Experts say the minimum age to allow your children to start dating is 16. Those who start dating before they are 16 are much more likely to become sexually active before graduating from high school than those who start dating after age 16.
But I gave my daughter something better than a minimum age, back when she was in high school, I gave her a minimum standard. I told her she could start dating when she was mature enough to hold another person’s heart in her hands without wrecking it.
It takes a lot of love and maturity to be truly careful with someone’s heart.
I wish ALL mommas would teach their children to hold hearts with the utmost care.
To not use and abuse.
To not bide their time in a “lie.”
To see the holding of another’s heart as a precious, sacred privilege.
I wish ALL young men would take the same care that my daughter takes.
My friend Dale used to say that he could tell within 3 dates whether a woman was right for him. If he wasn’t feeling “it” by the third date he would end things right then, before the woman’s heart became attached.
By “it” he meant potential marriage.
If most men know within 3 dates whether or not a woman is right for them, then anything beyond a third date is just plain selfish.
Because you can’t detach an attached heart without doing some damage, without leaving some scar tissue.
It seems so unfair that a beautiful, kindhearted young woman, who has always held the hearts of others so carefully, has had her own heart smashed into a thousand pieces.
The only thing that comes close to the excruciating, soul-crushing pain of a breakup is watching someone you love walk through it.
Even when you can see a bright future ahead.
Next time a young man comes along I’m going to want to advise her to bail after the third date. Make him work for it. Make him prove he really wants her before she allows him into her heart.
I’m going to want to build a protective hedge around her.
But then I’ll think about my husband and how impressed I was that he was brave enough to open his heart to me after all he had been through.
And I’ll remember that Jesus knows something about giving one’s heart to the reckless, the clueless, the unworthy.
And yet He keeps taking the risk.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18