Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

My parents keep saying that I’m too young to be in love. But I know how I feel. Why won’t anybody believe that what I feel is real?

New Era

Love is a wonderful and powerful emotion. It is clear that what you feel is some type of love. Your parents probably agree that you have strong feelings but their question and ours is, What are you going to do about it?

Are you ready for marriage? Are you ready to start a family? Are you ready to be out in the world on your own? If the answer is no to any of these questions, then you need to be cautious about the feelings you are experiencing.

If you ignore the consequences of your actions just because you are feeling intensely about another person, you could forfeit some very important opportunities in your life. There is high school to finish; missions to serve; advanced schooling to consider; making a living to think about; and a family to get ready for.

The problem with being young and in love is that the two things don’t go together very well. What your parents and others mean by true love is a type of love that includes responsibility. True love needs to include an overwhelming concern for the other person’s well-being. Statistics show that pursuing love before you are ready for eternal marriage generally brings real heartbreak. Someone once said, “Don’t sacrifice what you want most for what you want now.”

So what do you do about these amazing feelings you are having? Most importantly, realize that you can have control of yourself.

Make good choices. You may like being alone with the one you love, but that may not be a wise choice. Go out with groups of friends. Occasionally include your special person in your family’s activities. Don’t stay out too late. Don’t test the limits of your self-restraint. Enjoy each other’s company, but keep all the lights on.

Become friends. It seems crazy, but sometimes loving someone and liking them don’t go together. Discover if you two can be best friends. Can you talk easily about things? Find out about each other’s hobbies, habits, and interests. Spend time with each other’s friends. See if you still like being together without any hand holding or good-night kisses.

Be realistic. What’s worrying your parents? Are you giving up your other friends? Are you avoiding your family responsibilities? Are you letting your grades slip? Are you getting too physically involved? Love should make every aspect of your life better, not worse.

Wait for the right time. If your feelings of love are good and righteous, they will last. Since you are too young to pursue a permanent relationship, relax and enjoy being young. Get to know other people. Get involved in many activities at school and church. Participate in sports you like. But put love on the back burner. If this person is the right one for you, the one who will go with you to the temple, the person you will love for eternity, then your love will last during the time it takes you to finish growing up.

Follow the advice of your parents and of your Church leaders. Believe it or not, they truly do understand.

Readers

Heavenly Father has given his children the ability to feel emotions. Love is one of the most powerful. But Heavenly Father has asked us to control ourselves. Eligible boys are commanded to serve missions. Young women are told to prepare to become good wives and mothers. They may also serve 18-month missions. Once this is done, then we are told to find our eternal companions and to start families. The Lord said, “To every thing there is a season” (Eccl. 3:1).

Elder Christian Hans, 20 Arkansas Little Rock Mission

Your feelings are real, but your parents probably felt the same way when they were young. You have to remember that at this age things aren’t always permanent. You have to be aware of the fact that anything you do now can affect the rest of your life.

Shilo Johansen, 15 Tooele, Utah

Love is a powerful feeling, and with it come many commitments and responsibilities. For example, when you love your parents, you commit to obey and honor them. When you love the Lord, you commit to follow and serve him.

When your mother claims you are too young to be in love, she most likely does not doubt your feelings, but rather your preparedness for what love entails.

Anne Van Dyke, 17 Kaysville, Utah

I liked this guy for two years. I later learned that what I thought was love, wasn’t. My mom warned me and friends warned me that what I thought was love was trouble. Enjoy life and try not to get so emotionally involved so young.

April Newlun, 17 Tacoma, Washington

I know just how you feel. My suggestion to you is to talk to them openly about it. However, give your parents the benefit of the doubt because you don’t want to make the same mistake I did and learn the hard way that parents really do know more than we want to give them credit for.

Tammy Edlefsen, 16 High Wycombe, London, England

I have my entire life and all eternity to love that special person whom I will someday take to the temple. I don’t need to rush it.

Elder Michael James, 19 California Arcadia Mission

[photo] Photography by John Luke

[illustration] Jacob found that working for the hand of Rachel was a lengthy commitment, but one he was glad to make because of his love for her. They both were greatly blessed for their patience and honorable behavior. (See Gen. 29:1–28.) (Painting Jacob and Rachel at the Well by James J. Tissot.)