Biblical courtship V’s cultural dating

outdoor dress-ups

I have read a few parenting books recently dealing with a variety of issues, dating being among them. The prevailing theme has been along the lines of “how to protect your child’s purity while they date.” As I read them my prevailing thought has been “Why are you putting your children into those situations?” ALL of the issues they talked about avoiding can be totally avoided by refusing to participate in the worldly practise of dating.

One of the main problems is that we are so used to the way things are (and were for most of us) that we forget to look at these things with a biblical worldview. Everybody (and by everybody I mean everybody in our Christian communities, peers and friends) is doing it so we figure it’s ok. I would like to suggest that there is an alternative and while it seems radical, out of touch, fundamental and just downright naive and ridiculous (to name but a few!) but it may just be a whole lot more like God’s way of doing it.

Before you think to yourself “My kids are young, we’ll worry about this later” – stop and realise that dropping the idea of courtship onto a teen for the first time will not go well to say the least! Preparing your children for a pure and biblical marriage starts now; in the early years. Our children witness relationships around them all the time and we use the discussions that arise as springboards to plant the seeds of biblical worldview.

Biblical courtship is against the mainstream to say the least but there are families out there who are successfully implementing it (some of whom we have seen in action) and far from being arranged marriages these unions have been blessed indeed. Before closing your mind to the idea, have a listen to this sermon on dating by Paul Washer and read a book or two on the subject. You may just find yourself with a whole new worldview.

While I do not necessarily agree with everything in the following titles, reading through a variety of books on the subject helps me to consolidate what I do believe. With that in mind, some titles I recommend are:

A Dating Sermon (free audio) by Paul Washer

It’s (Not That) Complicated Anna Sofia & Elizabeth Botkin

Before You Meet Prince Charming Sarah Mally

What He Must Be (If He Wants to Marry My Daughter) Vodie Baucham

Her Hand In Marriage (Biblical Courtship in the Modern World) Douglas Wilson

(In the interest of disclosure, if you choose to purchase these titles at Book Depository after clicking these links I do get a 5% bonus for sending you their way, however I never recommend resources unless I have personally read and loved them and have them sitting in my bookshelf as titles that have shaped my beliefs and parenting practice.)

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4 Responses

  1. thanks for this post! i really REALLY agree with this concept of courtship over dating… but hadnt thought about planting the seeds with my children who are under 6. But -good point – that this is something we need to start familiarising them with sooner rather than later! Btw – have you read ‘I kissed dating goodbye’? A fantastic book on this topic – it was hugely popular (and controversial!) a few years back… and articulated everything I thought about this but hadnt cemented.

    • I have read “I Kissed Dating Good-bye” and it did have some good information. One thing I didn’t say in the post (and I may go back and edit it later) is that the bible gives us some principles to go on but does not lay out the details of what dating/courtship should look like. Each time we read a new book or hear a talk on the subject I (and my husband) are forming our plans/thoughts for the future. These will probably change over time and possibly even from child to child. I am not attempting to lay out a specific “everyone shall do it like this” type idea, just prompting parents to start thinking, praying and planning for the future in this area rather than just blindly following the cultural practices around them.

  2. I am just amazed that you have brought this up in the first place! I know ALL parents THINK about this but, what do they really DO about their thinking? I mean of course that I am asking myself, I can only speak for me! I do believe that the relationships and courting issue is one to be spoken about with our children too. I never though thought of how young. I never thought of “acting out”, creating childrens “skits” or dress up pretend play surrounding this very important topic. I am a Christian Mom & I have two VERY OPPOSITE children, both girls. I am not in a relationship right now so my youngest has nothing really to base this on. In fact, all of her predominant Aunts, Uncles, even GrandParent are NOT in any intimate relationships either…. There is PLENTY to ponder, consider, and RAED READ READ for ME to assist them both. I suppose I better get started. Thank you sincerely for sharing these titles. I would like to ask where you think I (a single parent for MANY years) should start? It would have to be very basic. Preferably bible related as I am in deep bible study now. Thank you Again! Jeanine ;)

    • Our children are mostly young so we keep our discussions light. We do not want to encourage too much thought and imagination being poured into this area, but at the same time we want to be imparting some general ideas for the future surrounding purity etc. Girls especially can get too caught up in romantic imaginings which is not helpful. Doing the “Growing Kids God’s Way” parenting courses, followed by the “Reflections of Moral Innocence” course has helped us set a pathway for the future which covers a lot of ground. If they are available near you I would recommend starting there. Obviously they cover parenting in general but will help lay the foundation for Godly behaviour and thinking as your child grows.

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