March 5, 2012

The One on High School Dating

edited to add: This mini-dissertation uses the lens of high school dating, but please know that I believe these principles can be applied to dating at any age and stage of life.


Recently I was contacted by a 17 year old girl I got to know during my youth min years in Michigan. She is leading a small group of 7th grade girls (so cool!) and wanted some wise, "veteran" advice on the subject of boys and dating. Of course I have my opinions and convictions on this subject, but it was harder than I anticipated to put my thoughts on paper. After writing back to her, I decided to share my mind with all of you. (I'd love to hear your reflections.) 

I don't believe there is a specific "right" or "wrong" answer to boys and dating, but what follows are my best words of wisdom on the subject of What to do if you like a boy or a boy likes you

I chose to not date until after high school for a few reasons. 

1. It gave me an "out" for those guys I really didn't want hurt, but didn't want to date either. (That was just plain convenient.)  

2. It saved my heart. I knew I would connect to a guy too hard and too fast and a break-up would likely rip me apart. That was unnecessary pain in my mind. And I didn't want the rest of my young life to be hanging on the emotional stability (or lack thereof) of my current dating relationship. Friends, activities, and homework were WAY more important. 

3. There were 2 or 3 boys I did seriously like and kind of wanted to date while I was in high school, but when I started contemplating dating them I couldn't bear the thought of losing their friendship should our dating go wrong. I valued their friendship too much to ruin it or even make it awkward.

4.  I believe the point of dating to be finding a suitable husband. I knew I wouldn't be ready to marry as a teenager or even right after high school, so I didn't think there was any reason to date. 

Those were my reasons for my decision back then, and I still believe that they were the right ones. In addition to that, I now understand that guys are just not mature enough as teenagers to provide the love and respect a girl needs and deserves

A girl might even be interested in the "right" guy--a good kid, solid faith, kind and fun and considerate--but he's only a teenager and his emotions and thought processes are just not matured yet. Hold off for a few years--at least till late high school or college--before considering a relationship with him. If he's the right guy for you, he'll stick around. (You might even want to have that conversation with him--being honest with him about wanting to date, but needing to wait a few years for the purpose of growing and maturing. And if you can't have that conversation with him--if he'd be weird about it or make fun of you for it--then he's really not worth you time.)

And more than anything, if you can't talk openly and honestly about your faith in Jesus then he's not worth it (as a boyfriend, that is.) And DO NOT go into a relationship hoping he'll become a Christian by your example. "Missionary dating" will go wrong, every time.  


  1. How you put your thoughts and opinions in writing is excellent. We agree wholeheartedly with your thoughts. As your mom and dad, we witnessed this whole process up close and personal, and enjoyed every minute with you. Oh, for those sweet memories. It gives us tremendous joy to see what that decisions outcome has become. You and Kevin loving and respecting one another so beautifully.
    We love you so much. Mom

  2. I love this, Mel! :-)
    also, am I allowed to ask who that seventeen-year old girl is? Haha :-)

  3. I love this! Really!!

    This is really solid advice, even now, as a 22 year old who is single and waiting ;)

    You rock, girl!

    <3 B.

  4. really, really great thoughts!!!

  5. I like how you started with the fact that there is not right or wrong way to date. Because I think that's SO important. Recently I've been walking through a dating situation with a friend (who is in her 20s, not HS haha), but we've been looking at what the Bible says about dating and the fact is, it doesn't say ANYTHING. It says A LOT about friendship and marriage, so we have to pray and trust the Lord to give us direction on dating. As we (my friend and I) dicussed it more, we both came to the conclusion that the purpose of dating is for marriage. So with that being said, we could look at the Bible for what it says on marriage and begin to apply those things to dating - things, like you said, about being equally yoked, spurring each other on in faith, a strong leader, etc.

    All that to say, I did date in high school and I wouldn't trade that experience for the world because the guy I dated then set the bar so high for me that I didn't date through college because nobody compared to his level of faithfulness. Of course, I had to deal with a broken heart after we broke up, but I do think that the Lord used that relationship in a very powerful way. At the same time, there are several relationships post-college (I know, I know, you just asked about high school dating, but really shouldn't we just be considering dating, in general? :), that I wish I would have just done without. Having now met my future husband (74 days until marriage, hooray!!), I wish I would have just embraced my singleness during my early twenties and allowed the Lord to use me and my time and my passions more fully and trusted that he would lead me to my husband in the right time.

    Sorry, that was really long. I'm really passionate about this subject. And ultimately, I'm really very incredibly thankful for the Lord's mercy and grace and his ability to make all things work for the good of those who love him. Thankful he's redeemed so many of my mistakes :)

  6. Well said.

    Though, I'd like to write a post directed to girls at Christian Liberal Arts colleges on dating. Oy.

  7. I whole heartedly agree with you on everything,however I would love to send this to one of my friends who married her highschool sweetheart right out of HS and is super happy with 3 kids! I wonder if she would agree......


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