Most relationships start with a date. So what is dating? Dictionary.com describes "to date" as "to go out socially on dates."1 Many people assume that dating is the physical, intimate portion of the relationship, but from its origins, dating has referred to the social settings where couples go to get to know one another better. This social dating is the best way to start a relationship. When you are interested in someone, you should first get to know that person very well. When you really understand someone, your decision about whether to stay with that person is much easier.
Alternatives? So what is the alternative to sexual dating relationships? A better option is abstinence. Abstinence means saving sex until you are married. Does that sound ridiculous to you? It shouldn't! If you wait until you are married to have sex, you will know for sure that your partner loves you enough to want to be with you and only you. Pregnancy isn't as scary when you are married. STDs won't be a problem if you and your partner save sex for each other. Although you may be heartbroken if you break up before you marry, you will still have the gift of your virginity. Remember, once you give your virginity to someone, you can never get it back. Two out of 3 people who gave up their virginity say that they wish they had waited.2 Abstinence gives you the opportunity to give the precious gift of your sexuality to the person that you vow to spend the rest of your life with. No one practicing abstinence has ever gotten pregnant, had an STD, or regretted losing their virginity. If you doubt the reality or beauty of abstinence, read about some people who chose to remain abstinent until married (http://mychoice2wait.org/testimonials.html, etc.).
What about "safe sex"? Some people think that it is ok to have sex as long as you are practicing "safe sex." Did you know that no form of "safe sex" is 100% effective.
Don't let yourself be fooled into thinking that there is such a thing as "safe sex." There may be "reduced risk sex," but that is all you can depend on. The only way to ensure that you will not be faced with an unplanned pregnancy or unexpected STD is to wait until you are married to have sex.
3 "Birth Control Chart." 4Parents.gov. Retrieved August 19, 2010, from http://www.4parents.gov/sexrisky/birthcontrol/birthcontrol_chart/birthcontrol_chart.html.
How can you develop a committed relationship? Loving & Caring, Inc.6 recommends a 10-step process to finding a spouse. By using this abstinence-based process, if you decide at any point during steps 1-9 that you are not compatible, you can end the relationship without having lost the gift of your virginity.
"1. You meet. There is a flash of interest. Initial communication.
2. Meet again. Chat on the phone. Talk a bit more. Agree to go out.
3. Begin the process of becoming friends. Share activities (sports, shows, etc.).
4. Begin meeting each other's family and friends.
5. Explore each other's common and different interests. He likes classic rock; you like country.
6. Become aware of and begin to work through each other's weaknesses and differences on
7. Explore life goals; take increasing amounts of time together to discuss who each one is and
8. Acknowledge that you are going forward together; work through different areas: finances,
9. Engagement, premarital counseling, finalizing plans, dealing with pressure situations
10. Marriage; sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse was designed to bind a couple in an