Puberty is the time of life when a child’s body begins to turn into an adult body. It is a very dramatic and exciting time of life. As your body matures and you come of age, you will be attracted to the opposite sex. In many cases, this attraction will be compelling and you will have to deal with it. How you deal with it will make a major difference in the quality of your life and your service for the Lord as long as you live. The Biblical convictions, or lack of them, which you develop now to deal with the opposite sex will have farreaching consequences. Believe it or not, they will reach through you to the next generation, to your children and eventually to your grandchildren. A STANDARD MUST BE SET
You must realize that as you come of age, someone or something (a group or philosophy) is going to set a standard or lack of one for how you deal with the opposite sex. A standard does not mean a legalistic system or a social straight jacket. A standard is a set of moral and social guidelines that you go by. You could have a very low standard or a very high one. When you go out socially or romantically with someone, some set of moral and social guidelines will guide your conduct. Everyone has standards, some low and some high.
For example, the local public school superintendent once challenged our Christian school dress code. He said, “You have no right to dictate to your students how they dress. ” I replied that I had not only the right, but the responsibility as well, and that he had a dress code in his school as well. He denied that ! So I said, “Well, I guess a female student could go to class topless ?” He said, “She certainly could not!” Therefore, I said, “See, you do have a dress code.” It is just not a very high one. Everyone has some standards no matter how low they are. If you are going to have some standards, they might as well be God’s standards for yourself according to the Word of God.
Like the public school dress code, the world has low standards and expectations for dating and marriage. The truth is that some of the world’s standards are down right immoral. When I use the term world, let me explain to you what I mean in a Biblical context.
When something is not of God, that is, it is not approved in the Bible by word, principle or example, it is of the world. Therefore, it is either of the flesh or the Devil. When I say “world ” I mean the fallen, social system governed by Satan “The god of this world…” (II Cor. 4:4), which appeals to the flesh and works on principles that are opposed to God. When I say something is “worldly, ” I want you to know exactly what I mean. Here is my definition of the word world as in: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.,.” John 2:15).
1.Worldly is that which is sinful, that which breaks the commandments of God.
2.Worldly is that which is satanic or evil such as rock music (much of which is dedicated to Satan and also uses many satanic symbols and signs), spook and booger movies, New Age music, drugs and occult.
Worldly is that which is sensual, that which stimulates, titillates or inflames the flesh. This includes many dating activities such as kissing, touching (forerunners to sex), petting (sex with your clothes on), or dancing (sex with your clothes on standing up). It also includes how you dress. Certain dress and hairstyles are sensual because they make a sexual statement and stimulate the flesh. Christian young ladies need to understand that certain sensual dress and frizzy hairstyles say to a boy, “Try me, I might. ” They are a subtle offer of sex. That is what makes them popular and exciting, isn’t it? 4. Worldly is that which is selfish. It is worldly to use someone to gratify yourself, or ruin your testimony or someone else’s just to satisfy yourself. It is worldly to dishonor God, your family, and your church, just to enjoy some sensual pleasure.
THE WORLD’S STANDARDS ARE A FAILURE
Here are the latest figures for the U.S.A. that I copied out of The Word of Life Annual for 1989 that proves the world’s standards for the relationship between unmarried teens and young adults is not only wrong, but also a tragic failure. 1. By age 14, 30,000 girls become pregnant. 2. By age 15, 1 in 5 girls admits having sex. 3. By age 16, 1 in 3 girls admits having sex. 4. By age 17, almost 60% of boys and girls have had intimate relations. 5. By age 18, 40% of the teen-age girls, who attend conservative, evangelical churches admit to having lost their virginity (Our personal experience has been that it is no longer uncommon for girls, who graduated from a Christian School, to conceive out of wedlock). 6. By age 20, 4 out of 5 unmarried males, and 3 out of 5 unmarried females admit to having premarital sex. 7. By adulthood, 1 out of 4 will seek treatment for a sexually transmitted disease.
Here is more. In 1986 the Cincinnati public school board reported that I out of ll girls in the public school was pregnant and that in the next three school years, 1 out of 4 would be. That means that I out of 4 girls who started school in 1986 will be pregnant by 1989.
Although dating may eventually lead to marriage, it is not intended to lead directly to marriage. The main motive behind dating is some kind of sexual stimulation and satisfaction. If someone would argue that point, I would say, “If it is just the company of the opposite sex you are after and not sexual stimulation, hold your sister’s hand ” Dating, as I have defined and described it, is not in the Bible in word, principle or example.
