Love is patient, love is kind
It does not envy, it does not boast
It is not proud. (1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV)
I was thinking about this commercial the other day, and it made me think of a bunch of “able” words. Things like, hugable, loveable, likeable came to mind.. then dateable. What does it mean as teens to be “dateable.”
Are you dating? In a relationship? Do you think it will last forever? Sorry to burst your bubble, but don’t lie to yourself- every girl does it. We create a fantasy that has less then a 50% chance of actually lasting. The National Center for Health and Research says “51% of teen marriages end in divorce BEFORE 24.” That’s only 24! Think about all the years you have to live after that and that 49% chance that you are going to get divorced.
Other studies say the average age to get married is 25. Is this your plan? Try this fun math equation- yes I just used “fun” and “math equation” in the same sentence.
25 (average age) – your age = years left until you get married
years left x number of crushes in last month = how many crushes you will have before you get married
I assume you are going to have many crushes and many chances to date before you get married. So be patient.
Now, does this mean teens should not date? NO! That is not what I am saying- I honestly know that I want to- but I want to do it that right way. What are some steps we can keep in mind to safely and wisely date as a teenager?
1. BE SOCIALLY FIT
A common mistake we make is we get super caught up in our crushes and relationships and wrap our world around them like they are a new puppy. Dating is not something that you can sell and give back though, once it has happened, it has happened. Think about the crush or relationship you have now. Think about your friends. Have you talked to your friends since this person came into your life? Have you hung out? We always get so caught up that we forget to look at everyone else around us. We forget to ask how they are doing, what is going on with them. Do not push your friends away. When your craze ends, you don’t want to be in the position where you have pushed everyone away and you are alone.
2. BE PHYSICALLY FIT
“The more you put in, the more ripped apart you will be.” Think about a time that you got really hurt and it left a scare. Can you remember the pain? Now think about where you and your “other half” are in your physical relationship. God made physical connecttion, such as sex, a soul connection. Go back to your memory of that scare and the pain that left it. Can you imagine having that on your soul?! Be wise and protect your body. Set boundaries and rules, if they are broken, have consequences.
3. EMOTIONAL WRECK
Not only do you need to protect yourself physically, but emotionally. Do not go running off and tell your whole life story in one week. Talk, get to know each other, TAKE YOUR TIME! Neither one of you is going anywhere if you are really that “in love.” Right? Slowly introduce each other to what makes you, you. Talk about likes and dislikes, they will get to know and it will take longer before you run out of things to talk about. Giving a person all your personal information at once is like loading a gun with ammo and handing it to a killer. Protect your heart.
4. BE FINANCIALLY FIT
Picture all the money you have, or have saved, in a giant jar. Now picture that jar in the middle of Times Square. Would you just let someone take it and walk away like it’s nothing? NO!- well at least, I hope not. Be careful of how much you invest into your relationship. Spending all your money on someone who is not going to be there forever is just like the jar in Times Square. They will most likely not even remember who bought whatever 10 years from now. It will just be another object that lays around the house. Save your money and spend it on special things that you will both remember being fun and worth it.
Make a reasonable commitment to this person. Not vows, or “I promise to love you forever”, but “I promise to enjoy this while I have it.” Keep your priorities separate. Be mysterious. Make them wonder why you are always so confident. They will start thinking “WOW! This person is really awesome!” Have a Family World, School World, Social World, and Relationship World. Obsessing gets you no where, but to Crazy Town.
6. SPIRITUALLY FIT
I know when most teenagers hear this they freak out, exit from the page and think “What’s God got to do with it?” Really you should be saying “What’s love got to do with it?” Love has everything to do with being spiritually fit. You need to remember the distinction God makes between a couple who are dating and a couple who are married. Read and talk about God together and follow his rules. You will not be in healthy love, if you are living in a love that is a sin. Look to God for the way you do things, and the answers you seek.
Don’t pretend to love others. Really love them. -Romans 12:9 (NIV)
It is a good thing to have relationships and date. If they are done correctly, they will better you for your future marriage. Being careful doesn’t mean you have to be a boring dater, it just means that you are on the right path to meeting that real perfect one. Have fun and enjoy the dating world! There is a lot out there to learn and experience. You can be Likeable, Dateable, and Loveable.