Institute in Basic Life Principles

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What are the basic facts about courtship?

Courtship: The Basics
who, what, when, where, how, and why

WHO participates in courtship?

  • An unmarried man
  • The unmarried woman to whom God has drawn his heart
  • Both sets of parents

Other Godly counselors and family members may be invited to offer insight as both families seek to discern the will of God.

WHAT is the goal of courtship?

A man and a woman enter into courtship to discern if God is leading them to marry one another as part of His plan to fulfill His purposes in their lives and in His Kingdom.

WHEN should a man initiate a courtship?

A courtship should commence when God has confirmed that this is the right time for the man to pursue marriage and that this woman could very likely be the helpmate God has been preparing to be his wife. God often confirms His direction through His Word, the witness of the Holy Spirit, and the approval of God-given authorities. (See Matthew 4:4, 2 Corinthians 13:1, John 14:26, and Proverbs 6:20–24.)

WHERE does the couple carry out the courtship?

Each courtship is unique. Sometimes the individuals live in the same town, but in other cases, they live thousands of miles apart. If possible, the couple should spend time with both families, especially participating in activities with their parents and siblings. Group activities with family and friends can provide safe environments in which the couple can get to know one another and observe how each responds in different situations. Depending on the individuals, e-mails, letters, phone calls, and having private time together in a setting that both avoids an appearance of evil and provides accountability also may be appropriate.

HOW should accountability be established during courtship?

Since each courtship is unique, parents whose children are entering a courtship relationship should communicate with one another to establish guidelines of accountability for the couple. In some cases, it may be appropriate to involve close friends and a pastor.

WHY is courtship the best choice as a means to find your marriage partner?

Courtship is a commitment to honor God as you seek a life partner and to protect both individuals in the process of confirming God’s will. It focuses on obedience to the principles of God’s Word and the fulfillment of His plan in the lives of the man and woman. (See Matthew 6:33.) It honors the authorities He has placed in your lives and provides the unique protection they can offer.

The process of courtship seeks to avoid many of the pitfalls that often exist in dating relationships, which are frequently focused on the selfish pleasures of gaining entertainment or sensual gratification. A man and woman engaged in dating often do not share a long-range goal for their relationship. The couple is often seeking momentary pleasure, and consequently they do not assume proper responsibility for their behavior toward one another. (See 2 Timothy 2:22.)

For Further Study

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