Ready, Set, Date
Parents and teens alike struggle with the question of dating. How old is “old enough”?
That’s easy. The answer is 30.
Kind of. Not that there’s anything wrong with waiting until 30. But just in case you don’t like that idea, here’s another, a little more complicated, solution:
There’s not an exact age.
But there are some questions you should ask yourself to determine whether or not you – or your child – are ready to date.
- Why do I want to date? If it’s because all your friends have boyfriends and you feel left out, because you feel prettier when you have a boyfriend, because you like the attention, or because you don’t like paying for movies – you’re not ready.
- Am I ready to think about marriage? I can hear the groans already. But seriously, if you are a young woman seeking after God, then dating is not a sport or a hobby or a science project. It is the way you get to know the young man who will eventually be your husband. Not that you should marry the first guy you date (though that’s pretty cool when it happens!), but that possibility should be there. If you’re not within 2-3 years of seriously considering marriage, then don’t date. You are setting yourself up for temptation and distraction – both of which can hinder your relationship with Jesus.
- Do I really understand I Corinthians 13? That’s the “love chapter” in the Bible. Know that chapter, memorize it, and then live it out with those close to you – your parents, your siblings, your friends. If you can’t get along with your little sister, if you and your parents fight every time you try to talk, if you constantly jump from friend group to friend group…you are not ready to date.
- Does this guy love Jesus? And I don’t just mean is he a Christian. The Bible says we are to be “equally yoked” – this is more than just sharing the same basic faith. You, hopefully, are someone who is passionate about knowing and serving Jesus. You want a spouse with the same passion. Don’t settle for anything less, I don’t care how hot he is.
- What do my parents think? If your parents say you can’t date, then you can’t date. That’s where our daughters, ages 15 & 17 are. We aren’t trying to, as my younger daughter jokes, force them to “commit social suicide”. We are trying to help them focus first on their relationship with Jesus so they will be ready to make godly choices when the time comes for them to start dating…Age 30 ;). Also, if your parents don’t like the guy you like, trust their judgment. If they’re wrong, and that really is the guy for you, God will work it out. In his time. He is all-powerful, after all.
Dating is fun, and the memories you make dating your future spouse are sweet. But don’t rush it. You might feel like you HAVE to date, that this guy you’re crushing on is the best thing since Snapchat. But even what we think is the best is nothing compared to what God has planned for us. Wait for God’s guy in God’s time.
“Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up, until the time is ripe—and you’re ready. ” Song of Songs 2:7 The Message