It is considered to be a normal and natural part of growing up - what could be more wholesomely American than taking a girl to the prom?
But the fact is that dating was entirely unknown at the time the Scriptures were given to us.
This means that for those who take the Bible seriously should consider what the Bible has to say on the formation of families.
We recognize that not only our physical body, but our emotions, even our spirit are dedicated to that one partner, for the rest of our life (according to our vows).
The dichotomy is this: in dating, we presume to partake of many of these privileges of marriage.
We would be shocked if a married man had an emotional attachment to another woman, and yet it's quite acceptable for singles to have a different emotional attachment every week.
On the one hand, we save sex for our partners (and some even do that sparingly), but on the other, we engage in rampant emotional promiscuity, giving pieces of our hearts away until one wonders what will be left for that special, life-long partner.
Whenever the other person starts to wear a little thin, you just slip out the back, Jack. And of course, if during the dating period one of the "sweethearts" is interested in staying together but the other has a change of heart and wants out of the relationship, the possibilities for emotional snarls and interesting complications are almost endless. Prior to that time, marriage always involved much more input from the parents, and "trial relationships" leading up to marriage (what we now call "dating") were not conducted at all.