Live Differently & Date Differently

I grew up hearing a lot about the modern day concept of courtship. 

It was refashioned to be a safer alternative to dating. In courtship there were/are rules placed around couples to protect purity, unwise emotional entanglement, & to keep from broken hearts. 

You're most likely not from circles who mainly practiced the concept of modern-day courtship, but maybe you've heard of it & you're wondering what it's all about because that words sounds pretty ancient & old-fashioned & just plain weird. 

Maybe you've been in the dating realm for awhile & its led to a lot of pain & heartbreak & you do desire a better way of doing things and the idea of courtship sounds pretty good right about now. Rules & regulations sound like a mighty fine idea to your wounded heart. 

Maybe you're a little younger & you're eager to start dating and the whole concept of having a boyfriend or girlfriend sounds pretty awesome.

Maybe you are from those circles that practiced courtship & you've found yourself throwing "the baby out with the bath water" because courtship was held up to such a standard that it was a real disappointment when all the rules didn't keep you from heartbreak. 

Because its true; rules & formulas do not take away the risk that is involved in relationships, whether you call it dating or not.

As with many things, people tend to swing from one extreme to the other when they've seen the bad in something. They create safeguards to keep themselves and others from further hurt or mistakes. And those things can be great unless its built only on rules & only on safeguards that do not factor in a mutual desire from two people to practice godly relationships & honor of one another.

Many of our parents swung to the extreme which became hyper-courtship. 

Now our generation, my generation, is swinging to the opposite extreme & going back to serial dating & trying the opposite sex on like a pair of new jeans, often exchanging them for a new, better looking fit in the next week or month or year. 

I've had to learn from my own past relationships that formulas & rules do not have guarantees. They do not keep you pure. They do not keep you from getting your heart broken. They do not take the place of two people desiring in their hearts to seek living out a God-honoring relationship. 

In order to have a godly relationship you must have two godly people in that relationship. 

Those two people must desire purity. Those two people must desire accountability. Those two people must desire counsel. Those two people must desire boundaries. Those two people will only build their relationship on Christ if their individual lives are built on Christ. 

I have heard of many couples who practiced every courtship rule to a T & still ended up with broken & unhealthy marriages. 

I have seen the same happen in dating.

Rules & formulas do not equal a godly relationship & future marriage. 

My heart is especially tender towards those guys & gals who have made mistakes in past or current relationships & desire to see the gospel once again shine through for them in the area of relationships. I hope that this article gives you courage to stop right where you are & ask yourself hard questions & dare to live differently & as a result, date differently.

Relationships & dating can be one of the trickiest things for us as singles to figure out & its the area I feel holds the most temptation, disappointment, and frustration. But its also one of the areas that we can discover so much beauty, sanctification, redemption, provision, & learn to lean into Christ & His wisdom & trust Him more than we ever have.

I want to highlight five different areas that we need to be most vigilant in & we need to pray most about in relationships & will drastically change the way you practice those relationships. Keep in mind that vigilance in these areas is the result of two people that are putting Christ first & putting flesh to death. They are not "rules" with step-by-step how-to's, they are biblical inspired principles & things to seek the Lord in & accept biblical counsel in. 

Whether or not you call it courtship or dating doesn't matter. I prefer to call it neither. Rather I refer to it as pursuing a godly, Christ-centered, relationship. 

It is time to throw off the stigma of titles for different types of relationships. 

It's time to stop believing that rules & formulas (or the lake thereof) will prove to create godly & world-changing relationships & marriages for Christ.

Read the rest of my post Live Differently & Date Differently by visiting the Pillars of Grace blog here!