Courtship is Dating with Intention and AccountabilityFamily . Parenting
Recently, I reposted about the fact that we don’t allow our children to just date. Since I posted it, many people have asked my husband and I, ” what’s the difference, isn’t dating the same as courting?”
I thought I would follow up that post with a little more clarity to our courtship rules and process.
The definition of dating is to regularly spend time with someone you have a romantic relationship with.
Courting is dating with intention and accountability.
Dating often has no rules or guidelines, and does not necessarily involve the intent of getting to know someone for the possible purpose of marrying them. Dating can be very broad and unclear.
We do not allow our children to date until they are graduated from high school and have established that they are mature enough and responsible enough to consider marriage. There are times when our children have developed crushes or close friendships with someone before being old enough to court. When that happens we encourage them to come discuss those relationships and their feelings. This allows them to be honest with us, and us to remind them they are not ready for marriage yet.
Courtship rules in our home:
- We require that our children and anyone they are interested in getting to know more intentionally talk to us and their parents about their intentions.
- We require that they not spend time alone. That does not mean they can’t date, and go places. It means they need to double date, take a group on an outing, or just be in the visibility of others. We encourage spending lots of time together with their families.
- We encourage our children to not kiss or be overly physical in the courting stage of their relationship. Keeping physical contact to hand holding, short hugs, and such. The courtship phase can be long and if you become to physical too soon, they may find themselves in a place they didn’t intend to be.
Remember the goal is to get to the wedding day with no regrets. Saving sexual intimacy for marriage.
When young people are not given guidance and accountability in dating, then innocent mistakes happen.
Courtship is about intention and accountability. That is the difference. Courtship IS Dating with intention and accountability.
The one area that can become very tricky is when your adult children move out of your home before marriage. Is it still our responsibility as parents to supervise our children’s relationships once they move out on their own?
I believe scripture makes it cleat that indeed we are to hold our children accountable and guide them even after they leave home. It is more challenging, and they may not obey us. But if we neglect to hold them to a Biblical standard, then we are just as guilty for their sins as they are.
Our children should want to come to us and count on us even after they leave home. They should know that if they fall into sin, they can come to us for help, and not shaming or judgement. No matter how old our children are we should be regularly involved in their lives.
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Written by Katie
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