MsDora, writes on moral integrity, especially for women, and encourages appreciation for the men in their lives.
During one of my favorite pastimes—hanging out with beautiful, smart teen girls—one girl asked the following question regarding her relationship: “What else, besides having sex, can we do to show our love?”
Ways to Express Teen Love
Teen love is a universal, normal developmental occurrence. Adults who try to dismiss it often destroy their chances for further involvement in the social life of the teenager. Questions like the one posed above suggest that some teens desire guidance toward a satisfying, wholesome relationship. It is worth the effort for parents and other responsible adults to provide them with reasonable answers.
Some teens do not even bother to look for options; they suppose—based on what they have seen and heard—that sex is the appetizer, the main course, and the dessert in the love relationship. When teen relationships become physical, there is very little conversation, and the lovers miss the opportunity to evaluate character virtues or flaws in their mates. They also come up short on emotional fulfillment.
The following list aims to inspire inquiring minds with creative, alternative ideas for expressing love. There is a total of 30 suggestions listed under five sub-headings, all expressing a clear message that the other person is valuable and the relationship is special. This is the message that makes a person feel really loved—a message that sex is not likely to deliver.
I. Celebrate the Relationship
1. Create a scrapbook of dated photographs, love notes, and special events to commemorate highlights in the relationship.
2. Establish an exclusive spot—a restaurant, a park, a beach, a resort area, a historic site—for special celebrations. Dress up for the occasion.
3. Find time to say that more than the food, the music, the view or whatever other enjoyable aspect of the celebration there is, the most important feature of the celebration is the other person.
II. Maximize Your Time Together
4. Share childhood stories and photos; laugh about the silly things you did before your common sense kicked in.
5. Share a skill. For example, if one plays a musical instrument, teach the other to play a song that would become “our song.” If one has a favorite recipe, teach the other to prepare it and refer to it as “our special dish.”
6. Do personality tests and discuss the results to boost knowledge of yourselves and of each other.
7. Read biographies of people you admire.
8. Attend a financial seminar together to help you develop a similar understanding of money principles.
9. Sit together in church while you participate in the worship.
10. Volunteer together in a service organization.
11. Sketch or paint each other’s portrait; it’s the effort that counts.
12. Invent pet names and keep the secret concerning how you came up with them.
13. Feed each other from the same ice cream cup, or slice of cake, or any other favorite dessert.
14. Make it a habit to compliment each other on appearance, and for achievements.
15. Reassure each other using words other than love: e.g., admire, value.
III. Maintain Interest When You’re Apart
16. Keep a photo of your loved one on your electronic device.
17. Compose love poems to be added to your scrapbook.
18. Handwrite love letters on fancy, decorated stationery; they may become lifetime treasures.
19. Send decent jokes and motivational quotes by e-mail or other media device.
20. Honor the other person by what you say in his or her absence.
IV. Spend Time With Your Favorite People
21. When it is appropriate, ask permission from your parents to include the teen friend in some family activities.
22. Visit other relatives. Dinner with families saves you the expense of restaurant dining, and at the same time, allows you to see how your lover interacts with different people in different situations.
23. Enjoy double dates with friends you trust. Watch movies, organize picnics in the park, visit museums, take long bus rides occasionally.
24. Confide in a mature person or a couple both of you trust. Solicit counsel when you need mentoring.
25. Associate with youth groups in which the members uphold values similar to yours.
V. Cultivate Patient, Persevering Love
26. Establish wholesome boundaries within the relationship to prevent hasty actions which could sabotage your happiness and cause regret.
27. Practice self-control because it encourages trust during your teen relationship and increases the chance of loyalty in your adult marriage.
28. Realize that teen love may not lead to marriage, because most teens are still building and altering their social preferences. Be careful not to assume spousal duties while you are only friends.
29. Treat each other with such respect that even if your relationship ends, respect and civility remain.
30. Enjoy the relationship. Make pleasant memories that will give you an emotional boost to keep on loving in the future.
HealthyChildren.org: Ages and Stages, Teen Love Connection (8/29/2013)
© 2014 Dora Weithers