Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Royal Council :: Courtship vs. Dating

I find the one of the most popularly asked questions would have to be whether I choose to do courtship or dating. Often times, I find that young woman everywhere are asking this same question.
When looking at what the world has to offer, it is often easy to fall into the mindset of thinking that there is only one option :: and that is, to date.
But today, we would like to share with you a counter option -- which we find to be a much wiser way of going about such a delicate matter as that of the heart. 

Bethany Ann ::

     Courtship is one subject that has been on my mind and heart a lot lately these past few years. As I have gotten older the question "Do you have a boyfriend?" and "Who are you dating?" has been coming quite often. But as I have studied the Word of God I have found that the Lord's intention for one finding their marriage partner is certainly not by dating and that He has a different plan.

     Did you know that one in every two marriages end in divorce? How heartbreaking! God's intention for marriage was for it to be a lifelong commitment, not one that lasts as long as you are happy in your situation. Dating is almost like learning to divorce if you think about it! When you date, you go out with someone for as long as you are "in love" with them and after that period, you break up and find someone else. So if we constantly do this until we truly do marry then after the going gets hard we feel that urge to divorce because that's what we did before we married!

     When we date we are also giving parts of our heart away. We need to be saving our heart for our future husband and not give bits and pieces of it to other men. What if your husband were to get a dozen roses for you, but on the way to meet you he meets several other women and decided to give them a rose. Before long he gives away all his flowers and damages the rest. When he presents the flowers to you they are all torn and dried up because he gave them to someone else before He came to you. This is what you are doing with your heart when you date.

     One important part of courtship is having the father play a part of it. Courtship is when the father and daughter meets the possible husband and his family. When you court you meet your spouse with their family and this helps eliminate one-on-one time which can lead to bad things if not guarded and chaperoned. By courting you are allowing God to chose who you marry and not taking it on yourself. Most girls would say that they don't want  God to chose their mate, but honestly God is the one who made us to meet another mans needs and He made us according to those needs so that we can fulfil them to the best of our ability. So God truly does know best who would be the perfect person for us!

     When we trust God to take care of our meeting out future spouse then we are allowing yourself to get to know Christ better and strengthen our relationship with Him instead of frantically looking for someone to marry. And since God is our heavenly spouse and should be our number one desire to please and glorify, then our main focus should be on Him!

Johanna Rose ::

   This is a subject that the Lord has laid on my heart for the past few years. As I have grown older, not only am I at 'that age' where having a boyfriend would be the norm, but it is also a time when thoughts, such as :: marriage, weddings, having a family of my own, meeting my husband, falling in love -- all swirl in my mind, and cause me to wonder :: how will it all happen??

   This is a question, that I am sure, all girls ponder. Yet, sadly, I see so many girls turning to the world for answers -- and what does the world have to say?? To the world, boys and girls are just pieces in a game. Boy meets girl -- girl likes boy -- they date for a few weeks/months -- break up -- start over again. While this synopsis is very sad, it is a reality. 

   So many times I see that girls, as young as twelve, are expected to have boyfriend, and start dating. Clearly we can see that these 'relationships', at such a young age, are not even designed for the purpose of marriage. It is designed for temporary pleasure, and amusement. But we can clearly see that it is anything but a life long relationship. Rather, it will be a damaging remembrance for when you are married to your future spouse.

   So why do so many young woman date?? I believe there are so many reasons that go into why so many girls choose to date. First, I believe that we desire to have guys like us. We want them to be attracted to us, and to like us for who we are. Second, I think that a lot of times, girls who don't have a firm relationship with Christ, have a void in their heart -- which they want to fill with the attention they receive from guys. Third, I find that for those who are not dating, there will be an intense pressure from those around them. They think :: everyone else is dating -- why am I the only one who is not dating? But, perhaps the most common reason that girls choose to date, is because they are unaware of the other option -- courtship -- and the superiority that it holds, in comparison to dating. 

Courtship vs. Dating. What is the difference between the two???

   I believe that the most influential impact that Courtship has -- and Dating is missing -- is commitment. Upon looking up the word courtship in the dictionary I found that it is called the 'Prelude to Marriage'. What a beautiful way of putting it! And that is exactly what a courtship is -- a Prelude, or introduction, to Marriage. 

