Courting dating and hanging out

They were not the Bible-reading, small-grouping, mission-tripping Christian young people common in evangelical churches today.

And yet her community of friends all got married and then stayed married for decades and decades.

“If I had only gone out with 3 or 4 guys I wouldn’t have known what I wanted in a husband,” she said.

It is not that her parents were uninvolved; it is that they played an advisory role, particularly as she entered high school and they relaxed the rules about not going steady.

I explained what courtship was and quoted Joshua Harris, chapter and verse. “I don’t think courtship is a smart idea,” my grandfather said.

“How can you tell who you want to marry if you aren’t going out on dates? I ignored their advice on relationships, preferring to listen to the young people around me who were passionate advocates of courtship.

This meant that by the time she was 17 years old she knew which Bob she wanted to marry.

They got married and stayed married till my grandfather passed away half a century later.

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My grandparents would often ask why I wasn’t dating in high school.

This is different from my generation, which is encouraged to “wait until you are ready to get married” before pursuing a romantic relationship.

This advice, when combined with the fact that “the purpose of courtship is marriage”, makes asking a girl out for dinner the emotional equivalent of asking for her hand in marriage.

When my grandmother dated in middle school (yes, middle school) her parents had one primary rule for her.

The Primary Dating Rule: Don’t go out with the same guy twice in a row. She explained that the lack of exclusivity helped them guard their hearts and kept things from getting too serious too quickly. The lack of exclusivity helped the girls guard their hearts and kept the boys from feeling entitled to the girl.