Therefore, It is Worldly.
2.Courting= Courting is young men and women seeking each other out, under their parents’ or guardians’ supervision, for the purpose of finding a spouse. Christian courting is the same, except I would add, finding a spouse in the will of God. This is scriptural. It is found in the Bible in word, principle and example.
Doctrinal Basis For This Study
Worldly people like to deny any absolute authority and leave all matters of religion and morals up to personal opinion. They say things like: “Different strokes for different folks,” “That’s just your opinion, ” “That’s your interpretation,” or “You can’t legislate morality. ” When the truth is all legislation is morality.
This paper no doubt contains opinions and interpretations. However, it is a Biblical study and a doctrinal statement. Every place this paper is Biblical, it is doctrinal and authoritative. Doctrine is not opinion, it is truth. God made us and He made us male and female. God created sex and marriage. He has a lot to say about both. What he says in word, principle and example is doctrinal truth.
THE FALL OF ALL MANKIND IN ADAM
God made us; however, we are not as God made us. All mankind has fallen into sin in Adam.(Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Rom. 5:12)
Mankind is no longer innocent or naturally obedient to God. He is sinful and naturally disobedient to God. The sin nature of all men and women, boys and girls, has a great bearing upon the subject of dating or courting.
Man was created in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, man is essentially a spiritual being. However, unlike God, we live in mortal bodies of flesh. The fall affected man’s whole being, spirit, soul and body. Salvation “quickens ” or regenerates the spirit, saves the soul, but it does not regenerate or save the flesh, The flesh is the seat of sin. Paul said: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:…” (Rom, 7:18)
Even after we are saved, the flesh is still the seat of sin and lust in our lives. The flesh “is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts…”(Eph. 4:22) When we are not in the spirit, that is in submission to Christ, we are in the flesh or in submission to sin. If dating is worldly and not of God, it can not be governed by the spirit. Therefore, it will be governed by the flesh and:The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness…” (Gal. 5:19)
The first four sins of the flesh are sexual sins, and if we let nature take its course, it will sin. When healthy young people of the opposite sex are put together unsupervised in a romantic situation, sooner or later, there will be serious problems. God asked this question on the subject: ‘(Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Can one go on hot coals, and his feet not be burned?” (Prov, 6:27,28) Can a boy and a girl, ,t the peek of their sexual development touch, embrace, kiss and not be sexually aroused? When we address the problems of dating or courting, we must consider our fallen, sinful natures.
Dating, as I have defined it, is not Biblical. That is, it is not found in the Bible in word, principle or example. Many young men and women in the Bible got married, but none of them dated. Therefore, any lesson on dating, from a Biblical point of view, always ends up being a lesson on sexual purity. That is, we try to sanctify a worldly practice with some good Bible teaching. That is a lot better than nothing, but Bible lessons on dating do not exist, because dating, as a subject, is not found in the Bible.
And what is with religious publications that seem to approve the contemporary custom of dating and write guidelines for it. Christian articles on dating usually are not on dating at all, but are almost always lessons on sexual purity. How can you write Bible lessons for something that is not on dating at all, but are almost always lessons on sexual purity. How can you write Bible lessons for something that is not in the Bible in word, principle or example? These religious publications take it for granted that all Christian teens are going to date. A funndamental publication said, “Dating is not wrong.” It does not give one Bible example why it is right, but it says that it is all right to date and to build relation-ships with the opposite sex, but not commitments. Commitments, according to the article, lead to sex. In other words it is all right to go swimming, but do not get wet. The authors of the article also know it is. Therefore, the article on dating is actually an article on purity because dating leads to intimacy. That is the purpose of dating!
The Biblical basis for courting is found in the Bible in word, principle, and example.
1. In word: “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.” (Prov. 18:22) Clearly the word “findeth” implies a purposeful seekin & looking process.
2. In principle: “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them (that is, the nations); thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son…n (Deut. 7:3) Parents are to be involved in supervising their children’s marriages.
3.In examples: Adam and Eve, Isaac and Rebekah, Christ and the Church.
Because the Principle and example of courting is found in the Bible, a Biblical doctrine of courting can be discovered, revealed and taught just like any other Biblical doctrine.
