Dating vs. Courtship: Ages 18-25

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How courtship benefits everyone involved:

The guy, the girl, the parents and your future sex life.
When our kids are in high school, we understand the dangers involved with teens being faced with matters of the heart before they have all their discernment brain cells in place. Studies actually say that the frontal lobe which includes the discernment brain cells is not fully developed until age 25.
So many times we expect our teenagers to be able to think like a 40-year-old when they just don’t have the life experience or the brain cells that enable them to do so.  So many teen’s aptitudes for relationships are limited to what they hear and see in the movies they watch or TV shows or music they listen to. They still have so much to learn about love.
So many kids make decisions about sexuality based on emotional involvement that exceeds their maturity level.
Remember mom’s, it is our job to get our children one fifth of the way raised.  Marriage, mortgage, job and kids will provide the rest of the maturing process.
Once our children reach age 18-25 and they have these four foundations in place, they are ready to begin to court.
When is a person ready to court?
1. Only when both parties’ parents approve (Accountability).
2. When both parties are old enough to marry.
3. When the couple is spiritually ready for marriage.
4. When the couple is emotionally ready for marriage.
5. When the couple is financially ready for marriage.
All during our children’s growing up years, we constantly imagined and prayed for God to send him/her the kind of wife/husband they would need.  I dreamed of the day when the love that Tim and I share as husband and wife would be multiplied in the lives of our children.
However, as mom’s we are sometimes crippled by the fear that our children will not have what it takes to last for the long haul and through the stresses and complexities of life. We as adults have learned that love has to be more than something we feel. It has to be something we do. We also understand that most teens process their feelings through the truth, rather than the truth through their feelings, which can be a very dangerous process when dating is involved.
Benefits for the Guy:
You guys are the biggest WINNERS when it comes to Courting. One of the biggest pressures that a guy faces is he has to come up with the dates.  At first it’s kind of fun, but after a while it turns into a lot of pressure to always have to come up with what you are going to do. Then it turns into a conversation that goes something like this:  Guy to girl: “What do you want to do?”  Girl to Guy:” I don’t know, what do you want to do…..?” You get the idea.
Now compare that with Courting, where you include the whole family in the process (which is basically what courtship is).  You, the guy, throw out the idea, “Hey what does everyone want to do? ” You  have your sister who wants go to “Paint and Fire” to paint ceramics and fire them. Then you  have big brother that wants to go play paintball, then you have the theater lover who wants to go see “Annie” or “Smoke on the Mountain” . You have the 70’s loving music dad who wants to go see “Kansas” in concert, or the very active mom that wants to go “Caving” or “Snow tubing”, so within five minutes you’ve got enough date ideas to last you for the next two months.  Now this is not a made up story, this is exactly what happens in our family.  Variety is the spice of life. When you include the whole family, your dating life becomes more fun.
The second way this will benefit you guys, is you might even be able to get your parents to pay for some of your dates. As a parent, I WANT to invest in what God is doing in my children’s life.  I want to pay for:
1.   “Dialogue in the Dark”
2.     Ice skating
3.    Bowling shoes.
4.    Dinner at “Ruby Tuesdays”
Why? Because I feel like I am making a good investment into what God is doing.
The third way that it benefits the guy is, last year in “True Love Waits”, the main request from the guys was they wanted a low maintenance woman. Another word for “low maintenance” is as little baggage as possible. Pam Farrel in her book: “Got Teens?” Writes:  “The less clothing a girl is wearing, the more emotional baggage  she might be carrying.”   The way you tell how much baggage a girl has is by how she dresses.  And the criteria I always use are the 3 B’s: Butt, Boobs, and Belly = Baggage. If she dresses with those 3 showing, there’s a good chance that she comes with baggage, and might be high maintenance.    
 How does Courting benefit the girl?
Every girl instinctively knows that how a guy treats his mother is how he will treat her. Courting is a great way to get to see her boyfriend interact with his mother. There is a side of TJ that comes out with me that Ariel would never see in any other arena.  I bring out the best in him.  I say that sarcastically, because Ariel will be the first to tell you that TJ and I can get into some pretty heated discussions. If she was not spending multiple hours with our family she would never see that side of TJ.  Girls, if the only time your date sees your parents is the five minutes while he is waiting to take you out on a date, you will never see the real person that he is: BECAUSE WHO YOU ARE WITH YOUR FAMILY IS WHO YOU REALLY ARE! EVERYTHING ELSE IS AN ACT!
How does Courting Benefit the Parents?
One of the many benefits of Courting vs. Dating is, courtship allows me the immense privilege of having a front row seat as my children’s relationships unfold.  As we play together as a family and talk about our interest and general details of our lives, we grow closer.
For me as a mom it makes me feel safe, because nothing is hidden, everything is right out there in front of me.  If a couple does not feel comfortable hanging out with our family, I’m immediately suspicious and feel like they are hiding something.  As a mother of  sons, it is my desire that the woman my sons marry will not be a game player.  I don’t want my son dating some girl who is a manipulator (someone who uses guilt or jealousy to get my son to do what she wants).  If their relationship is open and being played out right in front of me, then I can see that, where he might be blinded to it.  Girls know girls just like guys know guys.  Another thing I want as a mom is to know that this girl is going to take care of my son. In other words, does she have a caring servant’s heart?  Just last weekend we were all at the movies together.  You know how you get the large coke and you can get it refilled for free?  Well, TJ very nonchalantly said, “I gotta go get a refill.”  Ariel was like, “I’ll get it for you.” While she was gone, I turned to TJ and said, “It makes me feel good knowing that Ariel has a servant’s heart. I have no doubt that she will take good care of you.” TJ said, “She’s a sweetheart.”
Your future sex life:

