5 Stages of Courtship Chart

All this talk of dating and courtship may have you wondering what my opinion is on all this.  You know by now that though I am not against the word ‘dating’ I do prefer to use the word ‘courtship’.  What exactly does that look like to me?  What is my definition of courtship?  I’d love to take a moment to share that with you!

I can’t tell you I’m an expert on biblical relationships (or what I like to refer to as ‘courting’) but I would like to share with you the way me and my family feel most comfortable maintaining the 5 Essencials For A Biblical Courtship that I talked about in the last post.

There is so much I could say here but I will just hit the main points and let you ask any questions in the comment section that you may be unclear about.

Basically an ideal courtship for me would look like this:

Much Authority & Accountability

I fully submit myself to my parents authority and stay in places where they and others can keep me accountable.  My parents help to lead and guide any relationships.

We have a mutual trust relationship:  I trust them because I know they are seeking the Lord and want what is best for me >  They trust me because they know I am seeking the Lord and desire His best for me.  As a resault I do not start a realtionship without their blessing and they do not allow me to start a relationship without much thought and prayer.

 

Hands Off

Marriage is a wonderful time when all restraints are taken off and physical contact is pure and free.  Before that I like to keep physical contact to a minimum with no contact in the beginning of a relationship and just a little later down the road and only with the blessing of my authorities.  Special things like kissing will be sweeter and more suspenseful if I wait till after the ‘I dos’!  Having restrained physical contact also helps me to protect my purity in mind.

 

Christ First

Above all, I want Christ to be the center of my life and this includes my relationships too.  All relationships are to be for His glory and my sanctification.

I’m a list kind of person.  I literally think in charts and lists to organize my thoughts so I’ve created a little color coded chart with my courtship preferences.  I know that seems a bit comical but it helps me to write things down that are important to me.

Is this chart perfect?  No.  Is this the ONLY way to do it?  Absolutely not!  Will I fail sometimes and not keep the standards I’ve made for myself?  You’d better believe it!  But it’s a starting place to help keep wisdom and purity close by me.

The intent in sharing this chart with you is not to create a legalistic, extra biblical grid for you but rather to help keep myself and and my someone as far a way from temptation and sin as possible.  I recognize this is not the only way to do that but this is the way that is most comfortable for me and my family.

Use this chart as a conversation starter, something to cause you to think deeply about what you believe, even take a few of the ideas to use for yourself but please DO NOT treat this as Gospel.  Different situations will call for different methods.  I mainly want this to be something to provoke thought and encourage growth.  Remember above all else seek to glorify God in all you do!

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this! My husband and I were just talking about the differences between courtship & ‘dating’, which are very different in my eyes. My husband said he thought it was way too early to be thinking about things like courtship, as our children are only 7, 5 and 19 months old. While I do understand his point, my opinion is that we SHOULD be talking about these things now, so that we have more chance to be in 100% agreement when that time in our childrens’ lives is here. I also feel (and my husband agrees) that minimally discussing these things with our children NOW is important to give them an idea of what will be expected from them as teens/young adults.
    I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate your blog. If you ever get an opportunity, you’re welcome to take a looksie at my blog and read about the difficult roads I’ve been down, not having been raised with much biblical input.
    I am so incredibly thankful that I FINALLY turned off my self centered mindset and fully allowed God to reign in my heart. He is GOOD!
    Have a beautifully, blessed day!

    • Casey,
      I think you and your husband are very wise to talk to your children about relationships even when they are young. I think it’s important for kids to know what to expect and it makes them more secure and willing to follow your wishes later on.

      Thank you so much for your encouragement regarding my blog! I’m so glad the Lord is using it!

  2. The thing that I love about courtship is that it is unique to everyone! My “chart” isn’t exactly the same as yours, and I’m sure the “chart” that my future husband has won’t exactly line up with mine either. That’s why it’s so important to talk about the “rules” early on to make sure that both are committed to the same relationship and no one tried to take it too far once emotions are involved! :)

  3. Ashley, just had to say that your attitude is a blessing to feel as I read your posts. I have enjoyed all of the ones I have read, but this one and the one “Maximizing your Single Years” were special blessings. Thanks for blogging!

