Is it wrong to have a boyfriend/girlfriend?

The answer to this question depends upon the age of the one who asks it. The modern visual media, like television, have influenced the thinking pattern of our children. So many small boys and girls are tempted to do as television or videos suggest / to have their own special lovers too soon.

Normally boys and girls up to the age of 12 or 13 years want to spend their time with members of their own sex. When they become older they become attracted to members of the opposite sex. Sometimes they "fall in love" with a certain boy or girl. Unfortunately "love" at too young an age is usually not true love and does not last long. After some weeks or months they no longer feel attracted to each other. It is not wrong to get these feelings, but such young children must not make the mistake of thinking that their whole life depends upon it. Sometimes, when such a relationship is broken the disappointed one says: "I cannot live without him/her." This is, of course, not true.

Sometimes this "love" is mere sexual attraction which ends in sin / sexual intercourse outside marriage.

It is good for a Christian boy or girl to learn how to communicate properly with members of the opposite sex. But they should try and not choose a special girl or boy when they are still too young. Some make the mistake of starting a friendship where the boy will say: "I love you ... you are the only one in my life ... I will love you forever ..." Of course in some instances it may work out. But the ultimate outcome of such passionate love is in most cases a broken relationship, or a marriage where both are too young. And most of such marriages are usually unhappy. Research in the field of social science has proved this over and over.

So the answer to the question above is "yes" when the boy and girl have reached maturity. That is about the age of about 23-25 for the young man and 19-20 for the girl. At that age they are more able to disagree without becoming angry, they are less self ish, they are more willing to acknowledge that they have done something wrong to one another, they know more about personal responsibility. A Christian young man who
courts a girl with the intention of marrying her, must make sure that his girlfriend is a true Christian and vise versa.

Sometimes young African people ask this question against the background of cultural customs. Their custom tells them that their parents or families must make the choice regarding a life partner for their son. Young people of today want to marry the one they love. Christian young people have problems when their families want them to marry a boy or girl who is an unbeliever. They know it is against God's will (2 Corinthians 6:14-15). We do not despise cultural customs. But we are compelled to teach Christ ians that the true "God-given" marriage is the marriage of a Christian man with a Christian girl. The "cement" that binds them together is true love which is a gift of God. If they are forced into a cultural marriage without God's approval there is no guarantee that it will be a blessed and happy one.