I am in awe at how many kids my age (I'm thirteen) and under "date". I guess I shouldn't be because that's the world for ya, but WOW. And I've talked to a lot of people about this. I'm like, "Why do you want to date so young?" I think I know why they do it - to fit in and fill their God void. But I don't think it's okay. I'm a firm believer that if you know you're not going to marry your boyfriend/girlfriend, why would you date them? Why would you date someone if it's not going to go anywhere?
I wondered if writing about this topic would be a bad idea, if maybe I was making too big of a deal out of it. At first I thought maybe, they're just being kids, whatever, it's their life. And I thought that maybe it wouldn't hurt anything if they just want to have these petty little relationships. But finally I came to the conclusion that I do believe dating at such a young age can teach us dangerous things, so I am going to write about it. And offend a lot of people. Here we go.
Also, believe it or not, in fourth grade, I had a "boyfriend". For like, two days. He was a nice boy, but it was just a friendship and really ridiculous to be honest. I don't even think I told my parents because nothing happened. I'll probably be grounded now. But see, I know - and I've witnessed the failed relationships of my peers - so I want to first tell you why kids my age (and under - especially those under!) shouldn't date right now. I'll give you 5 reasons.
1. We don't know how to be in a true relationship.
Let's face it, guys: kids my age are full of themselves, especially in the culture we live in now. We just want a relationship to make ourselves feel good. We have no idea what true love really is. Do you want to know what true love is?
I think all of us are disqualified. Does that mean you can never expect your partner to make you happy? Not necessarily. For more on that, read this letter I wrote to my future husband. It talks about happiness, relationships, and where God fits into that.
But, kids my age, come on. We all know why we date. It does not envy? How many times do we look to our peers and THEIR relationships? It is not self-seeking? I think at this age, we want a boyfriend to tell us pretty little sayings and make us our #wcw or #mcm on Instagram.
A true, God honoring relationship is one where you put the needs of your partner before your own (Philippians 2:3-4), and it should be like that with all of the people in our lives.
2. They're fake, and we're just wanting to fit in.
Most of these relationships are fake. Not only are relationships at this age meant to make us feel good, but kids my age will sometimes date someone they don't even really like, but they will date them just to have somebody...!! And why is THAT? Because their friends are doing it. Because that's what's popular. But the Bible has something to say about that, too.
It says not to conform to the pattern of this world. Do you know what that means? It means to be like something, to comply to certain rules or standards, etc. And here we read that we are not to be like the world, to comply to the standards of this world. That goes for our dating life. I am literally almost to the point where if the society tells you to do something, do the opposite. I'm almost there. I have yet to see something where I wouldn't say that.
Also, this verse tells us about God's will--His good, pleasing, and perfect will (Romans 12:2). We've already established true love and how we need to love others at #1.
3. We're not trusting God's plan.
A lot of kids want a relationship for a sense of security, because they're stressed they won't find a partner. Just relax! Trust in God and His good plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11). Be patient! You're not getting married at thirteen. Trust that God will provide for you, and He will (Philippians 4:19). If you have a desire to get married, He knows that, and He does care about your desires, but you have to seek Him first. Look at this verse:
Know God first. This doesn't necessarily mean that if you are seeking Him you'll get everything you want, but if you're seeking Him, you'll know Him more and more, you'll know He's all you need.
Don't rush His plans or His timing. Work on knowing Him now so that one day, if you do get married, you will know how to truly love. This leads me to #4.
4. A relationship now distracts us from knowing God.
If we get so obsessed with a dating relationship, we're not pursuing God and His Word right now, and these are the years where we really should be focused on that because that's what guides our life (Psalm 119:105). We should be more concerned how we can love God and serve God.
5. We're not ready.
And you know why we're not ready? Because #1. We don't know what true love is yet. You know why we don't know that? Because #2. We're too worried about fitting in. You know why? Because #3. We've got our eyes on the world and not God's plan. And do you want to know why THAT is? #4. We don't even know God and His plan. We're too busy with distractions. We're NOT READY.
I also think that dating at this age can teach kids my age some things that aren't true and can hurt us later in life. I'll give you 5 more of those.
1. We learn that we need a boyfriend/girlfriend.
No, you don't. All you need is God, and when you recognize that, He will provide for you (Matthew 6:33). What does being in constant relationships since kindergarten tell us? That we NEED a relationship to be happy. No, not necessarily. We do need people, but God alone will make you happy, and He will provide you with the people (Matthew 6:33). But in the meantime, you don't need to have a boyfriend/girlfriend constantly to make you happy. Trust God to do that.
