Giving Your Children a Vision for Courtship

According to one national study, 43% of professing Christian teens lose their virginity by the time they are 18, and 70% have been involved in significant physical intimacy. Needless to say, such rampant hormonal stimulation creates multiple problems for the teens and their families. There is no one biblical way to court, but in this session, Reb helps parents draw from the Scriptures to create their own “courtship” plan that will help their children walk in greater purity and lay a foundation for stronger marriages. Valuable for parents of all age children, from toddlers to teens.

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Giving Your Children a Vision for Courtship

Reb Bradley






B. UNSTABLE, FAILING   marriages


C. Spiritual IMPOTENCE


II. The origin of recreational dating


A. Dating is an invention of unbelievers in the 20th century.


B. Christians adopted dating from the world and abandoned biblical and historical customs


III. What are the differences between modern dating customs and the biblical model for romance?




Marriage was God’s chosen relationship for the expression of romantic or sexual desires.


1 Cor 7:9  … it is better to marry than to burn with passion.


Dating and “going together” are the modern solutions to emotional and physical desires of those unable or unwilling to marry.

To gain the privilege of touching one another, a couple had to enter a covenant by swearing vows of lasting faithfulness and commitment.


Mal 2:14; Prov 2:17; Num 30:2; Deut 23:21, 23


To gain sensual touching privileges, a couple must like each other or have some use for each other. No covenant is entered – no permanent commitment is required. Private, intimate parts of oneself are shared with as many as one desires.


After entering a binding covenant, God declared two separate people to be one flesh, which meant they gained rights to one another’s bodies.


Mat 19:6  So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."


1 Cor 7:4  The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.


In the world’s dating model a couple has not bound themselves in a covenant and therefore has not been declared by God to be one flesh, yet they grant rights to physical intimacy to whomever they choose.  



When a man was prepared to support a wife, he then began to seek a relationship. Courtship is the word describing the exploration and cultivation of a relationship for marriage. It is a means to an end. Parents were involved in arranging or overseeing it.


Gen 28:2; 29:14-18,26; 34:8; 34:16-18; 41:45; Deu 5:16; 1 Cor 7:36-38 (KJV); Ex 2:21; 22:16; 28:32; Josh 15:16-17; Judg 1:12-13; 12:9; 21:1,7,18, 22; 1 Sam 17:25; 18:17,19,27; 25:44; 2 Ki 14:9; 1 Chr 2:35; 2 Chr 25:18; Dan 11:17;  Matt 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:34-35


Years before young people are prepared to marry, or ready to settle down and commit to family life, they engage in dating for the purpose of personal gratification. It is an end in itself -- it is, effectively, a substitute for marriage. It offers most of the benefits of marriage, but without the commitment.


When a couple knew they trusted one another enough to make the commitment of marriage, they entered their covenant by having a betrothal (engagement) ceremony, at which time they spoke their vows, but gained no rights yet to touch or live together.


1 Cor 7:1  …  It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

[… not to marry]     (Jud 14:2, 10; 1 Sam 18:21)


After a couple shares physical and emotional intimacies through dating, and find themselves significantly emotionally bonded, and they come to believe they will be sufficiently gratified by each other the rest of their lives, they decide they are ready to marry. They then enter a temporary,  probationary period before marriage called “engagement.”



IV. What are the privileges offered by the two models of romance?




The Biblical Model
for Romantic Relationships & the Accompanying Privileges:


Age to begin:

When ready to marry


Casual acquaintances


> none




> chaperoned time together

> no touching


Engagement  (Betrothal)


> guaranteed spouse

> no touching




> cohabitation

> 1 on 1 alone-time

> sexual rights,

ie; back rubs, mistletoe kisses, slow dance full-body hugs, viewing of attractive aspects of body, and sexual intercourse

> cultivation of emotional intimacy

> guaranteed companionship

> emotional security

> having children

> development of social skills














Requirements for gaining the privileges offered in the Biblical Model for romantic relationships:


> couple must enter a marriage covenant which that the couple speak vows and oaths in front of witnesses, swearing faithfulness and unyielding commitment to their permanent partnership, thereby establishing formal, God-sanctioned boundaries to the relationship


> couple must be united by God as One flesh




The Worldly Model
for Romantic Relationships & the Accompanying Privileges:


Age to begin: 

     Any age


Casual acquaintances


> back rubs, mistletoe kisses

> slow dance full-body hugs

> view attractive aspects of body



> moderate sexual activity, ie: holding hands, kissing, passionate hugging, face-caressing, etc.

