It’s a Date
About the Guest
Do your children understand the purposes of dating? Do you? Dennis Rainey takes an honest look at dating on this enlightening broadcast for parents and teens. Get set to join us!
Dennis RaineyDennis Rainey cofounded FamilyLife®, a ministry of Cru®. Since the organization began in 1976 through 2017, Dennis’ leadership enabled FamilyLife to grow into a dynamic and vital ministry in more than 109 countries around the world helping families discover the joy God intended for their relationships with God, spouse, and kids. Dennis has authored or co-authored more than 35 books, including best-selling Moments Together for Couples and Staying Close and has received two Golden Medallion...more
Dennis Rainey takes an honest look at dating for teens.
It’s a Date
Bob: And welcome back to the bonus round of "Lightning Strikes," the game show of fast answers to hard questions. If you're just tuning in, this is high school week, and 12-year-old prodigy, Justin Keller [sp], has made it to the finals with a chance to win $100,000.
Justin, are you ready?
Justin: Yeah, you bet.
Bob: All right, give me 30 seconds on the clock. Now, remember, you have to answer seven of the following questions to win $100,000. The clock starts with your first answer – here we go – what is the square root of 841?
Bob: That's right. What's the digital sample rate for compact disks?
Bob: Correct. At what temperature does water boil?
Justin: One hundred degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bob: That's correct. What causes lift in aerodynamics?
Justin: When the air pressure beneath the wings is greater than the pressure above the wings.
Bob: Very good, Justin, what is the purpose of dating?
Justin: To have fun?
Bob: No, I'm sorry. What's the purpose of kissing?
Bob: What's the purpose of a hug?
Bob: How old should you be before you go out on your first date?
Bob: In a triangle, if angle 1 is 29 degrees, angle 2 is 40 degrees, what is angle 3?
Justin: One hundred eleven.
Bob: That's correct. What's the purpose of dating?
Bob: Oh, Justin, I'm sorry. You were so close. Well, we're out of time. Tune in next time for quick answers to hard questions on "Lightning Strike." I'm Alan Treebark saying, "Good night, everyone."
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thank you for joining us on the Friday edition of our broadcast.
Dennis: I'm sorry that our listeners can't see the mischievous look on your face, Bob.
Bob: Alan Treebark, you like that one?
Dennis: I do.
Bob: Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, who, together with your wife Barbara wrote the book, "Parenting Today's Adolescent," and together with Barbara you serve as the tour guide on the Passport to Purity getaway weekend.
Dennis: To prepare young people to be able to answer the question, what is the purpose of a hug, a kiss, and holding hands?
Bob: Now, these are questions that you asked sixth graders in your sixth grade Sunday school class for years, and it really caused them to pull back and have to think, right?
Dennis: And they don't have a clue, Bob. And, frankly, a lot of us, as parents, don't either. I watched the teachers who helped me with the class. They would sit back there and go, "Well, what is the purpose of a kiss? And why do we hug?" And it's interesting, I think the next generation of young people have to have these questions pressed into their hearts so they can begin to grapple with the reasons for it and not just fall in line with the herd, with what everybody else is doing.
Bob: Following your sixth grade Sunday school class, you wrote the book, "Parenting Today's Adolescent," and then we spent about a year and a half developing this getaway weekend for parents where you can go off together, a mom with a daughter, a dad with a son, and you can ask these kind of hard questions, have these little dramatic moments in them like the quiz show for kids. There are projects you do, there are some fun activities that are incorporated, but the whole purpose of the weekend is to cement the relationship between a parent and a child and also to open the door to discussing some of the issues that are just around the corner for an 11-year-old, a 12-year-old, even a 13-year-old.
Dennis: You know, in the book, "Parenting Today's Adolescent," we compare the years of being a teenager to walking on a path that has open traps, dangerous steel traps, and comparing a teenager to being a barefoot, blindfolded young person walking into a forest, not knowing how they're going to get where they're going but blindly walking off into these traps. And what a parent is to do is to come alongside a teenager and to put his or her hands on their shoulders and to walk around these traps all the way through the teenage years to hopefully guide them to maturity unscarred and unscathed by sin and by the world.
Bob: One of those traps is when a young person walks off with a member of the opposite sex for an evening of going to a movie, going bowling, eating pizza, and it all looks harmless and innocent, but there's danger just around the corner, and you talk about the issue of dating in session 5, which is what we're going to listen to today, and you begin by asking the questions that were asked on the quiz show so that the young person can begin grappling with those issues. Let's listen together to the beginning of Session 5.
