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The Value of Waiting Until You’re of Marrying Age to Consider a Relationship

By: Bethany Baird

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 were 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. Bad 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.Β 

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 encourage you to think through these 4 questions:

1. What is the purpose of a relationship?Β 

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.

2. 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 at this season of my life?

3. Is this the best use of my timeΒ 

God has so much to teach you during your high school years. A boyfriend can often times 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.

4. 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 any time soon. Be wise and make sure you aren’t adding extra temptation that simply doesn’t need to be in your life.Β 

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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The Value of Waiting Until You're of Marrying Age to Consider a Relationship Girl Defined

 

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  • My mum and dad would like me to wait until I’m done high school to start a relationship with anyone, and I agree with them. The purpose of a dating relationship is to discern if your boyfriend or girlfriend is your future spouse, and when you’re in high school there are years yet before you’re going to be able to get married.

    I won’t deny it’s hard to wait a couple years when you like someone a ton and he is interested in you as well! πŸ™‚

    • Dolly

      Absolutely! Plus, I’m an affectionate person, you know giving hugs all the time and stuff. I decided to save my first kiss for my wedding day, and I can;t imagine how hard it would be to wait and wait and wait, and then wait some more. It isn’t practical.

      What you said is absolutely right, girlfriend.

      Are you from Europe? You say “mum”! πŸ˜‰

      • That’s another thing. I also want to save my first kiss for my husband on my wedding day (or at the VERY least till we’re engaged) and to be in a romantic relationship for the next four or five years until I’m about 21 would put so much temptation in the way of me and my boyfriend to kiss!

        Sadly I’m not from Europe, only from Canada (I would looove to live in England)! But I have picked up a number of Britishisms from all the British books I read. πŸ™‚

        • Jade

          We say mum here in Australia!

          • Aw, you’re so lucky to live in Australia! I’m still hoping to visit there and New Zealand someday. πŸ™‚

        • Dolly

          Canada! Cool, I live really close to Canada.

          I think that is easier to make your values now, so when challenge strikes, you can stick to your guns, instead having to make a quick decision when it really matters.

  • Mella TJ

    Very enlightening. Thank you for this!

    • Thanks for reading πŸ™‚ -Bethany

      • Jade

        Hi, I love your blog! I have been following for about six months now and I love what you have to say. There is so much wisdom in your posts. Keep up the good work πŸ™‚

  • Lizzy

    I actually agree with this; it makes perfect sense. I’m 16 years old and have never been in a relationship or had a boyfriend. Except for a boy I had a crush on (he didn’t know I liked him, though). And I agree, it is a waste of time. If you are not planning on marriage any time soon, you should not pursue a relationship. My personal convictions are to wait till I’ve finished high school, maybe even college (if I go). I believe you should spend your teenage years studying, prepare yourself all that you can before going into a relationship.
    Great post, Bethany.
    ~Lizzy

