Youth Messenger Online Edition

July-September

Questions on Courtship
Questions on Courtship
Radu Ionita
1. Is it proper/appropriate for the girl to be the first to show interest and try to strike up a friendship with a young man?

“The Bible plainly states that the husband is the head of the family.”—The Adventist Home, p. 115. If the man is to lead in the family, then he should be the initiator in the courtship as well. In the majority of the world’s cultures, this is the case. The man has to take the risk and assume the responsibility. He has to strive for what he values, and that is not an easy task. Young ladies, please make sure that you don’t complicate his task more than this!

On the other hand, for the husband to be the head of the family, does not mean that the wife is not his best counselor. In God’s plan, she should be “an help meet [suitable] for him” (Genesis 2:18). I have a question for you young ladies: Why should you not be a little helpful to the young man in the process of initiating a relationship? There are some young men, who have a wonderful character, but who are introverted or shy, and they may have difficulty in starting a relationship. Some others may be a bit proud and may be afraid of rejection. These types of young men may never take the first step, which appears difficult for them! Why not help them a little bit? To be of help does not mean to become “the head”! Let him be the head! Young ladies, you don’t have to take the first step; you may only lay the ground for the young man to take that first step!

So, you had prayed and had carefully evaluated the character of the young man you like. You have observed how he behaves in group settings, and have appreciated his faithfulness, his nobility, his altruism, and his manners. Certainly, you are attracted toward such a converted son of God. Then, the same Lord that had put him on your heart, is putting you on his heart! At this point, it is sufficient for you to give him a signal that he is important to you, that you appreciate, and care for him. Be discreet. Keep your modesty. Let him believe that he “is the initiator,” and that he is making the first step! (Yeah, and at some time after the wedding, you may show him your daily journal, just to add fun to your happy marriage!)

I remember a young God-fearing young man, who after years of prayer and after observing and being observed by many young ladies, who was still not clear about a future spouse. One day, he updated his Facebook status to “having a cold.” A girl that was patiently dreaming of being his loving wife someday, wrote to him with some suggested remedies. Time passed, and one day he was thinking of all the people he knew and who truly cared about him. Suddenly, the above girl came into his mind. He prayed and took the first step. He called the young lady! Long story short . . . they are now happily married and expecting a child. The question arises, who took the first step? The young man believed he did!

The danger is in being overly forward with one’s intentions. We may do this out of fear of losing our “once-in-a-lifetime” chance while in reality, it really means we have a lack of faith. If a girl is too bold with young men, instead of noticing her, they will avoid her.

“There are so many forward misses and bold, forward women who have a faculty of insinuating themselves into notice, putting themselves in the company of young men, courting the attentions, inviting flirtations from married or unmarried men.”—The Adventist Home, p. 333. The above statement describes how a Christian young lady is not to act! A Christian gentleman will avoid such a girl, knowing that she is not a pure and true child of God.

Therefore, trust in the Lord and be levelheaded. Be nice yet reserved. You are a daughter of the King! “And we know that all things [will] work together for good” (Romans 8:28) for you! Act then, according to His grace!

2. What are some guidelines for choosing the right life partner? What things should I look for?

You cannot marry someone to whom you are not attracted and whom you cannot love and respect. (Adventist Home, p. 48.) “I charge you . . . that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please” (Song of Solomon 2:7). Better get ready for a great relationship by first becoming a great person yourself!

Accept or choose someone who is a child of God, and who has a genuine experience with Him. Look among God’s people, not among His enemies. Look not only for a young person who is “a member of the church,” but for one who is a friend of Jesus! “Only where Christ reigns, can there be deep, true, unselfish love.” On the other hand, “to connect with an unbeliever is to place yourself on Satan’s ground. You grieve the Spirit of God and forfeit His protection. Can you afford to have such terrible odds against you in fighting the battle for everlasting life?”—Messages to Young People, pp. 440, 441.

