COURTSHIP: WHAT IT IS p2 by walterp
February 6, 2008, 10:45 am
Filed under: Leadership, Roles and Relationships


By Walt Alexander

Last week, we walked through the beginning this definition of courtship: Courtship is intentional dating with a commitment to pleasing God and finding out whether two people are called to be married.

So, let’s continue.

Courtship carries a commitment to pleasing God. As God has called us to please Him with our entire lives (Eph 5:8-10), this includes the area of dating. This desire to please God must be the foundational purpose of courtship.

But what does it mean to please God in the area of courtship? It means that the way we date should be centered on God. Our dating relationships should point one another to God and His Son Jesus Christ. We should grow in the knowledge of God and love for God through these relationships. And our pursuit of Him – through reading the Bible, prayer, and fellowship – should be fueled through them.

It also means that the way we date should be in obedience to God and to His commands. This means we should avoid dating non-Christians, lest we sin against God (2 Cor 6:14). This is not because we do not love unbelievers or because we should not hang out with unbelievers. It is because we have been called by God and separated from the world. This calling necessitates that we keep intimate relationships separate from the world in order to obey God’s command.

This also means we should avoid all areas of sexual immorality – whether it is physical or emotional – because all are prohibited by God (Eph 5:3). Furthermore, this means that in courtship we should not lead each other into any types of sin.

What other things does this purpose imply? Or prohibit?

Courtship also carries a commitment to finding out whether two people are called to be married. This commitment could be called the goal of courtship. This commitment fits a definite direction and goal to courtship. Though God never says “Do not date” in the Bible, God has designed a helpmate for most of us (Gen 2:18). And because God has done this, we should seek to find them!

This commitment (whether we like or not!) to finding out whether I called to marry someone is absent from dating in the world. Most people are not looking for their spouse when they date. They are looking for someone to pass the time with, someone to have fun with, someone to have sex with, someone to fill the void until the next best thing comes along, etc.

Therefore, as Christians, it is our privilege to always keep this commitment in view. It should lead us to date very carefully. It should lead us to carefully consider whether we are ready for marriage – spiritually, financially, and seasonally. It should lead us to carefully consider the character of the person who we are dating (or who we are thinking about dating). It should lead us to not date someone we know we will not marry. It also lead us to stop dating someone we know we will not marry. It should (might I add!) also lead us to avoid prolonged courtships, because it is marriage we are after and not just someone to hang out with!

What other things does this goal imply? Or prohibit?
What do you think about all this? Do you agree or disagree?


8 Comments so far
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I think it also means living out selflessness. Most dating sprees are just times to try to get someone that pleases you to feel as good about you as you do about you. Courtship puts the other person and their interest, their relationship with Christ first.

Comment by joshcan

Walt, could you give a general definition for what it means to be “financially” ready for marriage?

Comment by Varnell

Your the polar opposite of it Varnell….. so theres the definition

Comment by Dsizzle

Josh, courtship is truly living selflessly in a relationship. And it is so much more joyfilled – because it is all about serving another person and not manipulating another person.

Comment by walt

Zach, though I hope to talk more about this later, I think financially ready would be able to support and reasonably provide for a wife and family! I say reasonably because you should not expect everything right when you get married. The people around someone (Care Group Leaders, pastors, parents) should be able to help them know whether they are reasonable ready to provide. BUT being financially ready is not the first thing…though it is very, very important.

One question might be: Would you bring a girl into your confusion and mess? Or would you bring her into a carefully planned system?

Comment by walt

I never have really agreed with the financial aspect of how we counsel young men in regards to relationships. Yes, in marriage you have to provide. But what is wrong with being married and poor? I think a better thought and question would be if a man is pursuing and embracing his call to provide for his wife, even if right now that looks like making $8/hour somewhere.

Walt, I agree with you that we don’t want to bring our wives into confusion and mess resulting from a man who does not lead or plan regarding finances. But we also should not exclude pursuing a girl because we would not be able to provide for comfortable living conditions.

Comment by psteele

Two things:

1) What exactly is emotional sexual immorality? Those words don’t even coincide.

2) When my parents got married they had 7 dollars between themselves. Both of them came from poor families and they had to elope. When they went on dates they would like split an entree.

My dad NOW makes 6 figures, but at the time he married my mom was making very little. I think you are constraining love with some of these guidelines. I don’t think love knows age, and I don’t believe it knows money either, nor will I ever believe it knows time.

Comment by jamesthayer

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