In order to answer these questions, I would like to make an analogy with obtaining a driver’s licence. My question would be, when is it right to start taking driving lessons? There is a time and season for everything on earth. Everything has a purpose and when the purpose of a thing is unknown abuse is inevitable.Driving tests: oral, theory, hazard perception and practical are put in place to prepare the individual for safe driving. A license is issued after passing the tests to certify that the holder has obtained the necessary standard to drive safely on the highway. This is put in place to prevent and reduce accidents and death on our roads.
To prepare for these tests, the prospective driver enrols in a driving school and takes lessons until he / she is confident and ready to take the tests. Until these tests are passed, you do not obtain a full driver’s license. Some may take lessons from parents, friends or relatives while others use software packages to gain the required knowledge and skills. whatever the case may be, lessons are being learnt and skills acquired.
In like manner, you should date when you are seriously considering obtaining a marriage license. In order words you date when considering entering into a serious relationship which you hope would lead to the altar. Just like being behind the wheels of a car, you are in the driving seat of the other party’s emotions, life and future when in a relationship. The way the affairs of any dating relationship are carried out impacts on both parties.
Many are left scarred as a result of abusive relationships which goes on to affect future relationships and in some cases their marriage. Though some people deliberately and consciously decide to be become single parents, others get pregnant as a result of their naivety and sincere foolishness. Many people’s lives, dreams and aspirations are ruined just because they were in a relationship they were not mature or wise enough to handle.
There may not be a particular age that categorically specifies when it is right to date, the criteria below should however be met. When the leaves starts to fall, you know that autumn is at hand.
Above the legal age
The law of the land states the age when one is considered to be an adult.
Have parental consent
You need the consent of your parents if you are under their roof. You may be an adult but their support, advice and counsel would help along the way, that’s if they know any better.
You should be physically and emotionally mature to handle a relationship. Though age may be a factor in determining maturity, it doesn’t always apply. Do you have the necessary relational skills to go into a relationship? How much of the temperaments and characteristics of the opposite sex do you know? Do you have the right motives for entering into the relationship, or is it for selfish reasons? Is this relationship a rebound or emotional resting place while you recover from a heart break? Are you in the relationship because of peer pressures or is a hit and run scenario?
Ready to take responsibility
You should be ready to commit to a serious relationship that would eventually lead to marriage. It is not always possible to know for sure that your date is the right one, but there must be a strong indication that he or she is a potential spouse.
Dating without the intention to having a serious relationship is cheap recipe for emotional heart break and disaster. If you do not have the intention of getting married within a considerable time frame, why should you keep a person waiting for 5, 6, 7, 10 years that’s manipulation and witchcraft? In such situations breaking up after such a long time would be a emotional disaster especially for the woman whose biologically clock may be past midnight.
Every relationship should be clearly defined and understood by the parties involved. No one should be left in the dark to build castles in the sky. If you do not intend to commit to a relationship for genuine reasons e.g. studies, career etc it would be wise and mature to make it very clear so you do not lead anyone on.
It may sound unusual, but I think couples intending to get married should be asked to attend marriage counselling classes to help prepare them for marriage life. The statistics and rate of divorces even amongst Christians is ever increasing. Love should be the motivation for a true relationship but there are other skills and knowledge to acquire that would help along the way. Marriage it till death, unlike a driver’s license that can be revoked, divorce is an exception and not the rule
Every decision we take has a consequence, if you make the wrong decision you would reap the harvest. Don’t be a fool dating or date a fool. Get the wisdom and understanding to keep you life and future on track.
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