At one time, and it is still practiced today, though rarely, dating meant getting to know the other person as a person. Sometimes, things did not work out, but dating was meant to be fun. It was not about having sex.
Sometimes, two young people would go steady. This meant that they were not dating anyone else. This could lead to courtship, which included both parents. Fathers would tell boyfriends “I want my daughter home by 10:00 PM.” followed by “Have fun!” The parents were involved in the lives of their teenage children. They needed to be. Teenagers barely know what the outside world is like aside from school, and parents were also teenagers at one time. Fathers would sometimes have to tell their daughters, “I don’t want you marrying a drunk.” out of love and concern. Too many movies have painted parents as unnecessary meddlers. Love and concern are not meddling. And yes, the occasional couple would elope and get married without their parents’ approval, but was this always a good idea?
Today, it appears that life after marriage is a mystery. A picture is painted of modern couples who divorce as if the person they married was only revealed to them after the ceremony. If we are truly intelligent then we should really get to know the other person long before the wedding. Both parties need to honestly tell their expectations of the future to each other. Both should honestly assess their future needs like housing and money. Planning is necessary both for the short and long term.
This requires a solid friendship and trust. You need to enjoy each other’s company outside of the bedroom. That is part of what’s missing today. Only a small fraction of a married couple’s life involves sex. People have to go to work, keep house and attend to the other everyday things we all need to do. Unless this firm foundation is established, it will be more difficult. Real love means real understanding and real commitment. Trust and love should be there before sex.