T.L.P. Episode 30: Teens and Dating: what God has to say about their crush

Teens and Dating: what God has to say about their crushDid you know kids like each other? Yeah, they actually develop crushes and start hanging out more. Next thing you know, they want to kiss each other! But, did you also know the Bible doesn’t say anything about modern dating practices? So, what do we do? Do we teach our kids what worked for us? Or is there biblical Truth that applies to my daughter and her boyfriend? Join us today as we find out what God has to say about your child and their crush.

Click here for Episode 30 Notes.

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Continue for Transcript.

Transcript

I recently made the observation on Facebook that the Bible does not directly address modern concepts of dating or even courting. But it does define three relationships between unrelated men and women:

  1. There’s the Husband & Wife,
  2. The Saved with the Unsaved,
  3. and then the Saved with the Saved

And with all the recent (and necessary) talk about biblical masculinity and femininity specifically within the realm of relationships, let’s take a moment to discover God’s point of view.

But more on that in a minute.

Thank you to everyone who’s rated and reviewed us. Because of you, we now have a published 5-star rating on iTunes. Now, please understand that this doesn’t have anything to do with us trying to be popular or deal with our insecurities. I acknowledge that somewhere down the line we will receive more than one less-than-favorable rating. But when that happens, I want it to be because someone intrinsically disagrees with God’s Word. I don’t want to be the one who got in the way.

With that said, we appreciate any and all feedback we receive from you, because we want to grow and change more into the image of Christ. Recently, a listener commented on Episode 28 asking for more detail about how to teach your children about sexuality using just the Bible. This question intrigued me, and I plan to give you some specific examples in that area in the near future.

So, please keep the critiques, ratings, reviews, and comments coming. We love them all.

And don’t forget that PDF versions of all our Episode Notes are available at EvermindMinistries.com

And now back to our discussion about your child and their significant other.

Topic

So, what does the Bible say about the relationships between men and women. Well, as I mentioned above, God only defines three possible relationships between guys and girls.

1. Husband & Wife – We’re going to call this relationship simply, “Same.”

Mark 10 quotes Genesis as it discusses one of the first relationships in God’s economy. It reminds us that one man is to leave his family, cleave to his one wife, and weave the two into one flesh. Within this relationship is a divine picture of Christ and the church that no other relationship on earth can compare to. I do believe the Bible teaches a complementarian view of marriage where men and women are intrinsically unique and equal in their being, yet – just like the members of the Trinity – function within the relationship with different responsibilities.

The Implications of the Same relationship on our children’s dating relationships are as follows:

  1.  These are unique commands that apply only to husbands and wives. They cannot and must not be applied to any other relationships in life. These specific responsibilities and privileges are not given to dating couples.
  2. Beyond the special commands for spice (plural for spouse :-), husbands and wives are to love each other the exact same way they’re commanded to love everyone else – including enemies. Perhaps this isn’t the time to mention it, but I’ll give you just a peek into a future episode all about parental love . . . but the reality is that the love commanded for a husband to have for his wife (and vice versa) is the exact same kind of love he’s to have for everyone.

Now that I’ve opened up that can of worms, let’s move to the second male/female relationship discussed in Scripture.

2. Saved & Unsaved – We’re going to call this relationship “Salt.”

The go-to passage for believers considering a relationship with unbelievers is II Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” The admonition is clear and repeated throughout Scripture.

And there are two important implications here as well:

  1. There is absolutely no justification for a born again child of God to be romantically involved with someone who’s dead spiritually. None. Meaning: your born again children should not be romantically involved with an unbeliever. This is a difficult thing to address when the hormones have already started flowing and the relationship has been made official, but it will need to be dealt with. God cannot bless their relationship if they are “unequally yoked.” If you need assistance in this area, please reach out to us at counselor@EvermindMinistries.com. We’d love to give you guidance or introduce you to someone who can. The second implication of the Salt relationship is this:
  2. We do owe everyone love, but that love is not romantic. Romans 13:8 tells us that we should “owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” And, as I noted before, every time God commands us to “love,” He’s referring to the volitional choice to seek God’s best for the individual loved. If this verse were referring to us owing everyone a romantic love and used to argue for Christians being physically attracted to unbelievers, then it would stand that we need to romantically love everyone in the world regardless of their sex. This clearly stands in the face of many biblical admonitions against polygamy and homosexuality. The love we owe all men is to share the truth with them. The relationship we’re supposed to have with the lost is clear and simple: We are to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-14). Our purpose on this earth is to be a shining testament to the goodness and glory of God to all who do not know Him.