   When a man and a woman enter into a courtship, their intention is marriage -- a life long commitment. To counter this, when a man and a woman start to date, much too often the main intention is not to make a life long commitment, nor to enter upon marriage -- but, rather, it is for the present pleasure of having fun, and enjoying the attentions that guys will offer. Often times, dating results in 'breaking up' and starting over -- this sounds a lot like divorce, doesn't it??

   So, why can't you date -- what is wrong with 'breaking up' a few times, until you find the right one? Why would this effect my marriage?? There are several reasons why dating is not the best option, if you are set on having a life-long marriage.

   The first reason that I find, is that when you are dating -- when you are going out on one-on-one dates with a guy, your heart is vulnerable. And often times, we unknowingly will give our hearts away. Dating is very intense in comparison to courtship, because you are always alone with one guy. He will be the center of everything you do. He will be the only one to talk with -- because he is the only one there. He is your entire focus on dates -- and this will inevitably cause feelings, over time -- even when we don't realize it. And before we even know it, our hearts have been given away -- only to be tossed back to us -- damaged, defiled and torn. 

   This leads me to my second reason -- and that is, we must save ourselves for our future spouse. So many times, through the process of dating, we are giving away our firsts -- the first kiss -- the first embrace -- the first holding-of-hands -- the first love of our life -- the first time we will give our heart away. I fervently believe that these 'firsts' belong to our future husband, and no other. We must be willing to save them for him.

   So, why is courtship so superior to dating?? What are the differences between the two?? Well, there are many differences between them -- the the most significant transformations would be these ~

   First, as I stated a above, the intentions for courtship is marriage. This will make both the young woman, and and the young man, whom are involved in the courtship, take things more seriously. Rather then only focusing on the romance of the occasion, they will be taking a sincere interest in how this person -- whom they are courting -- acts, talks, thinks, hopes, fears, dreams, etc, etc. They will be focusing on their future happiness together, rather then only wanting to be fulfilled at the moment.

   Second, when a daughter is entering a courtship, she is much more protected and her heart is more sheltered and secure. Instead of going out, and being alone with 'her young man', she instead is with her family when ever together -- rarely alone. To many woman of the world, this would be a con. But I see it as a wonderful opportunity to get to know a young man, without giving my heart away too easily.

   Third, as a courtship involves both the man and the woman's families, this is a wonderful opportunity to get your loved-ones' opinions on your possible-future-spouse. Often times, your brothers and your father will be able to spot things, that you would have never notice -- whether these things may be good or bad, it is a wonderful way to get to know this young man in a different light. You will also receive wonderful insight from you mother, as she will be tracing things in this young man which she wants to find in her daughter's spouse.

   In closing, I want to encourage you to pray -- and seek the Lords will in this. Open your heart to Him, and pour out your thoughts. Remember that He is your ultimate, True Love, and He will never leave you nor forsake you. I want to inspire you to start creating a deeper relationship with Him right now. Make Him the Love of your life -- for He holds the fulfillment you are longing for.

Sincerely, in my loving Jesus,

Do you have a suggestion for future Royal Council topics? We would be so blessed if you sent your suggestions by way of our Contact page! Thank you! We pray that you were blessed by this month's Royal Council, and are left refreshed and newly-inspired to live for Jesus.

Abundant Blessings,
Bethany Ann & Johanna Rose

9 Words of Grace:

Anonymous said...

Such a well written post stating what your standards/principles are! I did enjoy it, I believe as you do. One of the blessings about that (I have watched three marriages happen this way so far...) is that you don't have to worry about How It Is Going To Happen! Trusting God that when you (And he!) are ready, he'll bring the one!
What you said about divorce is so true. Dating is just preparing you for divorce. Not saying this in a judgmental way, because my heart breaks for her- is that one of my cousins (whose family is not christian...yet. We're praying) is thirteen and has boyfriends... and being encouraged by her parents. I see it all the time! It's so sad.
Giving your heart away is no little thing!

