|(Some Thoughts on Dating & Courtship)|
Friend to Churches Ministries, 3166 Wildwood Circle Massillon, OH 44646. Phone: 330-837-2568
I told you that I would give you my theory on finding a mate. Now please understand, this is just a theory; it is not presented as a doctrine. Therefore, you will not be considered carnal, evil, or just out of the will of God if you choose not to follow it. People who promote "spiritual micromanagement" won't like it because it does not put them in the place of God. (Picking a mate for young Christians.) Parents won't like it because it cannot guarantee that their child will not get a bad mate. (But think about it. Being a Christian doesn't even guarantee that!) Also, it is more than a formula or format and will require much more from parents than simply assuming that their children are immoral little harlots and whoremongers who are just waiting for an opportunity to rip their clothes off. There's more to raising children than "guard duty"!
Whenever a Christian young man (or young lady) asks me about how to find "the right mate," I simply tell them this, "Don't look for a wife...because you might find one!" Instead, I explain the following illustration. Imagine a large target, and God's throne is situated in the "bull's eye." Imagine further that the rings around the throne represent varying "degrees of spirituality"-- lessening the farther you get from the throne. I then tell the young man, "Work at getting as close to God (the center of the target) as you can. Spend enough time there, and you will find a wife there."
Everyone wants a spouse who is close to God. But if they aren't close themselves (in one of the outer rings), they have no business asking God for a spouse who is close to Him. They won't be happy. Furthermore, a truly spiritual young person who is foolishly looking for a spouse may end up with someone farther from The Throne than he is. He won't be happy. Neither "courting" or "dating" (I promote neither) can prevent this from happening.
I further advise a young man to seek a wife who will love the Lord more than she will love him and who will understand that he is going to love the Lord more than he loves her. Of course, anybody can SAY THAT. That's why it is so important to be truly "close to The Throne" rather than giving the standard "lip service" of "Oh, sure I love the Lord...Now can I have a wife?"
You can see where this will require much more from parents than simply sending an armed guard along every time their child goes somewhere with someone of the opposite sex. There is going to have to be a greater emphasis by the parents that their child has a life that is truly devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ rather than the "I need a wife, Lord; send me a good one 'cause I'm saved" approach. Or the "I don't want my child's marriage to end up in a divorce. We're Christians so we deserve a good marriage" fantasy.
Parents are going to have to have a genuine, active relationship with the Lord, or they won't even know how to direct their child to have one. You can't pretend to love the Lord now just because your daughter has reached "marrying age" in hopes that the Lord has overlooked your previous years of selfishness and indifference.
Parent! Get in that Book! Quit doing only what is convenient for you to do "for the Lord." Don't help split any churches or rip the throat out of the pastor just because he made you mad...even if you are "right." Doing such things will put something bad into your children that no amount of "courting" can ever help. You see, how can you direct your child to have a life that is close to The Throne if you spend so little time there! (Maybe you should just stick to your program. It's easier.) You can't just order your child, "Love the Lord!" when they have never seen how to in your own life. If you lie, cheat, cuss, backbite, or have other carnal problems in your life, you are going to instill spiritual problems into your Christian son or daughter that may ruin their marriage no matter what system they used to get a spouse.
The truly Christian life is something that is lived everyday...minute by minute...second by second. It is loving the Lord with all your soul, mind, and body. It's not a formula! It's a heart relationship that is critically injured the moment you say, " I won't obey You in that area, Lord." If you have lived with God's will always being subservient to yours, then you have no good thing to impart to your children spiritually. And no amount of "courting" is every going to change that.
Listen! Kathy and I met on church visitation. We went there not to find a mate but to serve the Lord we both loved. The thing that caught my attention about her was her love for the Lord. Later she told me that is what she noticed about me. We "dated" by going soulwinning on the streets. "Courting" hadn't been invented yet. (Isn't that amazing! A "Bible doctrine" that no one had heard of till someone made it up a few years ago!) We drove alone on our way to go soulwinning or "God forbid!" to just get a burger together. We held hands as we walked, and I even kissed her but we never "made out." I NEVER touched her in any way wrong or sinful. Today when I look at my wife, I don't have to feel guilty about having defiled her when we were dating and assuage my guilt by shackling every teenager with it. (Maybe some of you men should simply apologize to your wife for your actions before you were married and get rid of the guilt!) We stayed clean before marriage and have a marriage that has lasted over 25 years and are still head over heels in love with each other without a mate finding system.
Dating is not a sure thing. Courting is not a sure thing. Betrothal is not a sure thing. In fact, there is no "sure thing" when hoping for a good marriage for your child. But a young person whose live is lived 100% for the Lord and who is led to The Throne by godly parents is going to have a better chance of finding the right spouse than one who is ordered to go there in hopes they'll get a husband or wife who won't embarrass their parents.
There are failures with dating, courting, betrothal, and with the next "biblical" system that some genius invents. But it is always good to surrender your will 100% to the Lord Jesus Christ and let Him lead you to a person of similar standing with Him.
Sorry! Dad and Mom. There's no "sure thing" in marrying off your child. But you'll never hurt them by getting as close to the Lord as you can...now, not when you need something from God.