Wednesday, December 3, 2008

No Kids Allowed

In today’s society we see hundreds and possibly even thousands of teenagers in search of love. They want what their parents and other adults have; they want to find security in a significant other. Yet, they don’t quite have the maturity to be responsible enough for the commitment!

So you have two people. They’re genuinely attracted to each other and decide to pursue a relationship. They’re hopeful that this new chapter in their life will become something special that will ultimately lead to marriage. They’re hopeful that this person could be their life-long soul mate. Things look good for a while, but somehow something breaks down between them causing heartache, frustration, loneliness, and, more often than not, the scenario repeats itself in other relationships down the line.

Some people blame dating itself for this roller coaster of emotions, and deem dating as an unhealthy activity. They would rather find an alternative, such as group friendships, until two people have selected each other to court exclusively. Your choice really depends on what kind of person you are.

Dating does have its risks. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that teenagers shouldn’t date, but it does mean one’s maturity is very important here. By its very nature, dating is experimental, with little commitment initially, so someone can get out of a relationship without having to justify himself much. Putting lots of emotional investment into a relationship can be very dangerous. Thus, dating works best between two responsible people.

Many of the struggles people experience in dating are, at heart, caused by some problem in the area of freedom, caused by some problem in the area of responsibility. By freedom, I mean one’s ability to make choices based on one’s own values, rather than choosing out of fear or of guilt. Free people make commitments because they feel it’s the right thing to do, and they are whole-hearted about their decision. By responsibility, I mean one’s ability to execute tasks in keeping the relationship healthy and loving, as well as one’s ability to say “no” to things you shouldn’t be doing. Responsible people bear their part of the dating relationship, but they don’t tolerate harmful or inappropriate behavior.

In the end, dating is about people seeking love. When they find love, and it matures, they often make deep commitments to each other. Freedom and responsibility are necessary for love to develop in dating. When two individuals allow each other freedom and take ownership of the relationship, they are creating an atmosphere for love to grow and mature. Freedom and responsibility create a safe and secure environment for a couple to love, trust, explore, and deepen their experiences of each other.

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