  • Tammy Martin-Taylor

    First of all – I love your blog and feel convicted in much the same way as you on most areas. As for this particular blog…. let me say this. I am a mom of 2 daughters (16 and 11) and one son (15). I have ALWAYS been of the exact same conviction as what you have said in this blog… ALWAYS. So much so that my attitude was “Under no circumstances will my children “date” or enter a relationship until they are “ready” for marriage…. never gonna happen”. My kids have also been raised knowing that the purpose of a relationship is to lead to marriage and that you shouldn’t entertain that thought until the right time…. with that said…. let me tell you what GOD did to me in this area… My daughter was 14 1/2. Young. I knew she had a slight “crush” on a particular boy. I, as a mom, then kept my eye on this boy to see how he behaved, treated others, where he seemed to be with the Lord, etc…. Well, let me just say that this “boy” also had expressed a sincere interest and I knew he wanted to date my daughter. This was actually slightly comical to me because… she’s not even 15 (he was 16 at the time). No way was this going to happen. They aren’t ready. My daughter told me that he wanted to ask our permission to date her – she told me to “prepare” me. I prayed for the Lord’s guidance and peace for saying “no” because they would most likely never get married and it would end in heartache. But guess what God did… within that next week of praying for guidance and peace… God sent me couple after couple who told me they had been married for 60 years, 50 years, 30 years and they were “just kids”… “high school sweethearts”. I still had no intention of saying “yes” to this boy… so I prayed that God would just “change his mind” or make him too afraid to ask, etc… BUT… sure enough, the next night at church, here comes this boy, trembling hands and shaky voice who asks for my permission to date my daughter. I was impressed but still wanted to say no… but the Lord wouldn’t let me. He kept saying to me “I’m going to do something here and you need to trust me”. Really God???? Long story short…. after many MANY questions for this boy… and after making my “rules” clear (G Rated, Christ Honoring Friendship, NO alone time – always a 3rd wheel, etc) I reluctantly said yes. It’s been tough…. it’s been enlightening… and I sometimes stand in awe when I consider what God has done with a “relationship” that I would have otherwise said no to for every reason stated in this blog! God used MINE and MY Husband’s past to help bring this boy out of bondage to a sin he has struggled with for years… he did this through my daughter. God used this relationship that I would have otherwise said NO to, to help my daughter deal with some inner struggles that she had going on and he did it through this “boy”. This is not your “typical” high school relationship.. He and his family have become like family to us. We love him like our own. They have been together for over a year and a half now… they are the best of friends and do talk about being intent on getting married. That is absolutely their goal in this relationship. In the meantime, God is working in them, with them, and through them. He’s also worked on me through this… as I was once an “absolutely not” kind of mom… I realize now that, God sometimes has bigger plans for us and our loved ones than what we can see or fathom. The ultimate question right now is… will they actually get married? My answer is – I don’t know. I “think” they probably will, but we will have to wait and see what God does. Regardless of if they do or do not, God has already done great things in each of their lives because of this relationship, and if they marry each other – what a blessing that will be to have found your husband/wife at such a young age… if they do not – what a blessing it was how the Lord worked in their lives during this time and how much better of a spouse will they be one day because of it. Thanks for your time…. I just felt like I needed to speak on this particular subject. God bless!

    • Grace O

      Wow! Thank you for sharing your testimony Tammy. πŸ™‚ I’m only 15 and that was extremely encouraging to me. God’s plan is always the best. πŸ™‚

  • Naomi

    For me, I knew when I entered my first relationship that I wasn’t ready for marriage. But I also felt like I would *never* be ready for marriage if I didn’t start developing an understanding of interpersonal relationships. All in all, I think my first relationship taught me a lot about myself and that information turned out to be necessary in the later stages of my life. It helped that both of us had strong convictions about purity and had mothers who were holding us accountable.

    He wasn’t ready financially or mentally to lead a household, but he came to understand exactly what that would require through navigating our relationship. I wasn’t ready financially or mentally to support a husband and family, but I learned where my strengths and weaknesses were in that regard. We both grew a lot and by the end of the relationship had figured out that we weren’t compatible and what we could look at in the future to determine compatibility faster. Going though that relationship in a time when less was at stake has helped me to not waste time as an adult pursuing relationships that won’t work.

  • Madeline

    I am a sophmore in high school and about to turn 16. I hear so many girls my age who want a relationship, but I don’t want a pointless relationship. The post as really encouraged me in that area. My mom never dated anyone before my dad and I see that she does not regret that decision and how it protected her from hurt and heartbreak. That is what I want too. I also see a relationship right now as a waste of my time with my school, my friends, my time with family, and other activities that are purposeful in my life right now. Thank you for this encouraging post!

    • Holly

      @Madeline, you are soo right!!! Do it the way your mom did it! And if you continue to stay as strong as you are now, throughout the rest of your waiting period for a man, then you’ll be rewarded greatly! Psalm 37:4, says “Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Take that verse and continually remind yourself that if you wait on Him, He will give you THE BEST, not second best. I’m praying for you girl!!!

