Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What's a Young Woman's Responsibility in the Dating or Courtship Process?

From What He Must Be: If He Wants to Marry My Daughter by Voddie Baucham, pp. 28-29.

This book is not an attempt to absolve young women of their responsibility. Ultimately they are the ones who will walk the aisle and take the vows. They are the ones who will either accept or reject the proposal. That is why this book is in large part for them. Have your daughters read this book. Doing so will be helpful in several ways.

First, this book will help young women gain a better understanding of what they should be looking for. As the old saying goes, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. Sadly, this is precisely the way many young women approach marriage. Casual dating turns into a long-term relationship. A long-term relationship turns into a foregone conclusion. And eventually that foregone conclusion turns into a marriage. This does not have to be the case. There is more! We must help our daughters turn their affections away from cultural conditioning and toward biblical truth.

Second, this book will help young women see the importance of partnering with their parents in the courtship process. I believe most young women want their parents involved in this. Of course, the culture has painted them into a corner, and they don’t quite know how to get out. Nevertheless, many young women want some degree of help when it comes to choosing a mate. After all, this is the most life-altering decision they will make apart from coming to repentance and faith in Christ.

Finally, this book will help young women realize their dependence upon God. Reading the biblical characteristics of a godly man can be a bit intimidating. Since the bar has been set so low for so long in our culture, many of the qualities and characteristics seem strange, and perhaps a bit distant. But they are supposed to be. This book is not about what every Tom, Dick, and Harry already is; this is about what a God-honoring, Christ-exalting, Bible-believing husband must be. If it were easy or normal, there would be no need for this book. Only God can bring about the kind of change necessary in a young man to prepare him to be the kind of husband the Scriptures portray. Thus, reading this book should drive young women to their knees as they plead with God to make a man like this and bring him across their path. In the meantime, we must not settle for less than what he must be.

The question: How much responsibility should a young woman have in the dating or courtship process?


*The Beautiful Life* said...

Well, I'm not sure exactly what you mean by the question posed, but I'll take a stab at it...
The girl has equal responsibility in all areas. For every area that I would say the guy has, the girl sure holds equal responsibility. For example, I hold the young man responsible for guarding my daughter's heart in the area of purity, to be sure; I also hold my daughter accountable for how she presents herself before said young man -- in dress, actions, words, etc. So...I'm thinking BOTH are accountable and responsible in pretty much all areas.
Did I get it right? :)
BTW, I ordered this book yesterday from Amazon and should have it by Friday. Not a moment too soon!
This is THE topic at my home now and we are right in the mix of all of this -- NOW. I wish, wish, wish we'd had this book 6 months ago.
I'll keep you posted...

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much of a factor the age of a young woman is in this discussion. With an increasing number of women single into their mid to late twenties, does the discussion have a different answer than it would if they woman is 18-22?

Presumably, a woman under the roof and care of her parents will have and should have a high level of parental involvement, but what about the young woman who is living outside of her home, possibly even removed by significant geographical space? What, also, is the counsel for a young woman who desires these qualities and desires parental involvement, but finds her parents not valuing the same Biblical qualities she is valuing?

I realize I am answering a question with a multiplicity of questions, but I think the different scenarios could result in different answers to the question posed.

The one fundamental responsibility she has regardless of situation or circumstance is summarized well by Voddie in his third point. Her single greatest responsibility is to walk with God. A knowledge of and love for God will help a young woman desire and value qualities in a man that are Godly--literally, reflecting the qualities of God.

Anonymous said...

this is a excellent question...
the girls play the main part during the courtship process... they must also understand the fact that mere dating dos not mean that they have fallen in love with the other person... they should allow the part of their parents ... she must think the importance of her parents in her life before taking any important decisions... she must make sure that she sticks to the bible when she takes that important decision... such life altering decisions must be taken by the girls themselves keeping in mind the various things said before....

Kim said...

Responsibility is an interesting word. Can you express what you're asking in another way. Responsible for what? For how it goes? For how long it lasts? For what comes next and when? For guarding her heart? For guarding his? For expressing her intent? For expressing her understanding? All the above?

sprauls said...

Certainly not an exhaustive list, but a few thoughts.

She has the responsibility to:

-respond to a man's first initiation of a relationship (in consultation with her parents or other wise Christian counselors)

-be in constant prayer for herself and the suitor

-constantly seek counsel from wise counselors (parents, elders, church members) throughout the relationship

-through conversation, seek to know the man to evaluate whether he is humble, teachable, and able to lead her

-conduct herself as a titus 2 and 1 Thess 4 woman (dress, conduct, no flirting or manipulative speech ie defrauding)

-be genuine and transparent (i don't mean divulging all her secrets, but I do mean being herself and not who the guy wants her to be)

-be willing to "get out" if things are going poorly (again seek counsel)