I looked at the caller ID on my pink Razr flip phone and immediately got sweaty palms. I was sixteen years old and had committed to only pursuing a romantic relationship when I was ready to consider the possibility of marriage.
I knew I wasn’t ready. I knew the guy calling on the other line wasn’t ready either. So 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 dating 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 answer. Here are three reasons I told Jeremy “no.”
- We weren’t ready to consider marriage. We were in high school. I wasn’t ready to be a wife, and he wasn’t ready to lead and provide for a family as a husband. In my mind, starting a romantic relationship with marriage nowhere on the horizon didn’t make sense.
- I wanted to avoid unnecessary temptation. If Jeremy and I started a romantic relationship, I knew there would likely be strong desires and feelings floating around. That’s how God designed romance to work! I didn’t want to take the risk and assume that I could fight off temptation for years on end. I understood that sexual chemistry is strong, and I didn’t want to invite that into my life when sex according to God’s design wasn’t possible for us any time soon.
- I didn’t want to waste time. Jeremy was a really nice guy, but investing in a relationship with him wasn’t the smartest use of my time. I knew God still 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.
After I finished explaining my reasons to Jeremy, we chatted for a few more minutes and then hung up the phone. It wasn’t an easy conversation, but I felt really good about my decision.
Looking back on my high school years, I can confidently say that I am so grateful I never pursued a romantic relationship during those years. 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 to encourage you to think through these three questions:
1. What is the purpose of a relationship?
This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church (Eph. 5:32).
Romantic love isn’t a human idea, it’s God’s. Study the romantic relationships in the Bible. Ask yourself what purpose they served. Hint: We never see the Bible encouraging young people to engage in a romantic relationship for years on end with marriage nowhere in sight. What we do see is a consistent celebration of the covenant of marriage.
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 in this season of my life?
2. Is this the best use of my time?
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:15–16).
God has so much to teach you during your high school years. A boyfriend can be an 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 during your high school years. Some of my deepest convictions were formed through reading during that season in my own life. Don’t waste these years.
3. Will this help me pursue purity?
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body (1 Cor. 6:18).
Romantic relationships create chemistry between two people. Why allow that romantic chemistry with a guy into your life with no hope of satisfying it with marriage anytime soon? Be wise and make sure you aren’t adding extra temptation that simply doesn’t need to be in your life.
Love Without Regrets
If I could offer you one final piece of advice it would be this: Wait until you are able to consider marriage before entering into a serious relationship. I made that commitment myself, and I’ve never regretted it. In fact, I’m really grateful I stuck to that commitment.
How about you?
- 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? Use God’s Word to support your answer.
PS: We’re giving away a copy of the new Lies Young Women Believe with each post this month. Leave a comment for your chance to win.