Monday, June 9, 2014

Courtship - Misc. Thoughts

In no particular order:

1.  When we met James we explained our expectations of courtship. We did not insist on chaperones at all times,  though they were strongly encouraged (and are often included).

2.  We are not in favor of, what would be termed, "normal dating". We especially feel that being alone in isolated settings (especially at night) is a very poor idea.

3.  Hannah and James determined that holding hands, hugs, and some kisses were acceptable for them. We strongly advise holding to that commitment and have addressed issues of accountability in order to go no further in physical expressions of intimacy. (I would have preferred that there be less physical interactions than even this, but it is best the couple decide their own parameters and then we just partner with them to hold them accountable to their own decision.)  This is where it is critical to have a strong relationship with your child - we talk about everything!

4. We are very much in favor of including family and friends in any and all social settings. It is important to see each other in their interactions with their family - especially when their guard is down. You want to know who the person you may someday marry really is, not just when they are trying to impress you.

5.  Courtship should only begin when there is a reasonable expectation that it will lead to marriage - though this is not the sure and final outcome. "Dating around" only insures you know how to leave a relationship, not how to build one. It defrauds the other person with false expectations and leaves pieces of your heart with someone other than you future spouse. (Wouldn't you want to marry someone that saved all of their heart for you?)

6.  By requiring that no "couple" relationship begin without talking to the dad, then meeting with the young man to interview him and determine the seriousness of his attitude and his character, you can pretty much weed out anyone just wanting a selfish, casual relationship.  (i.e. Do you intend this relationship to culminate in marriage? - this question is asked at the first meeting)

7.  In helping the couple to build a relationship that gives testimony of Jesus as lord of their life, we offered a few suggestions and stipulations.
      a. We gifted them both with stationary to write to each other (remember James was leaving for a year in Quebec with few visits back.) While they do make free use of Skype and on-line chatting, we felt it was still vitally important to write to each other. We suggested once a week sending at least a short note to each other.
      b. We also gifted them each with a copy of the book, The Adventist Home. They are expected to read it as soon as possible - and especially discuss with each other the ideas they read in it.
      c. We provided the DVD Courtship series from SM Davis that was previously mentioned and require that they both watch it.
      d. We gave them a multi page list of questions to discuss together. It was just a list we found on-line somewhere. (I forgot to note where I got it and can't find it now!) It helps them to discuss important issues they might not think to discuss at the start of a relationship. There are no right or wrong answers. It is just to explore each other's thinking about important topics in a relationship and learn about each other's values and character, and to see if there are any big challenges in expectations.

I may do one more wrap up post on the topic. Or maybe not. We shall see.

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