For our family we consider this topic very seriously. Dating is when a young man and lady spend time together without a commitment and often sensual pleasure and emotion is the basis of the relationship. Two disastrous examples of dating in the Bible occurred with Samson and his first betrothed and with Delilah.
Courting is when a young man and woman become acquainted with the specific purpose of marriage in mind and with the guidance of parents or spiritual counselors. The arrangements are made so as to preserve the purity of both and to develop a foundation upon spiritual and mental commonalities which is a basis for lasting love and true appreciation upon which the emotional and physical can be added as God blesses. Two examples of biblical courtship are the marriage between Isaac and Rebekah and between Boaz and Ruth.
In my mind our young people as a whole enjoy too much familiarity with the opposite sex generally and it’s not really appropriate for teenagers to hangout together casually. It sets the stage for temptation and emotional attachment which is not healthy at the age when hormones are raging and judgment is immature.
We believe there are three most important life decisions a young person must make and that they should be done in this order:
1. Developing a personal walk with God.
2. Discovering the life calling.
3. The choice of a companion.
We would not encourage any young person in a relationship unless the first two are understood and being practically demonstrated in the life.
We believe in traditional Biblical roles of men and women as is enumerated in 1Cor. 11. God has given men the role of being the head of the home: the priest, provider, and protector. Women are to be the help meet of their husband and to flourish in the care of the home, and in training the children. Unless a young man has a faith in God which will help him spiritually lead a family, and a career by which to support them, he has no business seeking a relationship with a young lady. Conversely, unless a young lady has a spiritual walk with the Lord, and the training to be able to care for a home and family, she has no business receiving the attentions of a young man. Now she may still acquire education for nursing or teaching, etc and as a young lady may work but once married the primary priority and duty is to her home and family first. Our views are very countercultural but what we believe the Bible enjoins upon Christians.
Parents and/or other spiritual counselors can often see things about a young person that they cannot discern and so it is important for young people to have someone they can counsel with who can help them through this time in their life. Also, daughters are under the protection of their father prior to marriage and it is important that the father assist in determining the character of the young man who desires his daughter’s company. It is his duty as a father, especially a Christian father to make sure his daughter will be in good hands.
We believe chaperoning to be appropriate in a developing relationship and that physical contact should be kept to an absolute minimum during courtship and should rather be saved for the years of marriage.
For my husband and I, our parents were out of the picture but we looked to spiritual counselors whom we respected and could see had good marriages themselves. We knew each other for a year and a half before my husband asked my father for permission to court me (that was a sign to me that God was leading that he asked my father first-although my father wasn’t much more involved than that) and it was a bout six months courting/engagement before marriage. We had a courtship package we went through together which helped us to discuss important topics before marriage: children, career, finances, health, family issues…we were in a long distance relationship during most of our courtship but we talked daily on the phone and prayed together. Communication was established early on and we still love talking together. We will be up until 3 am just talking about different things. We are individuals and have differences of opinion but there is not one issue we have not worked out. Sometimes it is necessary for me to give the decision making power to my husband to do as he feels best, but he is always willing to hear any concerns I may have about an issue. Our first kiss was at the altar and we both determined in Christ to find the right one and to wait until it was clear that God was leading. We have had a very happy marriage for almost 12 years now and we have no regrets. The Lord brought us together and He has sustained us through the years.
If Christians took this seriously I believe we would see a whole lot more happy marriages and the divorce rate in the church would be much lower.
That’s my ten cents for the day! 😀
– Celina Richards