When am I old enough to fall in love?

Written by Gina Lee, Contributing Writer

Last year around Valentine’s Day, our youth group hosted a ‘love panel’ of several married couples and one engaged couple who answered questions that had been previously collected from the youths regarding love and marriage. My husband & I were honored to be on this panel, and in preparing for the discussion one question in particular caught my attention – “When am I old enough to ‘fall in love’?”

When am I old enough to fall in love?

I saw at it’s root this question having two parts:

1) Is a certain age required to ‘fall in love’?

2) What exactly is ‘falling in love’?

The young man or woman who asked it was most likely looking for reassurance to engage in romantic type behavior with the opposite sex with the coming of a certain age. But the answer I encountered in Scripture was far from a ‘green light’ to hold hands or kiss a special someone when you turn 16.

First, let’s explore the idea of ‘falling in love’. While there are obviously such things as butterflies in your stomach when he catches your glance, or sweaty palms when she chooses the seat near you, the Bible is pretty clear that these emotional responses are not the true definition of real love, or even that they reveal whether true love is present. Just a quick search for ‘love’ in scripture reveals a much different idea.

John 15:12 instructs us to love one another as Jesus has loved us. Romans 12:10 reveals that love gives precedence and honor to others more than ourselves.Galatians 5:13 relates love to serving each other. Ephesians 4 & 5 use the words humility, meekness, unselfishness, gentleness, mildness, patience, enduring, esteeming, and delighting when talking about love, as well as reminding us to love as Christ loved us by giving His life up for us. 1 Peter 4:8 says “above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins (forgives and disregards the offenses of others).” (added emphasis mine, all scripture from the Amplified Bible)

This is by no means an exhaustive list, yet it still reveals that Scripture considers love to be much more than butterflies and sweaty palms. Real love, God’s love, and the love God desires us to have, is deeper and richer and stronger than something any of us could ever ‘fall’ into. It requires action. It requires devotion and desire, and is all consuming. And, for us, love requires choice. (I think the only love we could ever ‘fall’ into would be the love of Christ, since it is all powerful, all surrounding, all encompassing, and always catches us when we stumble.) Our human nature is focused inward, while love is focused outward. Loving like Jesus doesn’t come naturally for us, it takes effort.

Now to address the other part of the question – is a certain age required to ‘fall in love’? Hmmm….let’s rephrase this, based on what we’ve just explored in Scripture about love. New question – is a certain age required to choose to be in love? Well, aside from cultural norms, which vary depending on the the culture you live in, there is no magic age that makes you qualified to love. What does matter, as Scripture shows, is how you view love. If you can grasp that love is more about putting the other person above and before yourself and your own happiness, then you are probably old enough to ‘fall in love’ or, more Biblically speaking, choose to be in love.

So, what about you, how old where you when you first chose to be in love? Is your current relationship based more on your own happiness, or on what is best for the other person?

Comments

  1. My first serious relationship was from when I was 14 – 18. I opened up myself too much, too fast, without guarding my heart. I don’t believe I really knew HOW to love until I learned to love God FIRST and foremost. After that, my next serious relationship was when I was 20… and I married that man when I was 21.

  2. I was only 12 when I started having feelings for my husband. It really scared me since he was the first person I ever had any feelings for. My mom tried to prepare me before hand by reading books to me like “beautiful Girlhood” so I would know how to handle the butterflies and sweaty palms when they came. So when I started having those feelings at age 12 I was determined NOT to fall in love with anyone who would not be husband one day. We went to church together, youth group, bible study, my brother and him were good friends, and we were even on the worship team together, so I saw him alot. He had feelings for me too, and I knew it. I prayed every night (for 3 years straight) that God would take the feelings I had away if he would never be my husband. I didn’t tell anyone but God about my growing affection because I knew of girls who talked alot about their “crushes” and they weren’t thinking about it the same way I did. I was serious about it. I didn’t want to give my heart away to just anybody, and I was kinda upset that God didn’t just take the feelings away somehow. But now I can see how God amazingly worked it all out. Little did I know my family would be moving from New York allllllll the way across the country to California when I was only 15. If I hadn’t started loving my husband at a young age, I would have just moved and never kept in contact with him. That’s how I know God wanted us together, and that is why we fell in love at an early age, and that is why God never “took those feelings away”.
    After lots and lots of prayer and countless hours of talking on the phone, I moved back to NY when I was 17 and stayed with some family. At that point my husband and I knew we were going to get married. Our love story probably isn’t the norm, but it was totally orchestrated by God from the beginning. We were married a few months from turning 20 on August 10 2012. I don’t think there is a magical age for falling in love, but there is a level of maturity involved, and a whole lot of prayer. God can write you the most beautiful love story if you let Him!

  3. I love that Anna! You learned how to truly love when you first learned how to love God and make HIM your #1 priority!! Thanks for sharing :)

  4. What an awesome story Ellen!! How wonderful that even at such a young age you were so mature in knowing how to handle it, Praise the Lord!! Love stories like this are so encouraging!!

    My husband and I also got married when I was 19. People thought we were nuts but we knew it was God’s plan and design for us and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

    Thank you for sharing :)

  5. Melissa says:

    I think maturity is more important than age. I have seen amazing young women marry at 18/19 and thrive in their relationships and I’ve seen get married at 30 and act selfishly and childlike. I thought I had fallen in loves many times but, never like what I felt when I met my husband at 21. Looking back I can see how God was preparing me to meet him and step up into my new phase of life. I wish I had not focused/obsessed so much on boys when I was younger and spent that time investing in relationship with God.

  6. I got married at 22; not minimizing falling in love but I was never like that, to the point of stupidity (as so many young people are today). I knew something was different about the guy who turned out to be my husband – he was serious about the Lord and me in that order and it was refreshing.
    I don’t think there is an age limit to love, but I think young people tend to throw all rational thought out the window when they are in love, which is why we end up having these discussions. So if there’s maturity and wisdom, to me there’s no age limit.

  7. I definitely think that maturity is an important sign of being ready to fall in love. Feelings are one thing, but is this the person you truly want to spend the rest of your life with?

    Thanks for linking up at Motivation Monday!

  8. I was 15 when I fell in love with my husband. I can’t say that we were completely mature yet, but we matured together. It was a true love with true respect for one another. Marriage and love to me is compromising and caring about the happiness of both parties. Thanks for linking up to Motivation Monday!

  9. I think that’s a lesson that many young people learn! To not give their heart away too early and focus instead on the Lord!

  10. Maturity and wisdom! That’s the key :)