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Unread 06-03-2021, 09:37 AM   #1
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Teenagers

So, my children are getting to this point in their life. It hasn't been an issue yet, but I know that sex was a large issue during my teenage years and afterward. I still don't know exactly what the best teaching would be practically speaking considering the way our society is set up. I believe that the bible teaches sex within the covenant of marriage but I have some issues with the practicality of it.

Most advise young people not to get married until they graduate college and/or are financially stable. The question that comes to my mind is how is that reasonable? That means a decade of extremely high and natural temptation that must be overcome. Would this not lead to other "secrete" sins such as pornography? Is growing together, building a life together, struggling together, not beneficial to a marriage?

What do you all think?

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Unread 06-04-2021, 07:46 AM   #2
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Keep in mind that I am old. Also keep in mind that I would probably be considered an evangelical or fundamentalist by most people up here on CGR.

I believe the Bible teaches us that sex is meant to be between a husband and a wife. Anything else is outside what God originally designed. The only real issue is that some (perhaps most) refuse to accept it.

As far as getting married, I don't know that there is one clear guideline for everyone. Every relationship is different just like every person is different. The thing I think is most important in a marriage is putting God first. I can honestly say that the majority of the major issues my wife and I have encountered over the last three decades could have been avoided if we had done that.
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Unread 06-04-2021, 12:02 PM   #3
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I agree with everything that you said. But I seem to be alone these days in thinking that getting married young doesn't automatically ruin your life. I know a lot of older couples that married very young, in the 16year old range that have a great life together. But the "socially acceptable" age these days seems to be something like 25-30. I keep hearing people say stuff like they got divorced because they married to young or just grew apart. These sound like excuses to me.

But regarding the kids, do you just leave them to figure it out their self? Paul says if you can't contain yourself then marry. I am guessing that would fit the majority of the teenage boys out there. And maybe that isn't a good reason to get married, but I also have no advice for how to deal with it other than take a cold shower and get over it.
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Unread 06-04-2021, 03:40 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by tlj009 View Post
I agree with everything that you said. But I seem to be alone these days in thinking that getting married young doesn't automatically ruin your life. I know a lot of older couples that married very young, in the 16 year old range that have a great life together. But the "socially acceptable" age these days seems to be something like 25-30. I keep hearing people say stuff like they got divorced because they married to young or just grew apart. These sound like excuses to me.

But regarding the kids, do you just leave them to figure it out their self? Paul says if you can't contain yourself then marry. I am guessing that would fit the majority of the teenage boys out there. And maybe that isn't a good reason to get married, but I also have no advice for how to deal with it other than take a cold shower and get over it.
I had just turned 21 and Robin was three months shy of 20 when we got married. Neither of us had graduated from college (that didn't come until 2008) but we had decent jobs at the time. We've been through a lot of ups and downs but in twenty-five days we celebrate 30 years of marriage. The only reason I saw for getting married when I did was the fact that I had brought up to believe that sex was for marriage and I didn't want to wait. It helped that I married my best friend. We have had plenty of opportunities to say, "This sucks, let's call it quits." We have intentionally chosen to work through those.

As much as you can try to guide your kids, ultimately they have to make their own choices and learn from their own mistakes. We do what we can to help all three of ours. That's why they are all living with us right now.
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Unread 06-04-2021, 04:44 PM   #5
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Yes, I expect that you are right. There was a few incidents involving my kids friends in middle school that has me a little concerned about if everything I have been teaching them is adequate.
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Unread 06-05-2021, 08:56 AM   #6
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Yes, I expect that you are right. There was a few incidents involving my kids friends in middle school that has me a little concerned about if everything I have been teaching them is adequate.
No parent does a perfect job. Years down the road you'll realize that there were things you could have done differently. The important thing is that your kids know you love them and have their back, even when they mess things up.
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Unread 06-09-2021, 01:02 PM   #7
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i don't have kids, but i was a high school pastor and i went through the extreme/intense purity culture of the early 2000s, which has royally screwed up a large chunk of my peers who also grew up evangelical.

one of my (married) friends likened sex to a fire--you want it in the fireplace (ie with boundaries, a covenant) but not raging in the middle of the living room. i'm not sure how i feel about that sentiment all in all, but it's stuck with me because i think it could be a good visual for some kids.

i think the way you approach sex and dating and marriage necessarily has to vary depending on the personality and thought processes of each individual kid. for me, i'm a very practical and logical person. while it's true that i had both the pressures and confines of evangelicism AND middle eastern culture bearing down on me to stay within the very narrow bounds of what was considered acceptable behavior, i'm also a very practical and pragmatic person. i knew i didn't want to get pregnant before getting married, and the only foolproof way to avoid pregnancy is abstinence. for me, that worked. (and continues to work as a fully grown adult dealing with the hell of 30-something dating culture.) that approach may not work for another kid.

i think the most important thing you can do as a parent is to be totally honest. be honest about the good stuff (but please don't be like those misguided youth pastors who rave on and on about how AMAZING and AWESOME and WONDERFUL sex is and what a great gift it is...BUT ONLY WHEN YOU'RE MARRIED. those guys need to sit down and shut up.) and be honest about the downsides and potential pitfalls.

the absolute biggest disservice that my generation was done was the hyperfocus placed on sex. it's created really unhealthy and imbalanced people who can only focus on this one thing, whereas human relationships and marriage are so much more than the physical. i'd suggest acknowledging that it's something that will interest them and pique their curiosity as they get older and hormones change, but just like having a license to drive is something that comes with maturity and readiness, having your own living space comes with maturity and readiness, going to work and providing for yourself comes with maturity and readiness, sex also is appropriate with maturity and readiness.

i know other believers who have a different perspective on the appropriate timing of physical intimacy than i do. all things considered and as much as i push back on how screwed up my own experiences were with purity culture, i still hold to a very conservative sexual ethic. this is probably despite my parents' best efforts to instill that very same conservative ethic.

within the broader scope of parenting and raising your kids, i'd encourage you to show them and teach them and exemplify to them how to be men of God and seek the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and to demonstrate accountability with them. if you instill in them what they need to seek God first and if you hold them accountable to working towards purity of thought and heart, then you will be setting them up for success in so many ways -- success in matters of physical purity and mental purity, equipping them to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit (because we may not know what the heck to do, but being sensitive to the prompting of the Spirit will benefit them more than anything you or anyone else could teach them), and will teach them to be responsible for their own actions and their own purity...the other major, major toxic ________ that resulted from purity culture was girls and women being blamed/held accountable for things that boys and men are responsible for. i won't go further than that because that's a whole long soapbox right there.

basically, i would encourage you NOT to ignore the issue or leave them to figure it out for themselves, but i would also not blow it out of proportion and place undue emphasis on it. place sex and marriage in the lineup of things that are appropriate with maturity and readiness, and assure them that they can come to you with questions and concerns and will not be met with judgment or shock, and then work in your own heart not to judge or be shocked if/when they come to you with things.

chances are pretty good if you have sons that they will experiment with some aspect of sexuality, whether it's experimenting with various types of sex or viewing porn or something like that. what they need more than anything is a strong, trusting, mutually respectful relationship with their father who will offer guidance and will hold them accountable to discussions and commitments made ahead of time when hormones aren't raging and thoughts and judgment aren't clouded. the absolute best thing my high school boys had were fathers who were extremely involved in their lives and had already established channels of open communication and accountability with their sons. the boys who didn't have fathers had older male mentors who provided the same kind of support.
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