Eight Great Reasons to Date
By Dr. Greg Smalley and
Michael Smalley, M.A.
Smalley Relationship Center
We would like to emphasize eight specific reasons why
dating can be a positive experience in your life to help you navigate
the waters of maturity and maybe, some day, even marriage.
1. Dating can be fun!
It can be a source of enjoyment and recreation.
This is an end in itself because couples want to relax and experience
a form of entertainment together.
2. Dating is a big part in the socialization process.
In other words,
dating establishes social confidence, helps people learn social
skills like manners, consideration for others, cooperation, and
3. Dating helps personality development.
Personal identity is developed
through relationships with other people. The key is successful
relationships. When a dating experience is successful it helps
to build our personality.
4. Dating allows people to try out gender roles.
Men and women need
to discover the kinds of roles they find fulfilling in a close
relationship. This can only be accomplished in actual situations
with the opposite sex.
5. Dating involves learning about intimacy and serves as an opportunity
to establish a unique, meaningful relationship with a person of
the opposite sex.
God created us to need interpersonal relationships.
In Genesis 2:18 it says, Then the Lord God said, "It is not
good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable
for him." As Adam and Eve demonstrate, no matter how many
friends we have, in order to fulfill our deep need for love and
affection, we need close relationships with others, especially
the opposite sex.
6. Dating can provide companionship through interaction and shared
activities with the opposite sex.
One of the worst of all human
conditions is loneliness. Oftentimes, loneliness causes a person
to feel depressed, impatient, bored, self-depreciation, and desperation
as they feel panicked and helpless. One of the best counters to
loneliness is the establishment of meaningful relationships with
7. Dating helps you find the right mate.
A person can use dating
as a process of filtering out or narrowing the field of eligible
partners down to a specific few and eventually to one person who
will be his mate for a lifetime.
8. Dating can help prepare for marriage.
Dating can help couples
acquire the needed knowledge and skills for a successful marriage.
For example, dating helps develop a better understanding of each
other's attitudes and behaviors, how to get along, and can increase
your ability to discuss and solve relational problems.
We are not going to further elaborate on each of these points
mentioned above, however we would like to focus on two in particular.
First, dating can be fun! Dating does not have to be scary, intimidating,
pressure packed, or anything else but enjoyable. What you have
to do is make an effort to make the dating years enjoyable. I
(Michael) had a good time. When I think back on why it was good
for me, I can think of three major reasons.
First, I never allowed dating to get too serious. My mom gave
me some great advice when I started seriously dating Stacey. Be
careful about saying, ;I love you. My parents helped me understand
the significance of love and how you don't just want to use it
like it doesn't mean anything. When we overuse the word love,
it can become just another word and not actually stand for anything
significant anymore. Throughout the years I dated Stacey, I don't
recall ever telling her I loved her, and she didn't tell me either.
I did not allow my dating life to get so deep that the potential
eventual break up would be horrendous.
An aspect of not allowing your dating relationships to get deep
is the physical nature of the relationship. That is something
that Stacey and I handled very appropriately. We never got passed
first base, as they say, and I know this helped when we eventually
stopped dating. It made the break up easier, not easy.
Secondly, I used to do a lot of group dates. I would plan outings
with friends, church groups, or whatever there was just to have
more fun. It's good when you are doing things in groups because
it can take some of the pressure of having to keep the entertainment
value up by yourself. With others around, there is usually plenty
of great ideas for having fun!
Lastly, I was involved in other things besides dating. I was
heavily involved with sports, and this allowed me to have something
other than a dating life to enjoy myself. Other people get involved
with church, music groups, writing, or any number of other fun
activities. Just don't limit yourself to just dating. This can
easily become more of a burden then a fun time.
The second point we would like to focus on is that dating can
help you find a mate. If you never date anyone, how can you know
who is the right one for you? Dating gives you the chance to experience
the opposite sex in a more intimate manner, therefore allowing
you to get to know them better. Dating is your opportunity to
have a relatively deep relationship with someone before you commit
to a lifetime of marriage. The great developmental psychologist
Dr. Erik Erikson believed that romantic experiences (or dating)
play an important role in helping you develop a personal identity
and intimacy. He felt dating likely helps shape the course of
future romantic relationships and marriage.
This will only work if you do not allow the relationship to enter
into one too similar to marriage. Premarital sex, obsessive discussions
about marriage, or too much time spent together can all take the
relationship to a level of intimacy that is inappropriate for
dating. If you go to these levels, then your judgment of who the
person is and what the relationship is truly like will be clouded.
© Copyright 2005 Smalley
Relationship Center. Used by permission.
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