Love, Sex and Real life!!!
Taken in part from articles By Tim Stafford
I Want a Boyfriend! Q I'm a junior in high school. All of my teen life I've never had a boyfriend or even a date for dances. I want to wait for the guy God sends me, but it's taking forever. Then when I see other friends of mine who are couples, I cry because I don't have a boyfriend. The guys in my youth group are friends, and they're really nice to me, but I need something more. Please help me!
A I wish I could help, but the truth is, you're in a difficult spot. You feel you're ready to begin dating. That's a natural urge, and it comes to most people at your age. The trouble is that romance involves a lot more than natural urges. It involves the unique combination of two personalities, and the timing of romance is often different from the timing of biology. You can count on your body to feel the urge for love, but you can't count on the right guy to connect with you on schedule.
You have some limited control in attracting guys. You can be friendly. You can look your best. You can involve yourself with activities where you're likely to meet guys. You can take the initiative: asking guys out, planning parties or trips, getting your friends to introduce you to interesting guys. You don't have to just wait around for a guy to notice you. You should do all that you can, if only because it's part of developing your character and building self-confidence.
Results aren't guaranteed, though. You can look terrific and act very outgoing and still not get a boyfriend. Some people are late bloomers. It's not uncommon for girls to go through all of high school without dating, and then find their social calendars filling up fast in college.
What to do? Make sure you don't lose track of yourself. Your character, your relationship with God, your friendliness and service to other people--these are the factors that will decide whether you come out of this stage feeling frustrated and unhappy or satisfied and at peace. These are the factors that will ultimately decide whether you make a good partner or a lousy one. God willing, you'll find the right guy at the right time. The more difficult question is: What kind of person will you have become by then?
Why Can't I Fool Around? Q Everybody says that feeling each other's private parts is wrong until you're married. I don't see why, because I know that I can stop before I have sex with my girlfriend. Can you show me some verses to help me out?
A I feel strongly that touching each other's private parts is wrong outside of marriage. But I can't quote a Bible verse that says exactly that in so many words. To be truthful, in the Jewish culture of the Bible, this question would never have crossed anybody's mind. In those days, an unmarried guy would rarely (if ever) be alone with a girl--let alone touch her private parts. When two people were ready to get that close, they were ready for a commitment--the commitment we call marriage.
Hebrews 13:4 says, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." It's immoral to "cheat" on this--to try to take the sexual benefits of a marriage relationship but not make the commitment. That's the opposite of "honoring" marriage.
When two people touch each other's private parts, I believe that's a sexual intimacy that can't just be friendly. It's not fun and games. It exposes each person's most vulnerable self. It's a memory that will never disappear. That you can "stop" is irrelevant. (And how do you know you can stop?) This is a pleasure and an intimacy that only married people are meant to enjoy, because when you do something that reaches so near to the soul, you want to be sure the person you share it with will be there forever. Only marriage gives you that assurance.
Too Young for True Love? Q My boyfriend and I have been dating for about six months. He's my best friend in the entire world, and we both feel God calling us towards marriage. I'm a junior in high school, and he's a sophomore. I know we're very young, so I'm wondering, is it too soon to be in a relationship this serious? Right now, we both feel like we've found our soul mates, and the more we grow in our faith, the closer we grow together. Is there any way I can be sure he's the one? At this point in my life, do I even need to be sure?
A No, you don't need to be sure about finding "the one" right now. You don't even need to be thinking about it. At this point, you can just be happy that you've found somebody who means the world to you. Congratulations!
You should know, however, that it's rare for high school romances to last. Some do. The vast majority doesn't. You're both in a period of life when you're changing rapidly. You can become a very different person in a very short time--and so can your boyfriend. So it's the wrong time to think about marriage.
Right now, concentrate on helping each other grow as human beings and as Christians. This relationship can be a wonderful experience even if it doesn't last. Look at it this way--do you wish you were still in the classes you took as a freshman? Probably not, but are you grateful for what you learned there? Relationships, both dating and just friendship, can be similar. You don't have to stay in them to learn a lot from them.
