Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Courting or Dating?

So, really, who hasn't talked about the whole courting versus dating thing? It seems like everyone talks about it, so why would I do a post about it? I think because it's been a topic that's been brought up a lot lately and I want to throw my views into the mix.

In case you want a short and simple answer, here you go: I am not so much into WHAT it's called as HOW the relationship is. I believe there are God glorifying dating relationships and I believe there are some courting relationships that don't please God. Basically, to me, the label isn't as important as the intent. I believe a relationship needs to have God at the center and it needs to be between two people who 1) are serious about marriage, not a casual relationship, 2) feel it is something God is calling them to, and 3) are dedicated to honoring God through the relationship.

Now, for those who want more than just a simple answer, here you go: If you went by what most people think of as "dating" and what most people think of as "courting", I would DEFINITELY fall into the hardcore courting category. I would never want to go into a casual dating relationship. I read "Boy Meets Girl" (by Josh Harris) twice; once when I was about 13 and again this past spring. I agree with pretty much everything he says.

I would be the last person to tell you that someone who dates is more sinful than someone who courts and I think the label can lead to some very serious judgments. As I said earlier, I think there are people who would say they "date", yet if you examined their relationship you would see a relationship that glorifies God. Likewise, I am sure there are people who are "courting", yet if you were to look at their relationship, you would see aspects of the relationship that would displease God. It's dangerous to rate a person's godliness based on what they decide to call their relationship.

So, what about me? What will I do when my time for a relationship comes? I hope after reading this I have been clear enough on my opinion. However, as to not leave any questions in your mind, I am definitely a firm believer in courtship (the way most people would define it). I won't enter a relationship until I am:
~ Sure it's one that God is calling me to.
~ Ready to be selfless (obviously, I am a sinner and know that I will be selfish. However, I want to go into a relationship with the goal being to serve him, not to have him serve me)
~ Willing to honor God through the relationship and make Him the focus of it.
~ Able to accept and respect the counsel of those wiser who speak into my life about the relationship. Or in other words, I want to be teachable. I want to be accountable to wiser people. For example, if being in a relationship is causing me to shut out my family and friends, I would want someone to share that with me so that I could ask God to help me change.

There you have it, my view on the whole courting/dating issue. I hope I didn't step on any toes. I know this is a controversial issue so I hope I did not offend anyone. Please feel free to ask me about anything I write, this post included. I'm not out to offend or be controversial so I want to clear up any confusion and answer any questions that anyone may have.

~How do you view dating and courting? PLEASE share even if your views are different. I love hearing what people think!


Laurie said...

Yes, the intent matters more than the label! The goal of a God-honoring marriage is key to a serious guy/girl relationship and keeping that goal in mind should guide what you do (or don't do) during courtship/dating. This is a good thing to get settled right from the start in your mind and as a couple who decides to court.
Being "willing to honor God through the relationship and make Him the focus of it" is pretty much dating/courtship in a nutshell!
I trust that if the goal is taken seriously, the finer details will follow. I don't think labeling it either dating or courtship matters as much as how it is lived out. I do know there are some who would argue for correct "labeling", but whatever it is called it should never be "casual".

Anonymous said...

I will be different here (shocker!). I am thankful for all of the dating relationships that I had, including my husbands of course. My serious boyfriends were wonderful people and respected me. Were we always mature and did we always do things Biblically? No. But I don't for one moment believe that I would be where I am today without those relationships and life lessons. I had the desire to date and full well knew I wouldn't be marrying at 18, and so did the other person. Could we marry one day? Sure. but it was casual and fun. We weren't less Christian because of it. In my opinion and experience, (casual) dating can be God honoring if you yourself make it that way. And if you are a Believer, you are in Him. My parents decided a long time ago to throw out man made rules and to turn to Jesus and that's where I have found ultimate Peace in making decisions.

Anonymous said...

And also at the risk of sounding like I don't support "courting" it's quite the opposite! I do! I've been able to grow up a Christian my whole life and be a part of SG churches and a few others. I've been able to step back and see what it really means to be "Godly". And it's not about what church you go to, what doctrine you follow, what you wear, how and if you date, what school you attend; etc, etc -- it's about your love for our Lord and your relationship with Him. If your focus is on Him, your life will reflect that.

krista said...

I'm a bit late here in commenting, but was just browsing some of your posts this morning.

I agree with both Laurie and Beth on various points. Intent is absolutely more important than labels. Your personal relationship with the Lord is key. Seeking input from trusted mentors is crucial.

I grew up in a Christian environment though I went to public school for 1st-12th grade. I do not have any regrets about that--I had many friends from similar backgrounds in my class. I know that's not always the case though...

That being said, I only "dated" Christians/guys I could see myself marrying, though you could say our dates were casual, fun, and about getting to know one another without the pressure to know if he was "the one" up front. Because the guys were of the same mind as I, and I had my parents approval to date them, I had about 3-4 boyfriends before I met my husband. At no point did we cross the boundaries physically. And I'm thankful for the lessons I learned from each relationship--about what was important and what I desired in a mate.

That's just my two cents. :o)

I enjoy reading your thoughts Sarah. :o)