So, when men and women have a relationship, they’re either in a “Same” as husband and wife or an evangelistical “Salt” relationship as believers with unbelievers. But there’s one more. The last biblical relationship that might have any application to our kids and their crushes is this:

3. Saved with the Saved – And we’re going to call this relationship, “Siblings.” 

I Timothy 5:2 is one passage that specifically defines how Timothy was to relate to the people in his ministry. He was to appeal to an older man as a father, older women as mothers, younger men as brothers, and younger women as sisters. The interesting note is that Paul adds to the description of how Timothy was to treat the ladies . . . Paul adds “in all purity.” This special attention should stick out to us. We are to relate to members of the opposite sex purely.

So, what are the implications on our relationships:

  1. This verse – combined with the numerous commands to abstain from fornication, adultery, and every form of sexuality outside of marriage – makes it clear that “hooking up” and the general expectation that dating couples need to be physically involved are foreign to Christ-honoring, biblical relationships. I’m not sure how long it will last, but at least for now even our society frowns on incest. The verse has a clear message – treat her like you would your sister. Be pure.
  2. So, how are we to treat our siblings? Again, we are to love them by desiring God’s best for their lives and helping them to accomplish His will through His power. Whether a physical or spiritual sister, we are commanded to speak the gospel (Mark 16:15), disciple (Matthew 28:19), rebuke (Luke 17:3), edify (Romans 14:19), admonish (Colossians 3:16), encourage (I Thessalonians 5:11), teach (Matthew 28:20), bear burdens (Galatians 6:2), and much, much more. Just google “one another” passages from the Bible.

So, how does this relate to modern dating?

If those are the only relationships defined for unrelated men and women, which one/ones should we turn to for guidance on dating?

1. Two Christians in a dating relationship are not married.

Therefore, the spouse-specific commands about sex and submission do not apply to dating couples. Christian couples do not have the right to be sexually active because “I know he’s the one for me.” Also, though it might be helpful for the girlfriend to learn to trust the guy she’s interested in, she has no biblical injunction to obey him. It’s wise for a man to start becoming a Christ-honoring, marry-able man, and every young woman should strive to model the Proverbs 31 woman, but there’s no real-time dating advice to be gleaned from this category of biblical truth.

2. Christians should never become romantically involved with the unsaved.

Evangelism should never be an excuse for dating an unsaved person. There’s absolutely no dating advice to be found here.

3. The final option for truth we can apply to our kids’ relationships is the Siblings Category.

This group of passages is the one men and women should be turning to to parent their children through dating. I would go so far as to say that all Christ-honoring dating relationships must be modeled after the Sibling Category. And that goes for you and your kids.

What does this kind of dating relationship look like?

Picture a line in your mind. This line should have two endpoints.

Let’s put our daughter on the left and her boyfriend on the right. Or, you can do it however you want if you don’t have a girl. It doesn’t matter. It’s your imagination.

According to the world’s model of dating, the only goals for either of them in this relationship is to live for him/herself, live for the other person, or try to balance living for self and my significant other. To a Christian, the middle one sounds more biblical. But none of these options is godly.

