Purity and Dating in Today's World
February 6, 2020 | Darrin Simpson
So – Love Month is here…ahem… and, well, this is might get a little weird! February rolls around every year and you either love it or you hate it. Either way, it brings up an interesting conversation.
The Church plays a unique role in the conversation of Dating and Purity with our teens. Every year we know schools are doing some version of Sex Education, Creating Positive Relationships, etc.… Department stores are lined with hearts, candies, plushies, “whosits and whatsits galore” (thanks, Little Mermaid). Our culture plays a MASSIVE role in the way we see relationships. So, the Church not only needs to say something, but we need to be a loud voice!
You play a HUGE part as well! We have hard data to prove that if parents aren’t talking to their kids about these topics before the 3rd grade (8-years-old), culture will teach them first. Which opinion on this topic do you want them to learn, yours or current cultural norms?
We can use an assumption model to understand how we should approach dating according to the Bible, but do a quick word study on “Dating” in the Bible. Guess what?! It isn’t there! You can see why talking about Relationships and Purity gets tricky for us pastors.
Instead, we want to give you a few focused thoughts and a resource or two, to get this topic turning in your minds! I am not giving you the answers or telling you what to do, simply starting a conversation.
What is the purpose of dating?
- Spiritually speaking, shouldn’t Jesus be the main focus? If anything else takes His place it becomes idolatry, right (this will preach)?
- At what point, and in what way, do our teens learn how to interact with dating in a good way? That’s a lot to put on a teen, driven by hormones! Help them understand.
- Relationship Goals – What makes us want to have relationships in the first place? If you haven’t explored this with your teen, now is a great time!
- In today’s “Anything goes” culture, boundaries are super important. What are healthy boundaries? How far is too far? Are these established in your home? Does that differ if they aren’t home? How do you stick to them?
Good at Being Single!
- I encourage students to be really good at being single. Here is a great sermon by Transformation Church on this topic of being good at single.
- This allows you to love yourself. You have to be good at it for it to work! Being good at single allows you to approach dating from a much healthier perspective.
- It also lends itself to healthier relationships once you have them, removing barriers like co-dependency/obsession/need that typically toxify teen relationships.
Open Communication Required.
- Ongoing conversations are necessary to cultivate healthy relational communication. Whether it is daily or weekly, consistency is the key.
- It’s not awkward when it’s expected. Nurture them into healthy conversations.
- If you are checked out or removed from your students’ relational dynamics, or if you believe they are mature enough to handle it themselves, I would encourage you to read up on brain development. The Frontal Lobe of their brain is still a “Work in Progress” and their amygdala is firing on all cylinders. This can be disastrous for relationships, even healthy ones, because of how they think or react in the moment. Check out this article to process what I mean.
Accountability when things get tough.
- When a teen goes through struggles, they often fail over and over. What happens when they go too far; when porn overwhelms; when the need for a relationship dictates how they live; or when damage control is needed? Many times, in those moments, they need a bigger support network (and you will too).
- Accountability is crucial! Know that this next statement is said with all the love in the world. When it comes to accountability, give it away. As parents, it’s really hard to be unbiased. We immediately want to fix or nurture them in their pain.
- Get help. Find accountability. If its device-related, check out Covenant Eyes. There is a cost, but I’d say helping them fix a porn issue is worth the cost of a monthly Netflix subscription. There are other similar services available.
- If it’s unhealthy behaviors, consider looking into counseling. Care to Change is a partner of Kingsway and is a great place to start!
If you made it this far, mad props! Relationships are an amazing gift from God, but they come with a lot of responsibility. Irresponsibility in relationships has the potential to ruin more than your teen’s purity. No matter the situation, let’s be intentional to help our teens love themselves, be dependent on Jesus, and push them to strive for healthy relationships!
If you feel like you are in the dark about teen dating in today’s culture or want a better understanding on how to talk about these things from a biblical perspective, check out “An Expose on Teen Sex and Dating: What's Really Going On and How to Talk About It,” by Andy Braner. It is a great book that doesn’t shy away from tackling the tough stuff in a real and candid way.
“Going All the Way: Preparing for a Marriage That Goes the Distance,” by Craig Groeschel, is a great book as well, that pushes us all to want more for our future, whether you are in a relationship or not.
We truly hope this opens up a line of communication and empowers you to take the next steps towards your students building healthy relationships. Feel free to reach out to our KStudents Team here at Kingsway if you have any questions.
Students Pastor, Kingsway Christian Church