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Kevin wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am an adult and I live at home with my parents. I am wondering where I should draw the line on obedience. I am happy living with my parents but I feel guilty doing certain things they might not approve of.

For instance, my father holds a traditional view of marriage and does not support one on one dating nor dating anyone who is not from our ethnic culture. I believe dating should be my own personal issue until I reach a point where I have met the right woman and want to get engaged.
I will then be happy and willing to have my father involved.

  • My question is, what responsibility do I have towards my parents if I am discerning dating?

If I am interested in communicating to someone I could date via the internet, I feel guilty because my father is paying for the utility bills and I feel like I shouldn't be using what he pays for on something he wouldn't approve of.

I come from an ethnic culture which holds the tradition that kids normally live with their parents until marriage. Therefore moving out will not only be a financial struggle for me, but a conflicting issue with my parents. I don't feel like I am emotionally capable of moving out.

Kevin

  { While living at home, what responsibility do I have towards my parents if I am discerning dating? }

Mary Ann replied:

Kevin

The Scriptures require us to honor our parents, even when we are adults. Honoring does not necessarily mean obey. An adult is responsible for his own actions before God. If you are not yet responsible enough for yourself to feel capable of moving out and taking responsibility for your own life, you are not yet responsible enough to consider marriage.

Your parents are right that dating should begin as a social event, as group, mixed socializing, which is the best way to get to know someone. Many Christians do not approve of any one-on-one dating, but the Church has no teaching on that, but says only that we must not put ourselves in the near occasion of sin.

There is no such thing as internet dating, and the wisdom of meeting someone over the internet is doubtful and its success rate low for many reasons. Moreover, it is a means of temptation, deception, and self-deception.

One aspect of honoring is to respect the beliefs and sensitivities of your parents, so you are right to feel that going behind their backs and secretly contacting unknown people via their internet connection would displease and hurt them.

We don't advise about cultural customs or dating, but if you are working and participating in the cultural and religious activities of your ethnicity and culture [and/or] others, you should be meeting people of all kinds, through normal social life, and these you can communicate with via the internet at work, school or even at home. I don't see what the internet "dating" has to do with the ethnic issue.

Mary Ann

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