When my grandmother dated in middle school (yes, middle school) her parents had one primary rule for her.The Primary Dating Rule: Don’t go out with the same guy twice in a row. She explained that the lack of exclusivity helped them guard their hearts and kept things from getting too serious too quickly. The lack of exclusivity helped the girls guard their hearts and kept the boys from feeling entitled to the girl.

It seems that my great grandparents’ rule forbidding my grandmother from going out with the same guy twice in a row was a common rule in those days.

The Greatest Generation was encouraged to date and discouraged from going steady while in middle school.

I am not convinced that anyone is ever truly ready to get married.

Readiness can become a carrot on a stick, an ideal that can never be achieved.

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This is different from my generation, which is encouraged to “wait until you are ready to get married” before pursuing a romantic relationship.

This advice, when combined with the fact that “the purpose of courtship is marriage”, makes asking a girl out for dinner the emotional equivalent of asking for her hand in marriage.

So what on earth were they doing that worked so well?

Over dinner, my grandmother shared her story about what dating was like back in the 30s and 40s.

I explained what courtship was and quoted Joshua Harris, chapter and verse. “I don’t think courtship is a smart idea,” my grandfather said.