Every young girl dreams of her happily ever after! We all want our Prince Charming to sweep us away and then to live happily ever after! I believe a majority in this world could find their “soul mate” and true love with a lot less heartache and past regrets. As Christians, we try to make God the focal point of every aspect of our lives. We need God’s guidance in every decision we make. This includes the decisions we make in our “dating” life. A lot of families today are deciding to use “courtship/biblical dating” instead of what the rest of the world is following.
My family decided several years before I was even ready to think about dating, that they would rather use the method of “courtship” or “biblical dating”. My parents were saddened by seeing so many godly children hop from boyfriend to boyfriend, or girlfriend to girlfriend. They were tired of seeing these kids go through heartache at such young ages and sadly, for many “going too far” with their boy/girlfriends and some even losing their virginity. There had to be a different way that would save the hearts of young men and women and save their purity as well. The bible does not give us many point-blank guidelines for how we are to treat the “dating” process but we do know how young people are supposed to act with one another and how they are not to act. Single Christians young and old are not to lust after one another (Proverbs 6:24, Matthew 5:28), are to keep theirs minds and flesh pure (Psalm 24:4, 1 Timothy 4:12, Philippians 4:8) are to treat one another as brothers and sisters (1 Timothy 5:1-2). Instead of a couple “twitter-pated” teens deciding to date, courtship is about two mature people entering into a relationship with purity and marriage as their goal. With the courtship method, you will be able to enter your marriage with a clear conscience that you never went too far with an ex and (Lord willing!) without a heart broken by relationships gone bad.
If you want to go through the courtship process smoothly and get your kids on the same side as you, you should be prepared!
-My parents gave me books to read such as “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” (Joshua Harris) and “When God Writes Your Love Story” (Eric and Leslie Ludy) whenever I was in my early teens. I would highly recommend these books! They are written by people who dated and decided that dating might not be what God wishes for young people. You get to see the dating side and the courtship side. [Editor’s note: later this week we will be featuring a list of recommended resources for such reading… watch for it!]
-It is also helpful to find a family that has gone through the Courtship process so you can “pick their brain” and see success stories.
-Of course, PRAY! Ask God for guidance.
-It would be helpful to have the parents sit down with either the young man or young girl and have a list of “rules” prepared. If someone who wishes to court your child comes along, it will be only fair to everyone involved if you have all the details together.
-Wait! This can be a hard one. You have to have faith. Many people believe that you have to go through several relationships (some good, some bad) to be able to find “the one.” But how nice will it be on your wedding night to not have any scars from previous relationships? Be determined to not be physically or emotionally attached to someone until you believe that this is the person God wants you to marry. You do not have to go through several toads until you find your Prince!
How we did it!
Every courtship relationship will not be the same. Each couple is different and each person has different backgrounds. But every courtship should have the same goal in mind: keep God first in the relationship and stay pure (mentally and physically!). Every story will be a little different, but here is how we did it.
When Garrett (my husband) decided he wanted to be in a relationship with me, he went to my dad to ask permission. This makes the daughter’s job easier (especially if she does not like the guy). Since I was still under my father’s house and his rules, we thought it best that it goes through him. Since my dad knew I had already been interested in Garrett, he told him to go for it! My parents and I had already talked about rules that we wanted:
- There would be no alone dating until (if) there was an engagement. God tells us to flee from temptation. When you have two young people who find each other attractive and they are allowed to spend a lot of alone time together, it can, in some cases, turn to impurity. We are not supposed to put ourselves in situations that might tempt us. Until we were engaged, Garrett and I went on double-dates or group dates. This made it possible for us to actually get to know each other’s personality and see the true person, not just the “get pretty for a date” side of the person.
- My parents wanted to get to know Garrett as well as Garrett getting to know my family. Garrett came over to my family’s house every night. He became part of the family before the ring even came along!
- There would be no physical touching. Again, the point of courtship is to stay as emotionally and physically pure as possible. It is not for lack of trust in the couple, but for purity purposes and saving hearts. If God tells us to treat one another as brothers and sisters, we should not be messing around with someone physically or emotionally. As Garrett and I got more serious, we did hold hands and hug. Our first kiss and our first alone date were when he asked me to be his wife.
- Our parents would be a major part in our relationship. To have a wiser and older godly couple for mentors is how it should be. God commands the older to teach the younger. I was still my parent’s responsibility and I still lived under their roof, so we wanted to make them a part of our relationship.
Living Happily Ever After!
Of course every relationship has their bumps and bruises. But thanks to a loving God, my godly parents and a good, godly young man who happened to fall for me, my love story has been free from heartaches, impurity and drama! I was able to enter into my marriage with no regrets, I had no past “ex” guilt and I had a clear conscience that Garrett and I were pure through our whole courtship and engagement process. This is not because I am any better than anyone else. Every single person is able to have a story like this! It may not be popular in today’s world, but with God’s help it is possible!
By Alicia Bookout
Alicia and her husband, Garrett live in Clovis, NM where Garrett is the pulpit minister for 16th and Pile church of Christ. They have one sweet two-year old daughter, Emma. Alicia is a stay-at-home wife and mother. They both graduated from the Bear Valley Institute of Denver.