This is a question I distinctly remember my girl friends and I whispering to each other, comparing notes on when our parents said we could date, and when our other friends' parents would let them date. There was usually giggling involved and comparing which of the boys we found cutest. Our middle school minds never seemed to be bothered by the fact that there were only four boys in our entire class.
Looking back, I can tell you that all of us girls, giggling at boyish smiles and being grossed out by the kid who ate bugs, were really too young at the time to be in any kind of romantic relationship.
Each of my friends' parents had different ages for their daughters when they would be allowed to date, as each of my friends were different people with different maturity levels. Although it seems like it would be so much easier to have a set age when all boys and girls could be told that they are ready to be in a romantic relationship, it honestly doesn’t work that way.
Just as each person is different, each person is ready at a different time in his or her life. So the question of "how young is too young" depends on a person’s maturity, goals, and beliefs.
The Bible is quiet on what age is the earliest allowed to be in a romantic relationship. But, something important to remember when discussing this topic is that the Bible is clear on that we are to respect and obey our parents (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1). Even if you are certain you are ready to have a boyfriend/girlfriend, if your parents are telling you "no," you need to respect them.
That doesn't mean you can't talk to them about it though. Respectfully ask them when they will allow you to be in a relationship. Listen to their reasoning and try to understand where they are coming from. Even if you don't agree, you still must respect their decision. Before you know it, you will be on your own and the decision will be between you and God. Then you can make your choice from there.
Growing up and entering your young and older teen years is an exciting, confusing, and seriously insane time. Emotions can be all over the place, and it can feel like the whole world is pressing you into their mold instead of letting you be who you want to be.
During this time of your life, you are figuring out who you are, and how you relate to the world. To add a relationship right now could be very difficult and complicate life even more. You are discovering who you are as the amazing, unique individual you are and learning what your place in the world is going to be.
As I said, the Bible does not give us an age for when dating is okay for everyone. In fact, it doesn't really talk about "dating" the way we view it today. All of the romantic relationships the Bible shows are in some way related to marriage (or lead to marriage). The best advice we can give you on this topic is to wait on pursuing romantic relationships until you are in a stage of life where you can see marriage on the horizon.
Again, this is different for everyone—some people are ready for marriage younger than others while some wait until much, much later in life. There is no shame in waiting until you are spiritually and emotionally ready to commit to a lifelong partner in marriage. It's a big decision!
Still feeling pressure to date? Feeling like you have to have a boyfriend or girlfriend to show that you're worthy of love? You are an incredible human being, my friend. You do not need a boyfriend or girlfriend to be valuable. You don't have to fit in with what the world tells you. God will help you overcome that standard that makes us think we have to date to be worthy (1 John 5:4).
Just because you don't have a boyfriend or girlfriend, that doesn't mean you have to wait around for something to do. You are never too young to build upon the foundation of your faith. Take this time to focus on what you have learned in church or as you have read the Bible, and start digging in deeper, exploring the Word, and making the faith your own. Ask questions, learn what you can. That foundation will serve you the rest of your life—no matter what friendships or relationships God brings your way.
"Let no one look down your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe." —1 Timothy 4:12
The Bible does not give us an age for when dating is okay for everyone. All of the romantic relationships the Bible shows are in some way related to marriage (or lead to marriage). The best advice we can give you on this topic is to wait on pursuing romantic relationships until you are in a stage of life where you can see marriage on the horizon. If you're not ready to get serious about marriage, then hold off on starting any romantic relationships so you can focus on becoming a godly man or woman.
Heidi Joelle is an executive assistant by day and a writer, editor, and reader by night. She can be coaxed from the house by the sound of a good adventure or traveling somewhere new. Her sidekick Smokey the Saint Bernard is rarely far off, usually pretending he's asleep.