[Passport to Purity segment]
Dennis: Let's to your journal and look at letter A – Revisiting the Dating Questionnaire. Now, what I want to do is I want to go back over each of these questions and just briefly give you a little feedback. Number one, what's dating? What does it mean when you're dating another person? Well, you know, we asked that question of some other young people your age. Let's listen in and hear what they said.
Girl: Go with a boy you like and go to the movies that I want to see.
Boy: In our grade, usually, like, we just go in groups.
Boy: I think of, like, date, I think like a guy and a girl, like, over 16 so they can drive, you know? Then, like, go somewhere by themselves or something.
Dennis: Hm, that's pretty interesting, isn't it? You wonder where they got there information from. Okay, so what's a date? It's when a young man and a young lady are alone together, period. And you know how that definition came to us? It's when our daughter was about your age was going out on a "Coke date" with a young man alone. We, all of a sudden, realized she was on a date.
Point 2, what's the purpose of dating? Let's hear what some young people that we interviewed said.
Girl: I don't really see a purpose in dating.
Boy: To have fun and to get to know somebody better.
Boy: No comment.
Girl: Getting to know a person better and spending more time with them so maybe you don't know but you might be with them later in life.
Girl: The purpose of dating really is just getting to know people better by yourselves and not with a whole group.
Dennis: Well, here is what I think the purpose of dating ought to be – I think it ought to be to discover the person that God wants you to marry – it's very simple. I mean, yeah, you can get to know people that way, but ultimately what's the real purpose of dating? Ultimately, it's to select a spouse, a person that you're going to spend the rest of your life with.
The third question from the questionnaire – how old should you be to go on your first date? Let's hear what others had to say about when they ought to be able to go on a date.
Girl: About 15 – 14 or 15, maybe 13.
Girl: I don't know. I do not know.
Girl: I think 13 to go, like, as a steady partner, but I think 14 or 15 as, like a date to the movies or out to dinner or something like that.
Dennis: Well, how old should you be to go on your first date? I think that's the wrong question. I think the issue is how mature do I need to be before I can be trusted to be alone with the opposite sex. And who can answer that? Your mom, your dad – that's who is the best judge of when you are mature enough.
Well, let's look at question 4 from the questionnaire – what kind of person should you date? [laughs] We got some real interesting answers to this one.
Girl: He has to be cute.
Man: Define "cute."
Girl: Okay, all right, he's good looking, like, the perfect eyes, good hair, you know, knows what to wear.
Dennis: Now, as you look at letter B in your outline – seeing dating differently. First, focus on learning how to serve others. It's been my experience that young people who start dating too early are really focusing on their own needs, their own selfish desires. Two people can end up using one another. A guy can want a girl on his arm and a girl that he can brag about down in the locker room. A girl wants the attention and focus of a young man. I think the more mature way is to learn how to be "others-focused" and to serve them. That's the way that Jesus Christ has called us to live. Let's listen to a memory verse found in Philippians, chapter 2, verses 3 and 4.
Chorus: Do nothing from selfishness or vain conceit, do nothing from selfishness. Do nothing from selfishness or vain conceit, do nothing from selfishness. But if you [unintelligible].
Dennis: Did you hear what Philippians 2 was talking about? Do nothing from a selfish motivation. Now, that's great advice in making relationships work. One of the biggest problems in marriage today is that two selfish, sinful people have to live together under the same roof. And if you can begin to learn that lesson right now of doing nothing from a selfish motivation, then you've come a long way already. That leads me to the second way we need to see dating differently. You need to wait until later to have a boyfriend or girlfriend.
What we're talking about here is exclusive dating relationships. When I was back in high school and junior high, we called it "going steady."
My kids have called it "going out." Well, regardless of what you call it, exclusive dating ought to be for a time when you're old enough to make a commitment to love and care for another person in the institution of marriage, and it ought to be reserved for that time when you're old enough to get married.
One of the problems I've seen in my daughters and my sons is that we start looking for love and romance at an age that's far too young today. You need to guard your heart, and you need to allow your parents to help guard your heart as well, because the culture today really wants you to establish a romantic relationship with a young lady or a young man earlier and earlier.
