If you are one of the million Facebook users who happens to be friends with a Christian or two, you probably have seen this article entitled, Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed. I finally have read it, and I want to respond to this article. However, we must define what Courtship is. Google claims Courtship is,”a period during which a couple develop a romantic relationship, especially with a view to marriage.” The only thing I would probably add is that you do so primarily with the girl’s dads oversight.
Did I Court
Yes and no. While I loved the idea of having Christina’s (my wife) parents involved, their was over 500 miles in between us which made it much more difficult. While I did Skype with her parents to seek their approval, Christina and I did go on ‘dates.’ Yet, we also spent time with friends and family together.
The intent of getting to know Christina was with the intent of marriage. The hope was if it did not work out, we could be friends. Sure, it could still cause heartbreak, but we would not have regrets of touching one another, etc (which is often included in dating).
Why I reject Dating
Why did I reject the dating scene? When people usually refer to dating, they typically mean just going out. Just pursuing someone because it makes them feel good. In the Christian culture, the guys are typically not after sex, but they ‘score’ by getting a kiss. So, as it seems, the desire is ‘me centered’ instead of Christ centered.
Now, I know there are some who have ‘dated’ and have done so in a God glorifying way. But typically, I see dating as a selfish with no intent for marriage.
Now, let’s get to the article Thomas Umstaattd wrote…
Is Courtship Flawed?
I do not believe so. I like courtship. Primarily because the intent of pursuing someone is marriage. I do not regret following a more courtship style.
Thomas Umstaattd says about courtship:
The man must ask the woman’s father’s permission before pursuing the woman romantically.
High accountability (chaperones, monitored correspondence, etc).
Rules about physical contact and purity. (The specific rules vary from community to community).
The purpose of the courtship is marriage
High relational intentionality and intensity
High parental involvement. Fathers typically hold a “permission and control” role rather than the traditional “advice and blessing” role held by their fathers.
My first thought is, what is wrong with this? However, who said anything about intensity? What is intense? Intentional, yes. Intense would be up to the man who is doing the pursuing. If he wants to take it slow, great. If he wants to speed it up, he can.
While some fathers can be controlling, that is not what Courtship should be. Yet, a father does protect his daughter.
Thomas mentions an increase divorce rate and he has a few theories about this. However, Mr. Thomas, you seem to have missed the point. Divorce happens over sin. I believe we both would agree. Yet, to say it is because a person is mismatched seems impossible. While some couples have to work harder than others to stay together, if their foundation is Christ, that is all that needs to make a marriage last. Sadly selfish ambitions seems to take control far too often.
What about the divorce rate between those who dated? It is not simply a courtship problem, but a heart problem.
I’m unsure how going out with different guy/girls a week leads to less temptation. Maybe different temptations than an exclusive intentional relationship, but I do not see how less temptation makes sense. Mr. Umstaatd, you do bring up a good point about emotional purity. However, at some point their needs to be an exclusive relationship once they get serious.
Wonder if Susan really likes Bob, but she takes your example and continues to go out with Steve just because she doesn’t want to go out with the same guy twice in a row, isn’t she leading Steve on?
Ask My Dad
If a guy asked a girl out and she said, “You need to ask my dad,” that is not a rejection necessarily. It may be. Although, she may really like him. If he, as the pursuer, really wants to get to know the girl, he will call the dad and ask for his permission/blessing.
This is not a signal to mean the father is controlling, but rather a sign that the father has a desire to protect his family. This also invites the pursuer (the guy) to show respect to her and her dad.
To claim to just move on shows that the guy really does not care and is it in only for himself (and perhaps has a problem with authority).
I agree with a lot of what you said, Mr. Umstaatd. Such as courtship does not make one happy. However, neither does dating. Courtship was designed to be intentional. Dating can, but often is not. A lot of your article seems to be written to parents who think a woman cannot do anything without a man, such as leave the home and have a job. If that is the case, I agree this is not biblical, but it is also not courtship.
Overall, I think we agree on a lot. We also have disagreements on a bit. I like Courtship. Yet, if someone wanted to call it dating and loves Jesus and serves one another, so be it.
Courtship seems to foster a better system to have little to no regrets and by glorifying Christ by being intentional, staying pure, and serving one another.
I am doubtful Mr. Umstaatd will ever read this post, but these are my brief thoughts on his article.
How would you define your relationship with your spouse or with your significant other?