My husband recently spied a book on the clearance rack at our local bookstore that grabbed his attention. He picked it up, thumbed through it, and discovered a treasure trove of information inside. Fortunately he wasn’t interested in it for himself. It was a guide to dating. He bought the book, brought it home with the intention of giving it to our oldest son.
Unfortunately, on the whole, Americans do not practice arranged marriages. I say “unfortunately” because the older my kids get the more I wish we did. Okay, I understand the flaws in the arranged marriage system, and my support of it is tongue-in-cheek, but the alternative to arranged marriages is dating- another flawed system.
The book my husband brought home was titled, Marriable, and was written by married co-authors Hayley and Michael DiMarco. I have since read every word therein, and repeatedly thought, “Where was this book when I was dating?” A quick glance at the chapter titles lets the reader know this is no ordinary book about dating.
As a parent of teenagers, I cannot avoid the subject. I might rather put my head in the sand, or cover my ears while screaming, “La, la, la, la…!” But the matter of dating is inescapable. Unless I decide to barricade the door, and keep my kids under lock and key, that is.
The dating dilemma…
I understand that there are many different views on the matter of dating, and each parent has to decide the when’s, how’s, where’s, and who’s to meet their comfort levels as parents. Yet I think we all must come to the conclusion that dating, whenever it happens, should lead to just one ultimate thing: Marriage. Sure, dating can be viewed as training ground for managing relationships, entertainment, and socialization but when you boil it all down, and remove the fluff, we allow our kids to enter into dating relationships for the ultimate goal of marriage; a goal that involves perhaps the most important decision of their lives.
How equipped are they to enter into this pursuit? Without adult help, your help as parents, they might not be as equipped as they should be. Let your nine-year-old join a baseball team, and you wouldn’t dream of letting them play without first having a fair knowledge of the game, good coaching, or without the very best equipment you can provide them.
Only a precious few little leaguers go on to be professional baseball players, but most novice daters go on one day to enter into the bonds of marriage. If you knew your nine-year-old was a future Rookie-of-the-Year, you would start him off with the very best coaching and knowledge you could provide. You would be there every step of the way to make sure he stayed on course, and avoided the many pitfalls of the game. Well, your novice dater will one day most assuredly go pro. Will they be ready? Will they be Marriable?
Back to the book….
In the book, the authors speak plainly about common things both guys and girls do that decrease their “marriability”. As I read the book myself, and reflected on my own dating history, I had to groan. I had been guilty of more than one of the things mentioned, things I definitely want my kids to avoid.
The book speaks to guys on being gentlemen in the twenty-first century, and what that looks like. Surprisingly, it looks very much like what being a gentleman has always looked like. Girls are cautioned throughout the book on not being desperate for male attention, thank you very much. If your daughter is texting or Face-booking my son (or someone else’s) twenty-five times in one day (it happens), perhaps she is behaving desperately, and could use a little help there. Young women of today have all but forgotten the fine art of playing hard to get.
I plan on having each of my kids read this book, in turn, as dating becomes an issue in their lives. I expect with chapter titles like “How being ‘Just Friends’ Is a Waste of Time”, “Desperate Lies Women Tell Themselves”, “Men Lie to Get What They Want”, and “Don’t Marry Your Best Friend Unless You’re Gay” they just might read it cover to cover, and will surely generate some interesting conversation.
Don’t let the chapter titles throw you. This book is written with Christian values and principles, yet it minces few words. I know my first son will read it under duress, so just in case he tries to skim, I have told him there will be a post-test. It’s mostly multiple choice, with a few fill-in-the-blank, and only a couple of essay questions…
If you are parent of a teenager navigating the world of dating, don’t let them go it alone. I’m not suggesting that a book should take the place of honest conversation with your kids, but a book like this one can be a great jumping off place for discussions to help insure that your child will one day be as marriable as they possibly can be.
Are you a parent of a teen wanting to date? Have you thought this through? What are your parental do’s and don’ts?for your kids?