Do teens understand what romance means?
Important Lessons for Teens to Learn
about Christ-Honoring Romance
Valentine’s Day focuses on love and romance,
but do today’s teens truly understand what that means?
In a generation where the culture has stolen real romance, and when it comes to sex, anything goes, parents and youth leaders must look for opportunities to talk to teens and model love that brings glory to God. What are some of the ways they can be exposed to romance that honors Christ? Teaching a biblical view of romance is more than simply having “The Talk.”
We live in a world of broken relationships and hurting people, and it can seem as though heartache is all around us, marriages are doomed from the beginning and relationships aren’t worth the risk. However, Rhonda Stoppe, author of Real-Life Romance: Inspiring Stories to Help You Believe in True Love (Harvest House), sets out to show that heart-fluttering, long-lasting love is all around us, if we just take the time to look for it. It’s an important reminder for all of us, and these are examples we need to share with the young people around us.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, young and old will be looking for ways show their love and come up with “romantic plans,” but do today’s teens really understand what that means. Stoppe shares six ways to teach teens about real romance that honors Christ:
1. Acknowledge their longing to be in love. It’s tempting to tell your adolescent, You’re too young to have those feelings. However, a wise parent will listen to them share their heart. If you shut them down, they’ll still have those feelings, they just won’t tell you about it. You’ll also forfeit the opportunity to guide their thinking toward purity and biblical romance.
2. Talk plainly to them about sex. Equip them for purity. How far is too far? Bottom line - it’s all sex. It’s necessary to have to have the hard conversations such as: Yes, sex is amazing, within the safety of His plan; Address that pornography is sex; How it is possible to wait although culture says everyone is having sex. And for those who didn’t wait, it is possible to be pure again.
3. Help them realize their longing to feel loved is normal. God created each of us with a longing to find our worth in who loves us. The problem lies when we look to find our worth in how well a significant other treats us. The aching we have to feel treasured can only be satisfied when we realize that God loves us so much that He sent His Son to purchase us for Himself.
4. Find someone who loves God more than they love you, and they’ll be able to love you with His selfless love. While it’s easy to tell our kids, “just don’t marry a non-believer” it’s more valuable to explain to them why. One very important reason is because the only people who have the capacity to love others with Christ’s selfless love are those whose hearts have been transformed by the Holy Spirit.
5. Expose them to real romance. Beginning with your own marriage, show your kids how romance in marriage is the norm, rather than the exception. Expose your kids to couples in your church who are courting in a way that honors Christ. This helps them believe purity really is possible, contrary to what the world would have them think.
6. Celebrate true love. Telling your kids stories of how God sovereignly brought together two people to fall in love in a Christ honoring way gives them hope that God is also interested in their happily-ever-after. When they believe letting God write their love story will guide them to romance, they’ll be more likely to trust Him and wait on His timing when looking for a spouse.
Stoppe has written a resource to help parents with the last two lessons. Real Life Romance is a compilation of 25 love stories of ordinary people who found extraordinary love. Each account unfolds God’s providential care in honoring couples who remained sexually pure until marriage, blessing the believer who refused to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever, and many other stories of true love. Stoppe considers it a celebration of love stories that honor Christ and are a testament of God’s faithfulness, showing that true love exists and endures. Gathered from years of ministry and from the author’s friends and family, these real-life accounts will bring laughter and tears to readers as they read of ordinary people who found extraordinary love.
“At first I thought I was writing this book for married people, to inspire them to rekindle the passion in their own relationship as they recall God’s providence in their own love story,” Stoppe explains. “As I wrote, however, it became apparent this book is also for single people, even teens, who are also waiting for God to guide them to their own happily-ever-after. If it’s His will for you to marry, He is able to bring two hearts together to fall in love with each other and spend the rest of their lives glorifying Christ together.”
Telling teens how not to feel will do nothing to guide their hearts. However, exposing them to real Christ honoring romance will kindle a spark of hope that God really is sovereign over romance and love.
About the Author
Rhonda Stoppe is the No Regrets Woman. With more than 30 years of experience as a marriage mentor, pastor’s wife, author and speaker, Stoppe leads women of all ages to live lives of no regrets.
Using sound biblical teaching through humor and honest communication, Stoppe teaches women how to apply God’s word to live boldly through the power of the Holy Spirit. Stoppe has appeared on radio programs and has spoken at women’s events, MOPs groups and homeschool conventions around the nation.
Stoppe is the author of Moms Raising Sons to be Men, which mentors thousands of moms to guide sons toward a no-regrets life, If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy & Other Myths Wives Believe, helping countless women build no-regrets marriages and Real-Life Romance, a collection of real-life love stories. Her latest release is The Marriage Mentor, written with her husband, Steve.
The Stoppes have four adult children and a growing tribe of grandchildren.
Visit Rhonda Stoppe’s website www.NoRegretsWoman.com for more resources on love, marriage and parenting. She is also active on YouTube (Rhonda Stoppe No Regrets Woman), Facebook (RhondaStoppeNoRegretsWoman) and on Twitter (@RhondaStoppe).