Does this look familiar? Click on the comment link in any posting and leave us some feedback- we'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Courtship vs. Dating

With so many girls, we often hear about how miserable we will be when they are all hormonal teenagers worrying about boys. We often don't get time to explain how we know for sure that it won't happen in our house. For one thing, everyone needs to learn to control themselves regardless of what is going on physically or emotionally. It may be harder to be cheerful and diligent when one does not feel well because of hormones (PMS), illness, injury, or any other hindrance, but it is not impossible. And even when we are not capable of even smiling a great deal, we can certainly keep ourselves from inflicting misery on those around us with no cause other than our desire to not suffer alone. So I do not fear the 'hormonal years'.

The second aspect of that will also not occur in our home because our daughters will not be preoccupied with boys or dating. We believe only in courtship AFTER the couple involved are prepared for marriage. I believe it is asking for trouble to take a girl and boy who are not yet fully developed physically or mental, place them in a situation where they give their hearts away to another without a serious goal of marriage in mind, and except them to be able to make wise decisions in the process. The true goal of dating is marriage, and why put someone in the marriage training situation who is not ready for the covenant? That is like allowing a 6 year old to drive a car in preparation for the day he or she is old enough to actually drive it. This 'practice' driving is not cute, does not create a better driver, and places demands on a body not ready to fulfill them.

There are some who say dating in the secular world is dangerous, but Christian young people can be girlfriend and boyfriend without there being any problem. This is false, and I know from personal experience. I met a boy at church camp who I later discovered would use crying during the Bible time as a way to get girls to hug him so he could feel their bodies next to his. he also proclaimed Christ in the light, but in the dark was blatantly living contrary to anything I could think of as Christian. The really sad part is that I did not know this until I had wasted many years and opportunities of my life on this boy. We ended up going away to college together (not a Christian college) and I gave up many opportunities to serve God to wait on this boy to become a man. He knew how to speak the Christian language enough to convince me that he needed me to help him overcome his selfish, sinful ways, and I was convinced that it was my mission to save him.

The first danger in such a situation is that cunning boys (or girls) have been trained enough in the church to know how to use the Bible or godly desires against a person. There was a great deal of pressure to participate in fornication, and the answer to argument was always that in the Bible, an engaged couple was considered married, or Joseph wouldn't have had the power to have Mary put to death if he had chosen. Not forgetting the fact that we were never actually engaged, he was taking scripture out of context and ignoring other more plentiful warnings against sexual immorality. But we went to church together on Sunday and I had the girls of the church to my dorm for Bible study, so I felt again that he believed but needed help and time to discover the truth. Yet no one could save him but Christ, and I lost that knowledge somewhere in the middle of the emotional rollercoaster. Dating is not good for anyone.

What I should have done was:

1. Waited until I was ready to be married before seeking out a marriage partner.
2. Consulted my parents, who I learned had seen through his false righteousness.
3. Listened to God. God would not call me to serve him if the act of that service would have been contrary to his will. So if my going on a semester mission trip would have ended our 'relationship', that relationship obviously wasn't God's plan.
4. Listened to my heart sooner. I knew this was not what I wanted. I could see my future already and it was not joyous. I knew I would forever have to be checking on him to see if he was being faithful and really going where he said he would go. But I felt I had already invested so much, and maybe just a little more would produce a miracle. Yet it is not for me to create a miracle, because only God can produce such a change (hence the meaning of the word miracle)
5. Not spent as much time alone with him.

So because of my great deal of knowledge about dating, and even dating a 'Christian', I asked my husband if we could consider a courtship approach for our kids. He had never heard of such a thing, so he began to read on it and prayerfully decided it was the right thing to do. Praise God!

We obviously don't know every detail yet as to what we will do since none of our kids are of marriageable age. But for right now, the keys are not allowing them to think in boyfriend/girlfriend terms about anyone and preparing them for the future when anyone who desires to be united with them will be willing enough to be honest with our family about all matters. Because infatuation can rob a good sense of discernment, we want to be a part of every step of the process in order to protect and support our children in what will be a lifelong decision.

No comments: