What's the big difference:
- Dating- A more common modern term dating is simply being in a romantic relationship with someone.
- Courting- Less common the word courting or courtship generally refers only to relationships centered on some degree of accountability, someone courting a girl meets her only in a group setting, someone dating a girl may take her out alone.
Discussion: Why are so many teens desperate for a date?
The problems faced with teenage romantic relationships.
- The flesh- In most teens the flesh has more power over you now than it ever will. 2nd Timothy 2:22
- The waiting game- Patience is difficult, it is nearly impossible when waiting to be with the one you love.
- The distraction from spiritual things- some of the best years to serve God are as a teenager and even with a Godly partner having a romantic relationship splits your focus from %100 Gods will to maybe 50% Gods will 50% making them happy. 1st Corinthians 7:32-35 Demonstration: Blinders vs dividers.
- Immediate gratification culture- not just in reference to the lusts of the flesh but to the choice of who to be with as well. Countless Christian teens have grown tired of waiting or desperate to the point of considering options outside of the body of Christ. This is 100% wrong every time, 2nd Corinthians 6:14-17 Note: many a rebellious teen will point to adults who married outside of the body of Christ and are still together and say "it worked for them". To this I say, just because God is able to clean up after you make a mess by disobedience does not give you justification to go make messes.
Is it wrong to pursue a romantic relationship in your teens?
As a youth Pastor who met his wife at the ripe old age of 15 I can honestly say that it is not wrong to have a romantic relationship as a teen, but it can be very difficult to have a God honoring one. Romans 7:14-25
What does God expect from your relationships?
- Purpose- no trying on different types, shopping around, etc. The purpose for all romantic relationships should be to find your future spouse, if not then your purpose is most likely physical, emotional, or popularity based; none of which are healthy for the Christian. Proverbs 18:22
- Purity- This should be an obvious one yet many seek to redefine purity as “mostly pure” God keeps it painfully simple, 1st Timothy 5:1-2, 1st Corinthians 7:1-2. My father described physical interaction while dating the best. "It's like a whirlpool, the further in you go, the faster down you go, and the harder it is to escape."
- Protection- Accountability, there is no reason for two teens pursuing a romantic relationship to be alone together. Everything you need to learn about that person can be learned with someone else in the room. What God-honoring Christ glorifying reason would you have to be alone? 1st Corinthians 10:31
- Planning- Knowing your partners plans concerning their life and especially Gods will for it is a must, not after it has become serious but right away. Amos 3:3
What if I want a relationship but cannot find one?
Tell God what you desire, wait on God, focus on God while you wait, and pray for your future spouse
Homework: If you hope to enter a romantic relationship make a list of traits you would like in a future spouse and add your future spouse to your prayer list. If you plan to stay single still complete the assignment… just in case.