Now, the problem with exclusive dating, as Barbara and I have seen it, is that there's not a lot of good that can come out of it. I mean, you take a couple of good friends who start going out with each other, they start to date one another exclusively, hang out just with one another; he loses all of his friends who are guys, and she begins to neglect her friends who are girls and, before long, all they have is one another. And, you know, that really isn't healthy in junior high or, for that matter, high school as well. In fact, as you move into the teenage years, you're going to be amazed at how many of your friends have to have a boyfriend or have to have a girlfriend. It's like the thing to do because, without one, they're not a total person or they're not like everybody else. And I've got to tell you, you can be fully human and not have a boyfriend or a girlfriend.
Now, I can hear you saying, "Mr. Rainey, does that mean we can't ever go out on a date?" I didn't say that. In fact, you know what? I'm not responsible for you. Your parents are responsible for you, and you've got to work that out with them. But what I am saying is don't narrow your prospects down to just one person. Have fun. In fact, this third principle for seeing dating differently I think will add some perspective.
Third, spend time in group situations. Now, did you hear that? Number three, spend time in group situations. That means you're hanging out with a crowd of people. It's fun, it's safe, it's a good place to get to know people, develop relationships, and learn how to relate to each other, but it also takes away a lot of the risks like being alone with the opposite sex and having to share too many intimate details with someone who isn't committed to you. A group situation can be a great protection for getting to know other people of the opposite sex.
Let me give you a fourth principle for seeing dating differently. Number four, remember, you are spending time, most likely, with someone else's future spouse. Let me say that again – you are spending time, most likely, with someone else's future spouse. What I'm saying here is that the girl that you go out with, if you're a guy, is not going to be most likely the girl that you marry. Or, if you're a girl, and you go out with a guy, he's probably not going to be your husband. Now, could he be? Sure. But most likely that guy, that gal, is somebody else's husband or wife. You better treat them with respect, with dignity, and you better treat them like you would want someone to treat your spouse if they were taking them on a date.
Number five, don't missionary date. That's right, don't missionary date. Somehow young people today can get it in their heads that they can rescue other young men or young women who are headed down a wrong path, and they thing that by dating them they can help them head in the right direction. You know what? Let someone of the same sex redirect their path. You pray for them, you may encourage someone who is of the same sex as they are to share Jesus Christ with them, but you do not need to go out on a date to share the Gospel with a young man or a young lady.
Number six, since you're not married, don't act like it. [laughs] Since you're not married, don't act like it. I have observed teens over the years who have gotten deeply committed in relationships. They have become far too intimate, far too honest, too open, with the opposite sex. In fact, they're sharing details about their lives that I believe were only intended to be shared in marriage. So if you do spend time with someone of the opposite sex, keep your relationship fun. Save the romance for later. You're better off just hanging out together on missions trips and hanging out at school together but not exclusively focusing on another person so that you get too serious too soon.
Number seven, physical touch is off limits until you're married. Number seven, physical touch is off limits until you're married. Now, I know, I know, I already got on my soapbox about that in a previous session, but I just wanted to say again, reserve the sexual dimension of a relationship for later on in marriage. I want to promise you something – you'll never be sorry, you'll never be sorry.
Well, if you don't already know it, we're talking about seeing dating differently. What we've been talking about here is not the popular opinion in junior high and high school today. You're not going to watch television programs that are going to promote this view of dating. But, you know, that's okay. We're talking about a Christian view of dating and of wholesome relationships that helps you do what's right. That's what we're talking about here – just helping you guard your heart and establish some good, healthy relationships while you're young.
Bob: Well, we've been listening again today to an excerpt from the Passport to Purity CD series, a part of the getaway weekend that we are encouraging moms and dads to take with a pre-adolescent son or daughter so that the two of you can talk about some of the tough issues that are just around the corner including the issue of dating. And, you know, yesterday we talked with a mom from Grand Rapids, Pam Lanheis [sp], who took her 11-year-old daughter, Brenda, away for a Passport to Purity getaway weekend.
Dennis: In fact, she wrote us an e-mail and so, right now, I think we have Brenda on the phone. Hi, Brenda, this is Mr. Rainey.
Dennis: Here is Bob Lepine.
Bob: Hi, Brenda.
Dennis: What did you think of the weekend, Brenda?
Brenda: It was a lot of fun.
Dennis: Was it?
Dennis: What was your favorite part?
Brenda: Learning about dating.
Dennis: Oh, really?
Dennis: You're going to date someday?
Dennis: Now, why are you going to do that?
Brenda: To get to know somebody.
Dennis: Well, what did the weekend help you do when it comes to dating? What do you think about dating now?
Brenda: I think it's more of learning about other people instead of, like, going out with somebody.
