Filed under Singleness Courtship
Yesterday Steve and I had a conversation with a friend who is seeking to pursue a relationship with a girl in a God-honoring way. Yet, he was hesitant to use any term—“dating” or “courtship” to describe their relationship. As he put it, “people read so much into those terms.” He’s right. Sometimes simple words like these come loaded with all kinds of extra baggage, at times unfairly attached. That left this guy floundering for a “safe” and meaningful word or phrase to describe his relationship. I sympathize with his dilemma.
As we told our courtship stories these past two weeks, some of you may have wondered exactly what we meant by “courtship.” Or maybe you assumed you already knew.
Let me explain. First of all, we used the term “courtship” to describe our relationships, and yet it’s not the term that we think is important. It doesn’t matter if you call it “courtship,” “dating,” or “a special friendship,” (a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, right?). What matters—what truly matters today, and on that last day—is that we live in such a way that brings glory to God.
“Courtship” is simply—to borrow a concise definition from Joshua Harris—“that special season in a romance where a man and woman are seriously weighing the possibility of marriage.” By using the term “courtship,” we mean a relationship between a guy and a girl where they are seeking, above all, to honor God. This necessarily includes a commitment to purity (Col. 3:1-5), a humble pursuit of the involvement of others—godly parents if they are available (Heb. 3:13-14), and an intentional focus on serving one another (Phil. 2:1-11). As Dad always says, “Courtship is about sanctification—God changing us to be more like Him.”
Someone else who uses the term “dating” may mean all these things! We simply use the word “courtship” to distinguish between our culture’s approach to dating, which lacks these biblical essentials.
Ultimately, 1 Corinthians 10:31 is our infallible guide through the relationship maze: “So, whether you eat or drink [or date or court], or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”