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“Dating and the single parent” by Deal, R Critical Essay

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Updated: Jun 21st, 2019

Summary of the Book

Dating is a vital practice since it allows people to know and love each other in a bid to make a happy life. Deal (2012) presented various pertinent arguments regarding dating and paid particular attention to a single parent.

This book titled as Dating and the Single Parents has a discussion about dating from how it commences to how a stable relationship is established. Author points out that dating of single parents begins with the willingness and readiness to prepare the children for it. When this vital decision is made, a single parent starts to look for a dating partner with whom he or she dates.

A successful dating process should end up in a marital commitment and the preparation of a stepfamily. The individuals reengage and become a part of a new family. Essentially, the single parents might decide to live together and marry. Whereas Deal presents these ideas and their appropriate directions, he not only provides advice for people involved in dating, but also makes substantive basis to affirm his argument.

Intent of the Book

Deal’s suggestions were tactful as they addressed the issues of single parents seeking new relationships that may lead to marriage.

It addresses what divorce incorporates and how it influences the life of single parents. Its preliminary section indicates the self-evaluation of the single parents and their own life. Furthermore, it provides the guidelines of evaluating and coming up with pertinent knowledge about their readiness to get into another relationship.

Deal discusses some of the attributes to consider when dating such as its purpose, how to groom, and challenges that can be experienced in the process. He elaborates on how dating would affect a person’s spiritual life. Furthermore, the author provides real-life situations and testimonies from experiences of other single parents and children.

Precisely, Deal has also brought out some scenarios where single parents and their children experience challenges as this love progresses. Moreover, he considers how partners match their characters in order to live together successfully. Deal uses the symbolic Yellow, Red, and Green lights as the checklists to locate a partner.

The fate of the children is addressed as exemplified in the case where he gives precise life experiences on love that occurs between the individual parents. This love that leads to marriage between single parents has been identified as risky unless a person finds a partner who is committed in fulfilling his or her roles in a new family, especially those related to the kids.

In a bid to wrap-up the whole idea in the book, the author gives life advices that concern marriage. He advises on the devotion involving marriage life, and the credible preparatory measures as an individual enters into a new family seeking to bring up the step-children. He recommends a clear understanding between the members of the separate families coming together and supports the treatments suited for them.

Conclusively, Deal brings out the expected aspects while considering re-marrying after divorce, which raises the concept of the combined families. Furthermore, he provides proper advices defended by justified bible quotes to support his arguments.

Use of the Book for Christian Premarital Couples

The premarital couples are in an essential stage that requires proper counseling from the pastors. Therefore, the pastors require appropriate principles to assist them in offering clear and non-misleading guidance for the couples.

There are four types of premarital couples namely harmonized couples, conflicted couples, traditional couples and vitalized couples. In this light, the proper literature based on the church teachings is used by the pastors when preparing these prenuptial couples.

In consideration of all the features argued by Deal (2012), great teachings for the premarital couples have been provided. It presents some of the important learning experiences for both counselors and the counselees.

The features involved in any premarital counseling include steps to bring the couples together, issues that entail the roles of the couples, occurrences of grounding the religious marriages, and the resources helping pastors during counseling. Therefore, the book bears a great potential for changing the lives of the prenuptial couples in different perspectives.

When assessing the steps to bring couples together in church, the single parents provide most important information that involves blending of the divorced parents. The pastors would apply the illustrations argued by Deal to counsel the couples. He also provides some of the values to incorporate during dating and the expectations from a promising partner.

The premarital couples interested in learning their characters properly before accepting marriage commitments would find the evaluation guidelines in this book very helpful. Deal (2012) argues that dating forms a crucial step in understanding the partner even though the personal characters are not revealed fully by the activities performed while dating.

Deal provides Christian perspectives that are prominent among premarital couples. For instance, he argues how God is forgiving which implies that couples should emulate such aspect in their entire marriage life. The warnings that he pronounces against the lies in dating, the challenges in raising up step-children, and the risks involved in re-marriages are very helpful during the evaluation and while choosing the best remarriage partner.

