5 – Who holds you accountable?
Ordinarily, as two teens date over time they move toward isolation and away from accountability. I challenge students to move in the opposite direction. What does it look like to grow toward accountability in a dating relationship and away from isolation (“accountability up, isolation down”)?
Finding mentors, peers, and/or a small group that can ask you hard questions, gently tell you the truth, and will love you through your relationships is mandatory for healthy dating. Even for adults. It’s the way to push back against idolatry, compromising sexual boundaries, coveting, and isolation itself. Dear friends like these will be there for you when you break up, which would otherwise be a very lonely ordeal.
6 – Do you have good friendships with guys and girls?
I think the best way to learn about your gender and the opposite gender is to have a group of friends that comprises both guys and girls. I’ll stop short of saying you can’t have a healthy dating relationship if you don’t have good guy friends and good gal friends, but in my experience there’s a strong correlation between healthy and diverse friendships and healthy dating.
7 – Can a member of the opposite sex be your best friend?
Yes. In my opinion, and this is the most openly disputed of my opinions on dating among teens, there is one person of the opposite sex that was created to be your best friend -but that’s it-. If you are called to marry, God has given you the best friend you were created for, but outside of marriage members of the opposite sex are not able to be your best friend. That’s right, not able.
The piece here that young people need to grapple with is the question of how important permanence is in best friends. There are other reasons too, but when I choose my closest friends I want them to be there for a long time. I want them to grow with me. I want them to have my back, pray for me, and watch me through the stages of life. Friendships with the opposite sex are tricky, often difficult to navigate emotionally, and WILL change over time.
8 – How does your dating look different than the world?
As Christians, we are called to look different. If you are a teenager who is in a dating relationship that looks the same as everyone else in your school, you’re doing it wrong. If my students aren’t sure about this, then it’s time to review questions #1-5.