I have witnessed teenagers who date and treat one another with respect, have boundaries and still manage to maintain other friendships, good grades and quality family time, but sadly this is NOT THE NORM!
I have never felt comfortable saying “all teenagers shouldn’t date” and at the same time I would say that 80% of these relationships end in unnecessary drama, awkwardness and little chance for continued friendship following the break-up. I know for me, lust was confused for love and drama came following after.
I know that young kids have innocent little crushes and I think this is natural and cute. The stakes are so much higher in high school and both guys and girls can be wickedly manipulative. Teenage dating can often be a pressure cooker to have sex, lose weight or even negate all other responsibilities for their new-found love.
The bar for teenage dating has been set high.
Truthfully, the bar for friendships, marriages and every other relationship is high.
Jesus set the bar.
Three Loves- Jesus and C.S Lewis speak to several different types of love and I’ll highlight three from a teenage perspective.
Friendship- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, while we call this the “wedding verses”, I see these as the friend verses. Re-read this passage by inserting your name where you see the word love. Can I say this about my friendships? Nate is patient, Nate is kind etc……..
Friendship is crucial if you are going to date! This means that you genuinely love being together and want the best for each other.
Romance- The most distorted and abused form of love. Romance without commitment is what you call an affair or lopsided love. Physical attraction is important and God designed this, but physical attraction alone won’t sustain a marriage. P.S, romance is so much more than sex! Romance can be creative and even though the tabloids disagree, it is not intended to be raunchy.
Commitment – Romans 12:10 Be Devoted, Honor one another. This would be my biggest question about teenage dating from my own experience and my observations of teenage dating for a long time, can teenagers fully commit to a relationship? I’m a bit cynical about commitment as teenagers because the word commitment has been so watered down and hold very little weight to this generation. I would also say that high school tend to be so “me-centric” that devoting or honoring another person in a sacrificial way takes more time to grasp.
While I sound like a cynic, I don’t want to be. I would love to see more teenagers sacrificial caring for one another and with Christ at the center of any relationship, it is possible. As Christians, there is supposed to be something in our dating, friendships and every other relationship that not only stands out from the norm but continually points to a good and loving God.