Last night while we had a group of friends over we had a discussion on the topic of courtship, so I thought I would add to my previous post with some more thoughts on this subject.
My dad defines courtship as: the process by which a couple seeks to determine their readiness for marriage and seeks to discern God’s will for a covenant marriage that will be God honoring.
An important distinction in courtship from dating is that courtship is for those who are ready for marriage. It is not a romantic thrill-ride or for someone who simply desires a relationship, but for a man and a woman who desire to honor the Lord by exhibiting a godly relationship without emotional attachments before they make a lifelong commitment. In this way you experience the great blessing of saving all feelings and expressions of feelings until you are married.
There are also many different ways that families choose to court, and that must be determined by each family. I believe however, that the general vision is that instead of just getting married to be married that we actively prepare for marriage now and when God brings us the right person we commit to them permanently. Remember, the person you choose to marry is who you will live with the rest of your life, so you don’t want to make a wrong decision that could be avoided!
So what are the requirements of courtship? Mr. Bill Gothard explains that you must have:
• A life purpose bigger than marriage
• A “one-man, one-woman” commitment
• A restraint of affection
• A loyalty to parents
• An ability to deal with infatuations
• A readiness for marriage responsibilities
Girls, one thing you must understand is that you must marry a man who you can joyfully submit to and follow his vision. So what is your vision for life? What do you sense the Lord wants for your life? Begin to think and pray through these questions even now. In marriage you (as girls) are to complete your husband and help him further his vision in greater ways than he could do alone, ultimately bringing all glory to God.
As an end note, I must clarify that while I highly esteem courtship as the biblical process before you marry, I do not declare it to be a perfect process in any way. In our world of sin there is nothing perfect. You cannot trust that because you choose the process of courtship that you will have a great marriage or a wonderful spouse. But I believe courtship is the best decision because the parents are actively involved in determining whether the two of you are compatible in crucial areas so that your marriage can be to the glory of God alone!