Quite possibly the most annoying and patronizing thing I've read in years. Comments of mine are in yellow.
Young People Ask . . . When Can I Start Dating?What Is “Dating”?
▪ You regularly go out with a certain member of the opposite sex.
Are you dating? □ Yes □ No
▪ Several times a day, you text-message or talk on the phone with one particular friend of the opposite sex.
Are you dating? □ Yes □ No
▪ You and a member of the opposite sex have a secret friendship. Your parents don’t know. You haven’t told them because you know they’ll disapprove.
Are you dating? □ Yes □ No
▪ Every time you get together with your friends, you pair off with the same person of the opposite sex.
Are you dating? □ Yes □ No
Likely, you had no problem answering the first question, but you may have paused before responding to the others. What exactly is dating? In this discussion we will define it as any social activity in which your romantic interest is focused on one particular person and that person’s romantic interest is focused on you. Whether in a group or in private, whether on the phone or in person, whether in the open or in secret, if you and a friend of the opposite sex have a special romantic understanding, it’s dating.
No it isn't. A telephone conversation is not a date. Any normal person would know this.
But are you ready to go down that road? A consideration of three questions will help you to find out.
What Are Your Intentions?
In many cultures dating is regarded as a legitimate way for two people to become better acquainted. But dating should have a noble purpose—to help a young man and woman determine if they would be suitable marriage partners for each other. Why?
The Bible uses the phrase “bloom of youth” to describe the time of life when sexual feelings and romantic emotions become strong. (1 Corinthians 7:36) To maintain close association with one particular member of the opposite sex while you are still in “the bloom of youth” can fan the flames of desire and cause you to learn the hard way the wisdom of Galatians 6:7: “Whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap.”
And mother nature calls this a perfectly natural stage in human development which can be explored with great fun for all involved.
Granted, some of your peers might date without any intention of marriage. They may view their opposite-sex friend as nothing more than a trophy or an accessory to be seen with in public to boost their own self-esteem. Playing with someone’s affections in that way is cruel, and it comes as no surprise that such relationships are often short-lived. “Many young ones who date break up with each other a week or two later,” says a youth named Heather. “They come to view relationships as transitory—which in a sense prepares them for divorce rather than for marriage.”
Then again, between two consenting adults it could be a healthy physical relationship to fulfill a natural need.
Recreational or casual dating—pairing off merely for fun or for the sake of having a boyfriend or a girlfriend—can easily lead to hurt feelings. Consider Eric, who at age 18 was innocently enjoying what he thought was just a close friendship with a girl. Then he became aware that for her the friendship meant something more. “Wow! Was I surprised at how fast she got serious,” Eric says. “I really thought we were just friends!”
Sounds like Eric had a close shave there. The girl needs to have a word with herself she's the kind of person that thinks she's going to marry some guy because they went on a date. In which case she's creepy and needy if you ask me. Or maybe she's in a cult. Such girls are not the common the real world but about 50/50 in JW land.
Of course, it’s not wrong to mix with members of the opposite sex in properly supervised group settings. When it comes to dating, though, it is best to wait until you are past the bloom of youth and in a position to contemplate marriage seriously. That is what a youth named Chelsea came to appreciate. “Part of me wants to say that dating should be just for fun,” she admits, “but it’s no fun when one person is taking it seriously and the other isn’t.”
You’re How Old?
▪ At what age do you think it is appropriate for a youth to start dating? ․․․․․
▪ Now ask one or both of your parents the same question, and fill in their answer. ․․․․․
Chances are, the first number you wrote down is lower than the second. Or maybe not! You might be among the many youths who are wisely putting off dating until they’re old enough to know themselves better. That is what a young Christian named Sondra has decided to do, even though she is already of legal age to marry. Sondra reasons: “In the dating process you want someone else to get to know you. But if you don’t know yourself, how can you expect someone else to figure you out?”
Notice how Watchtower insert their own adjectives here that sneakily influence the reader to keep away from dating, even though they're making out it's a personal choice. "You might be among the many youths who are wisely putting off dating until they’re old enough to know themselves better." If they removed the word wisely, the sentence would have been acceptable in any publication outside JW land.
