Dating and Marrige: the Good, the Bad, and the Touchy (Part 1)

I use the My Fathers World curriculum for home school, and since I finished my Pride and Prejudice reading assignment my latest writing assignment is an essay explaining my personal beliefs on dating/courtship and marriage. Since this is a topic I’ve been interested in blogging about anyway, I thought I might as well just write it to you all!

These are the questions I am supposed to answer in my essay:

  1. What are your personal beliefs about dating/courtship and marriage?
  2. What are the character traits you consider important in a spouse?
  3. How will you “find” a spouse?
  4. How will you know he is the one for you?
  5. What role will your parents have in this?

Great questions aren’t they? I’ve wanted to fall in love, get married, and have a brood of children since, well, as long as I can remember. (I also wondered how people found anything besides the faces of others attractive till I was probably thirteen, so it was in no way, uh, inappropriate?) Consequently I’ve had a lot of thinking to do on the subject, and I’ve done my own research and “fact collecting” (like a good ISTJ 😂) about Bible-honoring romantic relationships and also about myself, and the kind of person who I want to marry some day.

Let’s tackle the first question, and arguably the most controversy-inducing question of them all. I’ve looked into courtship and dating and looked at the pros and cons of each. When I was around 14 the Duggar girls were first shown entering romantic relationships through this process called courting which, at that time, I had probably only heard mentioned in Victorian books. It seemed perfect. And yet watching it made me cringe. Everything about the whole process was awkward with a good many sweet moments thrown in, but mostly awkward. Ben Seewald and Derick Dillard approached Mr and Mrs Duggar to ask to “enter an official courtship” *shudder* with their daughters and just as well could have been asking to marry Jessa and Jill by how grave and nerve-wracking it was. I’m not trying to disrespect the Duggar family in any way, this is just the best example I can give of a flawed Christian courtship (even though it ended well).

Here’s my step by step breakdown of modern Christian courtship:

Step 1. Boy and girl meet, maybe on several occasions, and there’s some attraction on at least one part.

Step 2. Boy asks mother and father of girl if he has permission to enter a courtship with their daughter (aka: get to know her better with the end result being their marriage).

Step 3. If mom and dad permit it, the girl is then asked if she would like to enter a courtship with boy. If she complies, they begin an official courtship which is basically a betrothal.

Step 4. The rest of courtship is them getting to know each other before getting married, doing “real life” things together, not this floofy “fun” that less spiritual people speak of (sorry, I have to be a tad sarcastic).

Do you see any problems with this description above? It took me awhile but I finally figured it out. THE COMMITMENT AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS TYPE OF RELATIONSHIP IS EQUIVALENT TO AN ENGAGEMENT. Do you see anything wrong with that? Let me explain myself: if you have just “come of age”, and never had any romantic relationships before, do you even know, truly, what you want in a spouse? I haven’t even had a full conversation with a peer of the opposite sex (besides cousins) since I was thirteen. What if you get several months into a courtship and find that, hey, he/she isn’t really what I want in a lifelong spouse? Breaking it off, from my research, has traumatized some similarly to the breaking off of an engagement, and left both participants in a state of discouragement and heartbreak. Another problem with this system is that Godly young men are left feeling worthless as fathers and mothers deny them the opportunity of getting to know their daughters better (because nobody is good enough for their princesses), and Godly young women start doubting themselves, wondering if they’re not good enough get any romantic inquiries.

This is why (along with a few other reasons) my family has decided we are not going the traditional courtship route once we kids are old enough. Does this mean we must resort to the worldly, sometimes fornication-included dating? Absolutely NOT!

Here are the three steps I’ve outlined, between “just friends” and “man and wife”, in a God-glorifying dating relationship:

Step 1) Dating: a time to determine through several dates if there’s any future with, more than likely, a couple different guys/girls. Casual, no set in stone commitments. Can be discontinued without huge emotional trauma or violently hurt feelings. Friendship status.

