Last night we started a small group using "Family Driven Faith" by Voddie Bachaum. A topic of discussion we touched on that has been on my mind today was about dating. One thing he said (and it will be a rough paraphrase because I don't know where our book is right now) was that dating before one is ready for marriage is like going shopping without money. The shopper will either leave frustrated or take something that isn't his. Steve said something last night about our girls getting close to "that" age and I just about snorted (okay, maybe I did snort), but really, thinking of how quickly the last 13 years have gone, four or five years isn't that far away, I guess.
Now, I, of all people, truly understand that no two children are alike, and each one will be "ready for marriage" at a different rate, but general ballpark here, when are people ready for marriage today?
I have to say that Steve and I dated for almost four years and I really wish that we hadn't. I wish that we had either gotten married two years sooner or that we hadn't started dating for another two years. I just read "Shadow of the Almighty" and the Jim and Elizabeth Elliot relationship was a wonderful example of waiting!
I guess I'm just curious about what other like-minded (conservative, sheltering, Bible-believing / teaching) parents think about this. I had a sister that got married after her sophomore year of college and was still able to complete her degree, but I do think that is rare. And her husband dropped out to support them during that time and never completed a degree. Not that I think my kids HAVE to go to college, by the way, but I certainly think it is beneficial, especially for a male (in the looming financially disaterous future in our country) that is Biblically commanded to provide for a family.
So, if I put all of my thoughts together, I would say, if my son were to really desire a college education, I would recommend not dating until the last few years of college. Of course, he will be an adult and able to make that decision himself, but I guess that would be what I would have to recommend and teach toward. Now, as far as my daughters . . . I tend to think their situations are much more up in the air! I was 21 when I got married, but I'm sure the outcome would have been the same had I gotten married at 19.
Anyway, I've spent way to much time pondering with my fingers, but I'd welcome any comments from my faithful blog readers! Especially you with older kids that have dealt with this or those of you that are pondering the same things right now!