dating, waiting, and Virtual Game by R.L. Copple

My good writer friend, R. L. Copple, recently published his bazillionth book. OK, maybe it’s his 7th, 8th, 9th? I haven’t read all his books (yet), but I have all the books in the Virtual Chronicles, including between-the-book short stories and I love these characters and their story world. 

Virtual Game, released in November, is Book Three in The Virtual Chronicles. I’ve interviewed RL Copple, and reviewed Mind Game (#1), and Hero Game (#2) previously. While I suppose you could read it on its own, I don’t see why you would. The whole series is stellar (it takes place in space, after all), so if you haven’t read any of them, go back and start with Mind Game. You can read one of the in-between short stories for free at RL Copple’s site.

Jeremy, his best friend Mickey, and his sister Bridget, have a knack for being in the wrong (or right) place at the wrong (or right) time, depending on how you look at it. They’ve saved worlds from extinction and currently moonlight as super heroes when they’re not in public school. This time, a military organization is after their virtual technology and their lives hang in the balance. And so does Jeremy and Mickey’s friendship…all because they both like the same girl.

I don’t know how old you were when you started dating. I think I was around 16. There are some rules you learn pretty early when it comes to dating, if you’re smart. You don’t date your BFF’s boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend. You agree beforehand what happens when you’re both interested in the same guy. You break the rules, and your friendship suffers. It’s unlikely he’s “the one,” but if he were, would that make dating him OK? 

I have friends that married their high school sweetheart (and they’re still married). I have other friends who married the first person they dated (and they’re still married). But for the rest of us, we’ve navigated the waters of dating. Here’s my question/thought for the day:

When do you think people should start dating? My current hypothesis is when they’re ready to get married. (I have daughters). 🙂 My reasoning behind it is because our culture is so permissive that the physical side of dating is too much for teens trying to navigate romance. And I even have biblical support for my view:

photo credit: via photopin cc
photo credit: via photopin cc

Promise me, O women of Jerusalem,
not to awaken love until the time is right. – Song of Solomon 8:4

I’m wondering if there are benefits to dating that I’m overlooking? Learning to fall in and out of love? Learning to balance friends and boyfriends? Learning about lying, cheating, betrayal, and trust?

In Virtual Game, Mickey and Jeremy both face relationship struggles when they fall in love with the same girl. If they weren’t dating exclusively, would there still be an issue? Or is dating as a teen sort-of an inoculation for dating as an adult? I’m very curious to hear what you guys think about this!


13 thoughts on “dating, waiting, and Virtual Game by R.L. Copple

  1. I used to be really against the whole “I kissed dating goodbye” craze. I defended my stand with the argument(s) that a person can learn a lot about HIM or HERSELF when dating as well as identify what makes a great–or lousy–spouse. I still think those are reasons to support the idea of dating BUT the world of dating, as a whole, has become so physical as Lisa noted. Dating can still work if both parties are mature enough to recognize the dangers AND committed enough to adhere to a lifestyle of purity. That’s a lot to handle for most teenagers. The advice in Song of Solomon 8:4 is spot on. “Do not awaken…” Great advice–difficult to follow.


    1. I like what my friend Stacey Z-Ward said on my FB page a lot:

      “I’ve told my teens that dating is essentially unnecessary until marriage is a close enough possibility… not that they entirely listen lol. I don’t forbid it after 16, I’m not stupid and don’t want them doing behind my back but I don’t encourage it either. Rather, I encourage prayer and thought as to why you would want to date a particular person and how that relationship will honor God. #myhumblethoughts”

      We can point them to wisdom, but we can’t make their choices for them. Reminds me a lot of our Father in Heaven and how He deals with us.


      1. I like what Stacey Z-Ward says too! If we could change how most people go about dating, that would help a lot. Less pairing off, more group activities, hanging with the family A LOT and church stuff, a lot less alone time and a greater respect for the displaying of physical affection. Pointing them to wisdom, YES. But sometimes it like that pointing a horse toward water thing. 😦


  2. The real-life Jeremy, my 19 year-old son, is at UT. He recently attended a party where some heavy petting ended up happening. A girl he likes wanted to kiss him. He wanted to, but refused, saying he didn’t want his first kiss to be in that type of environment.