THE BIBLICAL MODEL FOR MARRIAGE
God created us male and female and by so doing He created sex. He not only created sex, but He commanded its employment when He said, “Be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth.” Therefore, sex is not only part of God’s creative plan and purpose, it is part of the very nature of man. Man is a sexual being. God instituted marriage as His righteous answer to man’s sexual nature and need.
“Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge,” (Heb. 13:4)
After God created Adam and placed him in the garden to tend and dress it, He said: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Gen.2:18)
Therefore, God made Eve and brought her to Adam. This is the first marriage· God instituted marriage for man’s good and God’s glory. I think it is clear that marriage is the normal estate for healthy young men and women. It is natural that YOUNG men and women will be drawn to each other, and it is only right that this attraction should be governed by some principle in the Word of God.
Our Lord gave us the basic doctrine of marriage when He quoted what Adam had said in Genesis 2:24: “And he answered them and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?”(Matt, 19:4,5)If we thoughtfully follow our Lord’s statement, we can reason like this:
1. God created us male and female, or sexual beings. 2. God instituted marriage as His righteous answer to man’s sexual nature and need.
3. Courtship is the process that brings men and women together for marriage.
4. Therefore, courtship is part of the doctrine of marriage, and we can find principles and guidelines for courtship in our Lord’s doctrinal statement about marriage.
THE BIBLICAL MODEL FOR COURTSHIP
We will construct some basic guidelines for courtship from our Lord’s doctrinal statement on marriage.
“For this cause shall a man leave Father and mother, and shall cleave to a wife…” ~Matt. 19:5)
“A MAN..,” OR MATURITY
It is a “man” who is to leave his father and mother for a wife and not a boy going out with a girl. Think with me for a moment. Why did God wait to create Eve? Why did not God create Eve at the same time He created Adam? A wise Bible teacher said the delay was for Adam to prove himself in the garden by dressing it and naming the animals. Adam had both a proven vocation and an education before God gave him a wife. Adam and Eve were full-grown adults when God joined them husband and wife. Dating is almost always too much too young.
Today, we often see children going out with each other on dates. It is not uncommon for 12 to 14 year olds to be pushed into some kind of a dating situation by public schools or parents. Dating is almost always too much too young. When children start to date in the early teens, innocence is exhausted too soon. Dating is intimacy and soon creates familiarity and sexual pressure. When children start kissing and petting at 13 or 14, what are they going to do at 18 or 19? When pediatricians start diagnosing pregnancy, dating was started too young. Society has reached the point where elementary children are experimenting with sex. Sexual pressure has moved down from the colleges to the high schools, to the middle schools and is now entering the elementary grades. Some have said that innocence is dead!
At what age should young people be allowed to go out with each other on dates? I guess the age many conservative people set is 16. However, 1 do not think that I have ever met a 16 year old that was ready for marriage and parenthood. I know what some people think, but they are wrong and the figures on teen morality prove that they are wrong, Where did dating come from? I think it came about as a result of the industrial revolution which pushed the age of adolescence up from 16-18 to 21-25. Adolescence is the period of a child’s life that he spends in an adult body without having adult maturity or responsibilities. Adolescence ends when a child is able to support himself independently of his parents, family or society. As this age increased with the complexity of society, pressure for some kind of sexual stimulation and satisfaction outside of marriage became a way to provide teens with some sexual cutlet. Dating is sexual. I do not see how that truth can be successfully argued against. Just take almost any dating teens and try to restrict them to dating situations where there is no possibility of any kind of sexual intimacy and see what you run in to.
When young people ask, “When will I be grown up enough to be treated like an adult?” I answer that there are some reliable indicators. Young people start to show some real maturity, not when they can operate an automobile, earn spending money or look down and see the top of mom’s head, but when:
1. They begin to seek; respect and value the counsel of their parents and other godly adults, who love them. As long as you think adults are, “out of it,” and that poor old dad just does not understand, and mom is not “with it ” YOU are still in the junior department. The day you begin to seek and value the advice and counsel of mom, dad and the pastor is the day you take your first steps as a man or woman.
2. You are on the path to maturity when you begin to pick your friends by their character and not their looks, excitement or popularity.
3. You have your hand on the doorknob of maturity when you begin to take responsibility for your own mistakes, and begin to see your own character faults with a view to doing something about them.
