I'm 17 years old and a committed Christian. I feel I am mature and ready for a relationship, but how long will I have to wait?

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I'm 17 years old and a committed Christian. I feel I am mature and ready for a relationship, but how long will I have to wait?

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We are glad to hear that you are a committed Christian and that you are willing to wait until God provides you a godly man. Also, waiting until you are married to have sexual relations will be a blessing to you and your future husband.

The fact that you don't have a boyfriend right now may be a blessing. While different people mature at different ages, most people in our society are not ready for marriage until their mid-20s. In fact, the average age for most first marriages in the United States is now somewhere between age 25 and 28. In human development, an even deeper level of maturity can be attained when young people reach this age.

You may currently be very mature as a 17-year old, but you will probably be amazed at your own difference in maturity in seven or eight years. This deeper level of maturity that comes in one's mid-20s helps husbands and wives follow God's standards of loyalty and faithfulness in marriage.

In addition to waiting for additional maturity, there are other good reasons for waiting to marry. Most teens need further education (college or learning a trade) before they are ready for marriage. Those who marry prior to completing these steps may find their careers sidetracked by their spouse or by having to raise children. Many also incur greater financial indebtedness. Emphasizing the priority to develop a career first, Proverbs 24:27 says, "Prepare your outside work, make it fit for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house."

When a teenage boy and girl have an exclusive relationship with each other, they find it more difficult to avoid sexual contact. God made us with the desire to love and be loved. But there is a proper time and an improper time for doing so. There is "a time to love" (Ecclesiastes 3:8) and there is a time not to "awaken love" (Song of Solomon 8:4).

To honor God through proper conduct and not prematurely awaken love, Vertical Thought recommends young people not date exclusively until they are ready for marriage. Having a wide variety of friends of the opposite sex offers opportunities for friendships and activities with less temptation to sin via premarital sex. If you would like to read more about our recommendations for dating, see the chapter, Marriage: Foundation of the Family.

As for your question about how long you will have to wait for a relationship with a godly man, that is something for you to discuss with God in prayer. Perhaps God is blessing you in that you don't have one exclusive relationship right now. Perhaps what you really want right now are several good friends who just happen to be guys. Hang onto your convictions to honor God in all your actions. He will bless you for your efforts (Galatians 6:7). You may also like to read an article that previously appeared in Youth United titled, "When Will God Provide a Mate for You?" by Brendan and Sharon Babcock.