Furthermore, he argues that since different religions have varying perception on marrying, dating would play a vital role in evaluating how such issues can be resolved. In essence, Deal reviews the differences that exist especially when considering different beliefs from different churches. The interpretations of the scriptures divide people along their beliefs in marriage and dating.

In regard to Deal’s arguments on the best place to meet a promising marriage partner, Christians find the book useful as they read the key steps involving the red light, the green light, and the yellow light (Deal, 2012). The blending concept is also important to the Christian premarital couples who share diverse backgrounds such as single parents raising their own kids.

Critique of the Book

The ideas postulated by Deal (2012) have been critiqued under this title, which based on theological perspectives. This critique is based on the fact that marriage, dating, and relationships form essential parts of the society.

Although the author tries to bring out the different aspects entailed in remarriage between single parents tirelessly, there are various features that have not been justified. However, most of the issues addressed are true and justified. The following issues and critiques have come out clearly in the book.

The Evident Lies in Dating among Christian Pre-couples

Deal (2012) postulates that most couples who are considered did not like their marital status, which is attributed to their dating lives. However, this does not imply that it is the usual occurrence for most dates since they allow people to know and identify their most suited life partners.

Moreover, it is through dating that people are able to learn secrets about their partners (Brady, 2011). Deal (2012) argues that most people show their best characters making it hard to determine the real personalities even when suitors try to select a partner.

However, some of the little camouflage that most people employ while dating is essential. Since it is advisable to spend a longer time while dating before a person decides to be/get married, Deal (2012) shows the dating period as shorter to an extent of preventing the identification of the real characters. It is common to have a proper dating method.

According to theological point of view, it is uncommon to encounter dating partners who lie to each other (Brady, 2011). This is in respect to the church teachings about being faithful and the acknowledgement that lies are not expected among dating Christians. This contrasts what Deal claims to be prevalent among Christian dating couples.

Developing creative dating ideas can facilitate the understanding of the partner’s character as bad and good. Similarly, Christians can undergo an artistic dating process that can lead them easily into knowing the true characters of their partners (Harper & Ruicheva, 2010). Therefore, it is not justified that dating is only a passage without a significant role in marriage as argued by Deal (2012).

Preparation towards Raising a Step-Family and the Marital Commitment between Two Single Parents

Deal (2012) has pointed out clear cases on how a person can prepare to begin a family through bringing up step-children together with his or her own kids. In addition, he points out clearly that those raising adolescent step-children have difficulties establishing stable lives with a new wife or husband. Also, getting the kids to integrate into a new family is difficult. These issues reveal that the book has significant instances of truth.

It is practical that a child will not accept a step-parent and have him or her as the ultimate father or mother easily. Primarily, the act of incorporating children into a new marriage is very challenging and has received various oppositions from adult step-children in most cases (Cheng, 2012).

Therefore, it is appropriate to argue that the parents should prepare properly in order to enjoy their relationships with their partners and children.

Furthermore, Ephesians 6: 1-3 points out that blended marriage would be difficult to build unless the children are taught how to be obedient to their parents (Harper & Ruicheva, 2010). The aspect of true prayers, devotion, and tolerance that couples must employ to survive the test of incorporating the step-children in their relationships are paramount.

However, the relationships that bind the parents are determined by the Christian teachings and foundations instilled to the children. Therefore, the good relationships arise from the true feeling of a child being loved by the step-parent, and the reward that the child gets from the remarriage of the parents (Cheng, 2012).

Consequently, the book has reliable ideas concerning remarriages involving two single parents joining to raise their kids within the same family. Deal raises a substantial support and recommendation as well as guidance to facilitate the pairing of these parents. Even though his book does not present a concrete argument supported with quantifiable analysis, the theories presented are realistic and helpful.


Brady, M. (2011). Researching governmentalities through ethnography: the case of Australian welfare reforms and programs for single parents. Critical Policy Studies, 5(3), 264-282.

Cheng, H. (2012). New advances in 230Th dating techniques and the dating of speleothems. Quaternary International, 279-280, 87.

Deal, R. (2012). Dating and the single parent. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishing.

Harper, S., & Ruicheva, I. (2010). Grandmothers as Replacement Parents and Partners: The Role of Grandmotherhood in Single Parent Families. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 8(3), 219-233.

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