Don’t date. Court.
Don’t date until after college.
If you are dating, don’t kiss until you’re married. Don’t even hold hands.
These are all things I’ve heard, be them my friends’ own philosophies, or rules that their parents place on them. In all honesty, I don’t agree with any of them.
I don’t think you should only ever court. I don’t think you should wait until you can actually marry someone and support a family until you start dating. I don’t think you should keep yourself from every kind of physical affection if you are dating.
At a retreat, this topic was once addressed. The speaker made a point that’s really stuck with me – dating is learning to say no, so that you can eventually say yes. It teaches you what you do and don’t want in someone that you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. It teaches you the sort of qualities that someone else would look for in a spouse, so you can nurture those qualities and eventually be the best husband or wife you can be. It teaches you about boundaries – establishing your own and being sensitive to others’.
Physical affection is part of romance. There’s nothing sinful in holding hands, as long as it’s not a lie. There’s nothing wrong with kissing, as long as that’s not a lie. There’s nothing shameful in putting your arm around someone you care about – as long as you truly care about that person.
That’s the real catch. Do. Not. Be. Physically. Affectionate. If. You. Do. Not. Really. Care. Because that my friend, is a lie. It is using someone. And it is wrong.
Keep in mind the values of modesty and chastity, the Ten Commandments, and evaluate whether you are seeking attention, or seeking to truly and honestly love someone else.