4. You are putting your key in the lock of adulthood when you begin to see that you are responsible to others, and that there is more give than take to life, Suffering and sacrifice are part of life.
5. You are turning that key when you begin to set your ,, life goals and start working toward them without being pushed or reminded.
6. You are pushing the door to maturity open when you are ready to take the responsibility for your own life and upkeep.
7. When you are ready to accept the responsibility for someone else’s life, like a wife or child, you are an adult.
If you see some wisdom and logic in these seven guidelines, I think you can also see that there is no set age to consider a young person to be an adult. Some young people would begin to demonstrate these attributes at the end of the teen years, and others do not until the end of the twenties. Mental, emotional and spiritual maturity is a very personal thing. Usually it is like holiness. When you think you have it you do not!
Because dating is almost always too much too young, It is a serious mistake for churches and Christian Schools to have dating activities like “Sweetheart” banquets and hay rides where dating is required or encouraged. Church will not sanctify a worldly activity. Churches and Christian Schools should stick to group activities for their teens and refuse any worldly compromise with dating.
When children and young people are loved and appreciated at home, at school and at church, and when they are away from the peer pressures of public school, they are not as eager to date as their worldly counterparts, who do not have these blessings. Children and young people from a loving, Christian environment that meet their needs are almost always older than their counterparts in the world when they do get serious about the opposite sex.
“A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER…” I think this speaks of the authority and security of living with your parents until you are ready for marriage. As far as I can tell, this is the way it was always done in the Bible. In general, for the most part, young people should remain at home under their parents’ supervision and authority until they are ready for marriage. I think we should consider young people, who live away from home at a Christian college, or who have moved to another church’s ministry for training, to still be under their parents’ authority and supervision. There are no doubt exceptions to this rule, but you are probably not one of them, nor should you want to be. Your parents know you better, and care more for you than anyone else in the world. You need their love, wisdom and supervision for the major decisions of your life, especially for courtship and marriage.
I know it sounds startling for me to suggest that the parents should have primary role in the choice of spouses for their children, but that’s the Biblical model. Abraham sent for a wife for his son. Isaac and Rebekah, being weary of the daughters of Heth, Esau’s wives, sent Jacob to find a wife among their people. The principle of the parents supervising the choice of a spouse for their children was so much part of the Biblical model, that when it came time for the children of Israel to settle down in Babylonian captivity that God gave them these instructions through Jeremiah: Build ye, houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; Take ye wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands…” (Jer. 29:5-6)
There was a Harvard research paper on the subject of parents arranging the marriage of their children. It was discovered that making love and romance, the basis of marriage was a Roman contribution to Western civilization I discovered that for thousands of years, in all parts of the world that the principles of family ties, religion, station of birth, wealth and education were the founding factors in marriage, and not love and physical attraction. This researcher dug up the fact that 100 years ago in Japan marrying for love was a capital crime. The Japanese wisely reasoned that family, its name and inheritance, were far too important to be left to something as shaky as love and romance· Moreover, this researcher, much to her surprise, found that, in general, marriages arranged by the parents were just as happy and often more successful than marriages left to romance and falling in love. This is because the love that brings a couple together is not the love that keeps them together. There is no doubt that romantic songs, poems, plays, novels and movies have popularized the notion of romantic love being the basis for marriage. The plots of such plays as Romeo and Juliet have done as much as anything else to break down parental authority in marriage and idealize romantic love as the basis for marriage· Thus Shakespeare, and not the Bible, has become the accepted standard. The ideal of romantic love, the attitude that “I do not love him any more” is a real and legitimate excuse for divorce. Some have even gone so far as to change the marriage vows to “As long as we both shall love ” instead of “As long as we both shall live. ” Romantic love and physical attraction, while they are important, are not sound foundations to build a life and family upon.
Yes, I really mean it! Dad, mom and your pastor should have first and final approval on your choice of a spouse. If dad, mom, your pastor or godly grandparents do not approve of him or her, he or she is wrong for you! It may hurt very deeply to break off strong attraction to someone that you feel very good or a divorce will hurt about, but years of an unhappy marriage much more.
At this point, I would ask the parents if you are raising your children to accept such counsel and guidance? Are you bringing them up in the way that they should go? When the time comes for your children to seek a wife or husband, will they also seek your counsel and guidance? You see, many seem to fail at the critical point of dating, courtship and marriage, but really they failed years before. You need to start now to raise your sons and daughters for the day you see them exchange rings with the future parent of your grandchild and heir!
