The world today puts so much pressure on teens when it comes to dating. The world tells us to date now and date often and date a lot of different people so we don't "miss out" on any of life's experiences. But God has a different plan for His sons and daughters. He has a higher standard for us too, one which we, as Christ followers, should strive to reach—even if it goes against the world's standards and expectations.
As Christian teens, we must understand what the Bible says about relationships and what priorities we need to focus on. We are set apart from the rest of the world (1 Peter 2:9). If you've given your life to Christ, then you are living and working for His Kingdom. When we try to stop doing what the world does and start doing what God wants us to do (Romans 12:2), we will begin to honor God with our bodies and our relationships (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
In order for you be in a God-centered romantic relationship, you must first find your personal fulfillment in Christ. The stronger your faith in God, the better you will be able to love another person.
I'll let you in on a secret: I've never dated anyone in my life—not even one person! It's not for lack of interest; I simply still don't think I'm ready. Going through high school got a bit challenging as I watched my friends going in and out of relationships. I'd look around at everyone else dating and wonder if I was doing something wrong. But through that whole experience, God taught me (and is still teaching me) about Christ-centered relationships.
You see, God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14). Until you have a relationship with God that is above everything and anyone else, you'll never be able to have a relationship where your boyfriend/girlfriend isn't more important to you than God. It's vital that God is first in your life; He needs to be the one you run to when you're lonely, bored, sad, etc. A significant other cannot always be there for you like God can.
Yes, romantic relationships and marriage give us another person to love and be loved by. But people are never meant to take God's place in our lives and hearts. God has to be your everything prior to getting into a God-honoring relationship. Otherwise, your boyfriend/girlfriend will end up being your god. Not only is that a lot of responsibility for one human being, but it is also idolatry (Colossians 3:5).
The world often glamorizes and idolizes dating, making us feel like we have to have to be in a relationship to be happy, but that isn't what God ever intended for His sons and daughters. More and more, people are frantically dating anybody who will say "yes" or getting married quickly only to get divorced a short time later. Dating for fun or marrying because you don't think you'll get another chance will only result in broken homes and broken hearts.
Since the Bible doesn't really mention dating as we understand it today, we need to look at romantic relationships as ultimately leading to marriage. Yes, even as teens, we have to look at dating in the light of marriage. We need to take our relationships seriously and use dating as a forerunner to marriage. Dating the cutest guy in your class or the prettiest girl at your school just so you can flaunt your hottie goes against God's purpose for relationships. If you're not ready to get married, dating has no purpose for you.
I love this quote from Jefferson Bethke which says, "Dating with no intent to marry is like going to the grocery store with no money. You either leave unhappy or take something that isn't yours." Dating is serious in God's eyes because it leads to (or should lead to) marriage, which is a holy and sacred union between a man and a woman.
God doesn't want us to be alone. He desires for us to live in community with others, and marriage allows the most intimate relationship we can experience on earth (Genesis 2:18; Hebrews 10:24-25; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). When you find someone who is compatible and God grants the go-ahead to get married, then you and your significant other become each other's "helpers" so you can love and support one another in every way.
God designed marriage for two people to come together as "one flesh." Marriage is the act of breaking away from our parents' care and becoming one with our spouse (Genesis 2:24). This is symbolic of the couple's lives becoming one unit, their lives intertwined as they start a new life together as one rather than two.
God designed marriage as a way for us to serve and reflect His glory unto the world. A key point in understanding marriage is realizing that God calls the Church (followers of Christ) His bride. Ephesians 5:25 says, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." In marriage, we are to mirror God's relationship with His people. This includes showing unconditional love, sharing in joy, sacrificing and supporting one another, and so forth. When our relationships and marriages reflect the relationship between God and His people, then great things happen!
Stephanie is an 18-year old with a love for the Lord. In her free time, she can be found singing, playing guitar, or writing. She can also be found jamming out to her favorite artists such as Hawk Nelson, Rend Collective, and Phil Wickham. Her dreams are to become a worship leader and a published author, while living a life full of fun and joy that comes from the Lord.