|Q: Is dating right or wrong for a 14 year old?
|A: Dear Aaron,
|First of all, you need to realize that much of the world’s practices are not God’s practices. The whole idea of dating, especially at a young age, is usually just “for fun”, with no real plans for commitment or marriage. But Biblically speaking, a person didn’t date unless they were considering marriage. Are you old enough to get married? Then you are old enough to date!
There are some other things to keep in mind about dating. Much of the dating that goes on today is built on emotions and hormones more than on true love. We think someone is cute or pretty, and we want to be with them. We may even like them as a person. But emotionally, we ourselves are still trying to figure ourselves out. We often don’t even know what we want to do with our lives, much less with someone else’s life. We are unprepared for a committed relationship.
But we may tell ourselves that we’re not really looking for a committed relationship, anyway. We just want someone to “hang out” with. Fine. Hang out with your friends. You see, while we try to convince ourselves and others that we’re just dating for fun, and both me and the person I’m dating are okay with it, the truth is that it is impossible to get that close to a person emotionally without it affecting us. Many teen suicides have been committed by kids who just broke up from a dating relationship that was “just for fun.”
Further, it is impossible to avoid the temptation to get physical in the dating relationship (especially because that’s usually the reason people go from “friends” to “dating” – in order to introduce the physical aspect into the relationship). “But we’re only going to hold hands,” or “we’ll stop at kissing” is what everyone says, but nobody does. It’s like getting on a sled on a steep ice-covered hill and saying, “but I’m only going to ride half way down the hill then stop.” Once you get moving, it will be impossible to stop. Next thing you know it, you’ve done something you will regret for the rest of your life and theirs.
Finally, young people who are dating think very little of anything else. Everything in life becomes “him” or “her”. They forget their studies and their plans for the future. In Bible times and beyond, a “dowry” was required for a man who wanted to date a woman. A dowry was like a down-payment, and it showed that the man was able to earn money enough to make a living to support a family.
The best plan is to at least finish high school, decide your college plans, and what you are going to do for a living before you even think of dating. Be content with your friends. Enjoy them now. Things change when you get into a serious relationship. Even then, your education should be your priority. I have a couple of friends now who are in college, in their mid-20s, who started dating a couple years ago, and decided to get married, but they want to finish their schooling first, so they have been living in different states and making their schooling a priority, and when they graduate this spring, then they will get married. Nothing wrong with that!
Don’t be in a hurry to live a grown up life, until you are ready to take on ALL the grown-up responsibilities.
Thanks for writing, and remember, there's never been a better time to share Jesus!
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