I'm not sure if you've posted this before... But maybe a post on what to pray/look for in a husband. I already have (long) list started! :)

God bless!

Miriam said...

Thank you both for the encouragement in this area! It is so neat to see that other young ladies are supporting Courtship! =)

Shannon said...

What a joy it is to see more yung ladies stand up in purity...
This post was a delight to read and encouraging as I strive daily to keep my heart pure and holy. Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts... they are cherished.

In Christ,

Rubies Like Ruth said...

Thank you for this article; it is a blessing to see other girls out there committed to courtship.

Johanna, I think that you hit the root when you said, "I think that a lot of times, girls who don't have a firm relationship with Christ, have a void in their heart -- which they want to fill with the attention they receive from guys."

This is a problem with girls who date, but I believe that it is also the source of discontentment for girls who say that they are "waiting" for their husband.

God has been showing me that completion comes from Him. With Christ as the center of our life, we are fully complete - without a void! One verse that shows this is Colossians 2:10, "And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power:" We are not complete by being joined with a human in dating, courtship, or marriage - we are complete IN CHRIST!!! What a thrilling thought!

Thank you once again for this article.

~Ana Renee

Seeking to follow said...

This is a good, thoughtful, post. :) I would agree with many of the principles that you are stating, but there are a few things that I don't agree with.

To be honest, if/when I enter into a relationship, I really don't care whether we call it "courtship" or "dating." Either can be done in a pure, God-honoring way. Either can be done in an impure way. There are more safeguards in a courtship relationship, but any relationship is going to have temptations to impurity. Satan doesn't say "oh, they're courting instead of dating, I can't tempt them."

Also, when I enter into a relationship, I don't want to be the one dictating how we handle the relationship. I won't be leading a marriage, and I don't want to start the wrong way by leading a relationship. If my dad is satisfied, my "boyfriend" (for lack of a better term) is satisfied, and I believe that it is honoring to God, then I'm happy. There are a few boundaries that I would want to set (I don't want physical contact before marriage, etc.), but beyond that, I would rather that the one who will be leading in marriage be leading in courtship.

I also don't see one-on-one time as something that should be viewed as "bad." It's definitely something to be careful of, and I wouldn't want to go off on our own somewhere (other people should be around, if not right there). But I don't think that a couple should lose all their privacy just because they're courting now, if you take my meaning.

Guarding our hearts is important. The courtship model is designed to help us with that. But I think they miss the heart of the matter. The most important thing isn't whether a relationship is called the right thing, and we do things the right way, the most important thing is that it be glorifying to our Lord. :)

Miss Rachel Lauren said...

Thank you so much for that beautiful post! It was very inspiring and heart provoking!

Ali Holmes said...

Excellent! Amazing job on this post! At this point in my life I still choose courtship (I'm 14). I am a Reformed Christian but I do have a friend that says she's a Christian but yet she has dated! She even told me at in K she had a boyfriend!!! I am going to try and get her to read this post. Thanks so much for posting this! :D

Ali H.

JoyfulJewels4Jesus said...

Thanks for sharing! It can be difficult to be different, but it is so worth it when we please the Lord and walk in His ways as shown in His Word. Let's see...ideas for topics. So far they have been very encouraging! Maybe ideas for using time wisely, staying diligent, thrifty, yet special gift ideas {maybe during December}, etc? You girls are doing a lovely job!

With Joy in Christ,

Amanda said...

I wanted to reply to Ali's comment: you mentioned, "I do have a friend that says she's a Christian but yet she has dated!"

You might not have meant it this way, but it sounds like one can't be a Christian and date. Courtship is like many other issues in this Christian life: God leads different people at different times. To many people, courtship is a foreign concept. Just because someone does not do things the way God has led us to do things does not mean that they are not Christians.

Here, I can even quote Seeking to Follow's comment: "Either {Dating our Courtship} can be done in a pure, God-honoring way. Either can be done in an impure way." Granted, your friend may be dating in an impure way, but even girls dedicated to courtship can have a "dating spirit" and flirt around with the guys that they know. Here we can be challenged to be sure that OUR heart is pure before God and that we are truly COMMITTED to courtship and purity!!!