> 1 on 1 alone-time

> cultivation of emotional intimacy

> development of social skills

Going Steady


> greater sexual contact, possibly petting and fornication

> guaranteed companionship

> emotional security

> occasional cohabitation

> partial cohabitation,
   ie: "playing house"



> increased sexual contact & cohabitation



> complete cohabitation

> complete sexual privilege

> having children




Requirements for gaining the privileges offered in the Worldly Model for romantic relationships:


  > couple must like each other, or . . .


  > couple must have use for each other








Effects of the Worldly System


A. Creates a permanent bond


1. Scars, calluses, & wounds REMAIN


2. Emotional BONDS with others remain


3.  Develop FEAR of commitment


4. HEART is SHARED with many, leaving LESS for future mate


B. Develops wrong concepts of LOVE




D. Develops APPETITE for variety & change


E. Creates a standard of COMPARISON


F. Causes LATE marriages




H. DEFILES the conscience


I. Marriage is DEVALUED


     J. Fellowship is DESTROYED

Effects of God's Plan


A. Protects from heartache & resulting problems








B. Keeps the mind clear


C. Prevents habits of separation


D. Content with only 1 person


E. Content with one's spouse


F. Marry earlier


G. Preserves purity


H. Keeps conscience clear


I. Marriage is more highly esteemed


J. Fellowship is preserved







A. Influencing values requires that we have their respect.


> We do not learn from those we do not respect.

We respect those who respect us – not those who do not listen or value us

> Keep in mind: A strictly AUTHORITARIAN approach will alienate teens.

Not about CONTROL ----- They are their own person. You may be able to control behavior, but not the heart


--- It’s not even about METHOD.        No ONE biblical model. 

B. Influencing values requires that we have their hearts, and more importantly, that God has their heart


> Cultivate a love relationship with them.


> God motivates us by both respect and love. David sang of his love for God and his fear of God

Deu 10:12  And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,


> Without RELATIONSHIP parents have DIFFICULTY NURTURING a teen’s walk with Christ.  

Cultivate TRUST with them – We do not receive from those we do not trust OR TRUST ACCEPT US

> If Jesus is not Lord in their hearts they will lack the insight and power they will need.

1 Pet 3:15  but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts …


2 Cor 5:15  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.


C. From infancy, elevate marriage as the place for expression of romantic intimacy.

It’s about the elevation of MARRIAGE --- NOT THE ABSENCE OF DATING.  

1. Elevating modesty preserves the sanctity of marriage. Song of Sol 4:12

Not sharing with the world that which their mate will want preserved for them

2. Elevate to them their purity, emphasizing keeping themselves pure as a gift for their mate


3. When they witness romantic intimacy outside marriage, ie: TV, immodest magazine covers, park benches -- expose it as action which robs from marriage.


4. Rom 13:14; Mat 18:6  Limit their exposure to sexual stimuli


> It tempts them, corrupts their values, and desensitizes to that which should be kept sacred. Parents are not careful, because THEY are desensitized.


D. Raise your children to respect the opposite sex


> Raise your daughters to be pure and your sons to guard a woman’s purity

1 Tim 5:1-2  Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.


E. Get fully equipped and then schedule a time of INSTRUCTION to be certain they understand.


F. Proverbs 1-31: Prepare them for coming temptations 


>  Plan for them responses to porn, flirting, mockery, etc.


G. Dim the glamour of fornication by using biblical terminology in reference to it.



H. Equip them to handle PREMATURE AFFECTION   (Eccl 3:8; Song 2:7; 3:5)


1. Curb inappropriate FANTASIES     (2 Cor 10:5)


2. Guard against sending WRONG MESSAGES


a. 1 Tim 2:9-10; Rom 14:21 Explain the power of immODESTy

Rom 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.


b. 1 Tim 2:9 Help them avoid a flirtatious spirit

1 Pet 3:3  Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.