  1. Living for oneself is Satan’s strategy for life, and we all know how well that’s worked for him. For such a relationship to be successful, our daughter must be living for herself while her boyfriend other must be living completely for himself. Stop for a minute and think about some relationships you know that are like that. How successful are they? They’re not. They’re generally abusive physically, emotionally, or both. They’re a wreck!
  2. But what if each lives for the other? That sounds good, right? Nope. Not really. Anything that we make more important than God becomes an idol. If our daughter makes her boyfriend the center of her universe, she’s breaking the first commandment that she should have no other gods in her life. Her’s and her boyfriend’s first and greatest priority should be God . . . even in their dating relationship. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
  3. And the last option of trying to balance living for me and my girlfriend, is just a synthesis of two dating Failure Philosophies.

So, using a line is not the best Christian-dating-geometrical-shape. Biblically speaking, we should be using a triangle.

Why?

Well, let’s imagine our two points at the bottom left and right of the triangle. One is our son or daughter, and the other is their person they’ve romantically attracted to. Now, let’s make the point at the top pf the triangle God.

What happens if your child and their crush stop living for themselves or for each other – and, instead, start living for God?

Well, we’re told to draw near to God and He will draw near to us. So, as each of them travels up the triangle toward God, look at what happens to the space between them. I know, this is getting harder to imagine, and maybe you visual learners need to draw this out as we talk. But I’ll tell you what happens.

As the Triangle gets smaller as the two bottom points get closer to the top point, the two bottom points also get closer to each other.

It space between them diminishes.

Here’s the spiritual lesson: The closer our child and their crush get to God, the closer they’ll get to each other.

And, as a side note – this works in every relationship: including the one with you and your kids.

Now, picture this – a born again boy and girl, who want nothing more than to glorify their God in their relationship:

  1. They edify, deal patiently with, admonish, bear up, encourage, rebuke, serve, teach, disciple, and love each other the way God commands.
  2. They don’t think about physicality because they don’t want to sin against God or tempt the other to do the same. They want to deal purely with each other.
  3. They do nothing but try to help the other become more like their Savior (true love).

Imagine what type of relationship that will be. Even if they realize God is taking their lives in different directions, when they finally “break-up” they will be more sanctified because they’d been together.

Yet, there will be no regret and no ill will.

And if they stay together and eventually weave into one flesh, they will have built a foundation that most married couples wish they had laid.

So, What does the Bible say about your kids dating?

Not much. At least, not about our culture’s concepts of dating and courting. But it talks a lot about relating to each other.

We need to share God’s truth with our kids. We need to help our children understand that they should help their brothers and sisters in Christ more like Him regardless of whether or not they feel romantically attracted to them. That kind of person will not only be well-liked by fellow believers who evermind God’s Word, but they will also look very attractive in the swirling pool of self-promoting suitors.

Conclusion

So, what are our takeaways:

Help your children realize that the verses about married couples should not be the guidelines for their dating relationships. Fornication and adultery are horrendous sins that scar and destroy. If your kids are preoccupied with physicality in their relationships, I can guarantee you their relationship is not pleasing the Lord. Something needs to be done.

We all need to be reminded that the best and most loving thing we can do in every relationship in our lives is to point others to Christ. This vital part of one-anothering is often completely neglected in dating and is substituted for the tawdry, sinful physical pleasure.

Our kids need to keep Christ first in all things. They need to be pure. And God will provide in their dating relationships the same way He does in their salvation.

Please don’t forget about our Episode Notes which I’ve linked in the description. This PDF may be helpful in training your children about how to glorify God as they deal with the opposite sex.

And join us next time for another episode on Love. It’ll be a much shorter one, but it’s still super important as we try to apply to our parenting the verse “Love covers a multitude of sin.” Depending on how we interpret that, we’ll either please the Lord and help our children grow through their bad choices, or I’ll fail in my parenting.

I’d also like to invite you to like and Follow T.L.P. on Facebook and me on Twitter @AMBrewster.

And don’t forget to leave us feedback. Tell us how we’re doing in the comments, rate and review on iTunes. And share this episode with your friends.

Parenting your kids through their crush years and their dating years can be very intimidating – especially in the hyper-sexualized culture they’re growing up in. But our God is almighty and all-knowing. He has the perfect plan for your kid’s relationships!

So, go be that Ambassador Parent and teach your kids His plan for their lives.

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