Pete Vere shares advice regarding unhealthy teenage dating behavior, as well as what type of courtship leads to healthy marriages. Paul, MN, January 24, 2002 There is a growing debate within Catholic circles surrounding the merits of courtship as opposed to dating.As the youngest canon lawyer in North America, I am less than a decade removed from my teenage years, and I also served as a canonical adviser to various adolescent-orientated Catholic apostolates.Rather, it happens in a moment of weakness, usually alone somewhere as the couple carouse, after the girl has incrementally yielded to a series of moral compromises.Therefore, I suggest teenagers give the object of their courtship one warning that they intend to save sexual intimacy until marriage.My experiences with canon law and teenagers have taught me a thing or two about what constitutes unhealthy teenage dating behavior, as well as what type of courtship leads to healthy marriages.Allow me to share this advice with teenagers and parents whose teenagers are of courting age. This will seem like rather strange advice, given the fact this reflection is about teenage dating.
What do I suggest to teenagers as a substitute for dating?If the suitor then puts pressure on you to compromise in this regard, ditch him or her immediately. In other words, go to movies, go out for dinner or coffee, but do so in well-populated areas where there are always adults nearby.Be friends with members of the opposite gender, hang out, but do not call these social outings dates or think of these as such.Rather, think of these outings as an opportunity to deepen your friendships.
Sooner or later, you will find yourself hanging out more and more with one particular friend, and this is much more likely to lead to a healthy marriage.A Single Warning Suffices While teenage boys are a little different, most adolescent girls I know do not set out in a relationship to lose their virginity.