My young friend, there are a hundred ways for you to mess up your life and the lives of your family, and marrying the wrong person is one of the most popular. A 60% + divorce rate proves that romance and physical attraction are very poor ways to choose a spouse. If mom or dad do not approve, do not even go out with the person! A major part of the sin and rebellion that brought on the Flood was rebellious sons and wrong marriages based on physical attraction.
“That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.)(Gen. 6:2)
Here is a beautiful testimony from the life of Hudson Taylor. He met his wife on the mission field of China. His future wife was under the charge of a very strict Christian lady who disliked and distrusted Hudson Taylor because he lived with the Chinese and dressed like them. He did this because the Chinese hated and feared the white man. When Hudson proposed marriage, the girl’s governess refused and forbade Hudson to see the girl. Hudson obeyed until by chance they were brought together and the girl accepted Hudson’s proposal. However, they did not proceed with a wedding until they had received their parents’ permission. When the girl’s governess wrote a very disapproving letter about Hudson to the girl’s guardian, they feared they would not receive permission to many, and this is what they determined to do: “lf our parents do not approve we will not get married for how can we expect the blessings of God upon our lives and ministry if we fail to honor our father and mother. ”
“A MAN SHALL LEAVE…”
Notice that it is the man that is leaving, not the woman. This speaks to me about the ethics or priority to the male being the suitor. I know that hardly anyone thinks a thing about a girl calling a boy, or a woman asking a man out and paying for his lunch. But, hardly anyone bats an eye when a man and woman move in with each other without being married. Both of these attitudes come from the same source, the wicked world. We are not of this world, and a Christian girl has no suitor. This ideal is seen through the Bible, and it is especially seen in the intimate union between Christ and the Church. We are the sought, and He is the seeker. Times have changed, but boys and girls, men and women have not. The girl who chases a boy, calls and pursues him will be compromising herself. The wrong boy will take advantage of this. Moreover, it is not proper. It reverses God’s order and opens the door to sin and compromise. I can hear you saying, “I do not think it is a compromise for me to call a boy!” But look around you at the aggressive girls, who spit, smoke and cuss like the boys. Look at their sloppy dress and morals and think that when you call a boy, that is the direction you are going and the level to which you are sinking. Compromise and worldliness starts somewhere, and one place it starts is letting down simple ethics and basic manners that have served us well for centuries!
THE BALL IS IN YOUR COURT
I will admit that up to this point, I have not taken an open minded approach to dating, and have shown strong bias for courting. However, I believe that in so doing, I have been consistent with the Bible, human nature and the facts about dating versus courting. Dating will not fit the Biblical model as an introduction into marriage. Dating is a worldly institution, which is not only based upon wrong principles, but it is also a social failure and a moral disaster.
What I have tried to do up to this point is offer some facts about dating and courting, and to build a framework of doctrine based on the Biblical model of marriage. If you have found some agreement with me in this regard, the ball is in your court. Your are going to have to judge the facts in the light of reality, take the framework of Biblical principles I have given, and clothe them with your own personal convictions.
COURTING – A GuideCourting is young adults seeking each other under their parents’ supervision for the purpose of finding a spouse in the will of God.
Convictions are a set of Biblical guidelines, beliefs, and standards that guide the conduct. If you have had nominal Christian up bringing, and especially if you are saved, and have received some Bible teaching, you have some convictions. You have some innate or natural insight into what is right and wrong, and your convictions cause you to lean strongly toward what is right. Your convictions make your conscience sensitive to right and wrong.
PUTTING YOUR CONVICTIONS TO WORK:
1. You must decide WHAT you are going to do. You must examine your convictions, before you ever get serious about anyone of the opposite sex. No doubt, if YOU have received any kind of Biblical training and teaching, you already have enough convictions to keep you out of serious trouble. Before you ever get involved with anyone of the opposite sex, you must decide what you are going to do and how far you are going to go before marriage. Having decided that, you must be willing to submit yourself to a program that will enable you to deepen your God-given convictions. If you think you can do it alone, you are deceiving yourself about one of the most important times of your life!