That's another reason I don't date right now. Because I don't need a guy to make me happy. That's not to say I don't want to date eventually. I do hope to get married one day. But right now, my happiness comes from God, and I pray it will if I get married, too.
2. We learn how to fill our God void.
God voids. We all have them. We all fill them with things that aren't God. Some people are worse than others at this, but we all do it. Dating at this age shows us how to fill our God void with people. Instead of reading the Bible, you're texting your boyfriend. Instead of going to church, you're at a sporting event with your girlfriend. You get the idea. And again, we learn to rely on other things to make us happy--the world. And we can't do that (Romans 12:2).
If you are a kid my age and currently in a dating relationship with someone, and the idea of breaking up with them seems like a total nightmare to the point where you can't bring yourself to do it, that's not good. That means dating is your everything. And dating at this age just teaches us that: that we MUST be in a relationship to be happy, to be complete. I don't think so. Devote yourself to God, and He will direct you into good things (Proverbs 3:5-6).
3. We learn to have worldly relationships.
We learn that relationships are about US. We learn they're dedicated to OUR happiness. God's Word has something entirely different to say as we discussed at the beginning of this post.
4. We have another distraction in our distraction-filled society.
It's another thing that will consume your time and your mind. As if we're not already bombarded with distractions in our society such as social media, sports, etc.
5. We're going to be left hurt.
There are the rare cases of fourth graders meeting and getting married (when they're OLDER, of course), but they're rare. Most of these petty relationships we're having now, and even a lot of relationships in high school, don't last. I really think dating at this age is just going to leave you more hurt. It will distract you from the one who gives you happiness, and you will just feel defeated. Kids my age really do get set on these relationships, and I've watched them bawl over breakups and everything. Maybe you'll feel alone some nights when you're single and all of your friends have boyfriends/girlfriends, but that gives you an opportunity to grow closer to God, and that's the most important relationship.
Your single years are a gift
And by rushing them... They're going to be gone before we know it. We have works to do RIGHT NOW (Ephesians 2:10). If you get married and want to be in a relationship where you live out this true love we've been talking about, that's going to take a lot of work and a lot of effort. It's worth it, but there's a lot of things that you can't give your attention to as much as you could now. For me, that would be my blog and my writing.
In my latest letter to my future husband, that is what I told him. I told him that while marriage is something I pray will happen for me and something I want to devote my energy to, right now, I'm not rushing things. Because I've got work to do. I didn't really elaborate on what that work is in the letter, but that work is knowing God. This summer, I finished reading the whole Bible. And while I learned a lot, I know there was some stuff I totally did not get. So what am I doing? I'm reading it again. Starting with Genesis. I also got a study Bible, and that is a great tool that's helping me TONS. I remember asking my mom questions like, "Why do I need to know this? Why is this in the Bible?" And now I'm starting to get it.
So here's a list of some of the things I'm working on now that you can too.
- I'm studying the Bible. I have a confession to make: I think I dreamed my way through the Old Testament. I'm not kidding. My memories of it were three things: lots and lots of instructions, lots of names I couldn't pronounce, and instructions on how to build things. Well, I'm almost done with going through Genesis for the second time now, and there have been a LOT of names I couldn't pronounce, but this study Bible I have breaks things down, and the passages I normally would have been like "Say what?" suddenly have a much deeper meaning to me. Studying the Bible is important. So I want to devote my time to that.
- Memorize Scripture. I need to start memorizing Scripture because if I only get a few minutes with someone, I want to be able to give them verses along with their references. And on days where I feel down or have a question about something, knowing my Bible is going to be really important. Which leads me to the next thing I do now.
- Witness. While most kids my age are going and getting involved with dating, I'd rather spend my time telling kids about Jesus. And this is why I need to know verses. You're not too young to be a witness or know God. This is a common excuse I see, but really, now is the time to have a relationship with Jesus because nobody is guaranteed a long life (James 4:14), so don't waste your years now.
- Pursue your dreams and hobbies. As kids, we don't really have to worry about jobs right now or making a living or being there for a spouse or your kids. So you are blessed with extra time to focus on your hobbies and your dreams. Ask God to show you how you can use your talents and passions to glorify Him right now.
- Practice true love. Practice what it means to truly love someone. Love your family. Love your friends. Love your church. Love that person you can't stand. Kids my age think love is all about them being loved, but really it's the opposite. Practice loving someone even when you don't feel like it and even when they don't deserve it because that's what Jesus did for us on the cross.
As I know God more and more, I'm reminded that He is truly all I need, and I want more and more of Him. I think marriage is a gift, and like I said, it's something I pray can happen for me one day. But I know that if it doesn't I'll be fine. Because I've got God, the only One who can make me joyful (Psalm 16:11).
And that's why I'm not rushing dating.