Principles of Dating and Courtship Part 7

In courtship, the entire point is to stay pure and keep God at the center.

Instead of a young man asking a young woman out to dinner when he realizes he is attracted to her, he prays about it and talks to his parents, getting them involved. If they agree that the girl is a candidate, he befriends her, staying out in the open, not disclosing his feelings.

What does this do?

Some may say that the young man could not possibly know her very well just by being friends out in the open. On the contrary, it allows him to see what she is like in real life, not the artificial environment of a date. The accountability of being in the open protects both of them from physical and emotional temptation, too. The young man and woman become acquaintances, not a couple.

“{Love} rejoices in the truth…”

1 Corinthians 13

As brothers and sisters in Christ, they are to build each other up in the Christlike love of 1 Corinthians 13. This does not mean flattery, because flattery is actually selfish. “…{Love}… rejoices in the truth…” They are also to maintain other friendships (Matthew 5:46-47).

The most important thing for both people is to continue serving the church and growing in Christ, because, in order to find someone who is your equal in faith and who will challenge you, as you run the race set before you, that person will be there somewhere running with you. The focus is on Christ, not finding a mate. Maya Angelou once said, “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him in order to find her.”

People choosing courtship trust God with their future, but take things slowly in order to have the healthiest relationship they can, whereas people who date are “trying people out” like they would a shoe, seeing if they fit.

On a date, both individuals are on their best behavior, trying to look their best to impress the other person. When the time comes to meet family, the son or daughter cannot quite tell how they should act; like he/she does on a date, or like he/she normally would with the family?

In courtship, this situation is avoided almost entirely by all observation going on in each other’s natural environment. By simply being friends, they will also be friends, most likely, with each other’s friends and family. These friendships will be vital further along in the relationship, and will provide valuable insight into the other’s “home behavior”. How they are at home and in other situations will be brought into the open.

“Unless a man is prepared to ask a woman to be his wife, what right has he to claim her exclusive attention? Unless she has been asked to marry him, why would a sensible woman promise any man her exclusive attention?”

Elisabeth Elliot;
Passion and Purity

This kind of friendship should be viewed with humility, not laying claim to each other’s time and thoughts. Elisabeth Elliot addresses this in Passion and Purity, “Unless a man is prepared to ask a woman to be his wife, what right has he to claim her exclusive attention? Unless she has been asked to marry him, why would a sensible woman promise any man her exclusive attention?”

In other words, a man should not ask a woman for her time if he has no intention of asking her to marry him. Until a commitment has been made, the person does not belong to you.

This article is Part 7 of our summer relationship series. New installments post every Tuesday, and next week, we’ll be discussing God’s will for Christian singles. Hope to see you then!

*Note: A full bibliography from this series will be released at the end of the series. Any statistics, articles, books, or websites will be included.

*DISCLAIMER: In light of the controversy over Joshua Harris’ book, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” I considered removing it from this series. However, during the time that he wrote it, he was seeking the Lord and His will for Christian romance. It is for that reason that I decided to retain his quotes. I do not agree with his recent choices and apostasy from the faith.

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