What Teenagers Need to Understand About Dating!

Adolescence is a time when the individual questions "Do I like myself?". "What am I going to do for the rest of my life?", "What are my good qualities?", "How should I change?", or "What do other people think of me?". It is a time of growing. The teenager is leaving childhood where he was dependent upon his parents to direct him, to provide for him, and to make his decisions for him. He is becoming an adult capable of caring for himself and, in turn, being responsible to and for others. There are certain activities in which our society generally expects teenagers to participate. One of these is dating. First, let's review the purpose of dating. Against the scale of the centuries, dating is a new phenomenon. Traditionally, children worked until their parents decided that it was time for them to marry, the parents then selected the mate, and the new home was begun.

Our society feels it better for those whose lives are most directly involved to make the important decision as to who they will marry. Accordingly, dating allows young people to be exposed to different personalities and to judge (to some extent) the effects that the various personality traits might have upon a lifelong relationship. Dating lets boys and girls see these traits at work in a variety of situations. This is important experience and education. Also, dating lets the young person observe himself, or herself, under diverse situations, and it's important that each person get to know himself very well. There are also other reasons for dating, such as having a good time, being socially accepted, and just being with friends. Dating is fun. It is a time to get to know another person more completely, a time to share ideas, plans and hopes, a time to do interesting things with someone special.

When a teenager begins to date, he is uncertain about many things. That very first date causes both excitement and anxious moments. One of the most important decisions a teenager will make is choosing the people he will date. The Bible tells us in I Corinthians 15:33,"Do not be mislead: Bad company corrupts good character". (NIV), and in Psalm 1:1, "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked " (RSV). We easily recognize the influence of our friends in our lives. They influence us in many ways that are more important than just clothes and hair length. If our friends use drugs, obscene language, or engage in premarital sex; how much harder will it be for you to remain acceptable to God? II Corinthians 6:14-16 says, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God". If we form close personal relationships with persons whose moral standards are opposed to Jesus' teachings, are we not endangering our salvation?

Sometimes questionable dating situations develop because of the places selected and the type of recreation chosen. Study Bible Call Tape # 215, "Choosing Christian Recreation". If we choose a date who shares our moral standards, we have made a good beginning. However, remember that both you and your date are human with normal male and female sexual drives. These are God given, they are normal, and they can bring much joy and fulfillment. But remember, God placed very specific restrictions upon when the sexual drive may be fulfilled. I Corinthians 6:9-10 says, "Don't you know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanders nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God". (NIV)

If on the majority of your dates you are alone, and you go to cozy, intimate places, are you not making it easier for Satan to break you down? Double dating can be a help. It is also a good idea to avoid prolonged, steady dating. Time and familiarity with another person can slowly but very surely break down our defenses. It is a valuable guideline to consider dating as a hands-off activity. Once a boy and girl begin to touch, feel and caress one another, the stop signs become blurred and convictions lose their strength. Remember that under conditions of mutual respect, the boy will never try to take advantage of the girl, neither will the girl tempt the boy by thoughtless dress or action which will tend to arouse his natural desire. Mutual consideration is a two way street.

In conclusion it should be pointed out that dating is an important, but a small part of a teenager's total life, just as the icing is an important, but a small part of the cake. Dating too often (or for too many hours) is like a cake that is all icing. Keep dating activities in balance; do not let dating interfere with your duties to God, to family, to school, or to self.

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