Pretend someone came up to you and asked, “What are the three things people need most?” Most of us would probably answer food/water, clothing, and shelter.
What if someone asked you about the basic needs necessary for emotional survival? What’s needed not just to help you survive but to thrive? Since this is a blog for young women, let’s narrow this question a bit more: “What are the primary emotional needs of teenage girls?”
As we look around for answers, a pattern emerges and three specific needs repeatedly surface.
The Ultimate Need Meeter
Before we tackle the needs, I want to make it clear that God is the ultimate source to meet our needs. (Each section in the remainder of this post begins with a verse to prove that.) However, God also designed us so that we could meet each other’s needs.
For most of your life so far, your needs have been met by your parents. (I hope!) As you grow into your teenage years, you shift from having your parents meet all your basic emotional needs to seeking to have those needs met by others. Typically we turn to our “significant others,” to meet these deepest longings.
Simply having a boyfriend is not “bad,” but if your needs are lacking in any area, a romantic relationship can turn disastrous quickly. Let me explain.
Need #1: The need to be loved
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die on a cross to pay the price for our sins. He longs to have a relationship with us and pour His love out on us. His supply of love will never run dry and will never fail us. After all, “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
The tragic truth is that if we don’t feel loved, we will seek love from anyone who will give it to us. This can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to dating relationships, motivating us to compromise in order to feel loved.
Need #2: The need to be accepted.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God (Rom. 15:7 NIV).
We crave acceptance. We want people to like us, to be friends with us, and to feel like we have a place in the world. Through Christ, we are already accepted. We are made to emulate Christ. Since Christ accepts us, we are to accept others.
If our craving for acceptance gets desperate enough, we don’t care how we change or what we have to give to gain this acceptance. When acceptance only comes from a romantic relationship, there is a temptation to do whatever it takes to fill this need regardless of how it will ultimately affect our life.
Need #3: The need to be desired.
So God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Gen. 1:27).
As we read the Genesis account, we see that God desired a relationship with Adam and Eve. He didn’t just create them and leave them to figure out life on their own. He talked to them. He guided them. He pursued them. This only changed after Adam and Eve sinned. Yet God’s desire to be in unbroken relationship with man didn’t go away. We know this because He sent Jesus and then sent the Holy Spirit in order to dwell with us once more.
This need to be desired is strong when it comes to romantic relationships. The media knows this, and they make exorbitant amounts of money exploiting it. Just think of all the “princess” movie plots. The prince slays the dragon and fights any obstacles because he desires the princess. Sigh!
Yet our desires aren’t best met by a handsome human prince, but by the Prince who has declared His desire to know us throughout His Word.
In other words, “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation” (Ps. 146:3).
Before You Look to Others . . .
God can meet any of your needs. He also wants us to be in healthy relationships with people who fill these needs.
Before you ever date, you need to be sure these needs are met outside of a dating relationship. If you don’t, you will seek to get those needs met within the relationship . . . and ultimately, that won’t work.
Do you think you have these needs?
Are they being met in healthy ways?
Are there more needs I didn’t mention?
P.S. This content comes from Sarah’s book, So, You Think You’re Ready to Date? which releases this month. This book lays the groundwork for teenage dating from a biblical perspective. Its quizzes, questionnaires, stories, biblical truths, and real life anecdotes answer questions teen girls have about dating and discuss relevant topics. Check it out here, and be sure to hop back on the blog Friday for your chance to win a copy in this week’s Freebie Friday!