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 "Confused About Courtship" - (For Teens)

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PostSubject: "Confused About Courtship" - (For Teens)   Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:21 am

Confused About Courtship
Answer by Tim Stafford


Q. I'm 15, a Christian, and I want a girl who's a little more than a friend. Yes, I know Jesus is there for me, but I want someone with skin on. But here's my problem. I agree with people who criticize dating for its superficiality. I don't want to put on an act just to get someone to like me. But I'm way too young to look for a wife, as people are supposed to when they "court." Is what I want possible?

A. You speak for a lot of people who really want respectful, genuine relationships with the opposite forbidden relations, and feel very dissatisfied with the examples they see around them. The way dating is often done can seem pretty phony.

Lately some people have become so frustrated with the dating game that they have suggested an alternative, what you refer to as "courting." The idea is to go back to an earlier era when teenagers didn't become involved with the opposite forbidden relations except on a serious, respectful, parents-involved basis, with the intent of seeking a marriage partner.

I'm all for serious, respectful, parents-involved courting, but your question points out something important. Not everybody is ready to be that serious, and yet they're still attracted to the opposite forbidden relations and still want to form relationships. My belief is that romantic relationships can be appropriate on a non-courting basis, and anyway, they're inevitable. Guys and girls in America mix freely, and where they mix freely, they'll get attached to each other. The trick is to make attachments that are good, not bad.

I know for a fact guys and girls can interact in a way that's authentic, encouraging and uplifting. I've seen it many times. I've also seen it when it becomes phony, degrading, and the quickest route to trouble. It depends on how you do it, on the character of the two people, and the way they interact. Here are some suggestions for forming a relationship that has real value and warmth:

1) Go to church together. If you can share the activities of church services, Bible studies and youth groups, you'll broaden your relationship. You're with other people. You're not isolated. You're focusing on the important things of life, rather than on "us."

2) Go with other people. One-on-one is a dangerous combination. You can have fun and good conversation when you're with a group. Stick together.

3) Find somewhere to go other than a movie. Many movies are really loaded with violence, forbidden relations and abusive language. TV is no better. Do a picnic instead. Go to a high school baseball game. Play tennis. Visit a bookstore.

4) Avoid trouble. Stay away from physical involvement, parties involving alcohol or drugs, or friends with bad values. Most disasters in relationships involve one or more of these factors.

5) Get a friend/prayer partner to keep you accountable. It's good for all of life's issues, not just this one. If you have someone (preferably older and wiser) with whom you can share honestly, you'll be less likely to talk yourself into doing something destructive.

It's OK if you want to call this "dating," but if you want to call it "just friends" that's OK too. What you call it doesn't matter. What matters is what you make of it. Your desire for companionship is natural, and if you practice care and creativity, you'll be fine.
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