God can use this relationship in both your lives--to make you more sensitive, to deepen your understanding of life, to bring you closer to God, to teach you how to serve other people. These are the questions you ought to be asking right now: How do I help him become a better person? How does he help me? What can I learn from and appreciate in this relationship?
He Wants More Than Friendship Q I've been very good friends with a guy from my church for a few years. In the past few months, things have begun to change. He seems much more physical around me. He likes to sit really close to me and rub my back. This is making me think he may want to be more than friends. He's a great guy, but I really just want to be friends, for now anyway. How should I handle this? Should I ask him how he feels about me or just push it aside?
A I believe in talking. If you think he's sending unspoken messages, and those messages make you uncomfortable, I'd think you'd want to get that out in the open. It may be painful to do so, but more harm will come from the confusion and uncertainty that result from not talking honestly. It's hard to be true friends when you don't know where you stand.
When you have this conversation, make every effort not to embarrass him. Don't talk to him where other people are likely to overhear, and by all means don't share the details of the talk with any of your mutual friends. Also, don't go in with assumptions--it's possible he never had intentions other than friendship. If you go in with, "I think you like me, and it's making me uncomfortable," he's automatically on the defensive. He'll have an easier time talking if you lead off with a simple, "I've been a little confused about our relationship lately. Do you like me as more than friends?" Give him a chance to explain himself, and be sure you make your feelings very clear.
At that point, you will have done all you can. If he starts acting weird around you or avoiding you, that's his problem. Your only choice would be to wait and see if he snaps out of it.
What About Interracial Dating? Q I have a really great friend, and he and I were thinking about dating. There's one problem, though: He's white, and I'm mixed (my mother is white and my father is black). Well, one of my guy's friends told him that interracial relationships are wrong, and he did a 180-degree turn on his feelings. One week he really liked me, and a week later he was like, "You're just my friend, my feelings don't go past that." I think he let what others said influence him. How could I approach him? Should I?
A Let's start with the Bible. God's Word says nothing against interracial relationships. Quite the opposite. Paul wrote, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). All that separates people is swept away by Jesus, who unites all his followers into one family. Racial separatism has no place in the family of God.
However, as you have discovered, we live in a race-minded society. Unfortunately, even some Christians have attitudes that are bigoted and racist.
It sounds to me like your friend is easily influenced. Perhaps he really wasn't sure how he felt about you. But when a little pressure came along, he discovered his loyalty was limited. That's sad, but it's good you discovered it now. To form a lasting relationship, you have to be strong. That's true for everybody, and especially true in interracial relationships. If your friend lacks that strength, you're fortunate to learn it now. It hurts, but it would have hurt a whole lot more later.
So how should you approach your friend? As a friend. For the sake of his own growth, he needs to hear how his weakness affected you. Try to keep him as a friend, but don't beg him to reconsider dating. If romance ever becomes a possibility again, he should be the one to initiate it--and apologize.
Are We Ready for Sex? Q My boyfriend and I have been together a year and seven days today. I love him more than anything in this whole world. But just telling him that I love him is never enough to express how I really feel about him. I know a lot of people express their love for each other by having sex. I used to think I'd wait for sex until I was married, but I really want to show my boyfriend how much he means to me. Should I ask him if he's ready to have sex? It would be the first time for both of us. I know that making love is very special and should be shared with someone you really care about. That's why I want to do it with my boyfriend, but I'm not sure if it's right or not.
A I'm glad to see that you realize how big of a decision this is. But it seems that you have an overly romanticized idea of sex--particularly of "the first time," which is almost never the blissful experience you see in the movies. A lot of people, especially girls, report deep disappointment with their first sexual experience. I mention that because you seem to be focusing on the message the "first time" will send. The real issue should be the message you send by adding sex to your relationship. It's not a one-time thing. When you bring sex into a relationship, you can be sure it will remain sexual as long as you're together--whether you actually keep having sex or just can't get it off your minds.
Some people remember "the first time" as the beginning of a lifetime of wonderful love. Some remember the first time with shame and regret. Others--probably the majority, these days--remember it as an insignificant little fling they had when they were young and naive. For them it's about as meaningful as their first airplane ride.
