Is Courting ruining relationships?

Is Courting ruining relationships?

Well, I can honestly say I never thought I would write something like this news item. Prior to planting this church I was the pastor of Family Ministries at a church and taught extensively on parenting and marriage and part of this included some pretty passionate teaching on courting.


I actually seriously considered writing a book after I finished a 12 week series on the Deadly Dating Game. I had seen so much ruin in the typical dating scenario and so I looked for an alternative for our kids to follow.


I arrived at the idea of courting. I was not extreme in my views and I will honestly say of our 5 children a few followed some of the principles I held and taught but we were not anything close to a good example of implementing the very thing I taught others.


We decided this was not a hill to die on with our kids and so made many compromises. Good or bad – that I still cannot say, but we are beyond thankful to God that all our children love and serve God and at the point of writing this all are either married to or dating Christians.


All this to say – I think the traditional courting approach promoted in many churches, included ours a number of years ago by me, needs to be, should be, must be questioned and critiqued.


My wife, Cindy sent me a link today of a blog entry that has been turned into a book by a Christian author. He comes out of a homeschool environment, which is not a surprise as courting is often elevated in homeschool circles. We homeschooled for over 20 years and all our children were homeschooled for much of their schooling although all went to a public high school for their final few years.


I write this to say that if you have been on the courting bandwagon I would encourage you to read THIS blog entry. I think this blog entry will challenge you and cause you to think deeply about this issue.


I have been arriving at some of the same conclusions this author does on my own and so when I read this many parts resonated with me.


This area of courting is something I taught on in the past and would really like to change some of what I taught.   I do encourage you, if you are were I was, to consider again your practices and standards and approach.


This encouragement on my part for each of us to regularly examine how we apply our theological beliefs is something we need to do in many areas.


We desire to be a church of grace AND truth, but it is easy to slide into more truth and less grace. We literally only exist because of God’s grace. Not just at salvation but daily and hourly. Oh, how I wish I and all of us could be more characterized by radical grace.  I think we are doing pretty good on the truth thing, but the grace thing, I fear, is where we are most likely to slip, if we do.


Please read THIS article warning about the dangers of courting and as you do I would ask you to keep in mind that I do not agree with all he writes.  I will list a few concerns I have about what he writes at the end of this news entry. But I share this article or blog with you as I think we in our church, who would lean toward courting, need a shake up. We need to have our assumptions challenged. We need to have any personal preferences we have elevated to Biblical mandate challenged. And I think our children need to know there are different ways to be Biblical, godly, and wise all while finding a spouse.


Signed, a frail, finite and often failing father and pastor,


  • He is sort of old fashioned in his recommendations – the idea that a girl must wait for a guy to ask her out and the guy must do the asking (and paying).  Well I think that is not how it MUST be and we should be careful about implying such.  I would encourage single men to take the initiative and ask and offer to pay, but his wording leaves me feeling like he sees women as unable to ask (or pay).
  • I do still have major concerns about the destruction serial dating does to one’s heart.  I get his idea of not having a series of boyfriends or girlfriends, but I wonder how you keep his idea from becoming destructive. One’s heart can so easily become scarred with too many date and breakup situations.  Let me express my concern about his alternative this way – I believe you could have as many, if not more, heart struggles by dating many people (just with less number of dates with them in a row).  When a heart gets attracted to someone I don’t think you can live pain free if they are dating others after you.  I have other concerns about his suggestion as well, but recommended reading his article as he raises some valid concerns about courting.  Likely the best answer to ‘what should we do then?’ is found somewhere between courting and Umstattd’s idea.
  • I think what his grandmother considered a date and what happened on it is vastly different today.  Have you ever watched a TV show from the 70’s?  They move sooo slow!  I mean every shot is slow, the dialogue is slow, the entire thing seems to move at a snails pace.  Well my guess is that was true of dating.  Grandma going to a malt shop with her date which was filled with many people all interacting with each other 100 times more than today is a different date than anyone would experience in 2016.
  • Have fun he says.  I don’t think his way of wording this idea is the best, but I get his point.  I have always taught the purpose of dating is not simply to have fun but to get to know someone.  Too many are wounded and hurt blindly pursuing the all-elusive ‘fun’ through dating.  I do think fun should or at least normally could be a part of a date.  Perhaps better said, enjoy your date!   Too many today think to be truly spiritual you must kill all fun.  Not so!  I think God created and designed us to know and enjoy, to laugh and to cry, to smile, tell jokes, delight in relationship, as well as in His creation.  So enjoy yourself … within the true boundaries set forth by Scripture (just had to add that).