Why should that fourteen year-old girl be wrapping herself up in a pimply, squeaky, adolescent boy when she is struggling with her own pimples, squeaks, and adolescence? Why should she establish a pattern now that will haunt her in her twenties—a pattern of finding self-worth in a man? Why is she so intent on pleasing her boyfriend that she will sacrifice her decorum in a bookstore?
Why should I be in a relationship if I am not prepared to marry? Must I really start this game at sixteen and continue it into my thirties? Must I really go through twenty-seven heartbreaks in order to find Mr. Right so I can give him 1/28th of my heart?
Is it any wonder that two immature, self-consumed, hormone-filled teenagers can’t have a pure relationship? Isn’t it rather absurd and unfair to expect them to stare at a triple-decker chocolate cake every day, smell the chocolate cake, and lick the fudge frosting but never take a bite?
There is another way, though. Many people call it “courting.” Some people call it “dating,” though it isn’t typical dating at all. And a few don’t call it anything at all. Semantics aside, courtship is about purity, marriage, and staying under authority the entire time. Where dating lets you go out with anyone you like, whether or not you would actually marry him, courtship requires you to be a bit more choosy. Where dating may or may not involve your parents (up until the point where you’ve already given him your heart and he asks the token question of your dad, but everyone involved knows what your dad must say), courtship requires the cooperation of both sets of parents. Where dating is about the thrill of the hunt, courtship is about the joy of the result.
Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel, and Ruth and Boaz all “courted.” Samson “dated”, however, giving his heart to two woman whom he knew he should not marry. Solomon, also—the wisest man in the world! He dated, although his “dating game” might look different from a modern version, because apparently, he married almost every woman he dated. Indeed, courtship is a thoroughly Biblical approach to relationships. It is rooted in one’s desire to obey God: “If ye love me, keep My commandments….He who has My commandments, and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and manifest Myself to him (John 14:15, 21).” The emotions of love are grounded by one’s desire to honor his parents (Ephesians 6:2-3), and the end result will bring glory to God: “Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on the earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed (Psalms 112:1-2).”