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.)