If you aren’t ready to be married, why are you even dating?

Question! If you don’t have an, ‘I’m ready to be married now or within the next few years’ sort of mindset, then why are you dating? Whatever the reason, you’re probably wasting their time and your own while you’re at it! Now this post is most definitely more so for my God-fearing brothers and sisters out there. If you have decided to live with a YOLO type of mindset, then this might not be for you.

Time is our most precious commodity. ‘Time is money.’ Relationships are time consuming. So I really do get confused when I see ’16 year olds’ dating. To all the teens out there, let me say I know it’s a struggle, especially when Sandy, Jane and Rosie or Nathan, Arthur and Joshua are all in relationships, and you’re the only one still waiting for ‘bae’. But at this stage in your life, it is most definitely worth protecting your heart. To the females, let me just give you some maybe, seemingly, obvious advice (but a reminder never hurts): males in their teens are not (well rarely) ready to settle down. AKA they are probably going to mess you around no matter how sincere those brown puppy dog eyes seem.

While there are definitely exceptions, males generally take longer to mature than females, and often this means that at 16 years old (or even 18 or 20 years old) a serious female may have the counterpart of a male who wants to play around ‘boys will be boys’. And this is generally why females date males who are older than them.

I know refraining from a relationship in your teenage years seems like the hardest thing ever. And that you may feel like you’re being left behind. Especially when society and the media bombard us with the idea that relationships are intimately linked with happiness. (Like were any of those disney princesses we were reared on, happy until that prince came to save them?)

Now I would argue that before anything your happiness must lie within yourself. If you’re not happy alone, is a boyfriend/ girlfriend really going to make you happy? Or will you just share your discontent state with them, causing another person upon this earth misery? (If you want this point expanded for you, you can read Is marriage on the To Do List?). 

When is one ready for a relationship in the opinion of Diary of a Maverick? (I’m talking non-YOLO individuals here). When you’re ready to be unselfish. When you’re ready to serve someone else, build someone else up, compromise on things and sometimes put your desires aside for the sake of theirs. Obviously all these things are context- dependent. I would never advise compromising yourself to the point that you do not recognise yourself, at this point you probably should question your compatibility with this individual, but that’s a post for another day…

Not only unselfishness, but you’re ready to be in a relationship, when you’re ready to be married. If you’re a Christian and believe in God’s word (the bible), believe in God’s word in that you don’t skip over the texts about fornication (sex before marriage), then let’s just think through the logic of dating in your teens.

Let us say that Joshua and Rosie are both 16 years old and they’ve recently started dating. They’re physically attracted to one another. Joshua and Rosie have just finished their GCSEs and are heading to do those dreaded, new 2017 enforced syllabus A-Levels. So Joshua and Rosie are quite clearly in no stage to be married, like where would Joshua and Rosie even live and start their new life together?

Joshua and Rosie have been together for 2 years now, just finished A-Levels and awaiting results, they still aren’t ready to be married and definitely do not even want to be married right now, ‘they have their whole lives ahead of them’. And in terms of their relationship they’re struggling with sexual sin. How long do you think it will be before Joshua and Rosie fall into sexual sin?

So this point is not just for teenagers, it’s for anyone who’s not ready to be married within a timely period. And I am definitely not saying teenage relationships cannot work, but I feel that the pressure is greater and it’s more likely to be harder and slightly more aimless. The struggle is real. My point, just to clarify, is to say that we shouldn’t be awakening love before it’s time. That those who want to be faithful to God and his words, may want to remove the temptations that relationships bring from themselves altogether, until they are on track to want marriage and in a position to seriously consider it. Just think the wisest man Soloman and the strongest man Samson both fell due to sexual sin.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. {Jeremiah 29:11}

As I’ve said previously (Allow Situationships!), relationships take up time, energy, emotions and money. If you’re not even thinking about marriage for any time soon, is it God’s will for you to currently be in a relationship? This is something that I believe we probably underplay the importance of… really seeking God’s will for our future spouse, and therefore anyone we are even considering dating. I believe we often read Jeremiah 29:11… but don’t wait on God’s counsel when it comes to relationships and then get upset with God when it all goes pear-shaped and we’re left heartbroken. We ask God, ‘Is it okay to date this guy/ girl?’ And we then mistake a clear no, or his silence for a yes. We may as well just be honest with ourselves and acknowledge if this is the case, we’re more or less asking for heartbreak, and we have no right to blame God at any stage.

And that’s why I believe courtship is a better way….

  • What is courtship? Joshua Harris wrote…

‘Courtship is a relationship between a man and a woman who are actively and intentionally together to consider marriage.’ … ‘It’s dating with a purpose. It’s romance chaperoned by wisdom. It’s way of approaching relationships that can help us live out the truths of God’s Word as we pursue our heart’s desire.’ 

  • When are we ready for courtship? When we have sought God regarding the purpose and timing and when we can plan a timely course for the relationship to progress. Would you apply for a job on minimum wage where there were no opportunities for career progression (if you had a choice)? Apply that same principle to your heart. Go check out this confirmation story.
  • Does courtship mean you should be married, like next year? ‘It’s a mistake to view the process of deciding how, when and with whom we begin a relationship as something to “get through” so we can move on to courtship and marriage. God is in no rush. His interest in all this is not limited to getting us married- He wants to use this process, and all the questions and uncertainties it involves, to refine us, sanctify us, and increase our faith.’ {Joshua Harris}
  • How will we know if God is saying move forward in starting a courtship? Speak to God and wait on his answer, but don’t overspiritualise it. Just remember that every confirmation will be different, yours may come through what multiple individuals tell you, through your devotion, a dream or even hearing the voice of God. C.S.Lewis wrote…

‘I don’t doubt that the Holy Spirit guides your decisions from within when you make them with the intention of pleasing God. The error would be to think that He speaks only within, whereas in reality He speaks also through Scripture, the Church, Christian friends, books, etc.’ 

Ask yourself 3 questions … ‘Will this union help me heavenward? will it increase my love for God? and will it enlarge my sphere of usefulness in this life?’ I always think that if you’re struggling when thinking about courtship these questions are a solid place to begin.

As always, I hope this helps. x

 

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