Dear Dr. Bill,
I’m 17 years old and I’ve recently begun dating a good friend that I’ve known for 2 years now. My parents know I like her, but I feel sad that they won’t take our relationship seriously. All they seem to care about is drawing strict lines around my behavior, which I’m trying to follow. However, they’re not giving me clear leadership in how to build a strong and healthy relationship with my girlfriend. I’m following the Bible’s teaching about sexual purity — but I’m wondering what you would suggest I do?
First of all, I want to commend you for your mature attitude about dating and your desire to pursue purity. Far too many Christian teens are compromising in this area, and the physical, relational and spiritual consequences can be devastating.
It’s unfortunate that your parents aren’t giving you sound guidance on your relationship. It’s likely that they are simply scared about today’s teen culture and are worried that you will make bad choices. They may also feel uncomfortable talking to you about sexuality, or that they’re having a hard time accepting the fact that you are approaching young adulthood.
Schedule a time to sit down with your parents and have a heart-to-heart talk. Reassure them that you and your girlfriend are committed to abstinence. Remind them that you are almost a legal adult, and that you long for their advice and guidance about sex, relationships and marriage.
If your parents are still unwilling or unable to discuss these critical issues with you, then I would seek counsel from your pastor or youth pastor. Also, let me recommend a book that you and your girlfriend can read together. It’s by Joe White, and it’s entitled “Pure Excitement: A Godly Look at Sex, Love and Dating.
Thanks for writing Ben. If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Culture Connection page.