Puppy love is a term that is often used to describe infatuation love of early adolescence.
World Book dictionary defines infatuation as “to inspire with foolish extreme or unreasonable passion.”
Therefore puppy love consists of 80% imagination and 20% reality. It is commonly referred to by those having gone through it as – foolishly in love.
Adolescence is the transition period in the American culture between playing with dolls and pretend dress-up of child fantasy to adulthood. Early adolescence is a very impressible time in a young person’s life. Early adolescence is normally naïve, innocence, tenderhearted, and easily hurt.
Adolescence is a Latin word meaning to grow-up. Adolescence begins with puberty and last until the end of the teen years. Adolescence can begin about age of 10 and last until the age of 19.
The adolescence period can be divided into two age groupings. The first age grouping is early adolescence between the ages of 10-15. The second age grouping is later adolescence between ages 16-19.
Puppy love is associated with the first age group (ages 10-15). Puppy love is characterized by crushes, secret admirers, writing initials on objects, and giggling when the person you have a crush on actually talks to you personally. It is associated with another characteristic known as girl crazy and boy crazy.
Because girls normally mature 2 –3 years earlier than boys of the same age, adolescent girls are typically attracted to boys who are 3-4 years older. Older boys know about the girl crazy phase of puppy love and will often try to use it to exploit the innocence of early adolescence.
The devil understands this scenario and will try to establish experiences of emotional pain and scar tissue of the soul in adolescence that will linger into adulthood. These experiences of emotional pain lingering into adulthood can damage and even destroy marital and family happiness. The devil did this to Adam and Eve in Genesis 2-4.
“In order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” (2 Corinthians 2:11)
A girl entering her freshmen year of high school is swimming amidst a school of older boy sharks. Remember that most of these older boys think that freshmen girls are boy crazy, naïve, innocent, and sexual pushovers because of the girl’s naive puppy love.
Peter gives good advice in 1 Peter 5:8-9.
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”
Let me offer two suggestions regarding dating during early adolescence (ages 10-15).
First, do not date beyond either side of your grade. For example, if you are in the 10th grade, date 9, 10, or 11th graders.
Second, do not solo date. You should only group date in early adolescence.
ARE YOU KIDDING? I know this is what you are thinking because I hear it all the time in my teen bible studies. You are thinking that I had better have some good reasons for only group dating!
Let me give you six good reasons why you should group date during early adolescence.
You must remember how dating is used in the American culture. Dating is used as part of adolescence socialization.
It allows young people to interact and mature spiritually, socially, intellectually, and emotionally with limited romantic interference. “A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.” (Ecclesiastes 3:5)
It allows interaction between the sexes without the pressure of solo dating performance.
Three or four years in adolescence can make a big difference in the maturity of choices. Think of the difference between your 4th grade friends, activities, and interests compared to the 8th grade or between the 8th grade and the 12th grade.
In the American culture, there is normally seven years of solo dating before marriage. Do you want to graduate from college at the age of 23? [Do the math?]
The final good reason for group dating in early adolescence is that God warns adolescence to guard the affections of puppy love.
over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the spring
your heart more than any treasure, for it is the source of all
all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
How do you guard the affections of puppy love? You guard the affections of puppy love by giving them to the Lord until marriage. Remember that your first love is Jesus Christ.
I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”
this I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon
you, but to promote what is seemly, and to secure undistracted
devotion to the Lord.”
(1 Corinthians 7:35)
Never compromise the love of God in Christ for the foolish affections of puppy love. The devil would like to steal it from you!
they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil,
having been held captive by him to do his will.”
(2 Timothy 2:26)
It is important for you to be influenced by the Holy Scriptures rather than Hollywood’s script.
your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
Solomon is known to be the wisest man to ever live. “Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you.” (1 Kings 3:12)
Solomon wrote Proverb 3:1-10 to offer five promises from God to young people who learn and apply the word of God. Proverbs 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 establish the principle while verses 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 establish the promises. The five promises are referred to as the five rewards of possessing God’s wisdom.
Can You find the five promises in Proverbs 3:1-10?
“Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22)
Here is the good news! Everyone goes through adolescence and some phase of puppy love as a normal part of growing up. My prayer for you is that you will journey through it and enter adulthood as a healthy young adult.
“Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:13-14)
Here is a review of important points from the chapter on Puppy Love.
Another word for “puppy love” is infatuation love – which means, “to inspire with foolish extreme or unreasonable passion.”
Puppy Love consists of 80% imagination and 20% reality.
The Puppy Love chapter is designed to forewarn and forearm adolescents against the schemes of the devil.
order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are
not ignorant of his schemes.”
(2 Corinthians 2:11)
Answer the following seven questions
- What does the Latin word for adolescence mean?
- What two age groups did we divide adolescence?
- Which age group is commonly associated with Puppy Love?
- Why are adolescent girls normally attracted to older boys?
- What two suggestions did we offer regarding dating during early adolescence?
- List the four benefits for group dating in early adolescence.
- Proverbs 4:23 warns us to guard the affections of our hearts. How do we guard the affections of our hearts as Christians?
So how could the devil affect any future marital and family relationship during adolescence?