Parents, there’s a conversation we need to be having with our young people. It’s a topic that I really have never heard addressed in the conservative Christian homeschool circles that I’ve usually associated with – and yet, it is a subject that our teens need to be taught.
If you are raising a young lady, teach her that it is not okay for a young man that she is dating/interested in/in a courtship with/engaged to/or the WIFE OF – to treat her with disdain or disrespect. It is NOT okay for him to tell her who she may or may not speak to or to demand that she cut off contact with friends or family members. It is NOT acceptable for him to access her social media accounts without her permission. It is ABUSIVE for him to berate her for being who she is! It is unreasonable for him to expect her to be responsible for his mood – even if her actions caused the situation whereby his bad mood arose! It is NOT Christ-like for him to use profanity to belittle or shame her. HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS MOOD AND HIS ACTIONS AND HIS BEHAVIORS (as she is responsible for her own!) And I hope you’re already teaching her that her identity is found in Christ and no one else!
If you are raising a young man, remind him that he is called to love as Christ loved the Church. He is to protect – but NOT POSSESS. The lady that he loves is not an object to be controlled, owned, or manipulated, but to be cherished and encouraged in her walk with Christ. He is not being more of a man to tell her who she should be, to point out her every flaw or to demand certain behaviors from her. Rather, when he is someone that she can depend upon, even during rough times in the relationship.
I don’t want to sound like I am coming down hard on the young men here because I know that there are plenty of young ladies who are controlling, manipulative, and who play games with emotions and affections. Each of these paragraphs applies to both sexes, I just happen to be coming at it from the side of the females. Everyone needs to learn to establish healthy boundaries in their relationships!
I’ve watched many of my own friends find themselves in marriages where they are experiencing emotional abuse – and I’ve been there myself. I’ve said this over and over again – one of the loneliest places is in a bad marriage. It’s better to be alone and at least get to be yourself and not walk around on eggshells all the time, than wondering when the next bomb is going to be dropped on your head! Mad, passionate, but damaging relationships are not good for anyone. There’s much to be said for a partner that you can trust with your heart and your life circumstances – the drama isn’t necessary.
I know that I can ask my husband to let me look at his Facebook account at any moment and he will pass the laptop over – because we don’t have secrets and we trust one another. Likewise, he is free to look at my social media accounts if he wants to. But I honestly can’t tell you when he has asked to look! He doesn’t go through my emails or expect to know what I’ve discussed with friends (probably because I discuss almost everything with him anyway…) Is our marriage perfect? No. Have we needed counseling at times? Yes! Do we struggle with the proper responses to each other at times? Sure. Are we a work in progress? Most definitely.
My point is not that we are all going to get it all perfect 100% of the time – but that we need to be talking with our young people about this. Love in our society is at best, fickle. But truly, what we are currently calling “love” is selfish and demanding and all about what you can do for me. Just open any magazine at any checkout in America if you doubt this. This isn’t love – and it’s certainly not the kind of love that God calls us to have for one another or the kind that leads to healthy, lasting relationships.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
I Corinthians 13:4-7