What is meant by the following guidance principle: "There are lawful means to use for mission work, to draw others to church, but dating and marriage is not one of them"?
To guard against various possible dating dangers and to promote successful dating relationships, the following practical guidelines are very helpful:
1. Consider whom you date - Never agree to date a person who clearly differs from you in core values of religion or morals. To form a dating friendship with one known to differ in heartfelt matters is dangerous for the following reasons:
a. Friendship is mutually influencing - Forming any close friendship with a person holding non-Christian values will exert influence upon you; this will be especially true with a dating friendship.
b. Dating is the first step in a process which can lead to marriage - If the first date with a person would go very well, a case of "emotional color-blindness" would begin. "Emotional color-blindness" refers to the truth that our emotions (and those whom we are emotionally excited about, desire, or attached to) often "color," distort, and outweigh our capability of making clear and intelligent judgments.
2. Plan your dates - Plan an evening of activities which you can enjoy together and remember with pleasure - with the brightness of a clear conscience, not with the darkness of guilty feelings. Going out with "nothing to do" is asking for problems. Idleness and temptation are "very close friends;" the one often introduces the other.
If you continue to date someone, plan a wide variety of activities. This will help you learn more about the person you are dating by seeing him or her in different situations. Possibilities include the following, and many more.
a. Church and Christian school-related activities - youth group discussion meetings, choir evenings, school open houses, dinner evenings, young people's activities, youth conferences, etc.
b. Home and family activities - helping together with household chores, waxing the car, doing something special for