Dennis: Yeah, yeah? And what do you think about your mom now that she took you away for a weekend like that?
Brenda: I think she's a lot nicer to me now.
Dennis: Oh, really?
Dennis: Why do you say that?
Brenda: I guess I learned more about her?
Dennis: Oh, really?
Brenda: What she did when she was a teenager.
Bob: And you got a gift at the end of the weekend?
Bob: What did you get?
Brenda: I got a pair of earrings. It was a heart, and then it had a cross in the middle, and then the cross represented when I gave my life to God, and then the heart represented my purity.
Dennis: Well, that's neat. I wish I could see them. Maybe you could send me a picture of you wearing your earrings. Will you do that for me?
Dennis: Hey, I've got a final question for you – when you're a mom someday, do you think you'll take your daughter away for a weekend like this?
Brenda: Oh, yeah.
Brenda: Well, because I think she would need it.
Dennis: Do you think even though sex is disgusting, you'd still tell her about that?
Dennis: [laughs] Hey, you know what? You're a good sport. Thanks for being on the broadcast today.
Bob: We'll talk to you later.
Bob: That's great. She still thinks it's disgusting.
Dennis: But what fun just to listen to her at 11 years old – that's what it was meant to be – a young lady was meant to hear from her mom and her dad about these matters and talk about life with them first.
Bob: That's right, and that's what happened with Pam and Brenda as they went on their Passport to Purity weekend, and that's what we've heard about from hundreds of moms and dads who have been away on one of these weekends with their children, and that's the reason that we wanted this week, to encourage our listeners to make plans to do a Passport to Purity getaway with your son or your daughter sometime in the next several months, especially if your son or your daughter is 10 or 11 or 12 or 13, and we've had different people ask us over the years, is it too early to do it at 10? Is it too late to do it at 14? And I think you know when the time is right for your son or your daughter. I would say the more your son or daughter is exposed to the issues of dating and sexuality in school or in the culture, you need to move out earlier.
I don't know that I think it's ever too late. I think parents may want to have a weekend like this even with an older child, simply to reinforce the principles that we've heard about this week from Passport to Purity.
There is more information about the resource on our website, FamilyLife.com. You can go there and click the red button that says "Go" in the middle of the screen. That will take you to a page where you can get more information about Passport to Purity, about everything that's involved in the resource, about other resources that are available from us here at FamilyLife designed to help parents of preteens and teenagers, and there are letters from other parents who have been away on these weekends, and they share some of their experiences as well.
Again, our website is FamilyLife.com. When you get there, you'll see a red button in the middle of the screen that says "Go." You click on that button, it will take you right to the page where there's more information about Passport to Purity or you can call 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, and someone on our team will let you know how you can get this resource sent out to you, and then you sit down with your calendar and schedule a weekend away, and you and your son or you and your daughter go off and have a great time together as you listen to the CDs from Passport to Purity.
And when you're done with the weekend, get in touch with us. Send us an e-mail or send us a letter and let us know how the weekend went. We'd love to add your letter to the collection that we have on our website and share your story with other parents as they come. And if you're able, when you do get in touch with us, if you are able to help with a donation of any amount for the ministry of FamilyLife Today, we are listener-supported, and those donations are critical for the ongoing ministry of FamilyLife Today. In fact, it's because of the support of folks like you that the program is heard on this station and on stations all across the country.
So if you can help us with a donation of any amount this month, we'd love to send you a thank you gift. It's a CD that features more than an hour of conversation with our friend, Elyse Fitzpatrick. Elyse is the author of a book called "Love to Eat, Hate to Eat," and we had a very lively discussion about diet and food and eating disorders and looking biblically at all of those things. We'd be happy to send you a CD of that conversation as our way of saying thank you when you help with a donation of any amount during the month of June. You can make that donation online, if you'd like, and if you do that simply write the word "eat" in the keycode box as you fill out the donation form. That way we'll know to send you the CD. Or call 1-800-FLTODAY, make your donation over the phone and just let somebody know that you'd like to have the CD sent to you, and they'll know what you're talking about, and we'll be happy to get it sent out to you.
Again, thanks for listening to FamilyLife Today and thanks your financial support of this ministry as well.
Well, I hope you have a great weekend. I hope you can join us back on Monday when we're going to talk about some of the unique challenges facing families in the military and some of the heroes at home – the wives and, in some cases, husbands who are staying behind supporting families as loved ones are serving us overseas. I hope you can join us as we talk on Monday with Ellie Kay.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
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