Because men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti, everything a woman does in her dating life comes back to her in her marriage.  If she is used by a guy and rejected she will associate rejection, guilt, fear, loneliness and shame with the act of sex. Those feelings do not suddenly go away just because she is married, in fact they increase. So instead of feeling uninhibited when she takes her clothes off in front of her husband, she will feel like hiding because she feels shameful. Instead of enthusiastically wanting to make love to her husband, she will view it as a duty to get through instead of a pleasure of life to enjoy. Once again, the sins of her youth have robbed both her and her husband of God’s greatest treasure: a great sex life. When you court instead of date, the temptations of falling in the area of sexual promiscuity go way down. I am very blessed. I have a wonderful husband, three sweet kids, a son – in – love and a soon to be daughter – in love.  On July 23, 2011 as I sit and watch TJ and Ariel commit their love to each other, I’m sure the previous months of courtship will roll before me like a newsreel running in my mind. Flowers on Valentine’s Day, all the numerous Shenanigans. I didn’t hear an audible voice from heaven saying, “This is the wife I have chosen for your son TJ.”, but rather a slow awareness washed over me until I realized I had a lot to be thankful for. It’s probably good that when we begin a relationship, we never know where it will lead.  If we knew that we would face pain and challenges and we would probably hesitate! And in doing so, we’d probably miss out on some of the greatest joys in our lives.  While no relationship is a guaranteed pain-free future, love is worth it.  I can’t say that I have fully arrived; I am still adjusting to my new role of being a mother to adult children.  In the back of my mind I explore many hidden worries.  At times insecurity plagues me as I wonder how ready they are to share their lives together. I have learned to let go of control.  I love my kids enough to give them back to God.  I trust their ability to make wise decisions and I trust God enough to take care of them.  I am no longer in bondage of fear.  I am free to love them both. I need not be the only object of my children’s affection. My heart has grown to love each of my children’s spouses and hopefully their hearts have expanded to love me.  As we step out and trust God and one another, we can swim in the cool waters of love, enjoying the refreshment and pure fun.

Forever cheering you on,

About Professional Parenting

Wife, mother, motivational speaker, author, counselor and teacher. I have 3 adult children and a husband of 27 years. For the past 13 years I have served the youth and their parents at Liberty Church in Marietta Georgia. I loved everything about being a mom: I loved the terrible twos, and the terrifying teens, and the cake in my hair, and the spilled punch. I loved the chaos, the noise, the craziness of tons of kids. It was everything I wanted in my life. I loved that constant overwhelming feeling of someone being completely dependent on me as well as that joyful, aweful feeling of watching that same someone just 18 years later leave me and go off in the world on their own. Interests: * Christian * wife * mom * child training * pre-teens * teenagers * youth group * young girls * young women * seasoned sisters Favorite Books: * "Praying for Your Adult Children" By: Stormie Omartian * "Life on the Edge" By Dr. Dobson (Note: This was required reading for my kids when they turned 13.)
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