  • SavedbyGrace

    Another great post that has really hit the nail on the head!!! I wish I had made the courageous choice you made Bethany, a few years ago. I actually entered a relationship last year:( I’m 18, and I regret that decision deeply. I regret it because of the way I went about it after the guy expressed interest. Nothing immoral was ever done, so I didn’t lose my purity. But after 8 months of continuing to move nowhere, the wrong way, I decided I needed to end the relationship:( What I did lose, was apart of my heart:( I knowingly made my foolish, impetuous mistakes to get me to that point. I reaped what i sewed:( I am good now, and I’m healing with the help of my merciful Savior. And thankfully the guy and i left things on good terms. It was a mutual decision. But it still hurt us both a lot. And we’re best friends now too, but there is still no ignoring the scars still left on both our hearts. So, if I could give any council to anyone out there listening, it really is best to wait until you are ready to marry a man, to enter a relationship. I think that u are setting yourself for unnecessary emotional heart scars (especially if the relationship u r in doesn’t work our at 15). If it doesn’t work out at an early age, you don’t always know how to deal with all of the new hormones you’re experiencing, on top of the heartbreak. It can tear your heart up, and you can easily become an emotional basket case, especially if you don’t know how to handle it all at once. I’m telling y’all from experience, save your heart from all of that emotional damage, and wait until you are ready to enter marriage. Like Bethany said, you’ll be glad you did. I wish I did, I wish i would have done what my parents and God wanted me to. But because I thought I knew best, I made a mistake I can never take back, and will have to live with in memory for the rest of my life:( So do yourself a favor, and save yourself and ALL of your heart for that man that God has for you! Love you guys!!! You’re all like sisters to me!!! God bless!!!

  • #notalone

    Bethany, the same thing happened to me! It’s good to know that I’m not alone. Does the temptation ever arise to think “Aw, I missed my only chance for a relationship!”? Yeah, it does, but if we’re doing what God wants us to do, we will be blessed beyond what we could ever hope or dream…because God writes the most beautiful love stories if we just give him the pen to our lives. Thanks for you ministry!!!

  • Tyra M.

    I think this post is really great because it gives practical reasons for not pursuing a relationship until you are ready. Great article!!!
    My best advice is to be in a really rigorous academic program! My friends and I have never been in relationships because of demands from classes. When I was younger, I couldn’t imagine how much of a blessing it would turn out to be πŸ™‚

  • Phil. 4:13

    This is a great post! Im in kind of a problem though. I have a guy friend and we both like each other a lot. When Im aloud to have a boyfriend in a few months he is going to ask me to be his girlfriend and i don’t know if i should say yes or not. Iv’e sorta said before that i would say yes but I’ve never actually said that i would. I answered all the questions from above and there would be nothing wrong with a relationship. I don’t know what to do. Please help!

    • Jesusfreak17

      One of the questions kinda behind this post is: “is this wise?” That’s one of the most important things to think about! Also, unless your out of high school, the answer to that question is generally no because of the reasons the reasons Bethany listed. It’s distracting and tempting when you’re still in grade school. If you’re older than that, WNT you’ve prayed and considered all those questions, God will lead you to the right choice.

    • Can you see yourself marrying this guy? If not, don’t date him; because the point of dating is to find your future husband!

  • Jamie Hershberger

    I commend your position. I will say, though, that there are several trivial and time-wasting pursuits young women can take up nowadays that are just as “pointless” as dating. In other words, if a girl is avoiding dating so she can be used of God, well, it is my opinion that she should get up off her butt and do stuff for Him, then! Don’t say “I don’t want to waste my youth dating when I could be advancing the kingdom” and then blow all those precious, single years on netflix binges, World of Warcraft, and Pinterest Parties. Get busy about the LORD’s work, or be busy preparing yourself for your “someday” family, but by all means, be BUSY and be PRODUCTIVE!
    Just my two cents. If this doesn’t apply to you, don’t mind me! May God bless all of you.

