I was never one to date around in high school. Instead, I was the shy girl that slipped through barely noticed by the opposite sex. I was fairly attractive, but due to my introverted personality, I wasn't approachable (I later learned from a good friend). Feeling shy and awkward around the opposite sex was an understatement for me. I had no problem being friends with them, but anything more would have made me blush. I'm not sure why, but it I'm sure it kept me from a lot of heartbreak.
What We Learned About Relationships As Teenagers
Teen dating seems like a normal part of our adolescent years; despite the fact, it is fleeting and, most of all, lacks commitment. In youth group, I learned two things you need before entering a relationship: (1) Only date someone who is likeminded in my Christian beliefs based on 2 Corinthians 6:14 about not being "unequally yoked," and (2) Don't have sex before marriage. As long as you followed those rules, you had the makings of a God-ordained relationship, so I was taught. I'm not saying these are bad principles to live by. How can they, when they are Bible-based?
The thing that bothers me is we never heard about the heartbreak that happens after the relationship ends or dealing with the rejection that looms over us afterwards. The matter of the fact is, minus a very small percentage, the majority of teen relationships just don't last—and rightly so; they aren't meant to. Most teens go into relationships with innocent intentions. The guy or girl is cute or they like his or her personality. Having someone to eat lunch with or go to the prom with is usually the extent of the commitment. For junior high and senior high students, marriage is far from the brain.
My best friend in high school had a boyfriend for a couple of months, whom she broke up with because she found her "true love" elsewhere. Due to immaturity on both their parts, this relationship also ended a few months later.
If I could influence the life of a young person, I wouldn't coach him or her on how to find the right guy or girl, but instead I would ask, "Are you ready to pursue godly marriage?" If they were completely honest, ninety-nine percent of the time, the answer would be an absolute "No!"
The Sole Purpose of Relationships
In my younger days, I used to think the purpose of dating was for "fun and excitement." I mean, who wants to be home every weekend, all alone, watching reruns of Full House? Not I! Consequently, this type of thinking can often be found in those that have no intentions for committing themselves to another in order to lead into marriage. Instead, dating is merely a socially entertaining (often with physical benefits) type of relationship. And the best part, there are "no strings attached." When that relationship gets dull, they quickly move on to someone who reignites all those feelings in them once again.
Passing through my college years and upper 20s, I've seen my share of the "teen dating" mindset between couples. You've seen them, or maybe you have been a victim of them yourself. One member is generally not willing to fully commit to the other; she wants the cake, but isn't willing to pay for it. They can be compared to someone browsing the delicious delicacies at the local bakery: chocolate éclairs, jam-filled donuts, moist chocolate cake all in a row. They all look wonderful and delicious with too many to choose from. Sitting down to take a bite out of one, and then not willing to pay for it, is like the person who wants the taste, enjoyment, and satisfaction of the moment but without the commitment to pay for it. Once they finish with one item and the enjoyment is gone, they move on to the next item that will bring them enjoyment. In the end, someone's heart always ends up broken, and the glory of the relationship goes to someone other than God.
The sole purpose of entering a relationship is to lead up to marriage. If you're not ready spiritually, emotionally, or financially, you are wasting your time.
The Bible has a lot to say about love relationships, but it is geared toward marriage covenant relationships. Why? Because that's the way God intended relationships to be from the beginning—long-lasting and enduring. A mutual commitment, through marriage, is God's way of sealing a love relationship between a man and woman. Marriage relationships are meant to be lifelong commitments; therefore, throughout Scripture we are reminded of how to be faithful to that covenant. (Paul exhorts married couples in 1 Corinthians 7:10 to stay faithful to their vows; Hebrews 13:4 reminds the reader that the marriage bed is pure; and Ephesians 5:22-23 talks about husbands and wives walking in respect and love toward each other.)
Dating multiple people for fun is a concept that is nowhere found in the Bible. In the book of Genesis, Chapter 2, we can take a peek at the first God-ordained love relationship. It gives us God's view on a man and woman coming together. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (verse 24). The point brought out here is for one man to be united with one woman and the two to become one flesh. This scripture leaves no room for seeking out multiple partners for short-term pleasure.
Seeking out short-term relationships for "our pleasure only," with no further intentions, will always end in broken promises and broken hearts, which is nothing different from our teenage days. No, marriage minded relationships aren't fool proof, and not all will end with "Happily Ever After." But when commitment is present, there is a greater chance of success in moving toward marriage.
If you are marriage-minded material, finding someone who is mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and financially ready for marriage should be the thing to consider.
Naomi Cassata has been married to her husband James for 6 years. They live in Florida. She has been writing articles for about 5 years.