(But as we shall see, they probably did not survive unscathed).

Is it just an innocent cultural expression; the way we do things in the west in the present century? " Jim West has defined a date as, "Any planned event involving a shared activity between a man and a woman" - one person asks the other to share in an activity, and a publicly recognizable pairing occurs.

It always implies some kind of romantic interest, and both parties know this even if the date is going to a church meeting or to a Bible study. Compare this cultural norm with the one that prevailed in western civilization until the early part of this century.

The test is Rom - "true love does no harm to a neighbour and fulfills the law." So we must find a lawful way for our young people to fall in love and prepare for marriage. It is an established cultural norm to be followed without further question.

Most parents continue to allow dating because it is the way that they did things in their day, and they believe that they survived.

Sexual desires are not designed to be started and stopped over and over again!

Finally, it is naive to think that it is all a matter of self-control. Self-control means refraining from sexual touch of any kind, at least until covenantal engagement.

Only marriage relinquishes ownership of one's "good" body to one's partner.

Parents must overcome this naivety when a teen complains about parental restrictions.

Ask yourself these questions: "Which is more biblical? " In earlier times, all courtship included rigid supervision and protection of the female.

It was built on the premise of family introductions, and the focus was on the father's role in establishing a new family, hence the question in the marriage ceremony, "Who gives this woman away?

If we want our young people to be prepared for marriage these are the questions that we must ask: In answering these questions, we need to know the criteria by which the answers must be judged.