I have been spending time with my sons in the morning before school this week to read from a book titled “Dating vs Courtship” (Amazon link where I make a tiny commission) by Paul Jehle.
I’ve waited for a long time to bring this up to my boys, and it is time. Not only because the oldest is nearly 17, but people around us are beginning to make comments and tease, boys their age will soon start asking questions… and I want them to have a meaningful reply.
This book was written in 1993, but it was simmering in Paul’s mind for two decades before that as he watched his youth group suffer the consequences of the dating scene year after year.
For almost 20 years prior to writing this book, Paul taught the wisdom of courtship and the dangers of dating, but the youth he worked with and their parents became angry or annoyed with him and the youth kept dating anyway.
Here is my synopsis of the book.
(By the way, I have not read the book “I Kissed Dating Good-bye” by Josh Harris, so I don’t know if he has the same take on this.)
satan wants our youth.
[that’s not a typo. I don’t capitalize his name because he doesn’t deserve it]
he knows that if he can destroy them, lure them, distract them, then he will have the next generation and he will destroy their preparation for family and ultimately their families as well. In a recent previous post I talked about one way he is destroying our youth through “magic” and witchcraft. The second way is through dating.
This might sound harsh to someone who has not given this serious consideration, but in the book, Paul goes through the statistics and the Scripture to make his point very clear and non-debatable.
80-90% of teens lose their virginity and WE are to blame.
(this was back in 1993, so it may be higher now)
We have allowed the thorns to grow in the field rather than weeding while the soil is easy to work with. We have been negligent.
Paul very powerfully teaches that
The years between 13 and marriage are the preparation years.
These years should not be wasted frivolously on the pursuit of their own pleasures. They should be spent ~
- by the parent and spiritual leaders ~ teaching the critical preparation of the youth for marriage
- by the youth ~ asking “meaningful questions about the purpose of life, and their own identity” and laying foundations, being about the Father’s business.
Take a moment and think right now.
How many young people do you know who are past 13 and not married yet, who are doing these things?
For me, sadly, the answer is: only a handful.
Why is that so?
Paul gives three reasons:
- A Self-Centered Gospel
- The Destruction of the Family
- A Lukewarm Body of Believers
These are not my words, yet I keep hearing them over and over. He further explains where we have dropped the ball in each of these areas with our low expectations of teens, the lack of leadership we give them in the home and the humanistic philosophies in the Body that have brought us to this place.
Youth Groups are pinpointed as a major mistake...
Our youth lack true heroes, vision and accountability, all of which should be taught in the home and the local body of believers.
These are tough words to swallow, but I assure you they are true. I know it from my own life. Again, my parents were wise enough to lay down some rules regarding my dating and I know it saved me a lot of heartache, but I can still see the consequences of dating in our marriage.
And in the lives of my sons? I thank my dear Father that they have been spared the pressures of the dating scene at school and at “church”. I know they are aware of girls, but it is so refreshingly different for them than with most boys their age. Their purity of heart and thought saves them from many of the temptations that are common today.
The last point I will share has to do with the title of this post.
"At the heart of the dating process is covenant breaking."
In dating, we learn to break covenants at whim or when we feel like it.
I know this was the case for me. I did not date very many boys, but those few that I did (I think it was 3), I was the one who broke their hearts. I was always able to just make a decision, turn off my heart and end the relationship…
Except for one. And it took me 2 1/2 years to get over him.
…until I met my husband… Then I tried to turn it off, but it kept dripping =)
Dating is practice for divorce.
It’s a thought process that says if it doesn’t work out, , you can simply break it off instead of working through it. It’s commitment is shallow because it’s usually built on feeling.
Focus on serving the Father. Minister with other families and groups of believers and YHWH will bring the right couple together. Now, that’s a beautiful picture!
He could have ended the book right there and he would have made his point…
So, I will leave you with these things to ponder.
As always, I would love your comments!
By the way, I have no idea if how I sound in these posts. I try to imagine how my readers will respond based on the way the majority of people think, but I want you all to know that my heart is full of love and concern and that is where I am coming from. I am simply sharing things that are dear to my heart, things that I have discovered along the way and I am sharing them here because I am passionate about them.