I am not one to stir up controversy. In fact, I purposely don’t write about hot topics on this blog because I don’t want to cause arguments – especially between Christians. That is just ugly. And usually it is not edifying.
However, I feel the need to write a response to this blog post on courtship that has been going around. It is with much prayer and thought that I write this. My goal is not to stir up strife, but to, Lord willing, challenge your thinking. My prayer is that you would be encouraged to thoughtfully examine this topic and to honor the Lord in your decisions.
I want to establish two things right off the bat:
1. Dating is not wrong.
2. Courtship is not wrong.
The Bible does not give us rules for how you find a spouse. How you go about doing so is a Christian liberty. It is between you, your parents, your significant other, and the Lord to determine what you will do.
Yes, I included your parents in this list. Why? Because I think that that is the fundamental element that is missing from that article. And why the blog post bothered me so much.
The Bible doesn’t say anything about how to find a spouse, but it does give us principles to guide us in these areas.
1. Be pure. 1 Corinthians 6:18
2. Be holy. 1 Peter 1:16
3. Honor your parents. Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:1-3
The blog post condemns having to ask a girl’s father for permission to date her. And I have a problem with that. I think that asking for permission is an issue of honoring the parents. Does this mean that you have to ask the parents to go to the school dance with a girl? No. Does this mean that there are not exceptions to the rule (e.g. the girl who is 40 and living on her own)? Of course not. But I believe that you can honor parents by asking their permission to pursue a relationship with their daughter.
There are so many things that I want to address from that blog post, but in an effort to keep this post somewhat short. I need to summarize. In the context of those three biblical principles, how do we go about finding a spouse?
- Be balanced - There are obviously extremes of dating and extremes of courtship. There are promiscuous daters and terribly controlling parents. But that is not reason to say that dating or courting is wrong. Whatever you choose to do, it is about being balanced. Understand that your convictions are not everyone else’s convictions. It takes finesse to navigate the gray area of dating/courting. Have the realization that there are no hard and fast rules and that people are going to have different opinions.
- Be respectful. Honestly, if a young man is not willing to honor a young woman’s parents, I think there is a problem. There are going to be unreasonable parents, but God even uses unreasonable parents to accomplish His means. He puts parents in our lives to guide us.
- Be pure. One of the author’s whole points of the article is that dating multiple people helps you from being emotionally and physically pure. It is not the method of finding a spouse that helps you be pure, it is your heart. Honor the Lord, resist temptation. No matter how you go about choosing your spouse.
- Be intentional. Do I think that going out with multiple guys is wrong? No way! But I do think that we need to be intentional. There is nothing wrong with dating with the intent to marry. Isn’t that why we date? But we do need to remember to be balanced. We are not going to necessarily marry the first guy we go out with.
I am happily married to the first guy I dated. He asked my dad for permission to pursue a relationship with me. We had a mixture of courting (kind of) at first and dating later. But this does not mean that this is the way that things have to be.
God is bigger than dating and courting. He uses all kinds of means to accomplish His purposes. He can use strict parents, courting, marrying the first guy you go out with, dating, heartbreak, joy, difficulties, and triumphs all to His glory. He redeems mistakes and makes all things new. It is not about how you find a spouse, but how you honor the Lord in finding a spouse.
Can I get an amen?!