The Danger Of Dating Too Young
When our fifteen-year-old son was about seven years old, I was cutting his hair, and he asked me a question that took me by surprise. He said, “Dad I want to have a girlfriend” add a period I paused for a long moment before I responded to him. I asked him “why do you want a girlfriend and what are you going to do with one?” He looked up at me, raised his shoulders with the palm of both hands opened and said“ I don’t know what I am going to do with one, I just want one” (add a period) I could not wait to tell his mother about our seven-year-old son’s conversation with me.
This may sound funny to a lot of you reading this, but this is the reality most parents are dealing with today. Our pre-teens, teenagers and young adult children are dating and starting to have sex younger than our generation.
I have seen young teenagers in the streets and shopping malls kissing, walking and holding hands like grown folks.
Many youth begin to date at a very young age. The media promotes this practice as normal via movies and reality television shows, as if it is some harmless recreation that our kids need to be doing. I was speaking to my son who is now fifteen years old about dating, and he told me that most kids his age already had more than one love interest. I asked him if he feels pressured to have a girlfriend, and he responded “sometimes”. Our kids are now feeling the pressure to date at a much younger age than ever before.
Your sons and daughters are ridiculed and laugh at because they are a virgin. But should you date just because others are doing so? What is dating anyway? In addition, what purpose does it serve?
What Is Dating?
We have a responsibility as parents to teach our children these things. Society will do it for us if we do not; and they are going to learn it the wrong way. Dating can be defined many ways; it also depends on the age, maturity, and motive of the persons involved. Dating is spending time with someone from the opposite sex which has the potential to be your love interest. In our book “Dating and Courting with Godly Purpose,” we wrote about this in depth. Whatever you may call dating, going out, or seeing each other. When a boy and a girl single each other out, and start spending time together socially, more than friendship is usually involved.
Dating does not have to be in person anymore, the millennial internet chat rooms, on the phone, video chat, and emails, all these can be considered a form of dating in the social media technological age.
The question is, “Just how serious is it to spend time almost exclusively with someone of the opposite sex?”
The Danger Of Dating Pre-maturely
You should not be dating if you are not ready to pursue marriage; what is your motive then? Most young adults find themselves dealing with multiple relationship issues because they started dating young and got into a serious relationship that did not work. Some of them are still dealing with the scares and psychological trauma from these past relationships. By the time parents find out about it, the damages are already done.
Proverbs 30:19 says “the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a young woman”
This expression suggests that male-female relationships tend to follow a pattern. When both parties are mature and hold to godly morals, dating can lead to love, and eventually to honorable marriage. After all, God created man and woman to be attracted to each other. However, what if you are not old enough to handle marriage? By dating prematurely, you are setting yourself up for a fall.
Interestingly, when the Bible speaks of “the way of an able-bodied man with a maiden,” it may refer to sexual relations.
In today’s world, dating is often a prelude to sexual relations. It may begin innocently, just by holding hands. A quick hug and a kiss on the cheek may be next. It is one thing for two young adults who have made a serious commitment to each other to make such expressions of affection. But when two people are too young to get married, such behavior does little more than needlessly inflame sexual desire. Acts of “affection” can become increasingly inappropriate or unclean. They can even lead to some form of fornication.
Why? Because if you spend a lot of time around someone of the opposite sex, it is only natural that your emotions will become aroused. Before you realize it, you look forward to seeing that one. When you are not together, you find yourself thinking about him or her. All too often, though, the feelings are one-sided—and someone gets a broken heart. And even when the feelings are mutual, frustration and heartbreak still result when one or the other is not mature enough or old enough to get married. Really, where can such a relationship go?
A Bible proverb says: “Can a man rake together fire into his bosom and yet his very garments not be burned?” Proverbs 6:27
The fruits of fornication are bitter. Some who engage in it contract sexually transmitted diseases. Others suffer a loss of self-esteem and damage their conscience. Some young girls find themselves pregnant. No wonder that the Bible gives this command: “Flee from fornication”! Avoiding premature dating will help you to heed this command.
When Is Dating Ok?
Dating is ok when you are mature enough to handle the responsibilities that come with dating. There must be boundaries set in place to protect and guard your character and integrity. In our book “Dating and Courting with Godly Purpose” we wrote that you should date because you want to and not because you have to.
“But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry” 1 Corinthians 7:36
You are just beginning to blossom into the man or the woman that you will eventually be. During this period of time, you begin to mature physically, emotionally, and sexually. Your feelings, including sexual desires, may be as strong as they will ever be. However, those feelings may also be subject to rapid changes. For this reason, teen romances tend to be very short-lived.
Clearly, it doesn’t make sense to date during “the bloom of youth.” It is best to wait until you know who you are, what your likes and dislikes are, and what goals you wish to pursue. Also, you should be old enough to carry out the responsibilities of marriage.
Waiting until you are ready to date will not be easy. But it is worth the wait. By using “the bloom of youth” to grow up into a mature, responsible adult, you will spare yourself a host of problems. You will give yourself the time to develop into the kind of person who can handle the pressures and responsibilities of marriage. You will also allow yourself time to grow into a spiritual person. That way, when you are finally ready to date, others may very well see you as someone really worth getting to know better.