October 30, 2014

ID007 – Courtship and Dating

Dear Girls,

Here are three introductions from Girls here in New Zealand who are reading the Issacharian Daughters Newsletter. If you would also like to introduce yourself feel free to email me.

Genevieve

“I have not ‘made the move home’ technically speaking, as I have never actually left home. God is gradually turning my heart more and more towards my family and home life, however. I suppose what prompted it has been the sense of belonging and appreciation I feel when I am at home. I know that I am loved, no matter what I do. That is so precious to me. I have the indescribable blessing of having both my parents work from home. I have two older sisters who are both career women; one lives at home, the other lives away from home.I also have two younger brothers and two younger sisters. While at home, I have many opportunities to grow in grace and patience towards my siblings, no matter what the circumstances. I also am continually learning to submit and honour the authorities God has wisely placed in my life, primarily my parents. I am learning to give continually of myself without expecting back or receiving recognition for daily and often mundane duties. I am learning to love and accept myself and others, warts and all. God is not finished with us until the day of our death. He is the Author and Perfector of our faith.” From Kedesh in New Zealand

“Hello! My name is Joyanne and I live at home with my parents, sister, and two brothers, on our small block of land, in Southland, New Zealand. My sister and I enjoy taking care of our animals, as well as helping around the house, sewing, knitting, spinning, weaving, cooking, baking, etc.

For a while now, I have noticed the need for modest clothing at reasonable prices, for those who wish to dress modestly, but, for various reasons, do not sew their own clothes. Recently I decided I should do something about this! As a result, I am, Lord-willing, beginning a small home-business selling modest clothing. I plan to begin with little girls dresses (something I have made lots of previously) and homespun, hand-knitted children’s jerseys. I would like to expand from that as I am able, and of course, I am open to sewing garments according to requests!

From what Genevieve has told me, I gather I am not alone in wanting to begin a modest clothing type of business! Which is a good thing as there are so many possibilities and I know that I cannot do it all – I haven’t time! I think it would be wonderful if those of us who would like to do these things could compliment each other rather than competing, in opposition to each other! I’m sure there must room for several of us to do what we are able, and to encourage each other and share ideas! I would love to hear from any of you who may already be doing something of this nature, or thinking of it! Please e-mail me at bethederjoy-modestapparel@yahoo.com.au”

“Hi to all Issacharian daughters,

My name is Maria Minnee, and I am 15 years old. I am third to eldest in a line of nine children, and all of us children are not only spiritually adopted, but we are physically adopted. My mum is the most amazing godly person, and I love both her and dad dearly. Here is poem about ourselves, little hammers blunting out the dents of societies sins……

Maidens,damsels,lasses,

different clothes and different hearts,

each one for the Lord,

in each girl a fire starts,

to take a battle sword,

Some take wounds and some grow weak,

trying to make Him known,

but to those our girls do speak,

The Fathers seed is sown

Happy is their victory

and constant is their joy,

they see …

the promised fruitfullness in every girl or boy.

and when at last, we’re called to go,

no fear or fright will rule,

yes, because we maidens know,

His promise ever full!!!

by Maria Minnee (15/09/06 @ 9pm)

with love in Him, Maria xxxxx” From New Zealand

 

Monday, 9 October 2006

Dear Girls,

Courtship and Dating

After my previous Newsletter sharing the story, “The Perfect Match” I had a couple of questions presented to me on the subject of dating and courtship. The questions and my responses are below:

I was just wondering where you draw the “fine-line” between courting and “dating”? Is courtship just another name for dating? Are they the same thing? Help! ~ From a New Zealand reader

Good question!

The books I suggested in the previous Issacharian Daughters Newsletter really help to answer this question – especially I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris and Pastor Jim West’s books.

But in a nutshell, here is the deal:

People date for fun, as a way to socialize, for recreation. There is no particular objective in mind. People go out with one another or have boyfriends and girlfriends just to pass the time and for their own pleasure. Some people date because their friends are dating and they don’t want to be the only person without a boyfriend. People will date at any age. I even know of six year olds with boyfriends.

Courtship is different. People only court someone they think they could marry and as they court they are looking towards getting married. Young men will usually only court when they are financially ready to support a family. I have had the privilege of knowing many fine young men who have completed their studies or training, obtained steady employment, purchased a house and then entered into a courtship. Young women are often ready to court earlier than young men once they have learned how to manage the running of a home and various home-making skills. They can rely on their parents advice as to whether they are ready for marriage. I know a girl whose parents considered she was ready for marriage at 15. She was courted at 15 and married at 16. This is very unusual. I now another girl whose parents put off suitors until she was 18. And I know another girl whose parents didn’t consider she was ready for marriage until she was 20. My Dad’s rule of thumb before a courtship is that young folks should “show attention to all but intention towards none.” By this he means we should be friendly with everybody but not exclusively friendly or pointedly interested in any one person. When a young man is ready for marriage, he will show intention towards one but only after his intentions have been declared (ie marriage).

Here are some other differences:

Dating usually separates the girl and guy from their families as they go off alone. It assumes that young people are independent and autonomous and can do whatever they like. There is little or no regard to the authority of the parents. Usually people date a whole lot of different people. They go with somebody and then break up with them.

