The question of how many people a person could date before marriage has become a thorny issue. Is it appropriate to date more one girl before marriage? Is it right to sample many girls before settling down? Can one date without sex?
Perhaps, among the more advanced climes of the world, some of these questions are no more at issue as it is more or less the norm rather than the exception to date several people for purpose of finding a courtship or possible marriage partner. Among African and Asian peoples though, these are hot issues given the many connotations readable from such ideas. This is interesting in the light of the culture of plural marriage common among African and Asian people.
Certain misconceptions are responsible for these connotations though. Namely:
• One, meeting several people of the opposite sex especially by women is misconstrued as promiscuity.
• Two, an expression of interest in any form of relationship with the opposite sex is considered a marriage proposal.
• Three, dating itself is grossly misunderstood.
• Four, the status of sexual and marriage relationships are swapped – for many it is sexual intimacy and resultant consequences such as pregnancy or good sexual experience that begets marriage instead of marriage being the forerunner of sexual intimacy.
It is almost common knowledge these days that the average person is either born with an ingrained tendency to experiment with sex. There is the boys want sex, they pretend to love and the girls want love they dangle sex syndrome. There is also the findings that from early youth, women would offer sex in return for mere frivolities as chewing gum, candies, help with class work, because other girls are doing it, to know if the man could perform the sexual act well, and several other imaginable and unimaginable reasons, even among married women. The confusion that those trying to have the whole world think alike when it comes to pre-marriage relationship is how nobody bothers about the many stupid reasons why people get into premarital sex and gets worried the very time a man or woman is now seriously considering to do the right thing, by meeting with many of the people of the opposite sex with view to selecting a courtship or possible marriage partner.
Dating has two important purposes.
• One, in early life such as for older youths, dating is a good growing experience necessary for socialization. This should be taught at home and schools and clearly indicated that sexual intimacy of any sort is not permissible here. Dating for socialization would guarantee for the youth such skills as people skill, communication skill, personality development, respect for the other person, patience and decorum. A conscious effort in teaching and practicing dating for socialization would reduce promiscuity among the young people. Dating here should be restricted to group dating. Here the people concerned go out in group dating tied to other activities that expose both parties to opportunities to socially interact with each other and other boys and girls.
• Two, dating for marriage is for those who are up to the age for marriage. This is appropriate during the young single adult age. For women, it could start as early as 18 years of age. For men, it could be a little later say from 22 years of age and above. During this period, those dating should be looking out for people they can enter into courtship or possible marriage relationship with. The social skills learned during the socialization stage come in handy here in quickly determining if someone is worthy meeting twice. During this stage, critical life questions are expected to be asked and settled on the first date and the responses you get should determine if you need to continue dating this person or try someone else.
Dating several people of the opposite sex during the marriage age period is important. You could date for keeps. In this idea, you go out with a man or woman just to test their temperament, the ideas about life in general which includes what they think about sex, children, in-laws, family finance, education for children, which cities or parts of the world they would like to spend their days, religion and other important life issues that need to be reconciled. As soon as you find out what a partner thinks about these issues, you could courteously withdraw from the outing and try someone else. Then you compare and reconnect with one that most fits your desire. This could be a tall order for desperate people. However, if one starts early to learn these things from age 18 for women, by her prime at 21, she should have settled down with wisdom that would support success of the relationship. For a man starting at 22, by his prime at 25, he would have settled down.
In conclusion, it is hereby boldly stated that:
Dating is neither a marriage proposal nor a marriage
• Sexual intimacies of any sort such necking, kissing, hugging and sexual intercourse is not permissible during dating.
• Sexual relationship between a man and a woman is ordained of God within the bounds of lawful and legal matrimony only.
• It is marriage relationship that should precede sexual intercourse and not otherwise.

Author's Bio: 

Francis Nmeribe helps people who desire a joyful relationship in their dating, courtship and marriage relationships. He is the author of numerous great relationship and personal development articles and books including - "Foundation For Joyful Relationships", "Wrong Reasons For Getting Married", "Growing From Your Experiences", "Action Quotes". If you need help with your dating, courtship and marriage relationships, contact Francis Nmeribe at www.successpublishers.com.ng. Subscribe to the RSS Feeds and get a free copy of the Ebook version of "Wrong Reasons For Getting Married". Read more free relationship articles on my blog http://marryright.wordpress.com/. Email: Francis19561@hotmail.com