I vaguely remember reading “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” some years ago, and thinking that it was generally good advice. I was quite shocked and saddened that the author took it all back, losing his faith and mind in the process. Apparently recommending any protocols for courtship is just horribly judgmental and legalistic. So, naturally, I am about to do it.
Courtship does not have to be an extremely restrictive term. Technically, it ought to be an enormous umbrella term covering all things related to seeking a spouse, even mainstream dating. I must confess I like the word specifically because it has become controversial though, particularly since the ideas associated with it should be quite common sense to the Christian.
Chaperones, for instance, are a very obvious necessity. To any objective observer, it is clearly important to not let two young people, full of hormones and possibly madly in love, go off alone. The young people themselves should know perfectly well that this is needful, and that their desire to seclude themselves is designed for marriage and marriage only. You do not need to be constantly harassed and interrupted by a third wheel. It is perfectly adequate to be within line of sight but not easy earshot to have private conversations.
Along the same lines, the only reason not to put limitations on physical intimacy is because you intend to sin. Different people may draw different conclusions about the exact lines, but I think this is an excellent opportunity to show appropriate respect to the girl’s father if he wants to set the standard. Regardless though, fornication is sin. We should not play on the line; we should be perfectly happy even to put up with onerous guidelines for the short period of courtship.
Finally, it should be short. You should not seek a spouse long before you are able to take one. You should not leave one another hanging when you know the answer. And it doesn’t take that long to figure it out. Having established that you serve the same Lord and do not have glaring incompatibilities, you may consult my other article: “Grow Up and Get Married.”