When the Bible says something positive about sex, it's always talking about sex between married people--people who have publicly vowed before God and before their friends and family that they will never break apart, no matter what. For these couples, the "first time" is incredibly wonderful because it's the beginning of a love affair that never ends. That kind of relationship, and only that kind, is what sex is meant to be a part of.
We know what God intended for sex because he tells us in the Bible. Genesis 2:21-25 talks about the union between Adam and Eve, and verse 24 says, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." When marriage comes first, sex is a beautiful way to bond two people for life.
When you get sexually involved outside of marriage, you use sex in a context it's not meant for. You end up dishonoring marriage--your marriage, which could be far in the future and probably won't be with the guy you're now dating.
I read somewhere that the percentage of high school couples who eventually marry each other is less than 1 percent. Of course, everybody thinks they're the special couple that will never part. Their love won't ever die, they say. They might even believe their words, at least until they spend a summer apart, attend different colleges, get preoccupied with their jobs or meet someone else. Whatever happens, 99 percent of these couples never get to the altar.
I can't tell the future, and I won't pretend to know what will happen to you. I do know what happens to most people who get involved "the first time" before they're married. Most of them go on to other partners. They experience extra heartbreak when they lose the partner they thought would be theirs forever. But they carry those memories on to the next partner. They have sex with their second partner, too, and their third partner. Pretty soon it's not quite as special. It's just something to do.
Most of these people get married eventually, though rarely to each other. Some of them have wonderful marriages. Many don't. Either way, by treating sex the way they do, they dishonor marriage.
You're at a crucial point in your life. Will you go for pleasure now and take your chances on the consequences later? Or will you hold out on expressing total commitment until that happy day when you're ready to make a total commitment? I hope you'll wait, because it's much, much better for you--and for your boyfriend.
By the way, waiting doesn't mean you have to be in misery. It's difficult to put your desires on hold, but there's also a certain kind of excitement in it. It's like the excitement of waiting for Christmas and not ripping open the packages early. Something this good, and this important, is well worth waiting for.
You and your girlfriend might be developing a love that will last forever, or you might break up a month from now. Don't worry about that right now. Your job isn't to label your feelings or predict the future. The only job for you and your girlfriend is to continue to grow as people and as Christians. Encourage and strengthen each other. Help each other grow closer to God. Care for and respect each other. If you do those things, your feelings will take care of themselves.
There are no guaranteed tricks to keep sexual temptations completely out of your life. Only a connection with Christ that's stronger than your temptation to sin can keep you from giving in.
Why Should We Stop Having Sex? Q I know everyone says sexual relationships are only for married couples. But my boyfriend and I have been dating for three years and are having sex. We are now in college and are very serious about each other. We know we are destined for marriage, and we pray day and night about our future together. People say sex ruins relationships, but it has brought us closer. We have complete trust in each other. We take sex very seriously, and it is something very special to us. Our relationship is not in any way based on sex; it is based on a solid foundation in God. We have dedicated our lives to him and him only. What we want to know is if sex is wrong in our situation. Like I said earlier, we are sure God has marriage in our future plans. Nothing is keeping us from getting married right now. We are ready. But we still want to know if sex is wrong.
There is a better way. And it's much more joyful in the end. It's the way God intended: to make your final and complete commitment before God and all your friends, and to live together as husband and wife from that day on. That's the day you publicly commit your lives to each other. And that's the day your sexual life together should begin.
You're off that track now, but you can get back on it again. You can't undo the past, but you can rethink the future. Stop having sex until you are husband and wife.
I'm sure it's frustrating to want a guy and see none in sight. Most girls have felt the same way. However, you really don't want just any guy. You want the kind of guy who's right for you. But just because he's not staring you in the face doesn't mean he doesn't exist. Relax, trust God, and believe that he has good plans for you. In the meantime, make sure you're living the way God wants you to live. That way you'll have something to offer that "dream guy" if or when he shows up.
See the Word Doc. for much, much more…
See the Word Doc. for much, much more…