The Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary defines dating as the meeting you arrange with your girl- friend or boy-friend. It goes on to highlight the same as ‘romantic meeting’.
When a young man or woman falls in love and starts to see someone of the opposite sex, there’s that attraction between them which draws them together. Dating as defined above is one of the most enthralling experience a couple could have, and making the best out of it cannot be overemphasized. This is a time for openness, friendship and mutual obligation. It begins when two people get to know each other and decide to develop their relationship further through their close acquaintanceship. This relationship may lead to marriage if the dating couple finds themselves compatible. A compatible couple is one which is well suited and accommodating to each other. However compatible here should not be misconstrued to mean without conflicts; but ‘in spite of any differences’-the two should be able to get along.
However when two people from two different backgrounds meet to chart a life-long partnership they are prone to face differences and conflicts, but that should not mean they shipwreck their relationship. In fact a relationship that has never seen differences can only be described as superficial.
When differences surface and the couple resolve them that’s when a relationship matures. One pastor who was counseling a dating pair learnt that they’d never differed. He asked them to go back and ‘Differ, reconcile and then come back,’ before he could sanction their wedding. Now whether this man of God meant this as an analogue or not may seem as an extreme case but it points to the simple fact that a couple should learn to work out their differences for their own good.
Therefore honest, faithfulness and transparency is a key component in dating. If either of them is pretending or not being sincere then the couple may not get the benefit of this very important aspect of their affair.
Now it must be assumed that when we talk about two people dating, we mean two consenting adults who are old enough and are in gainful employment or business. Dating is a commitment that requires time and resources therefore someone planning for the same need to have the financial abilities that the affair can demand. Psychological preparedness is also important.
Dating has no fixed rules and can take different forms and ways depending on the people involved; but essentially this a period when a man and a woman cultivate a close relationship between them-learning and knowing each other. A dating pair may be seen or found together most of the time, and this helps in bonding them together. They may share a little something and this is what makes the relationship very intimate.
That dating needs to be romantic suggests that the couple need to allow for themselves the little necessities of life to make their moments pleasurable–going out to together, sight-seeing, eating out, watching a movies –as a long as both of you are happy with the arrangement.
For those with strong religious conviction, however, some places may not be every convenient. For example, drinking places may not be good if you’re on a date. I’d strongly recommend that religious dating couples keep away from some isolated places that could lead them to make poor judgment. Being in a room just the two of you could make you engage in pre-marital sex which you may regret later.
Another word of caution is for young people in institution of learning. This group need to be wary of casual outings with the opposite sex because dating could just consume their time and energies that could otherwise be used for studies.Dating is a very emotional affair and should only be considered when one is ready and has fewer commitments. So if you’re a student with a heavy academic load, please concentrate on your studies and postpone your dates until you’re in your ‘final year!’
Closely related to dating is courtship, a term defined as ‘old fashioned’ in the Oxford dictionary –though I beg to differ. Courtship is the time when a man and a woman have taken their relationship a step further and are now looking forward to getting married. At this stage the pair should show a lot more commitment and seriousness one to the other. Both of them should have known each other very well and must have resolved to get married. Can two walk together unless they are agreed?
During courtship some couples would even start setting up a home and buying household goods together. When two people commit themselves to setting up a home at this stage it helps to builds trust and confidence between them. They may have introduced themselves to their parents or even to their church leaders.
As a man and woman look forward to marriage, sometimes there may be some unfounded fears, however, value your dates, they don’t come easily. Cherish your partner and be thoughtful of them because not many people have the great moments you have with your partner.
Whatsapp +260 97 2 777 285