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When my grandmother dated in middle school (yes, middle school) her parents had one primary rule for her.
The Primary Dating Rule: Don’t go out with the same guy twice in a row. She explained that the lack of exclusivity helped them guard their hearts and kept things from getting too serious too quickly. The lack of exclusivity helped the girls guard their hearts and kept the boys from feeling entitled to the girl.
I am not convinced that anyone is ever truly ready to get married.
Readiness can become a carrot on a stick, an ideal that can never be achieved.
She went on to explain that there used to be a linguistic differentiation between “dating” and “going steady”.
“Going steady” meant you were going out with the same person multiple times in a row.
It seems that my great grandparents’ rule forbidding my grandmother from going out with the same guy twice in a row was a common rule in those days.
The Greatest Generation was encouraged to date and discouraged from going steady while in middle school.
She went on to explain that by the time she graduated from high school, she had gone out on dates with over 20 different guys.
Visits and comments poured in from all over the country about how to make courtship work and why it did not work. I’m talking the kind of couples who first kissed at their wedding were filing for divorce. The deal was that if we put up with the rules and awkwardness of courtship now we could avoid the pain of divorce later.
Each year I waited for courtship to start working and for my homeschool friends to start getting married. The whole point of courtship was to have a happy marriage, not a high divorce rate.
Marriage will always be a bit like jumping into a pool of cold water.
A humble realization that you are not ready and in need of God’s help may be the more healthy way to start a marriage.