Step 2) “Going steady”: a time when you’ve dated one guy/girl consistently and have determined that you could have a future together. Not engaged, but marriage is definitely possible. Breaking it might be a bigger deal than just after the above friend type dates, although not devastating. Boyfriend and girlfriend status.

Step 3) Engaged: a time to plan for your wedding and broaden your relationship. Full faithfulness required.

Now, since this is so long already, I’m going to break it into at least two parts. Be sure to check back soon for the answers to the rest of the questions, and also dating restrictions and requirements I’ve written out for myself using Gods Word and what wisdom and discernment He has graciously granted me.

What do my readers think about the Dating -vs- Courtship controversy? Leave a (nice and respectful if you please) comment! 

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12 thoughts on “Dating and Marrige: the Good, the Bad, and the Touchy (Part 1)

  1. Coming from a mom of 9 daughters (4 of which are married, 2 of them through the courtship process), I agree with your family’s steps. Our girls had known their future husbands as just one of the guys then that progressed to the “talking alot to each other” stage. The length of time varied by how well the girls knew the boys. They then asked to court (with the intention of marriage). This stage lasted about 4 months. Then they became engaged. Their engagements were short: 3 and 4 months respectively. (One of our daughters was just married on Friday!) Our only problem so far is that not all young men understand the concept of courtship. One of our daughters was being courted, but the young man has said he needs to step back to the friends stage; be sure your young man fully understands the seriousness of courtship. Blessings on you and thanks for this article! I look forward to reading more.

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    • There are definitely different ways of going about courtship and I hoped I wouldn’t sound too offensive to someone who has chosen courtship, so thank you for your gracious words! It is very important to be clear about intentions and steps in a relationship and also the ability to communicate you won’t compromise, for both the guy and girl. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment Mrs Rogers!

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  2. I think you are on point. The whole courtship thing is just so… extreme. I feel like it makes it into such a big, thought-consuming thing that it can be as jeopardizing in some ways as too loose of a relationship. God is orderly not unbalanced and he wants us to love Him and others, and enjoy human relationships of any type. So why would He want us to unnecessarily damper what should just be honesty and friendship if you really want to get to know someone. Frankly, I’m glad that whole fad seems to be passing!! 😀

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  3. Wow this is awesome, I love that you are tackling a lot in this topic. I loved how my parents did it, we weren’t allowed to “date” or have a romantic relationship until we were 18. I hated it at the time but when I got older and started to date I went back and thanked my parents repeatedly. No matter what you are going to have drama, fights, and so on, men and women are so different, but waiting allowed me to be a kid and figure myself out (establish myself) before I added a second person to worry about in my life. We were definitely allowed to have friends of the opposite sex which I believe helped me a lot (I was way shy with guys when I was younger) with communicating with them. I think the most important thing is always remember God is number 1 in life and there are always things to do to keep people occupied in their relationships not to give in to the temptation of the flesh.

    Anyways in the end I was friends with my boyfriend before we dated for 6 years (it was getting to long, I don’t recommend 6 years) then got married. Now I am married to my best friend.
    I agreed with your take of awkward courting, and almost promising getting married to each other after 2 months or so. Definitely need more time for something that is so serious. The person that someone marries is one of the most important decision in anyone’s life. Hope I didn’t ramble!

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    • No, you didn’t ramble! Thank you so much for leaving such a long comment! Your parents way of doing it sounds very good. There are some decisions my parents made in the past that I definitely disliked at the time, but now I’m so grateful to them for those decisions. I hope I’ll be obedient with my heart and not just with my actions to the decisions my parents make about dating and such, because I know it won’t always be easy! Once again, thank you for commenting! It means a lot to me! 😊❤️

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  4. Great post. I love that you have taken the time to look at everything and set your own standards. I totally agree that Jill and Jessas’ courtships were SUUPER awkward, and I hated the formality (although I kind of assumed it was just for TV). I always just imagine starting a relationship in the future with being friends, and then if we are interested in each other, we could just talk about it with our parents but keep it fairly casual (i reeeeeaally

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