Invest Now.

On Tuesday, we spent a little bit of time talking about “courtship”. It’s a challenging topic to talk about because of the different meanings people assign to the word. On another day we’ll discuss some of the pitfalls and common mistakes parents tend to make while overseeing a courtship. Because we’re human and sinners, we’re going to make mistakes.

For today, let’s start preparing for the courtship years.

Take the time to do something with each of your children today. Stop and really listen to them, ask them questions, sit down and play with them, go for a walk, hug them, pray with them, read with them, study the Bible with them, play some music with them. Then do something else with them tomorrow. Make the time. If you want your children to value your counsel when they reach “dating age”,  you need to build your relationship with them now. Earn their trust. Make sure they know you love them. Be absolutely sure they know you love Jesus even more than you love them.

Then they will be much more likely to listen to you when they start noticing the opposite sex. They will trust you and value your input.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Great reminder!! Courtship is obviously a hot topic! 😀 I fully believe in teaching your children from a very early age about marriage & what God says about marriage. You hit the nail on the head, Pam. Your children will be much more likely to listen to you & receive your counsel when you invest in them from the very beginning and let them know how important they are to you. That doesn’t, however, involve trying to control them and turn them into a “mini me” or the you that you always wanted to be.

    Back to courtship—Song of Solomon says in three different places (2:7, 3:5, & 8:4) “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” My mom taught me to wait until I was married to become intimate with a man, however, I was molested repeatedly by some guys in my neighborhood starting in 7th/8th grade. That went on for several years, and when I tried to talk with my mom about it as a senior in college, she excused it with “Oh, they didn’t mean anything by it.” My own stubborn heart, though, had determined that I was not going to willingly give myself away to any man who didn’t love me enough to marry me. It wasn’t until I came to know the Lord in my senior year of college that I begin to understand more about how much of a role emotions can play in how we as women make decisions. We can be very easily swayed by our emotions.

    In spite of what happened with the guys in my neighborhood, I longed to be loved by a man deeply—both emotionally & physically—but I was so scared of being hurt again & finding the wrong guy that I put up huge barriers out of fear. It took years of growing in Christ and learning that all men are not like the guys I grew up with, and real love is not one of those “don’t worry, you’ll get used to it” kind of emotions, like one of my friends told me when I shared about the guys from our neighborhood—she had asked why I didn’t like one of them.

    After pushing guys away or holding them at arms length and never letting them do more than hold my hand (because I was afraid of getting hurt again), I came to know the Lord and began to meet guys who really did want to know me emotionally (not necessarily physically) and who honored me & treated me with great respect. At that point, however, my emotions got involved. The first time I allowed a young man to kiss me, everything changed. I was physically drawn to him and mistakenly thought he was “the one”, simply because of how I felt when I was with him. Suddenly all I wanted to do with him was the physical, because it felt amazing. I didn’t know that kissing could be so pleasant, and I wanted to do more! Had this young man been willing to do more, I know that I would not have stopped him. I was a new Christian and began praying for God to give me wisdom about this young man to know if he really was “the one” or not. Thankfully God opened my eyes & showed me that even though he was a wonderful guy & there wasn’t anything “wrong” with him, he was not “the one” for me. I made a commitment right then to never kiss another man until it was “the one”. I prayed & asked God to not even let me go out on another date with anyone except “the one”. At 21 years of age, I didn’t realize that I would not go out on another “date” for 11 years.

    There were men, very nice, godly men who asked me out over the next 11 years, but there was always a schedule conflict where I legitimately said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t go out that night.” I never had to make a decision emotionally about “do I really want to go out with this guy or not.” I also didn’t offer any other days for them to ask me out. I left it all completely in the hands of the Lord and trusted him. After watching so many of my friends, and even girls I had babysat, meet “the one”, fall in love, get married, and start families of their own, I began to think maybe I had made the wrong decision. I kept praying though, and God always gave me a peace in waiting & in trusting Him alone. When my husband & I started corresponding and spending time together, it was the most natural & easy relationship I’ve ever been in, aside from my relationship with my Lord. Everything came together perfectly, and I wouldn’t trade all the years of waiting & trusting for anything. My husband was worth every moment of waiting.

    Trust is what seems to be the big issue with courtship that I’ve read in so many of the comments. During courtship (and a lot of other topics for that matter), when we put our trust in our parents alone, our spouse alone–or the guy we’re dating or courting alone, our children alone, even ourselves alone, we will always, ultimately, at some point or another be disappointed—because we alone are all sinners & will base our decisions upon our sinful desires when left to ourselves. However, when we trust the Lord to guide our parents, ourselves, our children, our spouse, etc. and then have legitimate discussions—listening to one another, weighing the good & the bad, patiently discussing & considering the cautions that may be given, etc—then I fully believe that God will give all parties involved like-mindedness. If God is the one we are trusting, then He will give both parents & children (when they’re both trusting Him) unity about a courting relationship. It is incredibly hard to put our trust in another fallen human being, and sometimes it can be just as hard initially to put our complete trust & hope in the Lord. Once we do that, though—take that leap of faith, and see just how God can bless us far more than we ever imagined—and usually in ways that we never imagined possible or never even thought of—then it becomes much easier to put our trust in the Lord instead of in fallen men (or women).

    My parents did not approve of my decision to wait for God to bring the right man to me or me to him. My mom actually told me that I was never going to meet the right one if I didn’t go out and pursue him and make myself available to him. :O( That makes me really sad to think about not, because had I done that I would have had a lot more emotional baggage that I would have brought into our marriage. My husband didn’t date much at all, because he wanted to wait for God to make it clear who he was to marry. He did go out once or twice, but knew immediately that those women were not the ones he was to marry. I praise God that He protected both me & my husband from so much that could have happened had either of us followed our emotions or our own physical desires.

  2. Pam- I just want to thank you and encourage you in speaking out on what you believe. I know you get criticism at times, but there are many, many of us who truly value the wisdom you share.

    Susan, thank you for sharing your testimony and your victory in the Lord! He makes all things new, and there’s nothing He can’t do.