Contrary to the title, this isn’t going to be a romantic rant about relationships, sorry to disappoint in that way. ;) No, this is a conglomeration of thoughts that have been collecting over the past few years as I’ve studied the scriptures, read books, and listened to speakers and pastor’s on the topic of pursuing romantic relationships.
This pursuit is called many things today. Dating, Courtship, Promising, and other lesser known titles. Not surprisingly, many people take a position on which is the best method, and use it to pursue a relationship. And this is where the trouble begins. In our modern world today, the word “Date” or “Court” has many different meanings. Sure, the dictionary provides an empirical response to which we can refer, but it doesn’t spell out step by step what that looks like.
And for good reason.
I’ve seen the past few years many many people jumping into the boat of Courtship. This boat is supposedly perfect. It won’t ever sink, go astray, it is safe, and can withstand any storm. In fact, if you don’t get into this boat, you should never set sail for a romantic relationship at all. At least, that’s what they tell you. And if you get into the dating boat, well, you are poor lost soul bound for divorce.
That imperative and near legalistic standard is the cause for my rant today.
Because here is the deal. Courtship in any sense isn’t all gumdrops and flower blossoms. It isn’t anywhere near perfect, because I’ve seen first hand failures. It can be just as destructive as the term or method of “Dating” and can be just as emotionally scarring. It isn’t “God’s design” for relationships. It isn’t the perfect or even most desirable system.
Why? I’m so glad you asked. I’m going to let you in on a tip most people don’t know, but should, as scripture is clear on it over and over. That tip is this:
It isn’t what you name the relationship, but how you pursue that relationship.
Something the vast majority of people miss in this area of romance and relationships is that because we are in Christ, and led by the spirit, each and every romantic relationship a couple pursues will look different. There aren’t ten simple steps to engagement everyone should follow. And you know what? That’s OK.
See, it doesn’t matter whether one says they “Date” or “Court”. What matters is asking “Are they are pursuing a relationship with the right heart?” A heart striving to honor and glorify God in everything they do together and whom they interact with. What that looks like and how it plays out will be dependent on each person pursuing that relationship for Christ- emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
The key is to walk in the Spirit when in a relationship– just like you would in your normal walk with Christ. If you do that, it doesn’t matter what you call it- just know it is is a romance reflective of your redemption. How’s that for alliteration? ;)
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
~ Galatians 5: 16-24~