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Today the Barefoot Mama blogs about the feminine art of courtship. It seems the blogging community is all abuzz with the topic of courtship after a recent episode on TLC of “17 and Counting” featuring the Duggar family and the courtship of their eldest son, Josh. So, what is courtship?
An article here, discusses some main components. To quote: “These include: (1) The degree and form of parental involvement; (2) How to choose whom to court/betroth; (3) the timing of romantic emotions; and (4) the timing of forms of physical contact.”
When looking at courtship, today I listened to a CD sermon entitled, “Seven Biblical Virtues Violated by Christian Dating”. This sermon examines the scripture of 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8.
“3.It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4.that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5.not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6.and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. 7.For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8.Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.”
S.M. Davis, the preacher of this sermon says the biggest problem with Christian dating is that we try to fit biblical principles into the model of worldly dating and then call it Christian. The very nature of worldly dating doesn’t allow biblical principles to work within its context because:
1. It violates the principle of being a one woman man or a one man woman.
2. It violates the principle of security and protection rather than insecurity and under-protection of our daughters.
3. It violates the principle of treating one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
4. It violates and defrauds purity both physically AND emotionally.
5. It violates the principle of waiting on God to awaken love.
6. It violates the principle of being ready to marry when you begin seeking your bride.
7. It violates the principle of walking by faith not by sight.
A few things that stuck out to me that I wrote down to share from his message were these notes:
Young Ladies have much more tender emotions and feel serious much more quickly than young men do. A young man could have no serious feelings towards a young lady and yet because of his actions, words or behavior he could make her feel that things are in fact serious between them.
What “Christian Dating” strives to do is eliminate the physical aspects of a relationship; however what we oftentimes fail to understand is that when setting physical boundaries and yet not setting emotional boundaries we are actually participating in emotional intimacy which is no less powerful than physical intimacy. Also, when you give someone your emotions the physical is not far behind it.
God shows clearly that ‘firsts’ are very special. First fruits, First born, etc. First love also falls into that category. Young women especially have extreme trouble distancing themselves from the feelings they had for their “first loves”. Firsts are to be set apart. They are to be dedicated to the Lord. You will forever have a bond with your first love. Let your first love be your spouse. This is just one reason we are warned in Song of Solomon to ‘not awaken love before it desires’.
My personal story is a testament to that. I didn’t practice Christian courtship as a young lady. I didn’t really know much about it except that it was not what my friends were doing and since I didn’t really know any reasons why or how to practice courtship I struggled to figure out on my own what dating looked like for me. My first love was in high school. I would have married him because in my heart and mind I already had. As girls our fantasies of what marriage looks like to a certain boy can be so damaging because when the relationship doesn’t work out we are devastated. I truly gave a huge chunk of my emotions and many years of my life to this young man whom God did not have planned for me. I must add that this was my LEAST physical relationship of the young men I ‘dated’. We held hands and rarely kissed and never really let our minds go in that direction; however, this relationship hurt the most when we split. Why, when by ‘Christian dating’ standards ours was a model relationship because weren’t being physically intimate? Why? Because emotional intimacy and first emotions of love are so very powerful and not meant to be given to someone who is not intended for you.
So, what is the difference between courting and dating?
Courting seeks counsel and asks God to reveal your mate. It then sets up an emotional and physical security fence.
Dating chases after the mate you select yourself and then asks counsel and God’s blessing in retrospect.
To learn more about courtship I highly recommend listening to Peter and Kelly Bradrick’s testimony about their courtship on “Return of the Daughters” DVD sold here.