When someone says they are courting it means they are operating on certain principles such as:

a. The daughter is under the authority of her father. So the suitor would approach the young lady’s father to get his permission to court her. The father would want to make sure that the young lady could marry the young man. So he will make sure they believe the same on important issues. Both the young lady and young man will seek to honour and respect and obey their parents in the courtship.

b. Marriage is the uniting of two families. Since in a courtship marriage is always the end goal they will realise that this courtship is about the uniting of two families, two heritages, two dynasties — so both families will want to spend time together and get to know one another. This time is a time for relationships to be built and strengthened (between the two families and by the courting couple with their own parents and siblings).

c. Keeping themselves pure for marriage. Both parties want to be pure emotionally and physically for their future husband or wife. The courtship does not guarantee they will end up married. They think they could marry but it is possible they might not though they would try as much as possible to determine before they start courting whether anything would keep them from being able to marry. In seeking to remain pure they will put up safeguards to help them remain pure for their future husband and wife. This can include things like avoiding being alone together, having chaperones and discussing with parents what physical boundaries they will have.

When we Christians think about how we are going to interact with each other, we can’t follow what the world does, we have to look to see how God wants us to act. God tells us in Scripture that we should not defraud one another (1 Thessalonians 4v1-8, esp. v 6). He tells us that we should treat one another as brothers and sisters in Christ in all purity (1 Timothy 5v1-2). He tells us that it is better for a man not to touch a woman (1 Corinthians 7v1). He tells us that we must listen to the instruction of our parents (Proverbs 1v8, 3v1, 4v10). It is life to us. It will keep us safe and guide and guard us. He tells us a girl is not independent or autonomous, but that she is given in marriage (Deuteronomy 7v1-4, esp v 3, Judges 12v8-10. There are lots of passages which have the phrase, “marry and given in marriage” as though the man marries and the woman is given in marriage by her father). Until that time she is under her father’s authority and when she is married she will be under her husband’s headship (Ephesians 6v1 and Titus 2v5).

So dating is a word which describes how the world does its relationships: anything goes. Courtship is a word which describes principles for relationships based as closely as possible on the Bible.

Confusion sometimes comes when people say they are courting when they are actually dating. For example, a young man might ask a young lady if she will go out with him. He might even be thinking that he would like to marry this young lady if it all works out. They then tell their parents. The parents are a little shocked and are not too keen. The young people simply tell them, “You just need to be happy for us.” This is not a courtship. This couple ignored the authority of their parents. They didn’t even seek their parents counsel and advice. They are going to do what they want. They don’t care about anybody or anything else.

I’ve been slowly looking into all of this since I was twelve years old when my Dad gave me a couple of books to read. The books he gave me are the ones by Pastor Jim West mentioned in the Issacharian Daughters Newsletter #006. As I began to find other books on the subject (such as the others listed) I began giving them to Dad to read. We’ve had a lot of fun reading and discussing these books together and talking about how we hope the courtships in our family will work out.

I have talked to a lot of folks, made observations and read a lot of books and have come to the conclusion that one of the reasons we have so much divorce and one of the reasons we have such bad marriages everywhere is because of all the dating people did when they were younger. They used and defrauded one another and didn’t end up going into their marriages pure. Instead they went into their marriages with all sorts of baggage. This is really sad. But thankfully we have the advantage. We are living at a time when people have thought about how to do things Biblically in this area or relationships prior to marriage. Consequently, we don’t have to go into marriage after having gone through lots of dating relationships or with emotional hurt or scars or baggage.

Here is a scenario. Can you help me with it? A young couple are in a relationship under their parents’ authority. Marriage is the end view. Would the girl be wrong to refer to her young gentleman as her boyfriend? ~ From a New Zealander reader

I don’t think it is necessarily wrong to use the word boyfriend. There are other words you could use which are just as succinct. For example, you could use the word “beau.” It is a quaint, old-fashioned and wholesomely romantic sort of word which communicates that the young man’s relationship with you is much more purposeful than what it would be if he was simply your boyfriend. Or you could say “suitor.” Or you could say “we’re in a courtship relationship.” Or if you are engaged, you could use the word “fiancée.” These words would help to communicate that your relationship has much more depth and strength than what it would have if you were simply in a dating relationship. Sometimes I suppose it would be easier or more expedient to simply say, “my boyfriend.” But at other times you might see that you have the opportunity to be a witness to courtship and to explain the nature of your relationship. You might be able to say something like, “our families are exploring together the possibility of the two of us being united in marriage.” That is pretty blunt but it lets people know you are serious and they’ll watch with interest the unfolding of your relationship.

I personally like the idea of trying to find the best terminology possible to describe and give witness to the fact that I’m trying to be as Biblical as possible in my relationship and that I’m not doing things the way the world does them. So I would try to avoid using the word boyfriend. I have a friend who has communicated to me that when she get married she wants people to know that this is serious business. This isn’t a marriage in which she might get divorced after a few years. This is a union for life. And not only that, but in her wedding and marriage she represents the purity of the Bride of Christ – the purity and holiness of the Church. She has prepared for marriage and has been saving herself for her future husband. When her courtship culminates in a wedding it will be a time for tremendous celebration. Lots of dancing and feasting will be in order! I want my own courtship and marriage to be like this too. This prompts me to want to find the terminology which best reflects the seriousness, beauty and purity of what is going on. And since I have a real conviction about courtship, I want to witness about it as much as possible through my terminology and in what I say and how I behave. I want to influence others to think about courting instead of dating and to pursue living as Biblically as possible in this area of their lives.

For the Greater Glory of God through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,

Genevieve Smith

Issacharian Daughter