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Has our boyfriend or girlfriend matured enough to have any idea what they might be like as a husband or wife for the next fifty years? Will one or both of us be able to provide for a family financially?Has his or her faith in Jesus been tested enough by trials to be confident it’s real?You may be dreaming about marriage already (I was), but is it realistic that the two of you could marry anytime soon? My advice — take it or leave it — is wait until you can reasonably marry him or her in the next eighteen months. The important part is that you , if God made it clear this was his will and his timing for you.You won’t find eighteen months anywhere in the Bible, and so you should not treat it as God’s law.He wants to show the world where to find happiness through your joy.You don’t need a boyfriend or girlfriend to experience any of God’s dreams for these early years. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies — in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.

We cannot date toward marriage when marriage isn’t even on the radar yet.

A dating couple may feel married at times, but a dating couple is never a married couple.

Understanding the distinctions between the relationships will protect us from all kinds of pain and failure in dating. Romantic intimacy is safest in the context of marriage, and marriage is safest in the context of clarity.

Legally, at least in the United States, we can’t marry until we’re eighteen (except for Nebraska and Mississippi where it’s even older — nineteen and twenty-one, respectively).

Beyond mere age, though, we should have serious questions of maturity and stability.