When I was a young teen, my older girl friends at church would tell me they often got the most pressure to ignore God’s commands for sexual purity from the Christian guys they dated. I thought it was rather strange at the time, but when I started dating, I found much of the same dynamic. As I dated more, I realized part of the reason why this often happened.
It wasn’t that non-Christian guys were somehow more moral in their dating behavior. It was merely that to them, Christian girls were somewhat of a mystery. They were more afraid of what God might do to them if they caused a Christian young woman to go against what she had been taught God wanted, than were Christian guys. They also seemed to have a bit more respect for helping a Christian young woman keep what they saw as her promise to God. Those non-Christian guys who knew sex was more important to them than dating a great Christian gal, often just never bothered to ask her out.
As I became a parent and began talking to parents, teens and young adults, I realized a more serious dynamic was at work. The average teen and young adult male has gotten much, if not all, of his knowledge about sex, love and purity from his peers and media of some sort. He has not been taught much of anything about the topics at home or church. If he were told much of anything at all, it was usually. “It’s a sin. Don’t do it.” or the ever popular, “Just don’t get a girl pregnant. I’m too young to be a grandparent.”
Now please don’t misunderstand. The vast majority of teen and young adult non-Christian guys have been given the same information. I am not at all surprised that is what is taught in non-Christian homes. It’s no less abhorrent or sinful. (Actually, I hope and pray more non-Christian parents begin actively teaching their sons about respect and sexual purity.) It’s just that I have a higher expectation level for Christian parents. Their bar should be much higher than “Boys will be boys – just don’t get caught.” They are God’s people, who should be teaching their sons the importance of obeying God’s commands and what those commands are.
As a woman and the mother of a daughter, what upsets me even more is the prevailing attitude amongst many parents that the responsibility for sexual purity in a dating relationship falls squarely on the shoulders of the female in the relationship. (See the previous “boys will be boys” comment.) Why isn’t anyone calling our young men to a much higher standard? In fact, I even overheard one Christian father say, “I feel sorry for the parents of the girl my son dates, but I figure that’s their problem.”
Here’s the godly truth all Christian parents of both boys and girls must embrace. God has commanded all of our children to remain sexually pure until marriage. There are many reasons God has commanded this of all of our children – spiritual, psychological, relational, emotional, mental and physical. God knows what is best for all of our children and it is a Christian parent’s job to communicate these concepts clearly – sharing scriptures and real life examples of God’s truths.
We also need to understand while our children may want to obey God and save the sexual relationship for their future spouse, we must equip them to obey God in this area. They do not have the life experience to know what to do to avoid temptation and sin in these areas. Telling them, “It’s a sin. Don’t do it.” won’t be enough for most young people. One day they will fall in lust or love and their will power will weaken. They need tools to help them stay strong and obedient.
Teach your children the Christian Life Skills necessary to maintain the sexual purity God demands in their dating relationships. This, like so many areas of godly behavior, needs proactive training. Don’t leave it to chance or assume they will “figure it out”. Don’t depend on the other person in your child’s dating relationships to “keep them on track spiritually”. Give your kids the tools to be successful in obeying God.
Not sure what those tools are? Check back tomorrow and find some important Christian Life Skills to teach your kids about dating and sexual purity. In the meantime, I encourage you to examine your own attitudes about sexual purity in dating relationships. Study the scriptures. What personal attitudes do you need to change in order to parent your kids towards what God wants for them and from them? Then come back tomorrow for some important tools to give your kids – both boys and girls – so they can be who God wants them to be in their dating relationships.
P.S. To those Christian parents who have done an incredible job at preparing your sons (and daughters) for godly, loving, dating relationships, thank you! I would encourage you though to ignore all of those who discourage you from sharing what you did with other parents. Please, please share what you taught your kids in every forum you have available to you. None of us are perfect as parents and our kids aren’t perfect either, but we do absolutely need to share with each other what has and hasn’t worked for us as Christian parents.