Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Young love

Nathan Cabello - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – These days, parents and other adults are frequently offended in seeing young people romancing openly. But among the young generation, public display of affection is not much of an issue. Young people today seem to have no qualms in acting out their intimacies in the open.

Many of these young lovers don't even know yet how to tie their show laces on their own. They don't have means to support themselves and rely solely on provisions from their parents. And yet, they appear like they are all ready for a life all their own.  

How young is 'too young' to start a romantic relationship depends on the individual's level of maturity, goals, and beliefs. Often, the younger the person, the less mature he or she is, due mainly to lack of life experience. It can be difficult to deal with various demands of being in a romantic relationship, especially if both parties are yet in an identity cirisis.

With young people just beginning to figure out who they are, there may not be firm spiritual grounding yet to form and sustain a solid romantic attachment. As a consequence, they are more liable to making unwise decisions that can cause them emotional, physical, psychological, and even spiritual damage.

Being in a relationship puts one in almost constant temptation, especially as the attraction to the other person deepens and emotions begin to surge. Young teens - well, even older teens - are besieged by hormonal and societal pressures that seem at times almost unbearable. In fact, teen pregnancy is alarmingly on the rise, and the age level is getting younger too. 

For very young couples, each day brings new feelings of delight and excitement - as well doubts, fears, and confusion. It's a mix of joys and exhilaration - which can be very confusing for people who have not yet seen much of life. As young people are yet figuring out who they are, they naturally are still learning how to relate to the world around them, including their romantic loves.

The pressure of a relationship at this stage seems almost too much to bear, especially given the teenage couple's inexperience and bursting carnal energies. Worse, because both parties in the relationship are experiencing the same upheaval.

In general, the problems encountered in early relationships cause damage to the delicate and still-forming self-image, added to the problem of resisting temptation. If marriage is still far off from the minds of the teenage couple, it is probably too early to begin dating or courtship. Or, it is probably too early to be in a romantic relationship, in the first place.

Parents have also a crucial role in guiding their young ones on the matter. Perhaps the trouble is - many of today's parents are themselves products of early romance. But this need not be a weakness for such parents. Their own realizations from past struggles could be used in educating their children regarding romantic relationship.

Young people are also much safer to get involved in group activities where they can develop social skills and friendships without the pressure and inherent difficulties of romantic attachments. Also, time should be taken for building a foundation of faith in the young, so that they develop a strong internal compass for their thoughts and actions.

A good instruction for young people is found in the Bible: "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity" (1 Tim 4:12).

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