This article is part 1 of 3 subtopics from the “Lifelong Learning Assessment on Marriage

The Process of Courtship

Concrete Experience

To begin, like the majority of my generation, I was not raised with a concept of courtship, so the process and even the terminology was foreign to me. Although, I “dated” a lot growing up, some may have stereotyped me as a typical guy, but even still I did hope that someday I would discover “the one” I could spend my life with; I just didn’t know how to find that. My model of marriage was not a very healthy one as my parents divorced when I was twelve. As I matured towards adulthood the question of marriage became much more a reality, and for me not just the opportunity itself, but the commitment. I had vowed that I would not let divorce be an option for my future family, I would not allow that pain of separation to be part of my marriage.

Eventually I read a very thought provoking book titled, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye: A New Attitude Toward Relationships and Romance” by Joshua Harris. To say this book got me thinking would be an understatement; it was the catalyst for my adulthood. Never before this time did I realize the side effects of my care free dating, nor the missed opportunity passed up to prepare for God’s future blessings in my life. In the opening chapter Joshua retells a dream he had of his wedding, in which multiple brides came to the altar. The vivid image he explained was used by God to convict him that every woman he had ever kissed was someone else’s future wife because they were not his. Chapter by chapter his journey through courtship was one I could definitely relate to as a man, and a God-fearing man who desired a lasting, satisfied marriage.


As I examined Joshua’s conclusions on courtship I began to really consider and pray about my own marriage to come, and what it would require of me to have the lasting commitment I desired. Much like a young entrepreneur who dreams of owning a business, it is naive to think the success of that business would come by happenstance. Instead, I realized it would require preparation, work, organization and many things operating together to eventually achieve success. Like many men, I wanted a successful marriage but had no idea what one looked like. Men that want the wife of their dreams, but they have no perception of reality to grasp what the husband of her dreams resembles. If the wife I prayed for was to be a God-fearing, husband respecting, beautiful in character, virtuous women, then what would she want with a lukewarm Christian like myself? Moreover, how would I ever lead a woman like that?

Abstract Generalizations

Consequently, it became very clear that the process of courtship would begin with a season of singleness; a time of preparation, an opportunity of discipleship. “Singleness is a gift” (Harris, 2003). That statement is so controversial to a culture that compares singleness to a death sentence. But John Piper elevated singleness by stating, “there are glories that can’t be shown in marriage but only in singleness” (Piper, 1981). Finally, more recently Elevation Church pastor, Steven Furtick teaching on “Times and Seasons” preached, “there’s a strength in this season if you can seize it” (Furtick, 2013). Therefore, it is evident that there is a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1), but what is not clear is how we are to enjoy and benefit from each season, especially if we are like snowbirds constantly avoiding the season we’re in. The wisdom from this observation is to see the beauty and the opportunity of each season, if it is one of preparation then prepare, if it is one of restoration then restore, but seize the opportunity of that season.


For myself this was applied in a transformational way, as I repelled opportunities for dating I drew closer in my contact with Christ. I found complete fulfillment in my relationship with Him alone and began to see the women in my life with the purity of Christ’s eyes, as sister’s in the Lord. A sense of chivalry was nurtured as I wanted a successful marriage not just for myself but for others as well. This meant protecting the hearts of the women in my life, and praying for the same courtesy from the men in my future wife’s life.

As I lived out this new conviction in my life not only did I begin to see God’s will for my life more clearly, but I realized the value of the foundation I was building. As I said before, it is actually pretty easy to find and pursue a bride, but extremely difficult to continue that pursuit with the same intensity through the many seasons of marriage when you foster short term thinking in your relationships.

Continue reading the next subtopic:
The Early Marriage Stage of Family Development