The Word that Makes Us Bristle: Can We Divorce-Proof Our Kids, Part 2

Lisa Cherry —  January 22, 2013

sour face 1208847_girl_with_a_sour_faceBy Lisa Cherry

I am committed over the next few weeks to tackling this tough issue of leading our children successfully toward healthy marriage.

To even broach this topic among followers of Jesus is controversial. Why? Because everyone seems to have their own take on the issue!

Christian dating At 14? 15? 16? 17? 18?
Online Christian matchmaking?
Parent-arranged betrothal?
Or the dreaded word…   courtship?

I have been involved in these controversies now through my second generation of child raising. I've watch the trends come and go, I've heard the arguments flare into division and strife, and I've seen the world change into a place we scarcely can recognize.

Meanwhile our God and Father is yearning to rescue our kids from relationship disaster.

Almost 20 years ago we sat in meetings when issues of purity, holiness, and godliness were explored as they related to dating. We knew we had a problem back then. Our statistics of success in marriage were horrible.

So we talked about a new plan. That's when I remember the trend toward courtship beginning.  I actually believe we were asking some of the right questions back then.

How do we promote sexual purity that leads to fidelity and marriage? How do we promote longevity of relationships rather than break up of relationships? How do we keep our kids from hurting each other in ways that defraud and damage hearts, leaving a sea of regret?  In other words, how do we do this thing like Jesus would have us do it?!

Courtship? Delaying relationships until the potential marriage partners are really ready for marriage. Involving the parents in the selection and preparation process. Avoiding some of the dangerous behaviors that lead to falling into sexual sin. Helping relationships to be founded upon agape love rather than lust... All these are great ideas!

But as is typical of us in the body of Christ, when we get a great idea we sometimes drive it over to a place of rules and laws. So what resulted was this: Groups of Christians came up with their own list of "courtship procedures" that then ostracized other groups of Christians who came up with their own list of "courtship procedures." Unrealistic ideas clamped down on the natural human process of romance and began to choke our young courtship participants.
And so we threw up our hands and said "this doesn't work!" But now, what do we do? Kiss Dating Hello or Kiss Dating Goodbye?

Am I writing to you today? Are you confused and even angered by these issues? I don't believe that you are alone.

So here's what I suggest we all do:  Let’s resubmit this issue to the Lord. Come out of our preconceived notions. And then have the courage to rebuild on a foundation that we believe will be right for us, our children, and the church of Jesus Christ.

To do this will require grace and forgiveness. Grace from our Heavenly Father to receive His plan in this very difficult age. And forgiveness for our brothers and sisters in Christ when we have tossed these issues around as arrows at each others’ hearts.

Am I going to spend the next month trying to convince you that "courtship" is the only godly way to find a mate? No, I am not. But I am going to work to convince you to explore these issues honestly and truthfully before your God. And then to have the courage to get a plan.

I'm not even sure at the end of our exploration time whether we will all want to have the exact same plan. I'm not even sure that is possible. Our families must have the freedom to pursue this personal issue their own personal way. But can we agree on this....

We are going to aim our families for the Kingdom of God best plan!

Hey, maybe I should be a new trend setter! Maybe I should even come up with a new word like dourtship or cating or heavenmatching... But within just a short time we would all be arguing over that word too!!!!  So, I think I'll pass on that and just work on the ideas themselves...  more later...

Image courtesy of Derek Kimball

This post is part of my series Will Your Kids Find the Right Mate? Here are the rest of the posts in this series:

Will Your Kids Find the Right Mate?
Two of Our Kids Found Romance!
Can We Divorce-proof Our Kids? Ten Strategies for Parents
Should Finding a Mate Be Like Buying a Pair of Shoes?
Ten Things I Teach My Sons about Girls
You Can’t Make Me!  Teens, Romance, and Rules
The Top Ten Things I Want My Daughters to Know about Boys

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