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A Courting Story: Rachel and Brian

My friend Rachel is back this week sharing her courting journey. I’ve been blessed to watch Brian and Rachel develop a relationship “the old fashioned way” and I love it. Courting is relevant today, maybe more so than we think. How to have a courtship is not one size fits all. Here’s Rachel and Brian’s journey:

a courting story

As you may recall, in this post, Dakota Edwards has recently explained what courting looks like today in the 21st Century.  He has explained it so well that I do not have much else to interject; however, I would like to share with you my personal testimony so you can see for yourself what the things Dakota described look like on a practical, day-to-day basis.  I will further use his points as a reference since they are so important, but I will add my personal experiences.

Keep in mind though, as he said, every relationship is differentThere is no recipe for courtship, and there is virtually no right or wrong way to go about it—it is between you, your parents, your sweetie, and ultimately, your heavenly Father.

From my recent post regarding Husband Lists you may already think me determined and stubborn.  You are correct…and it will soon be quite apparent just how tenacious I can really be.

Even as a young teenager, I had never been interested in the whole “dating scene.”  Yes, I desired to love someone and be loved in return, but I did not want to be pursued by a guy who’d dump me the instant he met someone prettier.  In my opinion, that was simply too much drama—besides, my heart wasn’t out there to be caught and tossed right back again.  So even after writing my Husband List and pledging to remain pure until my wedding day, I did not stop at just waiting for God’s timing for me; I took it a step further:  I would wait for one man for as long as it took…and I wanted to see only him.  Period.  The man I fell in love with and agreed to go out with would be the man I married.  No excuses.  No exceptions.

Before I met Brian, my boyfriend, there were several young men who were interested in me, but after being in their presence for only a short time and mentally scratching out all the things on my List that they failed to meet, I knew they were scarcely husband material so I politely ignored their existence.

Then, when I was finally enlightened as to Brian’s interest in me and God gave me the go-ahead, I told him straight-up that I was not interested in the whole “dating-game.”  If he still wanted to see me, which I desperately hoped that he did, then I would like to be courted.  He’s so precious—with a nod, he smiled and said he would do whatever I wanted—I just had to tell him what.  From there, I proceeded to explain my definition of courtship; it went something like this:  (This is what we agreed on then and are still holding to.)

how to have a courtship

Rachel’s Definition of Courtship

Serious

First off, we were serious; as Dakota pointed out, this is very important.  We were not simply “going out” just because we wanted something to do on a Friday night; we had formed a close friendship online over the course of about 9 months (with a few occasional visits) and I already knew that my feelings for him far exceeded mere friendship, not to mention he already completed my List.

So with the promise I’d made to myself and God in mind, that I would only date the man I married, when I did say “yes” to courting Brian, I said yes with all my heart, knowing that I had committed far more than just going to dinner with him; I’d said yes to forever.  (Now note that not everyone has the same determination that I did, however, you should at least have an idea beforehand whether or not you can see yourself marrying him in the future.)

Accountability, A Must

We found people we trusted and immediately established accountability; Dakota explained how this is crucial.  The people we trust are our parents who are involved with all aspects of our relationship.  We have appointed them as our “#1” accountability partners: everything we do is first discussed with them and any concern anyone has is discussed with them.  The families’ schedules are known by all—since part of our “arrangement” is that we do not ever want to be inside any building alone (because it only offers unnecessary temptation), we make sure that if our parents are away for meetings or whatever, we are either with siblings, or we go hang out at a restaurant/store where there are other people.

I know what you’re probably thinking: “Seriously, that’s ridiculous…you have to have parental permission to do everything? Loosen up.”  But I just want to remind you that it’s not them telling us what to do, it’s us asking them to help us.  Our standards for this relationship are high.  This is not bondage, it’s assisted responsibility—and ultimately, it’s freedom!

courting is not bondage

Council Is Necessary

With this having been said, it is also wise to invite council; Dakota also said this is necessary.  Like I said, we welcome advice from not only our parents, but from friends, relatives, and those even in our church family.  We are open to any wisdom, advice, or warnings anyone may have…and they all know it.  We desire to be teachable, thus we try to always have open hearts/minds and be willing to receive instruction or correction—that is how we gain wisdom.

Additionally, because our situation is unique, him living 6.5 hours away in Ohio, his visits are occasional and are usually a weekend stay on the couch, thus we have implemented alternatives.  (Most other scenarios are not like ours, so keep this in mind.  I am also not suggesting by any means that your significant other spend weeks at your home, I am just saying this is how things worked out for us because of our long-distance relationship.)