    • Hey Jamie, Thanks for taking the time to comment and share your wisdom with us. I totally agree that young women should spend their teen years (as well as the rest of their lives) focusing on Christ and striving to serve Him. Thanks for pointing that out and encouraging girls in that direction. -Bethany

  • OrthodoxTeen15

    Thanks for this! We were actually just talking about this subject about a month ago in youth group, and it’s extremely helpful for me. We get so many messages from the world, especially in books and on TV, that dating during high school, even as young as thirteen, is okay, normal, and most people do it because they’re lonely. Of course, as long as we have Christ, we don’t need to be lonely, but still, it’s wonderful to have the Church, and various blogs in cyberspace, giving the opposite message. Thank you!

    • So glad you were encouraged πŸ™‚ -Bethany

  • Lou Ann Keiser

    I agree. I wish I’d been taught this idea. I did, however teach my kids this way. It was a blessing to see how they found their spouses–after finishing college. It really makes no sense to date before college age at all. Some people do marry their high school sweethearts, but it’s the exception rather than the rule. Thank you for some really good points. God bless!

    • So glad you enjoyed it πŸ™‚ Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. -Bethany

  • Sara R

    As a parent who was not taught this way, I would love to know how you came to these conclusions. Were you “taught” or guided? Was this something you learned from parents or from other mentors, or just from watching people? Not everyone learns this way. I would just like some insight to guide my young ones before they reach the teen years.

    • Hey Sara, Great question! My parents definitely encouraged me in this direction. They explained the “why’s” behind waiting until I was older to start a relationship and honestly it just made a lot of sense to me. Understanding the wisdom of waiting made a huge difference in my life. I also spent a good amount of time reading books by Elisabeth Elliot, Eric and Leslie Ludy, Dannah Gresh and Josh Harris. Each of those authors had an incredible impact in my life. I realized through reading their books that other people (not just my parents) saw huge benefit in going about relationships in a wise and God honoring way. I would highly recommend getting your daughters/sons reading solid Christian books as early on as possible. Help them create their own convictions and come to conclusions themselves. Reading is a great way to build that foundation.

      I hope that helps πŸ™‚ -Bethany

  • Janet Buckingham

    As an older woman I can attest to the truth of this article! I would just change the advice about reading as many Christian books as you can get your hands on, to: “Read the Bible through. Then read it through again. And again.. Continue throughout life.” Add to that reading Christian books as you are inclined/desire, but judge everything you read by your grounding in the word of God.

  • Rebeka

    So I don’t know where to post this, but this article seemed to be kind of in the same direction as a question I have. I am of marrying age, as you were discussing, and so far I have received 3 serious proposals of marriage, all of which I turned down. Not because they were bad guys, but I just knew that not one of them was the man God had for me. All three treated me like a princess and were very gentlemanly and attentive. They always seemed to know just what a girl needs–communication and caring. Now, 6 months later, God has brought another man into my life. As the 4th, I feel that he may be the right one for me, but he isn’t the same as the others were. He lives 2 hours away so I don’t get to see him too much, and when we do talk it seems as though this is way more important to me than it is to him. I sense the same amount of ‘disinterest’ is his texts. I’m worried that perhaps I’m being too picky, but should it concern me that he is going so slow? I don’t know if it is bad to compare him to the other guys, but it’s hard not to notice how attentive they were to me and how eager they were to see and talk to me; and how my current fellow doesn’t seem to care too terribly much. Does anyone have any advice? I don’t want to be a demanding girlfriend, but it really hurts when I have been looking forward to talking to him all day and maybe I get three texts. Am I being a crybaby or is there something I can do to help fix this?