    I was a little surprised that my college-aged son hadn’t kissed anyone yet, as popular as he was with the girls in high school. (Voted prom prince in his junior year and prom king in his senior.) Then again, I didn’t do any dating or kissing until college either. Chip off the old block. lol. But proud of him for holding to his values.

    Ironically, he’s majoring in computer science. I didn’t know that at the time I made the fictional Jeremy a computer guru/geek back in 2006 when I wrote Mind Game.

    In Biblical times, people were married at an early age. Average age I’ve read is 12. While that would be taboo in our culture, and require doing arranged marriages which would get a lot of flack, it did mean there really was no dating, and the awaking of physical desires happened around the time of marriage, not years before marriage. That does create the temptations to “sow your wild oats” before getting “married” that most teens in Biblical times didn’t have. Keeping in mind that the entry into adulthood was considered at age 13, when current day Barmitzphas (sp?) are held.

    But getting to know one another happened in marriage, not before it. While that system had its problems, it would also solve a lot of problems we have with our dating, going steady method of finding a partner. Which often includes falling into immorality that endangers one’s soul.

    Thanks for the plug.


    1. As an A&M grad, I’ll try not to hold your son’s college affiliation against you. 😉

      I had no idea the books were based on your son. I assume loosely.

      I have thought how life would be if I was married to the first boy I dated. He was actually a really sweet Christian boy with a great family. Other boys I dated…not so much. But I’m glad God put me with the man I’m married to now. If I could do life over, I would make different choices. Wouldn’t we all?

      Great comment. Thanks!


      1. Very loosely. He’s a great son, but he’s never been to another galaxy aside from a video game. lol. I didn’t consciously model my character based on him, but it is interesting how they tend to intersect at times.


    2. WOW–the real-life Jeremy sounds amazing! Would he be interested in sharing his values with the scores of young men and women who don’t get what he obviously understands well?! I’m envisioning a multi-city tour featuring his wisdom…

      That whole marrying at the age of 12 thing DID change the game a lot. If we can just get it through their heads that waiting is still possible now and dating doesn’t have to leave life-long scars if wise choices are made.


      1. Well, he stays pretty busy in school. But he might be open to a blog interview. Who knows. I’d be interested in what he’d have to say.

        As a parent, you hope your teaching takes, but it still takes me by surprise to know they actually listened and developed those values for themselves. Not all my kids did as well.


  3. That’s a great verse! I’m highlighting that one!

    I think dating, in & of itself, is difficult enough without adding teenage immaturity to the mix. Plus, the entire purpose of dating should be with marriage as an end goal. If you can’t see yourself marrying this person, why expose yourself to physical temptation and emotional roller-coasters? Also, I can’t help but wonder if the revolving door of dating is at least somewhat connected to the ease with which people exit their marriages. If marriage is for the long haul, with tons and tons of work being poured into the relationship, then fostering a dating culture of moving on after each bump isn’t conducive.

    But I can easily say all that coming from my limited perspective and from my observations of family/friends who have dated. I never “dated” per se. My one and only romantic relationship was the gradual result of a deepening friendship that started in college. We definitely had our ups & downs. But we learned all those benefits that get expounded on as reasons for dating as we went. Balancing friends, building trust, etc. Learning to fall in & out of love? My hubby went through some of that with his only other prior relationship – a high school romance that lasted less than two years. She cheated on him with his best friend – that’s an agony he could have gone without. I pray we’ll always stick with daily learning how to stay in love instead. 😉 (I know I’ve shared all this before but since you asked!)


    1. In my wrestling with infidelity, I list our society’s mores about sex outside of marriage as one of the contributing factors to marital infidelity. When society tells you to sow your wild oats before you get married, and the question is now whether you’ll have sex on the first date or not, how do they expect people to turn off that mindset and habit because of a ceremony and a legal piece of paper? Some do, but many don’t.

      It is too easy for multiple dating partners to end up using sex as a means of recreation rather than a marital one-flesh-forming act, with all its consequences and responsibilities.


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