Sunday, January 22, 2012

Is Courtship Really More Spiritual?

I read an interesting statement this week in an introduction of a speaker. It said that this speaker and his wife were joined together in marriage without dating.  I thought that was quite odd as I would be surprised if it was an arranged marriage where the couple had no interaction until their wedding. But it also brought to mind how saddened I am by the idea that seems so prevalent in conservative Christian circles that “courtship” is somehow more spiritual than dating. If courtship works for a couple, then great. But how is it more spiritual than a couple whose lives are led by the Spirit of God but do not follow some man made model of what the road leading to marriage should look like? We really put God in a box when we say that things have to be done by this or that system to be legitimate. What happened to allowing couples to check their actions against the Word of God instead of a list of dos and don’ts? What happened to allowing God to control their lives instead of man trying to control them? I think as a church we have a wrong focus. Instead of being so concerned that our children only court their future spouses, why not concentrate on teaching them the Word of God so they can live a life of walking in the Spirit as it commands in Galatians 5:16? If they learn to do that, they will be in line with God’s plan no matter what road they take toward marriage.


Karen Sunderland said...

Interesting. I wonder about this as well. I see this dynamic in books and such more than in our church family. Our oldest is 14 and is not interested in dating yet. Whew! Most of our homeschooling friends' children do date casually. Most of our public/private schooling friends' children date more seriously.

Rhys knows that God does have a plan for his life. His goals need to honor that plan. Dating can be part of that. On the other hand, his dad isn't going to pick his wife for him! ;)

Anonymous said...

As a much older graduate of homeschooling and who grew up during the initial "courtship craze", I have two thoughts.
1.The solid "courtship ONLY" folks (and I was one of them) don't make any provisions in their plans for people who end up with divorced or single parent families or for older adults, it's always assumed that you'll be getting married at an early age.

2. Parents need to realize that their kids are going to encounter worldly/sinful people who will want to date them and prepare them for the struggles they will have regarding this. E.G. A relationship is not just about looks, going into detail with older teens about what sex is(Biblically) (and what the world will tell you it is), etc.

Anonymous said...

As a homeschooled young woman who "did not date" growing up and "courted" her now husband, I would say that there is nothing more spiritual about courting.

Call it dating or courting, the value that I found in the way we chose to come together were numerous. Both my husband and I desired to protect our physical and emotional purity. I did not want to be emotionally attached to any man but my husband and honestly, I didn't like the idea of him having his heart captured by any other girl either.

As a young person, I also recognized that I was still unwise and immature in many of my ideas about men and romance. I chose to submit these ideas to my parents rather than experiment with dating.

When Eric and I started "courting" at 27, it looked similar to what one might call dating, except for the fact that we wanted our relationship to be very purposeful and directed in seeing whether we wanted to be married. Eric was very conscious of protecting my heart and not leading me to feel more for him than was appropriate.

I have seen healthy courtships result in marriage, and others that decided that it wasn't the right fit. For those that didn't work, what I find most precious is that these couples still have good friendships as brothers and sisters in Christ, without the hurt that often comes out of a dating relationship. I have seen courtship work in young couples in their early 20s through couples pushing 40.

What I have appreciated about my parents and church family is that they have educated us in the Word and what God says about marriage, sex, and relationships. There was no stone left unturned and no subject that was taboo. We talked about it all, openly and honestly. And when we did feel like it was time to choose a spouse, they were available for wisdom and guidance in the decision; but the decision and the actions were ultimately ours.

Courtship is a buzz word, but it isn't the solution. The "spirituality" comes from the hearts of the individuals engaging in the relationship, and the choices they make with regards to themselves and the other person. One person can be dating with a completely pure heart before God and another courting, and be completely immoral.

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