Clean heart vs emotional baggage
Generally speaking, the younger you are, the cleaner heart you have. Generally speaking, tho this is never guaranteed, the older you are, the more mature you are. And, the older you are, chances are you have more emotional baggage you carry around with you.
Another factor is that people are getting experiences at younger and younger ages as civilization 'progresses' (this is deliberately put in quotes because i question whether or not we have actually made progress say – in the last 62 years). Let's try to graph 'clean heart' and emotional baggage.
First, we know both are non-linear. The more hurt and betrayal you experience, the less of a clean heart you have and the more emotional baggage you accumulate. Emotional baggage is not exactly the inverse of clean heart because there are internal delays 'built into' the human heart: things take time to 'sink in' your character and heart. With these broad assumptions, it's possible to graph 'clean heart' and emotional baggage. The purpose? There must be some optimal age where a person has a relatively clean heart and some 'minimally acceptable amount of emotional baggage'. Perhaps we may use the crossing point of the graphs? But what does this actually mean?
The vertical axis represents both clean heart and emotional baggage so units on that axis are mixed. The horizontal axis is age or average age. The reason we don't focus on maturity here is because that factor is too inconsistent; as mentioned above, maturity is more of a statistical correlation with age rather than a universal function. In my personal experiences with the fairer sex, it's extremely difficult to not acquire emotional baggage over time; relationships are fraught with difficulties, those that cannot overcome those difficulties are destroyed by them, and so emotional baggage seems to be a direct consequence of modern relationships. The only way to avoid emotional baggage is to avoid relationships. The only exception to this 'rule' is living in the Holy Spirit which most people seem to neglect.
So again, what does the crossing point actually mean and is it useful to us? Since the units are mixed on the vertical axis, some informed critics would say the crossing point is arbitrary and therefore meaningless. But it depends on how we choose the units. So if we carefully choose the units so that scaling becomes a minor consideration, we can validly address this important concern. In my summary analysis, scaling is already taken into account by addressing internal delays creating a somewhat inverse of clean heart but weighted or shifted to the right. Again, is the crossing point some form of optimum? Any other age selected on the graphs is completely arbitrary and has no geometric significance. Any point to the right has more emotional baggage and less of a clean heart. Any point to the left lacks maturity. The real question becomes: what is the actual age of this crossing point?
In my research and personal experiences, Americans begin heterosexual relationships as early as seven and as late as eleven. Many times, these are 'token relationships' having little, if any, physical contact; they 'go' with each other then quickly break up in a matter of days. i sincerely doubt anything is gained except perhaps a brief status. So little to no emotional baggage is actually accumulated during this period. That means this age range is actually to the left of the crossing point. Many Americans 'lose it' before age sixteen and so this age is a kind of 'inflection point' in terms of relationship experience. So based on the analysis above, the crossing point is somewhere between ages twelve and sixteen.
Based on my brief few years living in Korea, that culture values an age difference between men and women optimally equal to four years. So if a young woman considering marriage was say 24, her 'ideal suitor' would be 28. Since American girls seem to prefer older boys, let's extend the Korean preference in our direction and assign the crossing point to be midpoint for the age range mentioned above: 14 and her 'ideal suitor' will be 17 (to avoid any questions of legality). The real question at this point becomes one of longevity: can a relationship begun at the 'optimal age' endure?
This is where the neglected Holy Spirit reenters the scene. i believe any relationship can endure if based on the Holy Spirit. True love is patient, always giving, always caring about the other, never thinking “what about me?”.. True love, based in the Holy Spirit, can even endure the inconsistencies of youth.
So if you're an American teen curious about love, i'd recommend giving it a shot but ONLY if BOTH of you have some inclination of true love for each other. If you're a parent of an American teen, don't automatically “Just say no.” Think about the first time you 'fell in love' or your first real kiss.
Respect true love, cultivate true love, respect innocence and love found there,..
Protect, cherish, and cultivate innocence and meaning everywhere everywhen.