I know that many of you by the title alone may not click this blog, but I am aware there are thousands of youth that follow this page and ask questions along this line frequently…
- Can I start dating now?
- How old do I have to be?
- My parents said I can’t date now, but why not?
- Are you saying I’m not mature because I’m not in my twenties or thirties?
I’ve had people personally tell me crazy responses that I shouldn’t date until I have my masters. Like what, bro? I don’t even want my masters degree! Another person told me not to get married until my bachelors degree was completed and they simply explained how difficult it is to pay bills and love alone doesn’t pay bills. That sounded more reasonable, haha. However, I know many people have their own opinions on this matter.
In my personal opinion, young people shouldn’t date until they’re at least out of high school or exiting high school soon. Is that a biblical command? Not at all, so please don’t take my words as doctrine. I simply believe that the younger we are is the more we are discovering ourselves. If we aren’t sure what God has planned for our future in church ministry, our career or our purpose, then how are we so sure that we know what we need in a spouse. I promise you that what you find attractive or funny at 16 is not going to have the same affect on you at 25. I know my “type” has changed much before getting married because I focused on all of the wrong things when I was younger.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)
That’s just my past regarding this and of course, everyone is different.
Age isn’t the main issue when it comes to dating. What’s most important is your level of maturity. You see, many people think that just because someone is 30 that means they should be married or that they are ready for a spouse. I’m sorry to break it to you, but I’ve seen people nearly 40 that were too immature to be trusted dating anyone. If you can’t take care of yourself, why invite someone else into your dysfunction? How we behave, not how old we are, is what we should consider before dating. How we love Jesus, not our age, should be what we pay attention to before dating. There are some young men that are 19 that have strong walks with God and are willing to work and they put some 40 year old men to shame. And there are some women who are over 30 that you’d be shocked at how immature they are compared to some young ladies that are freshmen in college.
Before you consider dating, these are some questions I want you to consider:
1. Am I preparing for marriage?
I say this because dating isn’t something we do for fun. Dating is something to do with marriage as our goal. If we are only dating to pass time or because everyone else is dating, we run the risk of falling into sin or heartache. Marriage should be our focus when choosing someone to date. Does that mean you have to marry them within a year or two? No, but you shouldn’t be dating them if you can’t see yourself marrying them.
2. Will they help me spiritually to grow and fulfill my purpose?
Many young people choose someone just because they’re attractive. I know I’ve done it before and I’ve seen it plenty of times. However, those looks won’t matter if they can’t pray. Their personality won’t matter either if they don’t have a personal walk with Jesus. I’ve seen many men with a call to preach or to lead praise and worship on their lives, end up outside of the church because their spouses didn’t care to support them spiritually. Who you marry matters!
3. Is God leading me to this person or is it just that my hormones are raging?
I completely understand to be in a godly relationship that leads to marriage is better than allowing lust to consume you (see 1 Corinthians 7:9). However, if you’re only running from lust thinking a relationship will solve it, trust me that it won’t. You have to contain your urges because marriage doesn’t cure lust.
4. Does my spiritual leadership or my parents approve of me taking this step?
Many young people love to seek advice from everyone outside of their pastor or parents. Why? Because they know their leadership will disapprove or tell them to wait. My opinion on this matter doesn’t trump what your spiritual covering says.
“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 16:25)
If you can sin while you’re young, you can live for God while you’re young. If you can be tempted to fall into fornication and pornography while you’re young, you can live for God when you’re young. Don’t let anybody tell you that your age disqualifies you from God’s plan. Samuel, David, Josiah, Jeremiah, and many others all have something in common: God’s hand was on them while they were young. So I know we’re talking about dating, but I want to reassure you that your calling doesn’t start when you’re dating or when you’re married. Focus on Jesus while you’re young and don’t allow time to pass you by. Many people that are married wish they could relive their young, single days. I don’t want you to be that person who looks back and feels like you’re “missing something” all because you rushed into something you weren’t ready for.
“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)
Don’t rush the process. Build friendships and allow God to guide you. Pray and let Him lead you. Whether you find your future spouse at 16, 22 or 37, His timing is perfect and we shouldn’t move ahead of His plan just because everyone else is dating.
Grace and peace,