I used to make a big deal differentiating “dating” and “courting.” I’ve lightened up.

To me, a “date” is simply a pre-arranged social engagement with someone to whom you may be attracted. To me, “dating” is a relationship in which two people regularly participate in this kind of engagement.

That’s it.

A husband and wife can go out on a date. Both the worldly and the godly can do “dates” and “dating.” You know, I’d even go so far as to say that group dates, which have a larger sense of camaraderie than one-and-one dates, could legitimately be considered “dates.”

Yeah, maybe I define things more broadly than most.

Here’s the thing. You can do “dates” and “dating” in ways that honor God, and in ways that dishonor Him. Simply put, I think dating that honors God is characterized by the following:

  • Intentionality (moving toward clarity about whether or not to marry)
  • Purity
  • Community (accountability to parents and/or mentors, and a degree of transparency about the relationship within the couple’s community of believers)
  • Christian compatibility (serving God better together than apart)

If your dating (or courting, if you prefer that term) includes these characteristics, I think you’re doing just fine. If your courting (or dating) is directionless, sexually impure, rejects input from parents or mentors or godly friends, or is not concerned about God’s involvement in the relationship, then, to be frank, I think you could do better.

Now, lighten up and go on a date, would ya?

From the BoundlessLine blog.
Copyright 2009, Focus on the Family.
Used by permission.

Ted Slater
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