2. You must decide WHO you are going to go with. We have already given the Biblical guidelines on this point. Remember, under the section we covered on the “Unequal Yoke. ” It is easier to define who not to go out with, than it is who to go with. Make up your mind that you will not go with anyone who violates God’s command against the unequal yoke. Make up your mind that you will not allow yourself to become involved with anyone your parents disapprove of. Make up your mind that you will not go with anyone who violates God’s command against the unequal yoke. Make up your mind that you will not allow yourself to become involved with anyone your parents disapprove of. Make up your mind that you will not consider anyone who will encourage you to compromise your Biblical convictions, violate your Biblical vows or hinder your Christian service. I know a young woman who had a call to be a missionary before she went to Bible College. Therefore, when she got to college she resolved that she would only go with men who were called to the mission field. She kept that resolve despite many attractive invitations. At Bible College, God gave her a definite call to go to New Guinea, From that time on, she restricted her interest only to men called to New Guinea, a very slender group in a small Bible College. However, God was faithful. She met her husband at college at the Missionary Prayer Band when they discovered that they were both praying for the same field. They have made a God-blessed couple! Joy and power radiate from their lives and ministry!. Dr, Don Green says, “One of the most beautiful and romantic things on earth is a young couple, deeply in love with each other and united in an adventure to serve God by faith. ” AMEN
Listen, the very fact that something like I have just related sounds so strange and unappetizing to you is proof of how carnal and shallow you are in the things of God. One of the sorriest, most heart-breaking, life wrecking things you will ever do is marry someone who will keep you out of the will God or make your life of service to Him miserable!
If you are to marry in God’s will, you must court in God’s will. That means never getting involved with anyone:
a. Who will violate God’s command against the unequal yoke.
b. Who does not have your parents’ approval.
c. Who will compromise your service and walk with God.
d. Who you feel convicted about going with.
3. You must decide WHERE you will go when you go out. Before you ever go out you must make up your mind where you will go. You must determine never to go anywhere you or your Biblical convictions are likely to be compromised.
“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Rom. 13:14) “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (I Thes. 5:22)
Our definition of courting implies a chaperon. That does not mean a double date. The dictionary defines chaperon as “An older person who for propriety accompanies young unmarried people.”
THE DOUBLE DATE
A double date is not a chaperoned outing. I do not want to imply that all or even most Christian couples are planning immorally, but in the right circumstances many will be prone to it. I knew of a situation in which one couple on the double date served as a lookout for the other. Double dating may reduce premarital sex on the double date, but it will not do much to reduce what leads up to it, kissing and petting.
I do not want to part company with you at this point, but to be consistent with what I have said up to now, and to be true to myself, I must say that all courting activities must be supervised and at times that will require a chaperon. When courting is carried on in a church or at church activities, I do not think a chaperon is necessary beyond the normal supervision usually supplied at such meetings. Such meetings are public and usually have adequate supervision as well as ample room for the necessary and proper privacy of the couple. But when the couple goes out on what would usually be classified as a dating activity away from home or church activities, a chaperon is necessary.
The chaperon, by definition, must be an older person. Therefore, a little brother or sister may not be proper. I think a little brother or sister may serve as a watchdog for the couple on certain occasions. But there are times when the courting couple is going to want to go out in a more formal way, say to dinner or a concert or even on a picnic. The chaperon need not be mom or dad, although I have heard more than one dad say, “My daughter can date anytime she wants to, as long as I can go along.” When the courting couple wants to go out in a more formal, romantic way, a responsible, more mature, young married couple can serve, not only as a chaperon, but as good Fellowship. Properly done, all courting activities must be supervised.
If this has irked you and caused you to think, “Man! what a drag, ” it is because you want to date. You are not interested in going out unless there is some opportunity to be intimate. The very fact that you felt the way you did about courting supervision proves my point and proves you need a chaperon.
Now comes the other objection, that I feel may be sincere, but unfounded, “No one will ever want to go with me under these rules. ” The truth is, supervised courting has worked and is working. It is working right now in our church. Many fine young men prefer it because it frees them from much of the pressure, guilt and frustration dating produces. It is much safer for the girls and more wholesome for the couple. Moreover, if the person you are courting does not work out , the wholesomeness of courting will add immeasurably to the excitement of the marriage, the happiness of the home and the strength of the marriage. I will say this one more time, because courting can provide all the privacy a couple needs. The main objections to courting are rooted in rebellion, “No one is gonna’ tell me what..!” or the lust of the flesh, “I am not going to sit around and have someone keep an eye on me!”
