Monday, June 22, 2015

Courtship: Not black and white

I have been attempting to write a post about courtship for months now, but it seems that I am procrastinating.
Even though it is a subject in which I passionately believe, it is not easy to write about because there are no black and whites when it comes to courtship.

I wrote a post a couple of years ago entitled "Why I am Waiting". I was reminded of it by a commenter who pointed out some flaws, some of which I did agree with.
This post can be a combination of setting the record straight and sharing some things that I have gathered about courtship over the years. (now that I am so much older and wiser ;)

The biggest and perhaps hardest thing that I have learned is that courtship can be misused.
Sometimes it is used to the extreme of an arranged marriage where the girl, sometimes the guy has no say in who they marry.
Sometimes it is used by parents as a means to attain unhealthy control over their adult children's lives.

It saddens me to hear of something that can be so beautiful turned into something evil, and cause people to come to a misguided conclusion and run in the opposite direction. This is why I wanted to write this post, to clear the air so-to-speak.

The definition of courtship is this:
A period during which a couple develop a romantic relationship,
 especially with a view to marriage.

Some people call it dating with a purpose. I myself am not fascinated with the label... because of the misrepresentation, but I will use it anyway for lack of a better one.

Courtship is not so much about rules.
The truth is that while the meaning of the word is the steady basis, this concept is made strong only by personal conviction. And it so happens that every person is different, and is called to different ways of living.
Thus, every single courtship is going to look different. I have two siblings who have gone through a courtship relationship (both of which led into marriage), and they both were very different.
Instead of being about the dos and don't s, it is rather about living our lives to please more than just ourselves.To remain pure before God and to guard our hearts, thoughts and actions.

Courtship is not a guarantee of a marriage.
I used to think that if followed the guidelines of courtship, with my Dad's involvement (checking the guy out :) and extreme caution in the choosing, that the first guy I got into a relationship with would end up being my future spouse. Yes, that is the plan, but there are no guarantees of that. There are "under the surface" 's in every person, and unexpected things can happen. What courtship does is greatly lessen the risk of a broken heart, and provide physical protection should the relationship not work out.

Courtship involves emotions.
My eighteen year old girlish heart used to think that I could just sit back and let everything work out the way it would without having to do anything to get to where I wanted to be. Dad would approve a guy, I would decided whether I liked him or not, and we would go from there. There would be no involvement on my part, no pangs of the heart, no emotional travail. But with experience I found that life without feeling is dull and meaningless. Every single part of life involves emotion, and deep down, every heart longs to find love. To completely detach my emotion when it comes to guys would be wrong. The key is to tell God about those feelings and ask Him to help you know what to do with them. Then continue to stay wrapped in Him, and not allow your world to be wrapped around those feelings. Because I believe that is when we begin to give pieces of our hearts away that we can never get back again.

Courtship demands trust.
Trust that the waiting is worth it, trust that God will work it all together for your good, trust in the counsel of the mentors and parents that are part of your team in helping you choose your future spouse, trust that He will guide your heart and give you the reassurances that you need.

Courtship is also for the forgiven.
Once again the myth I believed in my eighteen year old mind was that the guy I would begin a relationship with would undoubtedly have grown up with a purity perspective. He would never have been into the recreational dating scene, or been in a relationship with any other girls/women before myself. But in the past couple of years God has shown me the cleansing power of His forgiveness. And how much I myself am in need of it.
He reminded me of the verse in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that says:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: 
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

The past can be forgiven. It is the relationship that He/she has with Christ now that is most important.

Courtship is not desperation.
Finally I would like to say that just because I believe in the courtship method does not mean that I am desperately searching for someone for me to marry. It does not mean that I will settle for second best just because I have the opportunity to begin a relationship. If you read my post "My little secret" then you will know that I do not live to marry. Many young people who practice courtship do not live to marry. Courtship is just a tool to use when the right person comes along in God's timing. Until then I am happy to live the now, and take joy in every season that I am in.

I hope that all of this made some sense. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, courtship is hard to put down into words! Because it is not all black and white.

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