Handling explosives: Teens and dating

The news released recently that Bristol Palin and fiance Levi Johnston broke off their engagement probably was greeted a few ways — glee from those who hate her mother and everything they think she stands for, scorn from those who have strong feelings about what a women’s role is as far as family, cynicism because “that’s what kids do” or indifference. There has been much scrutiny and much discussion about this issue.

I look at this as another sad instance of how we get things out of order in our society and how our view of marriage is too low. We want to assume that young people are mature enough to have sex, yet not to be married. After all, how many failed marriages have we heard being chalked up to “I was young and immature”? So, maybe we should not be so quick to allow them to pair off with one another. After all, wouldn’t it be better to not put them in a position that they are not ready to be in? Of course, that assumes that you think that sex is more than just a pleasurable release for those involved. Even the best of kids can be in this situation. What to do?

Consider this advice from John Piper:

Pairing off is a powerful thing. If the relationship here means groups of 4, 8, or 20 people doing stuff together without the dynamic of “she and I are a thing,” you know, that’s great. But this question is talking about pairing off.

Pairing off is hormonally charged, psychologically charged, physically charged, spiritually charged, and it is meant to be! It’s meant to lead somewhere! And it’s beautiful where it is meant to lead.

Therefore my counsel is that as the electric charge begins to happen between two seventeen-year-olds, they better think really clearly about how to manage that. And if they don’t intend to get married in the next year or so, they better not pair off but keep it in groups and step back from it.