Ok, I promised myself I would never venture into the great unknown of talking about RELATIONSHIPS, but here I am.
No, I'm not currently in one, and thus my hesitancy in commenting on them. However, I do think this may be even more helpful because I'm just going off what I have seen, heard, and read about and I am not tainted by my own personal experience that may skew my perspective.
Courting or courtship may be a foreign term to you if you weren't raised in a Christian homeschooling community, as I was, so I first want to define some terms.
I know, my definition of courtship may be different from what you have heard or adhere to, and that's ok. This is just my definition based on what I have seen and heard. I'm also going to add some of my own pizazz just to keep it interesting.
You've been warned!
I'm going to explain this through the lens of a guy. Sorry girls, but there is way too much speculation involved in understanding your perspective, which I am uncomfortable with.
Imagine, you are a 22-year-old male, you have a job ( this is important!), and you are gazing up and down the pews at your local church on any given Sunday. As you look, you spot a girl, who looks about your age and your intrigued.
In the courting model (once again, according to what I know) you may have the opportunity to get to know this girl through family gatherings or group events. In the course of this, let's say, you guys really hit it off.
However, before you can move to the next step of officially "Courting", you must ask the father for his permission for this relationship to continue. If he sees you as an upstanding young man who may have the possibility of one day marrying his daughter, you're in business (ok, maybe not the best choice of words).
Let's say he agrees to the courtship, you two continue to get together in groups or perhaps with a chaperone. Let say things continue to go well and you're ready to pop the question. Hold your horses there young man, you've got to ask the father for his permission to marry his daughter. If he says yes, and she says yes then you live happily ever after... ok, maybe not quite.
Welcome to the wild west of relationships. In this world of dating, if you want to get to know someone, you can, no questions asked, no group, no chaperones. You can date for fun, or if you are looking actively for a spouse (often referred to as "dating with a purpose").
To be honest, I don't think I need to spend a lot of time defining this because it has been the standard for most people for decades.
I do realize that there are many variations to what this actually looks like, which is why I'm not saying that you have to adhere to one or another model.
What do I think?
That's the reason you are reading this blog right? What does a 19-year-old Christian guy think about all this? In talking about this, I want to highlight a couple key things that may help you make sense of all this for yourself. I don't want to get lost in the details of how exactly this all works.
Don't get lost in the labels
It can be easy for us to want to hold to certain labels, "I'm courting" or "I'm dating" and those labels can be helpful in some context, however, we can often be more intentional about holding on to our label, then we are at actually trying to pursue a Christ-honoring relationship.
I think a really good aspect of the courting model is its focus on accountability. Embracing a mentality of maintaining accountability with a relationship is essential to it flourishing. This accountability might be that of maintaining purity both physically and emotionally.
However, being intentional about having other people around, like all the time, as two people try to spend time together, is kind of daunting. Although I think the pursuit of accountability is a worthwhile one.
A big problem with modern dating is that it teaches people to jump into relationships prematurely and exit early.
Let me explain, often the initial stages of dating someone after asking someone on a date consists of multiple conversations in a fairly intimate setting.
Don't get me wrong, I am not of the opinion that before marriage a couple in a relationship should never be alone together. However, this being the consistent setting, especially early in the relationship, creates an environment of emotional intimacy without a real commitment.
This kind of dating creates an environment that encourages people to jump into the relationship both emotionally and physically before any real commitment.
The problem is that this kind of impulsive behavior also sets up an early exit when things aren't working out.
I could honestly talk about this for a while and go into some details, but I realize you don't want to be here all day.
I try to approach this topic with wisdom, but as I grow in maturity and sanctification, my perspective can shift. That being said, this is what I think right now, but I hope to follow up on this topic further.
I guess what I want to leave you with is this; Pursue the wisdom that only God can give, as you come to your own conclusion about how you are going to approach relationships.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5 ESV