Dating is a scary proposition for teenagers today.
The tension and the fear of the unknown are enough to make some start to hyperventilate. If the stress level is high for teens, it may even be higher for their parents. Christian parents should desire that their kids glorify God in all that they do, especially when it comes to choosing a spouse.
What can Christian parents do to prepare their kids for dating? Let’s look at 3 things that you can do.
#1 – Model what marriage is supposed to be
All of us tend to imitate our closest environment. We pick up on habits, mannerisms, and ways of doing things. One of the best ways to prepare your teen for dating is to give them a good model of what a biblical marriage should look like. More communication is done informally than formally. Parents need to be aware of this fact and model a Godly relationship to their children. Speak kindly to each other. Be willing to admit when you’ve wronged each other. Show your kids how you work through differences. Pray together. All of these things give your teens something to emulate when they are ready to be in a serious relationship.
#2 – Give your teens a picture of what they should be looking for
Once they see what a relationship should look like, you can help them find the type of person for which they should be looking.
The first and foremost thing is that a Christian man or woman looks for a Christian spouse. Aside from that Song of Solomon gives some helpful advice on what we should be looking for in a spouse.
What to look for in a man
Song of Solomon 1:3-4 gives 4 attributes that the woman uses to praise her man. These attributes can be a guide as to what should be sought after.
- The first is that he takes care of himself. In 1:3a she admires his scent. This shows that he cares about himself. A guy who doesn’t even take care of his own body would seem to stand little chance of taking care of someone else.
- The second is to look for a man with a good reputation. In 1:3b she describes his name as oil poured out and he is beloved by others. He is respected by others. His name doesn’t raise any red flags.
- The third is that he is someone you can respect/trust. In 1:4a she calls him King. This is a title that tells us how much she respects her fiancé. She feels safe around him and respects him as a man.
- The fourth is that he is respected by her friends. In 1:4b her friends, those who are closest to her and know her best, are thrilled with the relationship. Help your daughter understand that if her closest true friends are weary, that is a red flag.
What to look for in a woman
Song of Solomon also gives things that a man should look for in a woman. These characteristics would be helpful to know as parents steer their son towards marriage.
- The first is that she is someone who stands out. In 1:9-10 and 2:2, the groom complements the future bride for being a flower among the thorns. It is not necessarily her outward beauty that makes her stand out. He sees her as beautiful for who she is and she stands out because of it. He does not find her beautiful because of what she will be or what she can do for him.
- The second is the approval of his friends. In 1:11, his friends delight in her as well and they want to help shout out how special she is to him. Encourage your child that their close, true friends (parents too!) should be happy with who they pursue.
#3 – Be Patient and Find Security in Christ
This is probably the best overarching advice that parents can give their kids. We don’t date others to feel better about ourselves or to know that we could get a certain type of person.
As Christians our identity needs to be firmly rooted in Christ and the worth he has already ascribed to us. We were loved when we were his enemies. Those who follow him he calls friends. We don’t need anymore validation from anybody than that!!
This is a process and it can be frustrating. Helping your child own who they are in Christ can overcome so many obstacles that draw their attention away from Christ.
Aaron Still is an Associate Pastor in Garner, NC. After being called into vocational ministry after high school graduation he attended the University of Central Florida where he earned his Bachelors Degree from University of Central Florida. After graduation, he moved to Wake Forest, NC where he attends Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Having already received his Masters of Divinity and Masters of Theology from SEBTS, he is currently working on his Doctorate in Education. He is married to his best friend and they have five children that keep life entertaining! Aaron’s passion is to encourage and equip Christians to live out the Great Commandment (Matt. 22:36-40) and fulfill the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). He joined Bible Sprout in 2014 and writes on a variety of topics to advance worldwide knowledge of Jesus Christ.
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- 3 Ways Christian Parents Can Prepare Their Kids for Dating - November 12, 2014