Last week Justin and I took Brendan (who is almost 15) to a Courtship and Dating Seminar sponsored by HEAV (Home Educators Association of Virginia).
Anne Miller (who is the President of HEAV) shared her family’s experiences of courtship with her 8 children (the oldest 6 are now happily married).
If you had mentioned the word “courting” to me a few years ago, I would have immediately thought of Little House on the Prairie…plus, I would have thought you were crazy 🙂 !
Well, just like God changed my mind about homeschooling, He is now helping us to consider the concept of courting verses dating.
So what exactly does it mean to court?
* Here’s how Merriam-Webster defines the term:
: to act in a way that shows that you want or intend to get married
: to seek the affections of; especially : to seek to win a pledge of marriage from
: to engage in social activities leading to engagement and marriage
So, how about the definition of dating?
: to do an activity with someone you have might have a romantic relationship with : to go on a date or several dates with (someone)
: to go out on usually romantic dates
Interesting definitions aren’t they????
To court someone means that your intention is to possibly marry the person, while dating involves “doing an activity with someone you might have a romantic relationship with.”
The two forms of getting to know a person have completely different end goals!
Courtship or “dating with a purpose” doesn’t occur until the young people involved are ready for marriage (emotionally, financially, spiritually, etc.). There is a lot of family involvement which helps to provide protection and accountablilty. Each couple has different needs so each courtship may look different, but the main goal is to seek the Lord’s will for the relationship. The families and the couple work together to determine the boundaries that feel right for them and hopefully the relationship will progress to a Godly marriage.
Now, obviously we as parents cannot (nor do we want to) force our boys to choose courtships over dating. There are pros and cons to both types of relationships. We are researching the differences, praying about what God wants for our family, and will offer guidance as needed.
Here a some of the Pitfalls of Dating shared during the seminar:
Courtship doesn’t come with a guarantee either:
Some of the resources that Anne suggested:
It’s a lot to think about and we certainly don’t have it all figured out yet! I hope that if nothing else, this post will get your family talking about your goals and expectations for your teen’s future relationships. Pray about it. Read God’s word. And buckle up :), because it will be here before you know it!!!
I found this amazing website (part of Focus on the Family) while I was doing some research. The relationship section has lots of helpful information!
Click on the picture below to check it out: