Because of a recent blog post about the perils of courtship, and many others that preceded it, my mind has been in a whirl with random thoughts on the subject. This post has been written and rewritten in my mind and on paper several, ok, many times. If you have known me for a while, you know I could not keep quiet about this subject for too long.
Things now look differently in our family then they did when this blog began several years ago. Our kids are getting older and things change. Out of respect for them and the friends they have, I have tried to lay low on the whole courtship versus dating debate. But because we have walked this road a little longer than some and have learned a few lessons along the way, AND because inquiring minds want to know, I am plunging in to give you a few thoughts.
Keep a few things in mind-
- These posts were written several years ago. Though people change and circumstances change, I still feel pretty much the same way, but with a few tweaks.
- Our experiences are just that- our experiences. No better and no worse than someone else's. Just ours.
- There is no right or wrong in choosing dating or courtship if it is done in a God-honoring manner. If you are reading a post that says there is, I would tell you to find another post to read. God is the authority, not humans, and in the end, it is He that we must obey and please. Other people can just get in line.
So here goes-
I think the article in question is a bit biased and skewed. Aren't they all, mine included? Here's the deal. We all feel passionately about what we believe and we cannot fathom that everyone would not agree with us or at least learn to once we presented the facts. Our facts. Our limited facts.
Like stating that the divorce rate is going up among those that choose courtship. Yes, that is what the article said. I am pretty sure that the divorce rate is going up regardless of what path was taken to get married, courting or not. And I am pretty sure THAT is what we should be concerned about, not how someone chose a spouse and married them.
The problem, as I see it, is not the path but the commitment. Too few couples really understand that when they stand in front of their friends and families and make a wedding vow, that vow is FIRST to God, and then secondly to the person they are making googly eyes with. If we understood that, then the divorce rate would be a non-issue. In my world, if you make a promise to God, you had better stick to it.
Let's stop blaming the path and just call the issue what it is- our sinful nature.
One of the saddest stories I have heard on the courtship issue was about a young couple who spent every waking minute together with their families. And they loved it! But once they were allowed to be alone closer to their wedding, they realized that alone, they were not that compatible. They had lots of fun in the family groups, but not so much when it was just the two of them, and therefore terminated their engagement.
Yes, I do think couples need a chance to get to know each other outside of their families. How that looks is up to you, not me, or anyone else.
No, I still do not believe in or allow high school dating. Once our kiddos are 18, rules change, but until then, that is our rule. We do not approve of getting married in high school, and therefore do not think dating is needed. Dating, or whatever you want to call it, in our family is reserved for when you are ready to be a spouse. Most teens I know cannot even take care of the dog, more less a spouse.
I do not believe that dating numerous people helps you decide what to look for in a spouse. The Bible tells us what to look for in a spouse. That is enough for me. People are not dumb. Surely we can meet someone and know pretty quickly if that is a person worthy of time or not.
Friendship is the best place to begin, in my opinion. If you like being their friend, chances are you will like being their spouse. If they annoy you every moment now, they will annoy you 20 years from now.
Dating multiple people does not somehow make you smarter at or better at choosing a spouse. It can however break your heart or someone else's heart. It can confuse you, lead to temptation, and leave a path of hurt behind you.
God leads. Really, he does. We have seen this in our own situation and trust that in His perfect time and His perfect way, God will lead you to the right spouse. Patience is not something we are very good at as a society, but let me tell 'ya, God is a master at it!
Linking up with Caroline!