Dating & Sex: One of the Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make: A Guide For Teens

Dr. Chris Stroble / Published on May 13, 2024

Last summer I picked up Sean Covey's book, The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make: A Guide for Teens, from our local library. Sean Covey is the son of New York Times bestselling author Stephen Covey who wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

My teenage son (14 then, 15 now) and I started reading The 6 Most Important Decisions, and the first few chapters were so good that I immediately ordered a personal copy for him and one for my little cousin. They both agreed, "It's really good”.

Our church purchased a copy for our youth, and now, a year later, I am almost finished teaching this book to the teens at our church. They are soaking it up!

One of the most important decisions Sean Covey says teens will make is, "What are you going to do about dating and sex?" He encourages teens to make the right decision—to wait and offers three reasons why they should wait:

1.    Wait for the child

2.   Wait for the relationship

3.   Wait for freedom

Wait For the Child

Sean Covey notes that it’s unfair to the child to be born without a committed father or to a mother who hasn’t finished high school. You are still trying to find your own way. A child needs every advantage they can get to have a good start in life. Give your child the best possible chance to succeed. Wait for the child.


What if you have had multiple sexual partners or you’ve gotten pregnant or gotten someone else pregnant? What now? As Sean Covey writes, whatever you do, don’t be like a line of dominos, where one regret leads to another and another and another. 

If you were abused as a child (under the age of 18), know that it is not your fault. No child is to blame for being abused. That abuse may have led directly or indirectly to a teen pregnancy. Again, understand it's not your fault; yet, as unfair as it is, you must do the hard work of healing from that trauma to put your life back on the right track.

Wait For the Relationship

Covey notes that relationships move forward in two different ways. Both start with attraction. Where the relationship goes from there is up to you. You can go two routes: the Self-Centered Lust or Selfless Love route.

Self-Centered Lust

  • Infatuation
  • Material
  • Breakup

Selfless Love

  • Friendship
  • Bonding
  • Commitment

On the Selfless Love route, I agree with Covey, stay Above the Bar. Above the bar is Affection; Below the bar is passion.

Affection: ABOVE the bar

·        Short hugs and light kissing

·        A hug

·        Holding hands

Passion: BELOW the bar

·        Making out, heavy kissing

·        Touching, fondling

·        Intercourse, oral sex, other forms of sex.


STAY ABOVE the bar is how you Wait for the Relationship

Wait For the Freedom

Consider the freedom you have in waiting. If you aren’t sexually active, consider the freedom your choices have already granted you. You are free from worry, regret, disease, pregnancy, complications, or taking on responsibility you’re not ready for. Covey points out that after having sex, many teens:

  • have regrets
  • get depressed and suffer from low self-esteem and
  • feel disappointed, hurt, betrayed

You can avoid these uncomfortable feelings if you wait. Wait for the freedom. 

Thanks to our local library

I don’t know what I was looking for that day at the library, but I’m glad I came across Sean Covey’s book, The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make: A Guide for Teens. I'm thankful our local library has it stocked in their collection. 

I am relieved I have had the conversation with my son about sex and thrilled I have been able to plant that seed of why wait in him and the teens at our church. I acknowledged that we as parents have not always made the right decision, but as the Body of Christ, we want God’s best for them, and God’s best is for them is to wait. I read their body language--they heard me and understand why they should wait:

1.     Wait for the child

2.     Wait for the relationship, and

3.     Wait the freedom. 

If you are a teen or parent of a teen and want to guide your children in the right direction when it comes to dating and sex, Sean Covey’s book is a great resource—The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make: A Guide for Teens