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How Old Should I Be Before Getting into a Serious Relationship?

By: Bethany Beal

I looked at the caller ID on my pink razor flip phone and immediately got sweaty palms. I was 16 years old and was committed to only pursuing a relationship when I was ready or able to consider the possibility of marriage.

As a 16-year-old girl, I knew I wasn’t ready. And I knew the guy calling on the other line wasn’t ready either.

With feelings of hesitation, I answered his call.

“Hello, this is Bethany”

“Hey, Bethany!! How ya doing today?”

The conversation continued and the expected happened. Jeremy expressed his interest and asked me if I would consider starting a relationship with him.

I didn’t want to leave Jeremy with any confusion or questions in his mind, so I started to explain the reasons behind my “no” answer.

Here were the three main reasons I told Jeremy no:

1. Neither of us was ready to consider marriage.

I was playing basketball in high school and he (being even younger than me) was nowhere near being ready to lead and provide for a family. In my mind starting a romantic relationship with marriage nowhere on the horizon was simply a waste of time.

2. Unnecessary temptation.

If Jeremy and I started a romantic relationship there would likely have been strong desires and feelings floating around. I didn’t want to take the risk and assume that I could fight off temptation for years on end. I totally understood that sexual chemistry is strong and I didn’t want to invite that in when marriage was nowhere on the horizon.

3. Unwise use of time.

Jeremy was a really nice guy but, in the nicest way possible, he wasn’t the smartest use of my time. God had tons to teach me in my last few years of high school and I needed to have a clear mind and open schedule to focus on those things. A boyfriend would have been a major distraction from my family, God, and preparation for the future.

After I finished explaining my reasons to Jeremy, we chatted for a few more minutes and then hung up the phone. I was pretty confident that he understood my reasons for not pursuing a relationship and I felt really good about my decision.

Looking back on my high school years I can confidently say that I am soooo grateful I never pursued a relationship with a guy. I don’t feel like I missed out and I don’t feel like that decision was a mistake in any way.

To the Girls Not Quite Ready

I want to talk directly to you girls who are in the “not ready for marriage” age group. Whether you are too young or just simply not ready, I want to encourage you to think through these 4 questions:

What is the purpose of a relationship? 

God is the creator of romance, marriage, and relationships. It wasn’t a human idea, it was God’s. In the Bible, we see godly relationships always portrayed either in marriage or on the way to marriage. We never see the Bible encouraging young people to engage in a romantic relationship for years on end with marriage nowhere in sight. God designed romantic relationships for the purpose of marriage.

Why would I say “yes” to a relationship?

Before you say “yes” to a dating/courtship relationship, ask yourself why? Why should I say yes? What’s the purpose of the relationship? What’s the goal? Will this relationship help me better serve God in this season of my life?

Is this the best use of my time? 

God has so much to teach you during your high school years. A boyfriend can often time be a major *major* unnecessary distraction. Instead of using your time pouring into a boyfriend, why not pour it into studying and learning how to best serve God with your future. I HIGHLY recommend reading as many great Christian books as you can get your hands on. Some of my deepest convictions were formed during my high school years. Don’t waste these years.

Will this help me best maintain my purity?

Romantic relationships bring a lot of chemistry and jive between two people. I personally think that it’s foolish to allow that romantic chemistry with a guy into your life with no hope of satisfying it with marriage anytime soon. Be wise and make sure you aren’t adding extra temptation that simply doesn’t need to be in your life.

Let’s wrap it up.

If I could offer you one final piece of advice it would be this. Wait until you are ready for marriage to enter into a serious relationship. I made that commitment myself and I am sooooo grateful I did.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Would you consider a serious relationship before you’re ready to commit to marriage? Why or why not?

What do you think the purpose of a romantic relationship is?

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