Danielle, 17, feels similarly. She says: “Thinking back to two years ago, what I would have looked for in a potential mate was so different from what I would look for now. Basically, even at this point I don’t trust myself to make such a decision. When I feel that my personality has been stable for a couple of years, then I’ll think about dating.”
"Basically, even at this point I don’t trust myself to make such a decision. When I feel that my personality has been stable for a couple of years, then I’ll think about dating.” Oh dear. She doesn't trust herself to make her own decisions and she's going to wait years even after she thinks she's ready. By which time all the "cute guys" will be married already. Leaving poor Danielle married to some much older MS or widowed/divorced elder.
Are You Ready to Get Married?
Since dating is a stepping-stone to marriage, you would do well to ask yourself if you can tackle the responsibility that comes with being a husband or a wife—or even a father or a mother. How do you know if you’re ready for that? Consider the following.
Woah! Slow down. We're talking about dating here. No ones rushing to the altar just yet. And what's with all this talk about having children already? Lots of JW's are married for many years before feeling ready to have kids.
▪ Relationships How do you treat your parents and siblings? Do you often lose your self-control with them, perhaps using harsh or sarcastic language to make a point? What would they say about you in this regard? How you deal with family members indicates how you will treat a mate.—Ephesians 4:31, 32.
▪ Finances How well do you handle money? Are you always in debt? Can you hold down a job? If not, why not? Is it because of the job? the employer? Or is it because of some undesirable trait on your part? If you cannot responsibly handle your own finances, how will you do so for a family?—1 Timothy 5:8.
Oh i dont know, maybe it's because i didn't go to university so i work in a lower paid job, or im pioneering so have very little income.
▪ Spirituality If you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, what are your spiritual attributes? Do you take the initiative to read God’s Word, to engage in the ministry, and to participate at Christian meetings? If you are not maintaining your own spirituality, how will you encourage a mate to do so?—2 Corinthians 13:5.
These are just a few things you need to consider if you are thinking about dating and marriage. In the meantime, you may interact with members of the opposite sex in appropriate group settings. Later, if you choose to date, you will have a better idea of who you are and of what you need in a lifelong partner.
"In the meantime, you may interact with members of the opposite sex in appropriate group settings." Oh thank you for giving me permission.
The Secret of Family Happiness
More information can be found on pages 13-26 of this book, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Suspiciously, the link to The Secret of Family Happiness was greyed out. Almost as if the book contains outdated information that they're embarrassed about such as "its ok to spank your kids" and "make your child leave home if he/she gets disfellowshipped".
More articles from the “Young People Ask . . .” series can be found at the Web site www.watchtower.org/ype
TO THINK ABOUT
▪ In what appropriate settings can you mix with members of the opposite sex?
Seriously? We need an approved list of appropriate settings from you instead of just deciding for ourselves?
▪ What quality do you most need to work on in order to have potential as a marriage mate?
Indicating that whoever you are you're not ready yet.
[Box/Pictures on page 28]
What Some of Your Peers Say
“I sometimes feel jealous of dating couples—even married couples. But dating is not just for fun. If it is, you are playing with someone’s heart. I think that dating is to find out if this other person is really the person you want to marry.”—Blaine, 17.
“I don’t think that you should date boys just as a ‘rehearsal’ for when someone you really like comes along. That would just lead to hurt feelings.”—Chelsea, 17.
“I really think that you should be old enough to get married before you begin dating. Otherwise, it would be like going to an interview for a full-time job when you’re still in school and really have no intention of accepting the job.”—Sondra, 21.
[Picture on page 29]
It's a pity Watchtower dont use the same reasoning when they ask Am I Ready To Get Baptized? The latest yearbook champions 8yo boys and girls getting baptized.
Mixing with members of the opposite sex in appropriate group settings can be wholesome and beneficial
Im gonna take a wild guess here imagine the picture was young people sitting in a spartan living room with glasses or orange juice while one of the boys in an orange polo tshirt and chinos plays guitar for the others who are singing kingdom songs right out of the book.