I always thought that I was romantic. My wife says I am. I even got the nickname “Romeo” from a church member.
But having two attractive young daughters has taught me that I have a lot to learn about romance. According to them, there are three different levels in a boy-girl relationship:
1. “Talking.” If you’re “talking,” it means you’re interested in each other, but you’re not committed to being boyfriend and girlfriend. You’re free to talk to others. A lot of this “talking” is actually “texting,” because they often do it on a cell phone.
2. “Going out.” This means a commitment to being boyfriend and girlfriend. My generation called this “going steady,” but today’s teens call it “going out.” The only problem is, if they don’t have a driver’s license, they aren’t really going anywhere. Personally, I think they should call this “talking a lot,” or “unlimited texting,” because that’s what they’re really doing.
3. “Dating.” This is for older youth who have driver’s licenses. If you’re older, you can go straight from “talking” to “dating.” Also, to further complicate things, you can be “dating” but not yet committed to “going out.” So in this scenario, you actually ARE going out, yet you are not officially “going out.”
To my daughters’ list of three levels, I would add a fourth level. If God leads you to Mr. Right, or Miss Right, then at the proper time, you should move to a fourth level in a relationship:
4. “Married.” This is what happens when you decide to go out permanently. My older daughter advanced to this level a few years ago, and my younger daughter advanced to this level last year. I can tell you all about being the father of the bride: just pay for it and keep your mouth shut.
I’m reminded of a conversation I once overheard in a flower shop just before Valentine’s Day. Some young men were in the shop, talking about their constantly changing girlfriends. An older man spoke up and said, “What you guys need to do is stop buying at the news stand and get a subscription.” I looked at him and smiled. I knew what he meant, because I’ve had a subscription for 30 years.
The Bible says, “Rejoice in the wife of your youth” (Proverbs 5:18) and “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22). That’s why I’m happy for my daughters. And I pray that they don’t forget to keep dating, and going out, and talking. I know that if they do, their subscription won’t run out.
(Copyright 2011 by Bob Rogers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read this column each Friday for a mix of religion and humor. For more “Holy Humor,” visit the Web site of First Baptist Church of Rincon at www.fbcrincon.com.)