Ok, so I know it’s kind of verbose. The title. Up there *points up*. The problem is that there are terms in our vocabulary these days that we use for ‘getting together’. Unfortunately we also have preconceived ideas about what the words dating, courting, betrothing, friendshipping, specialshipping, or even ‘dorting’ mean.
In our desperate struggle to fight the failure of the world’s system for pairing off (Scripturally for life), we have determined that there is a better way and given that way a new label. Sometimes, we seem more interested in labels, formulas, and appearances than we do in those who’s lives we are toying with. Our little ‘plans’ are often little more than experiments in human psychology.
Mention courting in mainstream America and they imagine the nineteenth century with a young man sitting on the porch swing holding a bouquet of flowers and the girl demurely stitching at some ‘fancy work’. Some may think of the Amish and snicker at the concept of bundling. The idea that people, in today’s society, would use the term courting to describe a pairing off process would not cross most minds.
In smaller American circles, the word ‘date’ has joined the ranks of other foul four letter words. Dating is considered to be nothing more than a license to sin. It is the highway to licentiousness. Dating is nothing more than two people without a smidgeon of concern for the purity of the person they’ll be pawing with abandon as soon as the pair excapes the prying eyes of those around them.
Then there is that marvelous word betrothal. Both of the aforementioned groups see this as an archaic Biblical term for an engagement that is so serious it requires a divorce. They don’t happen today… or so most people think. Those who practice this process can be very certain of the superiority of their approach.
I say that there are good and bad elements to all of these things. You see, my problem is that once again, we are trying to legistlate what Christ has not. Christ calls single people to purity, not to lack of passion. Scripture calls us to love, not to courtship. We’re called to modesty and defference, not to a superior method of choosing a mate.
I am seriously concerned at the idea that people are being taught that it is right for parents to pick out a spouse for their daughters and the daughters are given little if any veto power. I know it sounds shocking in our day and age of liberality and feminism, but this is happening. Daughters, whether by direction or unwillingness to protest, are marrying men because mom and dad think that they should.
I am not a feminist. I am against most of the feminist agenda. I revel in the position God has given me in my home. I believe in daughters remaining under the authority and protection of their fathers as they grow up. What I don’t believe in, is fathers not rearing daughters capable of knowing their own preferences, having discernment, and knowing when to ask dad to make a decision and when to weigh his advice and make their own.
My daughter is getting married next month. I remember well the long conversations we had about the whole courtship process. “How do I know if it is God’s will for me to marry him?” “What if I don’t make a good wife?” She looked at things from every angle. I was thrilled. The questions he asked her were pointed and difficult. “Are you willing to move away from your family if we need to?” “Are you prepared to live very frugally?”
I was glad to see them both asking difficult and often abiguous questions. I also asked difficult ones myself. “Are you sure this is what you want?” I tried to put doubt in her head. Part of that is her youth. She’s young. She’s making a decision for life. That isn’t an easy thing to do. However, I made the same decision, at the same age, and I’ve never regretted that. I didn’t want to make her confused or treat her as if she was incapable of the right decision, I just wanted her to really have to consider the question rather than give the impression that I was pushing for this.
My daughter is getting married. She’s marrying a wonderful man. She’s making an adult decision that is permanent. We’ve counseled her. We’ve discussed what will be hard about it and we’ve discussed the blessings. We’ve made it clear that we are 100% behind her… whatever she chooses.
We would have been just as happy to keep her here with us for the next 20 years… but only if that is what SHE wants for her life based upon what she believes the LORD wants for her life.
She’s marrying her only ‘boyfriend’. She’ll walk through life knowing he’s the only man she’s ever kissed. She’s escaped one of the worst pitfalls of America’s dating process. She’s pure. She’s marrying because of her own decision. We didn’t make it for her. We didn’t push, pressure, or prevent. She got to know him away from our prying eyes and ears but without compromising propriety or reputation. He took her out alone to public places. The grocery store, the feed store, to pay a bill, to his parents house, to work on his yard, or to a local play or concert. She knows him. She doesn’t know a facade put on for public show. Too many women marry the facade and get stuck with the man. Challice is marrying the man.
We didn’t do everything ‘right’ in this situation. I think there are things we would have done differently if we had it to do over again. Nothing serious and it wouldn’t have changed the outcome, but we still would have made some changes.
The problem is, I don’t think it’ll matter for our next daughter. She’s a different person. She’ll be marrying someone vitally different. She’ll most likely be much older. She’ll also have different areas of weakness and strengths. He’ll have different areas of weakness and strength.
We learned a lot from this process but the one thing I think I’ll take away more than anything else, is that I am now more firmly convinced than ever that I don’t want a list of formulas and high-sounding terms. I want a memory of godliness, surety and trust. I want to be a month away from my next daughter’s wedding and know with the certainty that I have now, that all is well and that we all did the right thing.
I no longer fear the future in regards to my daughters. God has proven Himself faithful (as if He needed to. oh me of little faith). He has wonderful husbands for my girls… and I pray I am given the wisdom to teach them all discernment in choosing their spouses.