Home dating/courtship Courtship-Every Question Answered

Courtship-Every Question Answered

by Kelly Crawford

I am offering an extended version of the topic of courtship in this post. I feel so strongly about this subject, and so desire that Christians everywhere would come to understand the devastating truth about our culture’s dating practices, that I wanted to share this article, by Reformed On-line, as a resource.

This is probably the most thorough, biblically sound, and informative article I’ve ever read on dating and courtship. The author expounds on many details, answering almost any question one might have. It is more like a chapter than an article, so I have only posted snippets of it here to pique your interest. But I STRONGLY recommend that you read the whole thing–it is so rich and so thorough. (The link to the complete article is at the bottom of post.)

The thing that makes the article so solid, is that he backs up virtually every point with Scripture. He clearly shows the biblical reasons behind his argument.

I recommend copying the entire article to have on hand for personal reference. I believe I understand that this website’s publications are free, at least for your own personal use.

The following 3 points are partial answers the the author’s question: “Why is dating wrong?”

1. Modern recreational dating is unbiblical because it tempts the parties involved to commit sexual immorality and often leads to fornication. Because of our sinful natures and because of natural sexual appetites believers should never place themselves in situations that can cause temptation and sin….

2. Another particularly troublesome aspect of the dating paradigm is that believers are trained to confuse lust and strong emotions with genuine biblical love. Kissing and rubbing various parts of the body are clearly foreplay; they are the normal prelude to sexual intercourse. Although a Christian man would never allow someone to conduct himself in such a manner (i.e., foreplay, sexual touching) with his wife or daughter, he convinces himself that such behavior is somehow acceptable when he is single and the hormones are flowing. He is also ignoring the fact that he is touching someone else’s future wife, while at the same time expecting his own future wife to be chaste….

3. Modern recreational dating is unbiblical because it trains young people to take male-female covenant relationships lightly. With modern dating the goal of the relationship is first personal pleasure (i.e., having a lot of fun); then second, developing romantic feelings and strong emotions; then third (in some cases) the making of some sort of commitment (e.g., going steady). At this point in the relationship, however, the commitment is only one of restricting pleasurable activities (going out, sexual gratification, etc.) to each other. Engagement or betrothal is only a future possibility at best. Note, that this so-called dating commitment can be dissolved by either party at any time for any reason whatsoever without any negative civil or social consequences….


Biblical courtship is a great blessing. It takes the extremely important process of finding a life partner out of the realm of human autonomy (irrationality, fleeting emotions, lust and romance), and places it squarely upon God’s infallible word. It frees men and women from temptation and peer pressure, con artists and hasty, ill-informed decisions by protecting them by means of a convenantal fence. It brings men and women together with their Christian parents and their decades of sanctified experience. It also gives young adults a genuine opportunity to really get to know one another. It is our hope and prayer that God’s people would return to this biblical practice.

Read the entire article HERE:

Let me know what you think, and pass the word along! (Who knows…your spreading the word about courtship could possibly come back around in the form of a son-in-law or daughter-in-law!)

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laariii August 10, 2007 - 3:27 am

i think the modern ‘dating game’ is a wast of time.
whats the point in going out if its not going to lead to marriage & children?
& although men would deny it they still don’t like it when women have been promiscuous – think of Dante’s reaction to his girlfriends escapades in Clerks.

Mrs. Anna T August 10, 2007 - 9:05 am

Great article! I’m definitely saving that one for future reference!

Stacy Elise August 10, 2007 - 5:54 pm

The thing was really saddens me (makes me sick, actually), is that kids are dating at such young ages now! Even on “children’s shows” on TV, the 12 year olds are “going out”. They even admit on these shows (and in other forms of media) that these “relationships” only last for 2 weeks; is this just preparing kids for divorse in the future?

Gombojav Tribe August 11, 2007 - 6:13 pm

I loved my courtship. It was beautiful and I believe it honored God. I have never kissed anyone other than my husband. My first kiss was after the words, “You may kiss the bride.” I’ve written on the subject of courtship for a Reformed magazine and have spoken on the topic many times. I truly dislike modern dating practices. That said, I did not like this article very much at all.

First of all, courtship is not so formulaic as this article makes it sound. There are no one, two, three’s about it. If someone is looking for the “How To” about courtship, the Bible does not offer that.

Here’s some of my least favorite parts: “The father should protect his son or daughter by never permitting the courtship of unbelievers, Roman Catholics, Arminians and other dangerous heretics.” He went on to refer to “damnable heretic”. I suppose that’s me. I’m not “reformed” in the sense that this author refers to. I do believe that we should not marry outside the faith! And I believe that we should also be equally yoked theologically. However, if looking to write an article on godly relationships, I think that can be seen in reformed and non-reformed traditions.

The author has a very narrow definition of Christianity. I don’t know that I know anyone who qualifies. “Obviously someone who holds to a strict interpretation of the regulative principle of worship (and therefore does not sing uninspired hymns, celebrate extra-biblical holy days or partake of human innovations in public worship [e.g., musical instruments, performances, children’s church, etc.])”

Here’s another point with which I have issues: “3. Biblical courtship involves the covenant protection of a child by the father and parents. This means that a father has a responsibility to make sure that a son or daughter is never alone with a prospective mate.”