Developing A Deep Knowing

I remember telling my mom one of my biggest fears when I thought about dating, “How will I get to know him—I mean really know him?”  She then explained what courting was.  I learned too, as I grew up and watched my friends’ relationships, how crucial truly knowing your significant other is.  How can you consider marrying a guy if you don’t know the simplest things about his personality or life? 

The biggest thing with dating for me was:  how will I get to know him, and I mean really know him, if I sit across from him at a table in Starbucks for 2 hours every weekend and discuss mutual interests?  That was not enough for me.  I wanted to see firsthand how he interacted with his family; is he short-tempered with his siblings or does he exhibit patience?  Does he respect and honor his parents, even when something’s asked of him or does he rebel and snap at them?  How does he treat his little sisters when they pester him about something?  How does he accept instruction or correction from an authority figure, such as his pastor?  This is SO, SO important that you know these things about him BEFORE you marry him. Because, hear me: 

Iif he is rude with his siblings, he will be irritable with you when you’re married. 

If he does not honor and respect his mother, he is unlikely to respect and love you as a husband is called by God to do. 

If he’s not kind to his little siblings, he will not treat your babies nicely either. 

If he cannot honor authority, then he will be obstinate and unwilling to take advice from anyone, probably even you.

In courting Brian and spending days on end with him, both with my family and his, I now know him better than anyone.  I have seen him react to all situations that arise.  I know how he reacts when he’s frustrated or distressed, I can detect his mood through any given text message, I can sense when he’s annoyed without even asking him, and in fact, I can even tell he’s stressed before he even knows he’s stressed…because I KNOW HIM.  I will say this again:  It is crucial that you know your man before you say “I do” or else you’re in for a world of shock when you begin your lives together!

Reversely, Brian has seen me testy and moody but simply listens while I vent; he’s seen me sick and in pain, yet rubs my back and prays for me; he’s seen me in sweats without make-up looking like I was hit by a train, and still he braids my hair and tells me I’m gorgeous; he’s seen me so upset/stressed out that I am literally shaking with sobs, and he wraps his arms around me, reminds me that he loves me and holds me until I cannot cry another tear on his shoulder.  This is what I’m talking about.

He knows me:  he knows what brings me infinite joy and he knows what hurts me the most, and he knows how I react to most circumstances.  It’s also important to know how your honey will react to your responses to situations too.  For example, if it’s that time of the month for me, I’m moody, in pain and am really stressed out in addition to that, and I just want to cry on his shoulder, it wouldn’t be a good day if he merely shrugs at me and says, “Eh, stop whining…just get over it already.”  In the same way, if he’s angry and just wants to work-out to clear his mind and I repeatedly thrust a to-do list in his face demanding yardwork gets done immediately, that won’t go well either.  (Now am I saying Brian and I know each other perfectly?  No, I’m not.  We could be married for 20 years and still not know each other 100%, but we definitely know what we’re “getting ourselves into” so to speak, when we say “I do.”)

So my quandary with traditional dating was that I felt it would almost be too formal, it could even be superficial perhaps.  It’s easy to remember your manners and act pleasant in public but how do you react when they’re unbelievably stressed, angry or in pain?  And how will the other person respond to your reactions?

Courting brings the same freedom to your relationship that a budget does to your money management. And like a budget, how to have a courtship is unique to your family and your relationship. You don’t need to be a skirt-wearing, head covering religious-live-under-a-rock family to court. The Duggar family has given the masses a peek at courting and right here, in small-town Pennsylvania (and Ohio) Rachel and Brian are successfully courting (and I assure you, they don’t live under a rock!)

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Comments

  1. Great article! You really understand the benefits of courting! I am chasing the same thing (in fact a courtship may be in my near future….)! I wanted to marry the first person I courted as well, unfortunately that didnt work out for me but I am still so happy that I havent had my heart thrown around by dating and being in a bunch of relationships!
    Thanks for sharing!
    God bless!

    • Danielle says:

      You know, the other valuable thing with courting is that, if it doesn’t work out you haven’t gone “too far” (whatever too far looks like to you) because you have rules and boundaries and accountability.

Trackbacks

  1. […] guest post is from my friend Rachel. She’s written before about her courting journey and today she’s sharing about her transition from homeschool to […]

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