    • Morgan

      @disqus_e4XjvEr68W:disqus I’m not an expert on the topic, and I don’t know if you’ll ever even see my reply, but I wanted to say something because I feel a sort of kinship with you. The question I would ask is “Is it true disinterest, or is it simply caution?” Some guys are overly cautious about getting into a relationship, and if they aren’t ready for marriage, may hold off on becoming close friends so it doesn’t lead to marriage before time. I’ve never been in a relationship, never really had a crush, and I’ve never even wanted to be friends with a guy until the last year or so. I’ve known a guy for almost three years, and I think I might possibly like him. I know I care a lot about him as a friend, and after praying a lot about it, all that happened was I stopped feeling awkward about it. I don’t know if he thinks of me as anything more than a girl from the congressional campaign who goes to his church. But what I do know is that he’s very cautious. He’s slow about making decisions and he’s very responsible. He’s not ready for a relationship, his sister confirmed that a few months ago. Our friendship has been slow in growing. I don’t know if we’ll ever be more than cautious friends who are still kind of shy about talking to each other, but I do know him and his personality, I know I have more in common with him than I have with really any of my other friends, and I know that as much as I try to get rid of this wanting to be good friends with the potential for a relationship in a few years, as much as I’ve prayed for it to go away, it won’t. It’s a hard position to be in. But pray about it. Don’t be the one to pursue him, that’ll cause a whole slough of other problems, but don’t shy away and make him think you’re not interested. I feel like I’ve done that accidentally, and it only makes it all worse.

      • Rebeka

        Morgan thank you so much! Praise God I am now engaged to my sweetheart and we are going to be married on August 27th. πŸ™‚ Thank you for your words of encouragement! Don’t give up on your guy…As I have learned, if it is God’s will then He will make it happen even without our help. I will be praying for you!

        • Morgan

          @disqus_e4XjvEr68W:disqus I’m so glad it worked out for you. That’s fantastic! Thanks for your encouragement to me and your prayers. This is new territory for me, and it’s very hard to know what to do other than pray about it. Which I do daily. God is in control. And our friendship is growing, as slow as we may be about it.

  • nicolle

    I love this post !! i want that everybody read it . God bless u

  • Leah

    Thanks, Bethany. I’m fifteen and I don’t believe I’m nearly ready for marriage. This post has helped me so many times with my desire for a boyfriend!

  • Ana Castro Yanez

    Thank you for this post. I come from a family where women married super young. I know that just because they married young doesn’t mean I should.

  • Kaylee

    My friend is struggling right now. She likes a guy (and he likes her back) but the guy happens to be one of my close friends who I have known since 1st grade. The two of them have known each other for a year. Because I have known the guy for a long time, I realize that he is not worthy of my friend even though he is a Christian. My friend has already had a bad experience with a guy, without her parents permission. I’m concerned for her because he recently asked her out and she is considering accepting. She has made it clear that my opinions are not wanted. I’m scared this situation is going to affect friendship with her and “the guy”.

    • Leanne

      I feel your concern. The Bible does say that we should share the truth in love — love meaning that we care for a person’s well being, even if they might feel hurt by it. I would recommend advising her, even if she doesn’t want opinions. Even if she doesn’t take your advice, you will know in good conscience that you have done your job. In some situations, it may not be our job to convince, but it is our job to speak up. And, best of all, take it in prayer to your Heavenly Father. He is all powerful, knows everything, and can and will do anything!

      • Kaylee

        Thank you for your advice. I’ve prayed about the situation over the past three days. Today, I spoke with my friend and she was less resistant and listened to my concerns. Now I can only pray for God to continue guiding her down the right path! Have a blessed evening!

  • Mimi

    I think the purpose of a relationship is to serve and honor God better than you ever could have alone

    • Naomi

      Yes!! I agree wholeheartedly!!

  • Lilly

    I’m 16 years old and have a huge crush on a guy. I have liked him for 2 years, but I don’t think he will like me back, though most my friends say he does. I have tried so many times to stop liking him but it never works. I dream sooo much about him, he means soo much to me. If he actually liked me and asked me to become his girlfriend, I cant imagine turning it down. I care about him so much and want to get close to him and spend time with him… which is what I would get to do as his girlfriend! I understand this would not be wise but I don’t completely understand why. And even if I do understand why, I don’t know what to do with this big crush. its pretty much impossible for teens not to get crushes, and once you have a crush you want to be close, and if the interest is mutual then you do get close thru a relationship. BASICALLY what I am asking is what are girls supposed to do with huge crushes if they don’t plan to date them. Plzz hep me here


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