In my personal case, I did not have alone time with my suitor until we were a few weeks shy of being married. But, when we started the courtship I was very young. By the time we were nearing marriage I was three years older and more mature. We didn’t have a lot of time like that. But what time we did was very important to the development of our relationship. My sister on the other hand started her courtship when she was already 25 years old. She and her suitor had many more “dates” (going places together without the family) than I did. It was always planned and they didn’t spend time in parked cars together. But, they were much more mature than I was. They had their first kiss at the altar, entering marriage as two virgins. My father protected both of us, but that meant different things for different children.

I dislike hard-fast rules about courtship that do not take into account age, maturity, living situations, goals, etc.

How is this point Biblical? “Covenant protection also means that prior to a covenantal commitment (i.e., engagement or betrothal) couples are not permitted to become emotionally involved.The courtship process is a largely an intellectual endeavor.” I’m not saying that we become emotionally involved with every person we are interested in, but sexual and emotional attraction are a part of courtship–part of the progression that brings a couple to their honeymoon! If a relationship is supposed to look like Christ and the Church we need to realize that it is not ALL intellectual. There is a lot of pleasure and romance invovled. In Song of Solomon his heart was ravished with just one look of her eye.

Here’s another sticky point: “4. Once a believer in consultation with his/her parents, decides it is time to seek a mate, he/she should take an active approach in the search for a partner. Some people are of the opinion that one should pray and simply trust God to provide the right partner. While prayer is a necessary and an essential aspect of seeking a spouse that does not mean that Christians are to be passive and wait for a mate to drop out of the sky. Jesus says that we are to pray for our daily bread (Mt. 6:11) and Paul says that if we don’t work we should not eat (2 Th. 3:10).”

WHOA! There are some Scriptures out of context! A feel that a girl should wait and pray. She may have lots of friends and be very social. But, it is not her job to find a husband. It’s a man’s job to FIND A WIFE! He would FINDS A WIFE finds a good thing the Bible says. It does not say that SHE WHO FINDS A HUSBAND. Once a man desires marriage he should be serious in prayer and preparation and seeking a spouse. But I don’t see in Scripture where this applies to girls.

I thought this portion was a little ironic: “There also is the example of Ruth and Naomi. Ruth places herself in a position to be observed by and meet a godly eligible man-Boaz (Ruth 2:2). When Ruth’s mother-in-law discovers that Boaz is godly, eligible and a possible kinsman redeemer for her, she instructs Ruth to conduct herself in a manner that will most likely lead to marriage.”

This “manner that will most likely lead to marriage” was not the courtship model that this author would approve of! When a man falls asleep drunk, lay under his covers so he discovers you there when he wakes up. Let’s see…how many of this author’s own rules does this story violate? Physical touching, time alone, different theological backgrounds, no father involved at all on either side, etc.

Just goes to show that the Lord is very creative in bringing two people together and we cannot apply formulas or “How-To’s.”

Instead, I believe we should impart to our children hearts for purity and hearts after God and character that mirrors the Lord. If we do this they will be submissive to the individual rules that are given for their courtship and circumstances.

OK, enough from me. 🙂

Stacy Elise August 11, 2007 - 6:53 pm

gombojav tribe,

I so appriciated this “comment”! I too have heard of people who believe what this man does, but never that a girl should seek a make! I did not read the article, but thanks to you I am prepared for what is in it! 🙂

P.S. – Love your writing, btw!

Stacy Elise August 11, 2007 - 6:56 pm


After reading the comment in objection to some of the points in the article, I was wondering if you hold to everything in the article? I would very much to see another post on these principles, if you are in fact in total agreement with this article.

God bless! Love your blog! I just found it thanks to Anna S. of Anna’s Musings.

Word Warrior August 12, 2007 - 12:51 pm

Please see my newest post for my answer to the issue about the article…

Mrs. and Mama K August 13, 2007 - 6:03 pm

I only read the pieces you’ve posted and the comments from Daja and you, but I just wanted to let you know I completely support the practise of courtship…and it IS a practise! I grew up in a church where all they told us about purity was, “don’t have sex”…ok, but that’s not the goal. Only later (and I mean after many mistakes) did I learn the true meaning of holiness. It’s not a line drawn in the sand that we tell ourselves we can only go up to – it’s a lifestyle and a way of thinking. If you question any part of your motives or the act, don’t do it!

I’ve been talking with my sisters (the girls I used to babysit and have become family) and mentioned some points from “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.” One point was that the purpose of dating/courting is to find the person you want to marry. If you’re in junior high or high school, you’re a bit young. Only when you’re ready for your spouse should you think about courting and marriage. Otherwise, you’re simply piling on the emotional baggage and regrets.

Another point made was on kissing. If you think about it, kissing is the beginning of sex. It’s part of foreplay. If you’re not ready to finish what you started, don’t start! (For those of you who think I’m nuts, I’m not saying ALL kissing is unholy. I give babies and family kisses all the time – it’s the mindset behind the kiss.)

Anyway, just wanted to throw in my 2 cents on the subject! I wish my dad had shielded/protected me more and that I was told upfront that the dating mindset I bought into was a lie. I hope to give my children better clarity on the subject…

Word Warrior August 13, 2007 - 7:03 pm

Agreed! Tomorrow I’ll give my closing comments and a bit of my personal diasters of dating!

I think a lot of us are in the same boat wishing we had been guided differently…but, courtship was probably a foreign concept to most of our parents.

Another reason why I’m so eager to “get the word out”. If I can save one girl from the tragedies of dating, it will all be worth it!


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