|Dating creates more problems than it solves: broken
hearts, illegitimate children, abortions, sexually transmitted diseases, and feelings of
guilt or shame that can last a lifetime. As serious as these consequences are, the
solution for them is simple: biblical courtship instead of dating. Courtship isn't just
another form of Christian dating. It's radically different and proudly old-fashioned-as
old as the Bible.
Although the process may seem difficult at first, it's been practiced successfully for
thousands of years. Dating, by comparison, is less than a century old-on the timeline of
history little more than an experimental blip. As an experiment, though, it has been a
Pain seems to be what pushes most people toward obedience. When the pain of dating is
greater than the payback, then and only then are people ready for an alternative.
If dating is so wonderful, why does it hurt so much?
Whether you're sixteen and single or seventy and single again, dating is much more likely
to lead you to anxiety and disappointment than to your marriage partner. If that's the
case, why do so many people keep at it? The ten most common answers are:
- they're lonesome;
- they're impatient;
- they want to find a marriage partner;
- they want to have fun and feel good;
- they want to learn how to relate to the opposite sex;
- their parents, peers, and the world tell them they should;
- they're determined to live life according to their own schedule, not
- they want to develop social skills and emotional health;
- they want to have certain needs met until a marriage partner is
- they believe it will prepare them for marriage.
God's solution for man's aloneness is marriage, not dating. Just as
marriage became the first one-on-one, male/female relationship, the home became the
foundational structure for the rest of society and a committed relationship became the
foundation of the home. In fact, God instituted the home before He created the church.
The principles of courtship are God-centered and biblically based. Courtship is a biblical
process of finding and choosing a mate while glorifying God and honoring and respecting
each other. Dating, on the other hand, is the world's alternative to courtship. Its
principles are man-centered and culturally determined. The words "Christian" and
"dating" don't go together because their principles are exact opposites.
Christian dating is an oxymoron.
The primary distinction between dating and courtship lies in the intent of the
- When a couple begins a courting relationship, they both know the
purpose of the relationship is to consider marriage. Conversely, casual dating is a
romantic linking of a couple simply to enjoy each other's company for the present. In
dating, both parties understand that while marriage may be possible in the future, neither
person is seriously considering it at the moment. As a result, immediate pleasure is the
whole purpose for dating, even for Christians who draw the line at sexual immorality.
- Courting has a long-term end in view There are no casual
"tryouts" in courtship, and it is reserved only for couples spiritually and
emotionally ready for marriage.
Courtship is not merely a Christian way of dating. When we date, we
often have a window-shopping attitude that has "self" as the base: How will we
look "wearing" our prospective partner ... having him ... holding him ... owning
him? We try on another person for size and see whether their style suits us. In contrast,
someone in a courtship relationship says, "I believe God has led me to you above all
others and I will honor, cherish, and marry you." No broken hearts. No painful
baggage. No walking out.
COURTSHIP LEADS TO A LIFETIME WITH
GOD'S CHOSEN PARTNER BY:
- Keeping the focus on Christ, not each other or the relationship.
- Bypassing the destructive dangers of physical, emotional, and
spiritual counterfeit oneness involved in dating.
- Establishing and enhancing communication between parents and/or the
accountability couple and the single persons.
- Establishing a chain of counsel for couples during their courtship,
engagement and marriage to avoid the destructive pain of dating.
- Giving the parents and/or the accountability couple the opportunity
to see the virtues and the faults in a future mate and encourage or correct them.
- Being based on accountability first, then completion of courtship
preparation before courtship begins.
- Having commitment as its cornerstone, thus building a solid
foundation for a lifelong marriage and preventing divorce from seeping through the cracks.
Courtship also leads toward a far more confident, contented life
both before and after marriage, considering the fact that couples who are committed to
each other in a monogamous relationship blessed by God.