The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
"My son and daughter are of high school age. What instruction should I give them regarding dating and the modern custom of 'going steady'? I know they need the benefits of social contact with those of the opposite sex for their personality development, yet I recognize the danger of fornication which is so prevalent today. What should I teach my son and daughter?"
This is a viral question neglected by too many parents today. Many modern-day parents are afraid to discourage immorality because they're afraid their children would be considered "oddballs" or "squares." Their confidence in chastity has been undermined by so-called authorities who often say that their beliefs are "old-fashioned" or "unscientific". If parents, teachers and ministers are in confusion about moral standards, where can teen-agers go for the truth — for guidance along the way to marital happiness? Why, to the One who created sex. To the God who set all laws in motion, and who has revealed His knowledge and understanding for us in the Bible. The Bible — the revealed Word of God — is the foundation of all knowledge. It is to the Bible we must go for the truth about social behavior BEFORE, DURING and AFTER marriage! It was God who, in the beginning, created Adam and then Eve — male and female. It was God who intended young people to become acquainted with one another through "dating." Most boys and girls start dating today as soon as they enter their teens and many start before. This means their childhood is shortened with early dating leading to "going steady," immorality and early marriages. How early do American youngsters begin dating? Dr. Carlfred B. Broderick, professor of family relationships at Penn State University, said: "We may have to go down to the second grade to find a 'dateless' class. Ten years ago dating was considered an adventurous and unusual activity for a 12-year-old. Today teachers in many communities across the nation report that some 9-year-olds are beginning to date and 12-year-olds are going steady. In one middle-class school district that we studied, 40 percent of the fifth graders ( mostly 10- and 11- year-old children) had started to date" (Newsweek). Teen-agers should not begin dating so early in life. "Without knowing what they are doing, or why, or what trouble they are headed for, too many American subteens are rushing — and being rushed — into growing up too fast and too soon.... Going steady, engaged in constant campaigns to captivate each other or be captured, the young boys and girls are involved in subteen romances, complete with wraparound dancing and necking" (Life, August 19, 1962). Parents who promote early dating or who agree to the practice, fearful of bringing on a family war, are directly responsible for this situation! But what about "going steady"? Teen-agers assume the term "going steady" automatically means they can have more freedom in, physical intimacy! A couple going steady assumes they are free to do all the kissing and necking they wish — and even "go all the way" without a second thought. That is sin. The apostle Paul plainly said: "FLEE FORNICATION. Every [other] sin that a man doeth is outside the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." And verse 9 of this same chapter says, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." The Commandment forbidding adultery — and all illicit sex relations — was given by God to protect marriage and the family. When an individual member of a family suffers dishonor or disgrace, ALL are wounded and hurt! When a man marries a girl, he not only joins his life to hers, but, in a broader sense, to her parents, brothers and sisters! She in turn brings her life into the family circle of his blood relatives. So, premarital relations can involve not only the couple, but her family as well as his. In a national poll on teen-agers going steady, 72% of the girls and 74% of the boys admitted that dating only one person leads to more physical intimacy than dating more than one (Los Angeles Times). A good principle: don't go steady unless you are prepared for marriage and are planning to get married in the near future. Date a number of girls (or boys) and broaden your horizon in dealing with the opposite sex. Going steady is likely to lead to fornication or to an early marriage. More than 20,000 boys and girls between 12 and 15 are married in the United States! Teen-age marriage hits hardest at those who have been going steady the longest, who come from unhappy homes, or who have no plans for education beyond the 12th grade. Divorces occur six times more often among those who marry under the age of 21 than among the 21-plus brides and grooms. According to one authority, 53% of all teen-age weddings are forced by pregnancy (Los Angeles Times). When should young people get married? In the July, 1961 PLAIN TRUTH, Mr. Armstrong said: "Based on actual experience, my judgment — and I think it is sound judgment guided and approved by God — is that until out of the 'teens' a boy or girl is too young to marry! And it is also my judgment — and I think it is sound and approved by God — based on life-long experience counselling on marriage problems of hundreds of people — that even 20 is too young to be the best age for marriage.... "The best age for a man to marry is around 24 to 26, after he has devoted those top aptitude years between 16 and 25 for mature education, experience, and preparation — after he has acquired the knowledge, preparation and preliminary experience to assume adult responsibilities — after he is able to assume the responsibility of supporting a wife — and family! And the best age for a girl to marry is between 23 and 25, when she has utilized those top aptitude years for preparation, and is prepared to assume the duties of wifehood and motherhood — the responsibilities of planning, decorating, arranging a home, keeping it, and being a help and inspiration to her husband." (From "What Is the Best Age to Marry," p. 8, July 1961 PLAIN TRUTH.) The kind of dating done nowadays will naturally lead to situations craved by those who have nothing on their minds but kissing, necking, petting, and committing fornication. Most teen-agers go out twice a week and the most popular activities are going for a drive, dancing, getting together for a party or going to the movies. There is usually no place for the old-fashioned chaperon. They are left to themselves to do as they please. God commands all: Flee fornication! Stay away from places and people that will lead to "loving it up." Develop the art of dating as it should be — of going to educational events and places, taking part in sporting activities, and going on outings with parents or other adults. Youth needs to learn the true values of life — that breaking the laws of God will exact a penalty! PROMISCUITY DOESN'T PAY! It doesn't lead to happiness in life. It only breaks down, the character traits of trust, responsibility and honesty! Youthful LUST and VANITY can completely DESTROY young lives! What a fearsome thing it is to see mere teen-agers sobbing out their hideous problems of PREGNANCY, a VILE DISEASE, a wretched, miserable, BROKEN life — even before it's really begun! It's time PARENTS KNOW WHAT THEIR CHILDREN ARE DOING. It's time YOU PARENTS began to live by the laws of God yourselves, and teach your children the great values of a CLEAN CONSCIENCE, a WHOLESOME life — a future of true freedom! God's laws are GOOD. They are HOLY. They are designed to bring us happy lives, healthy minds and bodies, and real success! It's time we were a little more righteously indignant at the VILE practices of a generation of God-defying, degenerate, FRUSTRATED humans who do not know the way to true peace and happiness! May God give you the wisdom to make RIGHT decisions — and learn to live HIS WAY!