Every bride and groom say to each other, at least implicitly, that they "love each other with all their heart." Little pieces of one’s heart are given away each time a romance of any magnitude has blossomed.

But when my oldest daughter, Christy, and [her fianc] Rich walk the aisle in August, their promise to love with all their hearts will be literally true since neither has ever had another love. The third principle of courtship is implicit in the first two principles—parents must be involved in the courtship process.

Sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, suicide, and murder are among the progeny of premature romance.

When four students and a teacher were murdered outside their school in Jonesboro, Arkansas, it was widely reported that the 13-year-old gunman acted in revenge for a romantic breakup with a 12-year-old girl.

The public soul-searching following the Jonesboro tragedy has been dominated by discussions of the danger of children playing with guns.

All along, I let them know that their mom and dad would be highly involved in their choice of a mate.

As my daughters grew older, I talked to them about romantic relationships and the principles I expected them to follow in more detail.

However, just as a young child can learn a language more easily than an adult, a young child can also learn a pattern of behavior more easily than a teenager.

An early education in courtship principles will help protect your children from the myriad of problems that accompanies premature romance.

Courtship frees young teens to see each other as potential friends rather than potential dates.

Many young people begin romantic relationships prematurely.

Courtship first of all requires young people to wait until they’re old enough to emotionally and practically consider marriage before entering into a relationship.

The second major operating principle of courtship is that there is no such thing as casual dating.

When young men and young women reach this age, they’re far more likely to be both emotionally and practically prepared for a romantic relationship.