For many teenagers this is one of the toughest commandments to keep. “I only like one girl,” a young man says. “Why should I spend my time (and money) taking other girls out on dates?
It turns out that there are many reasons why we should not steady date in high school.
It is interesting to see how modern prophets have consistently warned against steady dating–
President Spencer W. Kimball, the twelfth president of the church, said:
Early dating increases temptation. A vicious, destructive, social pattern of early steady dating must be changed…
It is my considered feeling, having had some experience in interviewing youth, that the change of this one pattern of social activities of our youth would immediately eliminate a majority of the sins of our young folks; would preclude numerous early, forced marriages; would greatly reduce school dropouts; and would be most influential in bringing a great majority of our young men and women to the holy marriage altar at the temple-clean, sweet, full of faith to become the worthy parents of the next generation (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 287-288, emphasis added).
President Ezra Taft Benson, the thirteenth president of the Church, said to the Young Women:
Refrain from…going steady…Avoid steady dating with a young man prior to the time of his mission call. If your relationship with him is more casual, then he can make that decision to serve more easily and also can concentrate his full energies on his missionary work instead of the girlfriend back home” (Ensign, Nov. 1986, 82–83, emphasis added).
President Howard W. Hunter Hunter, the fourteenth president of the church, said,
When should a young man or a young woman commence steady dating? I am sure you will agree that it is not a good idea for a young man and a young woman to begin steady dating until they have arrived at the marriageable age…There is plenty of time after high school to go steady (Teachings, p. 124).
President Gordon B. Hinckley, the fifteenth president of the church, counseled in the Priesthood Session of Conference:
“When you are young, do not get involved in steady dating. When you reach an age where you think of marriage, then is the time to become so involved. But you boys who are in high school don’t need this, and neither do the girls” (Ensign, Nov. 1997, 51, emphasis added).
The First Presidency has said, “Avoid going on frequent dates with the same person” (For the Strength of Youth, 25).
Some couples will say, “But we’re good kids! We’re not going to do anything bad.”
The simple fact is, steady dating leads to steady temptation. The more familiar a young man and a young woman are with each other, the more difficult it is for the young man to go on a mission, the more difficult it is to keep the law of chastity, the less likely the individuals are to learn healthy patterns of relationships.
Check out this study that showed a significant relationship between steady dating and immorality:
We hope we haven’t seemed “mean” in this post. We are not trying to ruin the lives of teenage couples. At the same time we have personally witnessed how destructive it can be when even the best young men and women steady date in high school.
We hope that you have fun dating relationships throughout your teenage years. But please know that high school is not the time to steady date. As President Hunter said, “There is plenty of time after high school to go steady.”
–For more of our thoughts on this subject you can download an excerpt from the chapter “Why Shouldn’t I Steady Date in High School?“