I find it increasingly disconcerting that quite a few of my oldest daughter’s books want to talk about love and relationships. The increasing popularity of this topic brings up the issue. When will I find it acceptable for my children to focus on a relationship? How do I help my children to recognize who is “worthy” of their time and who isn’t? Should I let my children date?
I firmly believe there is a difference between dating and courtship. Dating, even by definition, is informal and meant for an appointed time. Courtship is a long, drawn-out process by which we become better acquainted with someone, with the end goal being marriage.
Very often, young people are encouraged to date and “test the waters”. After all, if they don’t date, how will they know whom to marry? I wonder if this is wise. What if dating only encourages our kids to take their relationships less seriously?
I wonder what would happen if we encouraged our children not to date, but instead to become the best people they can be. To give their lives over to God and live solely for Him. Then, when the Lord feels they are ready, He would bring the right person along. What if we put our trust in Him and didn’t worry about trying out the dating world?
What about knowing who is “right” for them? Here is a revolutionary thought: What if we, as parents, simply lived out good relationships for our children to see? They would know what a good husband looks like. They would know what a good wife looks like. If we encourage our children to study their Bibles and focus on serving the Lord with their lives, then they too will know what to look for in a spouse.
If we encouraged our children to not date, but instead be surrounded by like-minded (Christ centered) friends, our children would have a greater opportunity to meet people who are real. They won’t have to worry about “putting on a good front” or discovering who the person is; they will see them for who they are from the start. Then when a romantic attachment is formed, there are fewer things to learn and less surprises. When they are friends first, their relationships have a solid foundation; especially when that friendship is mutually founded upon Christ.
In raising and homeschooling our children, we have a greater opportunity to show our children what a good marriage looks like. We can show them not only the good, but how to work through the hard. We show them qualities to admire and little things we need to look past. I can train my daughters how to keep their homes and my husband can teach our son how to provide and protect his family. We emphasize the importance of being responsible, diligent, and patient.
Since our children were young, courtship is something we have engrained in their minds. The idea of being friends and getting to know people before becoming romantically involved. The idea of preparing yourself, before you go looking for a spouse. The idea of waiting on the Lord to bring the right person, instead of searching out the desires of your own heart, which can often lead you astray.
Thankfully, my daughter seems to skip right over books which center on this topic, and if she reads a book which happens to have a relationship involved, she usually gives it little thought. However, when the topic does come up, it is nice to know we can have an open discussion about our faith and personal beliefs, using this topic to help our children make the best decisions for the future.
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
~II Timothy 2:22
📢 Chime In!: Are your children old enough to date? How do you help them learn to choose the right spouse?