Sunday, August 17, 2014

What is Courting and Why is it Messing Everyone's Lives Up?



This is Part 2 to an article I wrote a few days ago in response to this article (Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed).

According to dictionary.com a courtship is defined as:  the act, period, or art of seeking the love of someone with intent to marry.



I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound too terrible to me :) 

I don't think courtship is the issue... I think, again, WE are the issue. Humans do a really good job at messing things up. Look at marriage. God designed it, we messed it up. Sex itself was designed by God and we have definitely messed that one up. The design of something can be good and yet because we are sinful we are fully capable of ruining things that are good.


Let's look at the definition of dating: Dating is a part of human mating process whereby two people meet socially for companionship, beyond the level of friendship, or with the aim of each assessing the other's suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or marriage.

"Part of the human mating process" sure sounds worldly/evolutionist to me :) 

Dating to me is worldly. That's the world's way of finding a mate. That was my way of "having fun" before becoming a Christian. Some people have a problem with the word courting and are really courting but calling it dating. My experience with dating was anything but godly and with the intent of finding someone to marry. It was more like the comparison below. 

  
"Why Courthship is Fundamentally Flawed" thoughts on dating:  "Traditional Dating fits our culture like a glove. Most of Americans already intuitively know how it works because it is part of who we are as a people."

In one word this is my response to that: "Duh!". Of course it fits our CULTURE like a glove. It's what our CULTURE does! Since when is the church supposed to do things like our culture?

Courtship, I believe, was born to look for a way to "date" in order to marry that DOES NOT look like our culture because when you say culture you usually mean the world around you and we know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God.


Another thing I would like to address in the article is how he said he knows some friends that have been turned down as many as 12 times by fathers when they asked to court their daughters. Here is the quote: "I know several godly, hardworking and attractive homeschool guys who have been rejected by as many as a dozen fathers. I respect their tenacity. Getting turned down by courtship fathers is tough on guys because the fathers are rarely gentle or kind." A couple things came to mind when I read this:


1. This author might be exaggerating... 12 times? And how many friends has this happened to? Several? How old are these guys?! Like 40? Who has lived long enough to get turned down by 12 fathers? Are these guys "girl crazy" or what?

After being in ministry for 8 years I have seen people (including myself) tempted to exaggerate a bit in order to make their point of view sound more convincing.



OR 


2. If this is true then it is rare. How many of you who are in "courting circles' know people personally who have been turned down 12 times? Exactly.


I have been around both dating and courting circles. I know of one man personally that was turned down to court someones daughter. It was for a very good reason, the father wanted to see some consistency in work and integrity in this young man's life. Not a bad idea at all if you ask me. So maybe the gentleman who wrote the article is a part of some crazy, wacky, legalistic group OR his friends are not ready to marry and these dads were on to something. 

He goes on to say dating leads to: "less heartbreak, more marriage and more fun." This is one of those parts that makes me sick to my stomach. WHAT IS HE TALKING ABOUT? Maybe the culture in his grandma's day afforded this (I put MAYBE because I don't really believe that either) but not today brother. Scott was a youth pastor in California before moving to Washington and one thing he told the families at the church was: "Dating is ruining our youth." We watched our youth crumble at numerous times under the temptation and heartbreak of dating. I am sure it was fun, all sin is pleasurable, but fun doesn't constitute godly. We watched it cause problem after problem. 

Heartbreak and temptation are a part of life, not just a part of courting. I have seen heartbreak in the courting and dating circles (much more in dating) and I have seen temptation in both (again, more in dating). There is even heartbreak in friendships. That doesn't mean I do away with friends. Heartbreak is a part of life.

In the last eight years of our marriage, Scott and I have witnessed MORE marriage through courting than dating. We have witnessed less heartbreak in courtship than dating. And there has been plenty of fun in the courtships we have witnessed. This would also make his claim: "
a commitment to courtship is often a commitment to lifelong singleness." bogus! I have seen a rise in singleness among dating and courting friends alike and I think the issue is men wait too long to marry and become more and more picky as the years progress and men are taking longer to grow up. Many of these men date and have dated lots of girls... evidently it has not helped them to find a spouse...


One reason I have a hard time seeing this guy's article as valid is because his understanding of dating came from his GRANDMA! His grandma people! All things sound purer from a grandma. Nothing he says about dating comes from personal experience. 

If you want to talk to me or my high school buddies who dated numerous people (like he recommends) and find out what we think you will get a very different perspective. If you want to talk to the girls who bought into the lie that they could date and not get their heart broken you will get a very different perspective.

I was thinking this morning: "Who have the happiest marriages that I know?" I came up with three. One of the common ingredients is a mature, godly man. One of the other common ingredients is, you got it, courtship. Two out of three of them only had one romantic relationship in their lives: each other and they are going on 25+ years of joy-filled marriage!

 

Courtship's definition, like I stated at the beginning, is very simple: "the act, period, or art of seeking the love of someone with intent to marry." The problem is not in courting but in what happens often in courting, and what happens in our everyday lives: sin. Hopefully that answers the title/question to this blog post. Sin messes everyone's lives up. Courting is just a more conservative approach to finding a spouse. It's not perfect because it involves two imperfect people. Heartbreak still sometimes comes. 


Each family has a different, individual definition on what courting looks like for their family, but I find two things that seem to consistently remain the same: 

1. Parental involvement. Read proverbs! God seems to think it is a good idea that children listen to their parents wisdom/advice. They are called to "bind their parent's teachings around their necks." What area, aside from our relationship with God, is in need of wisdom more than who we should marry? (p.s. I did not have very good parental advice... so I had to look to God's Word, some children with parents who are not in a position to counsel them in this way will also have to look to God for wisdom/direction or hopefully their potential spouses parents.)

2. Ready to marry. What's the point in getting to know someone and see if they are potential for a spouse when you aren't even ready to marry? It's like going to a car lot to buy a car when you are five. NO point. If your parents are Christians involve them in your pursuit of marriage and don't begin that pursuit until you are ready to marry. Oh, and don't be surprised if it's messy along the way.

People are good at messing things up. We are fundamentally flawed and in fundamental need of a perfect Savior.