Joey and Carla Link
February 12, 2019
How do parents explain to their kids what is going on inside them when they start to like a boy or girl of the opposite sex?In the “Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate, What Works?” teaching we list four “pings” that set apart one particular guy or girl from the rest.
The first ping is the “ping” of physical attraction. Surely you all remember how it was when you saw someone of the opposite sex you couldn’t take your eyes off of. While the old saying “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder” is true, it is your job to help your teen realize “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting” as Proverbs 31:30 says and it will not sustain a long-term relationship if this is the only “ping”. The rest of the verse says “but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
The second ping is the “ping” of social attraction. It comes when your teen simply likes being with someone of the opposite sex. They enjoy this person’s sense of humor and/or their intelligence. It’s one thing to be impressed with how someone looks, but it is entirely another to really communicate with each other. Marriages often get in trouble because one spouse’s idea of a stimulating discussion is asking what’s for dinner while the other wants to talk about spiritual or political issues or the like. This spouse’s mate often feels like the other uses his/her intelligence or sarcasm to “lord it over them” and they feel underappreciated and inadequate, this is why this “ping” alone won’t sustain a long-term relationship.
The third ping is the “ping” of emotional attraction. They like being with someone who makes them feel good about themselves. They enjoy the compliments they are constantly getting and feel empowered by them. They give their feelings or heart to this person way too fast becoming completely vulnerable to them. The compliments often fade away once the wedding is over so this “ping” alone won’t sustain a long-term relationship.
The fourth ping is the “ping” of spiritual attraction. Your teen is attracted to one of the teens on the youth worship team or one in their small group who is always talking about what he/she is learning in their devotions. Being drawn to someone’s spiritual depth and maturity, his/her love for the Lord and how God is the center of their life is hard to ignore. While it is good for a married couple to grow together in their spiritual life, what is most important is the effort you put into your own spiritual growth. This “ping” alone won’t sustain a relationship if it isn’t backed up by the other “pings”.
Carla was working with a young gal who was in her senior year of college. She and her boyfriend planned to marry after graduation. Carla talked to her about the idea of these “pings” and after describing them all she went back and asked this young woman to rate how strong each “ping” was for her. The spiritual ping rated very high. When they got to the physical ping, this gal’s response was “all my friends think he is really cute.” Carla was immediately alarmed and realized why. When this girl’s boyfriend would lightly touch her in any way she pushed him away. We knew her boyfriend thought this would change after marriage but Carla was aware it most likely would not. From counseling many married couples with me, she knew this relationship was in deep, deep trouble because no marriage will work unless both spouses are physically attracted to one another, and this couple themselves, were completely unaware.
This is why we developed the “Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate, What Works?” teaching to help equip parents and teens to think through how they can manage a dating relationship with an array of questions and insights to help your young adult find a life partner. We hope you will find it helpful.
Mom and Dad, it’s your job to build a relationship of trust with each of your kids as they grow and mature so they will trust you to help them truly get to know someone on a level that leads to wanting to spend the rest of their lives together.
Please remember, your kids are watching you and your marriage.
They will be looking to copy you or someone else’s marriage they respect.