The Wade-O Radio Show has a predominant audience of young people ranging from 18- 34 years old. Young adults in this age range often face many struggles including family, politics, faith, culture, and various personal sins as we mature. To ignore the subject of dating/courtship, would be doing less than the ministry we, here at the Wade-O Radio Show, have been called to do. I’m sure there are many opinions regarding dating/courtship, and the many traditions or expectations that surround this subject. What we can agree on, is that things have changed. Not just dating or courting, but even church has changed. But we know what is the same. Our God doesn’t change.
Truth be told, young people go on dates. Whether you want to call it a dinner, meeting, hang out, or official date, as a young person who has feelings and emotions, guys and girls alike, go out with people that interest them. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The Bible never says ‘Thou shalt not goeth outeth with those of the opposing sexual orientation nor shalt thou take interest in them more than being part of the bretheren.’
Some may already have raised the question with the term ‘courtship.’ Webster defines courtship as ‘A period during which a couple develop a romantic relationship, esp. with a view to marriage.’ This could be your version of dating. And that’s fine too, so the question remains…
Dating versus courtship: is there a difference?’
To reiterate an earlier statement, things change. Courtship may be a term that’s antiquated to some so they choose to use ‘date’ instead. As long as your definition is communicated and understood by all parties involved, use whichever word you like. Why all this relationship talk? I recently read an article from the NY Times entitled The End of Courtship? which prompted this article in response.
The article suggests that due to the increase of social media, cellular devices, and the fast-pace of our society, marriage-oriented relationships are at an all-time low. But how does this translate to the single Christian? How do you please God and date? Are there rules? Where’s the template in the Bible? Are we really seeing the end of courtship?
So glad you asked! 🙂 In I Kissed Dating Goodbye, a book that addresses the importance of courtship and purpose in relationships, Pastor Josh Harris says ‘Our lives are too different, our circumstances are too unique, and our God is too creative to have only one formula for romance.’ With that being said, I don’t have all the answers or know every proper way to do things, but I do want to share some helpful tips to those who are trying to edify God in all of their ways, including their love life.
Note: For the remainder of the article, the word relationship will refer to a male-female connection with romantic interests.
1. Ignore popular positions.
The article mentions hookups, ‘traditional dating’, and online dating as a means of finding someone to be in a relationship with. Ignore all of that! As a Bible-believing Christian, you should trust that God knows what He’s doing. He will position you for His best, and you have to let Him. Whether that means not hanging out with a certain crowd, avoiding the ‘let me hook you up with…’conversations, or deleting your online dating profile, show God you trust Him to lead. Hear me clearly, I’m not saying that you cannot be hooked up or online dating is wrong. I am saying that you do not have to be a lonely, impatient single Christian. Don’t take things into your own hands because you are not content.
2. Intentionally keep it pure.
This can’t be stressed enough! Set boundaries and communicate those boundaries clearly with the person you’re in a relationship or contemplating a relationship with, and talk to others about your boundaries. Purity includes abstaining from sexual activity, but it is also more than that. It also means to make every effort to keep your actions, thoughts, and heart pure. Make it your mission to protect the other person’s purity. Whoever you are interested in should be a brother or sister in Christ that you do not want to cause their fall. You should respect them as such and want them to grow and prosper in Christ more than fulfilling your own selfish desires. Do not hinder one another’s growth for the sake of pursuing a relationship. Stay pure and require the other person to stay pure…even if it is a struggle. Truthfully, it will be. Know that God is pleased with your efforts. Authors of Lady in Waiting Jackie Kendall and Debby Jones share with their readers ‘Clear standards for dating and relating will guard you against compromise and making wrong choices…’
3. Involve a purpose.
My dad used to ask me ‘What’s the purpose?’ for everything! It was annoying, but it made me evaluate the topic at hand. Ask yourself and the person you’re interested in, ‘what’s the purpose of this relationship?’ How can you progress if you have nothing to work toward? As a Christian, your purpose should be to please God as you imitate Christ. As a young man, strive to become the man who walks in his calling to learn to lead as God leads. As a young woman, focus on developing quality, Godly characteristics as you work in your mission. The overarching focus of any relationship, beyond engagement and marriage, should be to give God glory. If your goal isn’t to bring honor to Christ, what is it?
Dating/courtship can be a beautiful process, or it can be mistake after mistake.
The choice is yours.
Overall, have we seen the end of courtship? I believe not. There are Christian young adults who do not go along with worldly standards, have impure relationships, or date without purpose. They may be ridiculed by some of their peers, but they should be applauded.
Should we expect the world to respect a decision to remain a virgin until marriage? Or a decision to not kiss until the wedding day? Or not to date without the purpose of marriage? Of course we cannot, but we cannot tear down those who make these life-changing decisions. Support and encourage your brothers and sisters! They have enough ridicule from the world.
Have we really seen the end of courtship? Why or why not?
Purchase Josh Harris’ Book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Ladies, Jackie Kendall and Debby Jones’ Lady in Waiting: Becoming God’s Best While Waiting for Mr. Right, Expanded Edition is for you.