I’ve read a lot on courtship in the past. Obviously, once I married my interest in it waned. The subject has been brought back to my mind by discussions with parents whose children are of marriage age, and by this article at the web site Domestic Felicity LAF (Ladies Against Feminism) linked to:
While I agree with everything in this article, the author doesn’t deal with the argument I feel is really compelling. The author admits there is a lot she could discuss on the matter, so I don’t mean to imply she isn’t aware of the argument. Having said this, the fundamental reason for my rejection of the modern view of dating is that the Bible uses marriage as a picture of Christ and His church. I’ve read in more than one article on marriage that the state of our marriage is about more than being happier, but the bigger implication is that we tell a lie about the gospel when the husband fails to live sacrificially in terms of his wife and when the wife fails to submit to the authority of her husband. We undermine our witness to the world when we live our marriages outside of the gospel.
As the church is preparing for the great wedding feast day, so a young woman ought to be adorning herself for her great wedding day. She ought to be cultivating the gifts God has given her trusting those gifts were given to her for a man God is preparing for her. The modern practice of dating, of giving oneself intimately (either emotionally or physically) to several partners before settling for the boring reality of monogomy, seems a horrible defilement of the picture the Bible paints of Christ and His church.
As Christ is preparing a place for his bride, so a young man ought to be busy preparing for manhood and the responsibilities of providing for a family, not out proving his virility in partying and conquests.
Domestic Felicity does a great job of dealing with the practical reasons for rejecting the modern view of dating, but I believe all those reasons can be handled in one fell swoop by embracing the Biblical picture of marriage. When we handle relationships lightly and with self-centered motivations, we are handling the gospel with profane hands. We bring idols into the temple.
We do our young people a disservice by failing to prepare them for the realities of life before they get to adulthood. Do we believe that the God who created us knows what will bring true happiness and fulfillment, or do we think we know better? Is happiness found in pursuing our own lusts and desires, or in striving to be what God has created us to be? Are we teaching our children to bear witness to the gospel in word and deed always, or do we believe that stuff is a drag and they ought to be pursuing fleshly pleasures for right now? Do we want to be like the nations around us who “get” to follow other gods?
I think Christians who understand God’s sovereignty have even less excuse. If we believe that God has prepared our spouse for us, how can we engage in intimacy with someone we know we could never marry, either because they are an unbeliever, or because we know we are not suited for one another? How can we give to another what only belongs to our spouse?