin, especially impurity and drunkenness, and also by attending worship on a regular basis – including with you – and spending a reasonable amount of time in prayer daily.
Never think of marrying someone who will not be able to make you better for living with him, for the foundation of a happy marriage is a holy love which will enable you to aid each other to practice virtue and fulfill your duties.
XXIII. Don’t neglect to use the means of grace God has given you to keep pure. The best protection against falling a prey to one’s passions is regular public worship, including the frequent reception of Holy Communion, the cultivation of will power through little acts of self-denial, the avoidance of dangerous occasions of sin, the counsel of one’s regular confessor or spiritual counselor, the reading of good books, the companionship of virtuous friends, the Daily Offices of Morning and/or Evening Prayer, and frequent recourse to God the Father and Our Lord Jesus Christ in prayer.
Company-keeping prepares you for marriage. Every date has an influence upon your future. You sometimes need forcible reminders lest wild desire for fun bring tragedy. Right or wrong companions can make or break your life.
You should know exactly what is morally right and wrong on dates; this you will learn from the contents of this booklet. Though girls or boys don’t rush madly out to sins of impurity [or at least one hopes and prays they do not!], all too often they are tricked into what they were not properly warned against.
Now God gave you a fourth commandment: “Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother.” Your conscience tells you to obey your parents as God’s representatives. They are responsible for you.
They are right in fearing moral dangers from “solo” dates and friendships with doubtful characters. They also have a right and duty to make rules regulating your dates, because they really want to protect your fun and your future.
The best thing to do is sit down with your mother or father and talk things over. They are your best friends. Let them decide what is right or wrong. Obey the rules they make concerning your life, and dating in particular.
These days, it is sadly necessary to note that this presupposes that they are, in fact, living godly, upright, wholesome, and morally virtuous lives themselves, and teach you the same. If they are not, that should be further incentive for you not to follow in their footsteps, as the unfortunate consequences of their bad choices will likely be all too apparent.
One is still obligated to respect and honour them as one’s parents, and to follow all lawful, just, and godly admonitions. But one is not obliged to follow them along a road that leads to unhappiness in this life, and perdition in the next, any more than one would be obliged to follow them off a cliff, if they led you to it and jumped off first!
Keep in Mind the Following Simple Suggestions:
I. You must have permission for dates. Permission can be given on a general basis (every Friday night you may attend school games and parties); or on a date-by-date basis (you may go to the basketball dance next Saturday).
Your mother and father need not know each detail of dates, but they should have the general picture.
II. Always ask permission if you intend to be away all night; this should be only with families your parents know and trust.
III. Your parents have a right and duty to make some rules about cars and about the beginning and end of dates. The boy should call for the girl at her home, come in and meet the folks, bring her home and say good-bye (not at great length) at the door. Prolonged farewells in cars easily become dangerous.
It is sometimes best to keep your dates on a group basis, that is, house parties (be careful with these! unless carefully supervised by trusted families, they can easily get out of hand; this is particularly true if there is any alcohol involved), dances, skating parties. Group dates can be frequent in high school (but see my comments on the subject, above); “solo” dates should be spaced out.
Too much dating can very soon breed violent infatuation. And familiarity breeds a lot more than contempt; it can lead you into sin.
[Silly “going steady” (exclusively with one boy or girl) has ruined many a promising youngster and even many a possible good marriage.]
I bracketed the above because this is one area in which times really have changed – from one extreme to another. “Going steady” too soon – and especially if apart from the constraints of traditional courtship – can indeed be problematic, as it is all too easy to mistake infatuation, or physical attraction, for deep and authentic compatibility.
But rather than “going steady” too early in a dating relationship, the tendency now is to drift from one shallow relationship to another, being incapable of, or unwilling to, make a commitment at all! Repeated “break-ups” can be training for divorce, and relationships lacking in commitment can be training for life-long singleness.
There is good reason to be suspicious of too much casual dating, and to instead emphasize traditional, old-time courtship, leading – God willing – to marriage: ideally, at what is these days the relatively young age of one’s twenties. I have discussed this at length elsewhere.
IV. Build up ideals in your mind. Obey rules because you are convinced they are sensible; this is far better than blind or reluctant obedience. Obey and respect your parents because they have your welfare at heart and wish to please God and protect your future.
V. Your best assurance of a pure and happy youth is by putting God, and your faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, first and foremost in your life: “seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
Attend church regularly and faithfully, and be active in your parish according to your aptitudes and interests. Everyone can do something!
Receive the Holy Communion often, for you are really and truly communing with Christ in the sacrament of His Body and Blood.
Seek the counsel of your Rector or another trusted clergyman, and if necessary, make your confession (the Anglican rule of thumb when it comes to auricular, sacramental confession is “all may, some should, none must”).
Pray regularly, both extemporaneously and using the Common Prayer of the Church (especially the Daily Offices, as mentioned above, and/or the Order for Family Prayer found in the back of the Prayer Book).
Read the Bible regularly (if you say the full Daily Office, this will happen as a matter of course – but there is no harm in reading even more from the Holy Scriptures).
And make sure that the person you are dating (or better yet, courting) shares these ideals, and is willing – even eager! – to walk with you in your journey. In an ideal relationship, as you grow closer to one another, you should grow closer to God; as you grow closer to God, you will grow closer to one another.
If this does not happen, it may be worthwhile to rethink the entire situation. It is better to be single than to be “unequally yoked” with someone who does not share your faith, moral standards, and outlook on life!