I wish it were that most young people could get involved with the opposite sex without serious sexual frustration and compromise, but it is not. You not only need Biblical conviction, you need help in keeping them. Courting will be one of the most important times of your life and you will have few chances to do it right. It may be a sacrifice to do it right, but there is only pleasure in sin for a season. I have made my case for the propriety and necessity of courting. I will rest on it.
“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.” (Psa. 119:9) “My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.” (Psa. 119:25)
GETTING STARTED After you have established your own Biblical convictions, guidelines and goals, meeting the right person, under the right circumstances is not difficult.
1. Pray and submit yourself to God. Over 80% of all young women want to be married and have a family. You are probably part of the 80%. God wants most young men and women to be married and have a family. Therefore, pray about it. Submit yourself to God and His Word, seek His counsel and pray for Him to lead you to that special one. Then rest in His wisdom and mercy by faith.
2. Widen your circle of opportunities. Be faithful to the services of your home church, but go to as many camp meetings, youth camps, mission trips, and Gospel meetings as you can, not only for their spiritual benefit, but to meet other Christian young people. We have had a number of young couples meet at such places in the last few years. Moreover, God can bring young people of similar interests and backgrounds together at such places. We have had one couple meet on a mission trip to Mexico, several at camp meetings and one at a young adult fellowship.
There was a young man in his third unhappy marriage. Asked where he met his first wife. “In a bar, ” he said. “Where did you meet number two?” I inquired. “l picked her up in the same bar, ” was the answer. Like a fool, I ask about number three. Guess what? It was a different bar. You say, “That is wild far out!” No, that is common. You might be just as sorry if you picked up your wife or got picked up by your future husband at a movie, party or rock concert! Those are all good places to get used, defective merchandise, if that is what you are looking for. 3. Accept and seek introductions. This is another good way to meet someone. In fact it is one of the best ways.
3. Accept introductions. If some sincere brother or sister in the Lord says to you, “There is someone I would like you to meet,” unless it is something other than awkwardness, shyness or embarrassment, accept the invitation. We have had numbers of young couples meet that way. It works! Seek introductions. If there is someone you want to meet, seek an introduction through a third party. It is discreet, polite and effective.
4. Secure the blessings of the parents. Your parents have first and final approval on all the people you are likely to be romantically involved with. Talk it over with them before you get involved. Seek their counsel, approval and blessing. The young man should introduce the young lady to his parents. If further progress is made, the parents should meet and get acquainted.
5. Seek your pastor’s advice. Before you get too serious, seek your pastor’s advice. Pastors often know things even parents do not know. Moreover, most couples seek premarital counseling after the wedding arrangements are already made. It is often too late. I speak from sad experience.
1. Obey all your parents’ rules. Whether you agree or not, obey your parents. God will bless you for it. If the one you are going with tries to get you to break the rules, break the relationship. As long as you obey Dad and Mom, you are under their and under the Lord’s protection If you break the rules you are on your own and open to temptation, danger and harm.
2. Be true to your convictions. Discuss your convictions, standards and goals with the one you are intending to court. Find out where they stand, and let your stand be known. Then agree to help each other keep faith with God, yourselves and your parents.
3. Follow God’s leadership by faith. If everything else is right, but you can not get peace, or you lose God’s peace about a relationship, break it off. It is better to suffer heartache now than a heartbreak later.
A young preacher, who God is blessing, gave me his testimony about his marriage the other day. It went like this. He was called to preach at the age of 14. He had been interested in only one girl all through high school. She was a fine young lady. They had sat together in church for three years, and after graduation they were engaged. This young preacher felt uneasy about the relationship, although it was pure and correct. He asked God to do something for him if she was not the right girl. He asked God to take away all his feelings for the girl if she was not right for him. In other words, he submitted himself, her and the relationship to God. He soon lost all the romantic feelings he had for the girl and broke off the engagement as cleanly and as kindly as he could. A short time later he met the young lady who would become his wife. In talent, temperament, and desires, they are a near perfect match and are deeply devoted to the Lord and each other. As it turned out, the other girl would not have made a pastor’s wife. Following God’s leadership kept the young man and, yes, the girl from an unhappy, unfruitful marriage.
It is so important to get started right. That is more than half the battle. If you get started right, and stay right, the chances are you will marry right and have a life of joy, power and usefulness. Please determine to have God’s best by going God’s way!!!