It’s very important that you evaluate his/her character. Being attracted to him/her is not enough. The question is, who is that person? What is his/her character like? Which are the principles governing his/her life? Is altruism, flexibility, order, integrity, diligence predominant in their life? On the contrary, is he/she superficial, selfish, worldly, or lazy?

Pray four times a day!

“If men and women are in the habit of praying twice a day before they contemplate marriage, they should pray four times a day when such a step is anticipated.”—Ibid., p. 460. [Emphasis added.]

Generally, when you love someone, your heart is very emotional, and you are in danger of not using your reason. You need help from the Lord to govern your emotions and to reason wisely. When you pray about your loved one, do you feel peace, or are you unsure and fearful? Being at peace with God while praying is a sign to continue the relationship; but being uncomfortable and uneasy, is a warning. Then open your heart to God, and sincerely ask Him to evaluate the person for you.

Counsel with your God-fearing parents!

“If you are blessed with God-fearing parents, seek counsel of them.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 359. “When perplexed to know what course is right, let them [the children] lay the matter just as they view it before their parents, and ask advice of them. Who are so well calculated to point out their dangers as godly parents? Who can understand their peculiar temperaments so well as they?”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 106.

3. What are the proper first steps to take for a guy who likes a girl? In what order should he make his feelings known to her, the parents, and the pastor?

The good news is that for a true child of God, the issue is not so complicated as it may appear!

Step 1: Come closer to God.

If this tiny plant named “love,” arising in your heart is from Him, He will make it clear for you. Before taking any other steps, clarify things in your mind and your heart. Prayerfully observe the character of the girl. Are her major traits of character in harmony with your aspirations and tastes? Will you be ennobled and enriched to have such a person next to you for the rest of your life? Would you like your children to inherit her personality and traits of character?

Step 2: If you feel comfortable with the answers to the above questions, then . . . approach the girl!

Tell her sincerely that you highly appreciate her. . . . That it would be an honor to be accepted of her and to know her better. Don’t hurry her to give you an answer! Make sure that you understand exactly what she means. If she seems evasive, it could be that she is surprised, not necessarily rejecting you. If she says: “Hmm, that’s interesting,” you may say, “Is this a kind of yes?” Smile, be respectful, and confident! If the answer is “no,” be polite. You may reaffirm your appreciation, in spite of the refusal, and make sure you leave the door open for her to reconsider in the future. Let God and time do their part. If she agrees, you may go to the next step.

Step 3: See her father.

This may seem to be tough, but it is not at all. The father of the girl will love and respect you seeing you’re a responsible MAN. Be respectful to him. Express your appreciation for his daughter, and your positive intention to know her better. Promise him that you will respect her, and that you’ll make sure she will not suffer any harm. Then keep your promises! This is a very important step, in the sight of God, which can’t be overlooked. (See Messages to Young People, p. 446; The Adventist Home, p. 57.)

Step 4: Continue to speak with your God-fearing parents! Lay down before them your dreams and intentions. (See The Ministry of Healing, p. 359.) They love you more than any other human being, and they know you better than anyone else. Counsel with them. Learn from their experience. Pray together. You are gaining so much by thus doing! Never indulge in your mind the thought to marry against their will. (See The Adventist Home, p. 75.) If they have objections, listen carefully. Ask them to explain. Postpone any further step. If you have to change or improve some things, do it. Continue your endeavor only after they have withdrawn any possible objection.

Step 5: Counsel with your pastor or with a pastor of your confidence, who knows the girl. Ask his opinion and advice. Don’t be afraid to hear his objections and concerns. They are for your good. Consider them with much prayer. Try to see the whole picture through the eyes of these people of experience.

Step 6: Avoid any haste.

God is eternal; only Satan is in a continuous hurry! If you have concerns on the way, slow down the run. You don’t have to quit; only slow down. Take time to analyze the concerns, and to solve them, if possible. Continue to pray, so that the Lord may have free access to her and your heart. Give time to your heart to get ready for the extraordinary adventure of married life! (See The Adventist Home, p. 44; The Ministry of Healing, p. 368.)