  4. I just think you’re great. :) I so appreciate your commitment to the authority of Scripture and your desire to be faithful to Christ in every area. I think all the principles and guidelines you try to keep in mind when thinking about a process like this are right on, and I also just love your graceful clarity that your personal applications aren’t the biblical authority, they just flow from your desire to honor it. You are a wonderful example and I trust that God will guide all your steps in a beautiful way as you personally continue to honor Him in this area. My husband and I tried to do the same and, even though we’re not too far along in marriage yet, just think marriage is the best – often largely because of our carefulness ahead of time. And don’t let anyone tell you that your hands off policy has anything wrong with it because of it making things difficult once you ARE married – we saved our first kiss and have had absolutely not the slightest regret for even the smallest reason. :) I just feel like people tried to warn me sometimes that if we didn’t walk down that road at all ahead of time, things would be weird later, but at least in our case that would have been believing a complete lie. It’s not hard to introduce that element to your relationship. :)

  5. Great chart. The only thing I would offer as a suggestion…. is to not allow the physical contact to increase with each stage because once you know you are going to get married you will be tempted to do more than you wanted or thought you would pre-relationship. So if you keep the bar VERY high of no contact then you will not have a problem if you do have a little. But if you allow some contact and then more before you know it, it may go too far. Unless you always have someone else with you.

    Another thing I plan to do is have our children decide their “chart” before they are interested in someone based on what they believe is right according to Scriptures that way it will be me holding them to THEIR beliefs instead of mine and it is much easier to keep your standards if they are yours rather than another persons.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!! I think basically identical to you and to the chart that you posted, and it is so wonderful to hear of others who do!!! Your post blessed my very much!!
    Blessings,
    April Olivia

  7. I don’t necessarily agree with much of the stay-at-home-daughter “movement” (if that’s the word) but, I really love that you are encouraging others to live out the best *God* has for them, and that you aren’t insisting your way of doing things is the gospel. Very refreshing, so thanks. :)

  8. Hi everyone! Thank you for this chart – its great and wise. I broke a lot of these principles in the process of courtship with my husband (though I read a lot, like Joshua Harris “I Kissed the Dating Goodbye”).
    God has forgiven me but I reap unpleasant consequences – the main of them is regret. Blessed are you, single girls, who DETERMINE with God’s help to apply this principles!!!

  9. Amanda mack says:

    I would LOVE to copy this for my daughter and some friends just a maybe 3 copies. Thank you so much and your blog has been a God-send to find at this time.
    ~Amanda

    • Amanda, this image is not for copying or printing at this time however we do have a plan in the works and it may be available for personal use in the near future. Thank you for checking!

  10. Ashley,
    Do you know of any Biblical Characters who went through the stages you suggest? What would you say to a marriage that proceeded along the lines of, say, Isaac and Rebeccah?

    • Hello Von,
      No, I don’t know of any who used this method but I also don’t know of any biblical characters who homeschooled or Christian schooled their children in the exact same fashion we use today. The Bible tells us to train our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord but a particular schooling method isn’t specified or mandated.

      It is the same way with courtship. It is one way that we can honor Christ while finding a mate but it is not the only way. Life circumstances will be different for each person. No two couples will have the exact same story. The Bible doesn’t have a specific model the Lord commands us to follow in this area. The Bible has principals about how to remain pure and honor Christ in relationships but there is freedom in the way that can be carried out.

      The method above is is something that I personally am comfortable with and it is within the God given boundaries of Scripture. It wont work for everyone and it doesn’t need to.

      As far as Isaac and Rebecca go, that portion of Scripture was a narrative, describing how God worked in a particular couple’s life for a specific purpose. If you study it out it all goes back to the covenant God made with Abraham. God was working a miracle, proving that He would always be faithful to the covenant He had made.

      Could that same type of thing happen again? If God chose to do another miracle I suppose, but it’s certainly not the norm and definitely not a model we are being told to follow.

      Our God is a creative God who loves diversity. He gives us freedom and wisdom to use within the bounds of scripture.

      No two courtship/dating stories will be alike. This displays God’s amazing creativity and power.

      Thanks for asking! Good questions!
      ~Ashley

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