Compared to the USA, living in Kuwait as a Christian, American girl is completely different in many good and only a few bad ways. Most of my friends in America frequent dance clubs, trendy bars and cafes on the weekends. Kuwait doesn't have any legal clubs or bars since it's a dry, Muslim country. There are no liquor stores or rave parties unless they are illegal. Most of my friends can't believe I would move to a country where I can't even go to a club to dance and hear live music. Of course most of my girlfriends can't hop on a 50 minute flight to Dubai or Bahrain either. They don't get to jump on a plane to Europe whenever they get a three day weekend. I wouldn't be here if I didn't love it.
One thing you learn quickly in Kuwait is that dating amongst the locals isn't like dating in the US. Of course they date here but it's all on the down low. They hook up over the Internet, chat apps, blackberry, Bluetooth, malls, cafe's, driving in cars, etc. They date at empty beach houses, family farms, and parked cars or during the winter in big tents in the desert. They flock to the Expat areas (Mahaboula, Fintas, Fahaheel) for coffee and dinner dates at American restaurants. So they can hide from their co-workers, fellow students or relatives who might see them and destroy their reputation.
The big three ~ Family, Reputation, Honor ~ is something you don't mess with here. When it's time to marry a local is often put under the microscope. Their Mothers are networking and searching for that suitable mate. Does he have a lot stamps on his passport to Morocco, Thailand, Bahrain, Egypt and Dubai? This would mean 'fun trips' to be with girls. Did she study in the US where she might have gone wild compared to Kuwait where she would have parental supervision? Does she spend a lot of time at the mall with her friends where she might be flirting with the opposite sex? Does he have a bad reputation for chasing girls?
I would bet that many locals might find it hard to believe that even in America sometimes dating is forbidden. In strict Christian societies arranged marriage and virginity until marriage is often the norm. I found this article below written by an American girl that came from a strict Christian family and I thought it was interesting. Since several of the locals that I've met here think American girls are just like Hollywood movies. We are portrayed as uneducated, wild girls jumping in and out of the sack and having illegitimate babies at sixteen. Of course this does happen a lot in America compared to Kuwait. This is also not a crime in America in most cases. If you get pregnant here when you are not married it is a serious crime punishable by jail and maybe even death (honor crime) by a relative.
I do feel that one reason women do not have a high rate of illegitimate babies here is that they do practice abstinence more. They simply aren’t allowed to socialize with the opposite sex unless it’s a brother, uncle or parent. But they also use the ‘back door’ too and you don’t find many American girls doing that as a form of birth control or maintaining honor so they can one day marry as a ‘technical’ virgin.
Is Dating A Sin?
This article below is by YourTango
As a young girl, raised in a Fundamentalist home in Texas, I believed that I was supposed to get married. My friends and I often played games where we matched ourselves up with the other boys in Sunday School. As I got older, my parents encouraged my sisters and I to think about courtship. Courtship, loosely defined, is a man asking my parents permission to "hang out" with one of us girls and then asking permission to move to "dating" only after declaring his intentions for marriage. My parents explained that the world of dating was just too full of heart break and anytime your heart broke, you lost a piece of it. "Don't you want to give your husband your WHOLE heart?"
My family wasn't the only one caught up in this idea of courtship. In the wake of the publication of I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris, a whole generation of Christian conservatives were booting modern dating out the door. There were rallies and conferences where we jammed out to Christian music and cheered when a speaker said things like, "Dating is of the devil!" or "No kissing before marriage!" We sighed when we heard stories about a couple sharing their first kiss on their wedding day. We weren't just pledging our virginity, we were pledging to stay away from dating, hand-holding, kissing and the opposite sex. We were pledging to prepare ourselves to be good wives by staying submissive to our parents until the day they handed us over to our husbands.
In high school, after my parents caught me skipping work to go play tennis with some guy friends, they sent me to a camp where I was put through a week of Bible studies that focused on submission and preparing to be a Godly wife. One leader explained to me, "Women are like horses. They have power and strength, but that power and strength needs to be trained. Parents are the trainers who prepare a horse to be submissive to its eventual master." I left that camp determined to date. I figured it would be better to be a little broken hearted than to be treated like an animal.
When I finally started dating, I was surprised at how lackluster it all was. I had been prepared for a sordid world of emotional turmoil, sin and moral compromise, instead I just found really nice guys who bored me after a while. I kissed them. We held hands, but never once did I feel like I was losing a piece of myself. On the contrary, I felt like I was regaining control of who I was and what I wanted out of life. Despite my parents best efforts, none of my sisters ever tried the courting model. One sister commented that when she finally left home she realized that relationships weren't about fitting your idea of how the world should work on a person, but accepting and enjoying people as they came.
Not every one I know abandoned the courtship model, however. One friend married the son of close family friends after their parents both approved the courtship and his stated intentions to marry her. Another girl I know is 32 and still waiting for her Prince Charming to come ask her parents for permission to court. She lives at home and runs Bible studies encouraging other young women to stay submissive to their parents as preparation for their submission to their husband. While I admire her tenacity, I wonder if God wouldn't prefer it if she slapped on some lipstick and hit the town.
The idea of courtship and this movement against dating isn't just some fad. It remains a strong counter-culture movement that influences large parts of America. The best pop-culture example is the Duggars, who don't allow casual dating. Personally, I struggle with the idea of courtship. It pigeonholes women as passive creatures and men as hormone-controlled sex machines who shouldn't be allowed to be alone with girls. And yet, I understand the desire to make relationships about something more than just sex.
I didn't kiss dating goodbye, ultimately. In fact, I welcomed it with a nice big wet one one and through it, I found the man I would eventually marry. And while he did ask for my parents' permission to marry me, the choice was ours and ours alone, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.
What do you think? Is dating a sin?
Another interesting article on dating for Muslims in America:
It’s Muslim Boy Meets Girl, but Don’t Call It Dating