Dating, Courting, and marriage are all intimidating topics everyone has to face at some point in their life. There is much controversy (especially in the homeschooling community) about whether dating or courting is the “correct” method for pursuing a relationship. There are also many questions on how to go about relationships and marriage.
When it comes to pursuing a relationship, I think a person should first think about their motives. If a person is wanting a relationship to fill an absence in their life, to get temporary pleasure, or just to “see if it works”, then that person has the wrong motives. Some motives and goals to strive for are to be committed, grow closer to God, and to give/serve. You see, whether you call it “Dating” or “Courting” doesn’t honestly matter. The label doesn’t define the outcome. The motives and intentions behind the relationship, the commitment to each other and to God, and the effort put into the relationship is what defines the outcome.
I believe it is very important to have values and convictions, and not just to have them, but to stand by them as well. “If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies.” Because of this, who you choose to have a relationship with is extremely important. If you are in a relationship you will either marry that person or breakup with them. Therefore, to spare heartbreak. It is good to have standards before you ever begin entering relationships. One way to “test” whether or not a person is a good candidate for a relationship or marriage is by inserting his or her name in place of the word “love” in 1 Corinthians 3:4-6. For example: “Alex is patient and kind; Alex does not envy or boast; Alex is not arrogant or rude. Alex does not insist on his own way; Alex is not irritable or resentful; Alex does not rejoice in evil but rejoices in the truth.” If “Alex” and his or her life doesn’t coincide with those statements, then “Alex” isn’t someone to enter a relationship with. (Also, try replacing the word “love” with YOUR name and see how true it is.) Some other qualities to look for are: Good with children, loves God more more than you, a leader, genuine, hard working, respectful, shows love, kindness, and purity. Although these are important, making sure you have the qualities you want in a spouse is equally, if not more important. “Attract what you expect, reflect what you desire, become what you respect, mirror what you admire.”
So what do you do from there? If a person seems like a good potential partner and both people express a mutual attraction, what happens next? Personally, I believe that the man should ask the parent’s permission to pursue and relationship with their daughter. This not only shows respect for their opinions and their daughter, but in turn they will respect the guy as well.
When it comes to the actual relationship, both them man and the woman should sit down and discuss their values, standards, and goals in life. Just to make sure they are both on the same page. “You can’t walk together if you are going different directions.”
Not everyone is going to get married, some are going to stay single. However, although Christians need to stop idolizing marriage, as Christians we also need to stop idolizing “Singleness”. Serve God the best you can while single; and when you are in a relationship that causes you both to serve God better together, then that’s how you know they are the right person for you.
It seems like in our culture there are more people divorced or living together before marriage than people actually married. However, this is not what God intended. People have the mindset of “We’ll see and if it doesn’t work out, then we will break up.” Having this mindset is practicing for divorce. Working together to figure things out and putting effort into a relationship is what will help it grow. Marriage is a covenant between a husband, a wife, and God. God says in the Bible that women are to be submissive to their husbands. However, people have twisted and confused this statement. Being submissive doesn’t mean allowing abuse or the wife doing whatever the husband says. It means trusting and listening to each other. Right after the scripture which says for the wife to be submissive, it tells husbands to love their wives. If you love someone, you don’t use them or try to be more powerful. Submission goes both ways. Both husband and wife are equal. No one is higher than each other. One of my favorite phrases is “Men and women are equally valuable, and purposefully different.” Not only does this apply to women and men in general, it also applies to marriage. Both husband and wife are equal in value and worth; no one is above or below the other. However, they were created for different purposes and “jobs”. Ezra Benson said, “Marriage itself must be regarded as a sacred covenant before God. A married couple have an obligation not only to each other, but to God.”
Although relationships, dating/courting, and marriage are all very important, pursuing God, striving to do His will, and serving Him should be our ultimate goal in life. Elisabeth Elliot once declared, “I have one desire now: to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength in to it.”