While dating is something college students are exposed to, sophomores Allen-Michael Muench and Emily Casey are helping redefine it.
The two students have created a small group that studies the popular novel “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.” The book explores reasons why dating isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and stresses the benefits of being single, especially at a young age.
Casey said the book does not necessarily advocate for “not dating,” but instead tells readers not to pursue someone if they can’t see themselves marrying them.
“The main idea is that ‘intimacy is the reward of commitment,’ therefore, if you are not able or willing to be open to commit to someone long-term (like marriage), then you should not be in a relationship with them,” Casey said.
The Rev. Erich Rutten, chaplain and director of Campus Ministry, said he agrees that discernment should be an important concept when considering a romantic relationship.
“Dating, even if just for fun, creates a bond between two people. The more investment and more bond, the more painful and harmful to split up,” Rutten said. “There are plenty of other ways to have fun with others without the dating connotation.”
The group also explores the idea that college is the prime time for self-discovery. Muench said finding who you really are helps in the long run with relationships.
“This program is designed to help you become the best spouse you can be. By trying to rush into a relationship, it could damage the potential for that relationship,” Muench said.
Freshman Alex Murphy disagrees.
“I don’t think there’s harm in evolving into the person you’re going to be. Before you find yourself, you have to develop yourself and honestly, dating is a great way to do both of those things,” Murphy said.
Rutten said he stresses the importance of knowing yourself before “hitching yourself” to another.
“This way, you can journey well together. Dating with an eye to marriage, can be part of discerning where you and where the other is headed so that you can make a good choice,” Rutten said.
While the concept is admirable, some students don’t exactly see the logic behind the book.
Sophomore Garrett Smetana does not agree with what the book is promoting.
“First of all, if you don’t date people, how are you going to find the person that you’re supposed to marry? Are you just going to be walking down the street one day and say ‘that’s my future wife … better marry her,”’ Smetana said.
Junior Mary Rogers also doesn’t agree with the concept.
“I think dating is figuring out who you want to marry, and if you go in with the thought ‘I must marry this guy,’ you are going to get really hurt or you’re going to end up settling even though there may be a better fit out there for you,”’ Rogers said.
Contrary to some disagreement, Casey said the group is actually rather popular around campus and does not solely consist of students who are in very committed relationships.
“They are mostly Christian students who are single, in serious relationships, and those who have recently gotten out of relationships,” Casey said. “This program is not just for people who are in relationships. It displays how singleness is a gift from God.”
Kayla Bengtson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.