With multiple sex partners becoming the norm among Christians and non-Christians, Dallas being in the top 10 cities with the most positive STD tests, and Texas being ranked the number five state for teen pregnancies; I would say there is a substantial amount of harm being done in the name of “love.” #Everyonegetsarose was the hash tag for the Valentine Day girl’s ministry event I organized this past February. This idea was a play off of the popular TV show, The Bachelor, where in the end only one girl gets the rose. In case you are unaware, the premise of the show is one guy or girl dates about 30 people at the same time and ends up picking one to propose to after narrowing the selection through “fantasy nights” in a romantic location. Before you close out of this page because you are a fan, don’t worry, this is not a viewer bashing session!
I am known amongst the girls I minister to for verbalizing my opinion about shows and songs portraying false expectations regarding marriage, dating, and sex. You may be reading this and thinking: “What’s the harm?” “Aren’t you being hyper-spiritual?” I care so much about these false portrayals of love because it is setting men and women, girls and boys, married and single up for failure and eventually heartache. When I started writing this blog my inclination was to address teenager girls. But the truth is I see teenagers and adults of both sexes who ruined their lives because of believing the lies that sex equals love and monogamy is an outdated idea. The problem is not exclusive to 16 year-old teenage girls.
My absolute favorite topic to speak on is Dating God’s Way-Following Christ in a Kanye world. I have found that many people want to follow God, want to stay pure, want to date God’s way but find it difficult to do in today’s culture. I believe the number one way Satan attacks Christians is through their dating and sex life. We all know there is a war and it’s time to give Christians the ammo to be able to win the battle for their hearts!
This may seem like common sense but I often hear teenagers and young adults admit that their current boyfriend or girlfriend is not someone they would ever want to marry. While only dating people that you would consider marrying narrows down the options, it also protects you from wasting your time and settling for less than God’s best. The trajectory of picking less than God’s best in marriage, is settling for “best right now” or “best considering everyone else has a date” while single.
A lot of times the fear in dating is that the relationship won’t last. With the average age of marriage being 27 for women and 29 for men, I would say that is a valid fear. So many women and girls think they will have a binding deal if they are having sex with their boyfriend. However, having sex does not make you different, special, or unique; it actually makes you just like everyone else. If you want the relationship to last, actually make him (or her) wait to have sex until after marriage. The most important thing in marriage is friendship and the best time to develop that is in the dating period. Having sex before marriage breaks God’s design for sex and demands that He steps in to set things straight. If you really like the person you are dating and want them to stick around, put your relationship in a place where God can bless you by committing to purity.
I got this saying from my favorite dating book Dateable by Hayley DiMarco, Hayley Morgan, and Justin Lookadoo. I hear so many people question why they attract the kind of people they end up dating and eventually marrying. I hear girls barely dressed wonder aloud why a guy only is interested in her sexually. What we use to bait a significant other is going to determine the kind of person we end up dating. If you never talk about or live out your faith, you are probably not going to attract a Christian. If you only go to parties with alcohol on the weekend, you’re likely to attract alcoholics. This truth can also work in your favor. If you walk with Christ at your school, you are likely to attract a Christian to date. If you dress modestly (still cute!), you are showing there is more to you than just your body and heighten your chances of “baiting” someone interested in getting to know you.
In the end, there is nothing romantic about a person barely picking you through an elimination process. You want a man who knows you and says without reservation, through denying all others, “I want that girl and I’m going to become the kind of man God has called me to be in order win her heart!” Women; wait for the man who deserves you, proving it through his sacrifice for you. Men; wait for the woman who is not in love with love but is in love with you!
Julia Sadler is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in treating teenagers struggling with self harm, depression, eating disorders and suicide. She is also the Girls Minister at First Baptist Church Dallas and has her BA in Psychology and MA in Counseling. Julia has been working with teenagers for the past eight years and speaking regularly on these topics.
Learn more about Julia and how she helps teens nationwide alongside Elevate Youth.