Considerations Before Courtship
Text: Titus 2:1-8
Much of the happiness or sorrow of this life will be tied to our home life. The romance soon turns into reality, and if there has been deliberate folly or rebellion on the part of a believer, there will be consequences to pay.
I. THE CONDITION OF THE PROSPECT
1. The Evidence of Salvation
It is not wise to be overly sympathetic to someones spirituality. If it is not plainly evident that they’re saved, don’t even go there. It may be summed up in two things: a love for Christ and sensitivity to sin. Is there a genuine love for Jesus Christ, and does that love manifest itself in sensitivity to sin? There must be both.
You’re not wanting someone who pays lip service to Christianity, but neither are you looking for someone who is religious without affection and right thoughts of Christ.
1 Cor 7:39 “in the Lord”. 2 Cor 6:14 “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers”
So if you’re approached by someone, especially you young women, and they show interest, don’t entertain it. At all. If you play with fire…
2. The Essence of Union
Marriage is a oneness, and it is most perfectly seen when that oneness is also spiritual. If you were converted to Christ after your marriage, or your spouse put on a good show and everyone was duped, but it has proved that there was little root in the matter, then this doesn’t apply to you. God knows your circumstances. I speak to those presently single and in Christ. I have seen this repeatedly, where young people, especially young women, try to win an unsaved guy to Christ with the hope that if it happens, they can marry.
It is a disaster. The guy’s emotions and intellect are consumed with the thought of a girl, and thinking of his sin and Christ are the last thing on his mind. He will only become vaguely interested in order to pursue and fulfill the goal of the relationship with the young woman.
Once you’ve taken those vows, there’s no going back. When you have a huge financial decision like buying a house, you don’t just look at it and sign the contract because you like it. You hire people to survey the property to make sure it’s in solid condition, and it’s not just a new lick of paint that’ deceiving you.
How much more should you test the condition of a prospective spouse? Many sign a contract because the one they’ve fallen in love with has made a profession of faith, but they don’t get the surveyors in to test the true condition. They’re happy with a fresh lick of paint. And once the contract has been signed, the cracks soon appear. Financial decisions. Discipline and training of children decisions. Place of worship decisions. All these will potentially be made difficult.
II. THE CHARACTER OF THE PROSPECT
By character we do not mean things like physique and wealth. He has to be a certain height, earn a certain amount, etc. Those things aren’t primary character attributes. They may be desirable, but you must be careful that you aren’t putting those things above important character traits. . You could already know the perfect one for you, only because they haven’t met your carnal criteria, they’ve been written off.
But the same must be said to young men. When asked to describe a woman, men will usually focus solely on the looks, whereas women are more likely to focus on character. This focus on the visual by men is known by women, and they consume their time with the visual and often lose focus on the character.
To the renewed mind, you cannot help but realize godliness is attractive and selfishness is ugly. You won’t always see it immediately, but given time you will.
Who can find a pretty woman? It’s not that hard. Who can find a virtuous woman? Prov 31:10. More rare and valuable than rubies.
Your outward beauty will degrade, but your inward beauty will flourish. Now I know that takes the ability to look beyond today, but that’s the way we should be.
Young women v5
discreet – sensible, sober-minded, circumspect, temperate, moderate, self-controlled.
chaste – pure. This is a state, not your past. Women with an unclean past served the Lord and were chaste women.
keepers at home – not so much that her place is in her home, but her business is there. The feminist spirit is almost entirely anti-god. It gives voice to some legitimate causes, but in employment they are way off.
good – kind to others and gentle.
obedient… – how do they speak and treat their parents and other authority figures? That’s how a woman will treat her husband.
Young men v6
sober-minded – sensible, self-control, temperate, moderate.
Summary thoughts of the character of a prospect…
1. Growing in Godliness – Not perfect, but growing.
2. Stable in Spirituality – Displays consistency in their life. They’re not spiritually up in a mountain one day, and trudging through the quagmire of the world the next. Stable church attendance. Stable in doctrine.
3. Cautious in Constitution – thinks carefully. Good perspective on circumstances. Serious when the circumstances call for it. You should be able to respect them now, because you should assume they won’t change all that much. Do they mock the older generations? Do they mock traditions? Do they mock their parents? Do they mock authority? What’s his attitude? Are they respected by the older people in the church? Not fooled by charm. Not curious of the ungodly.
And this caution applies to dress. Those who dress to seduce, do not desire respect.
III. THE COMPATIBILITY OF THE PROSPECT
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3
You can’t get to the same destination with the company of someone if you are both going in different directions. Even if two people are in Christ, they may not be compatible.
Compatibility in Doctrine – someone reformed with someone charismatic, paedo-baptist with credo-baptist, sabbath observer with someone who isn’t. There will be issues where there might be strongly held convictions. What way should children be disciplined, if at all? What are your views on education; private, public, or home school?
Compatibility in Attraction – There should also be an attraction. Though we can make too much of this, we can also make to little of it as God has nothing to say about appearance, just because He sees the heart, “And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.” 1 Sam 16:12.
Why would God record that if the only thing He looks at is the heart? The thing is, “for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7) is a statement of fact, but it’s not saying God ignores or doesn’t care about the external.
Sarah, Rachel, Rebecca, are all recorded as being beautiful. God is not indifferent. Jacob wasn’t so much attracted to Leah, as he was to Rachel. They married and had kids, but Leah knew and was grieved by this fact. We yearn to be appealing to our spouse, so you ought to be physically attracted to the person. But attraction isn’t a fixed characteristic. Personality and godliness (or a lack of it) can change attractiveness factor.
Close – It is healthy to be able to see room for improvement in another person. It would be no bad thing in premarital counselling to write down all the problematic things you see relating to personality, beliefs, and habits. Then to ask yourself, can I live with these if they never change? “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses?” Jer 12:5. Marriage is running with the horses, and if you can’t get past the issues raised before that, forget it.
Seek counsel, not your peers. Your parents, pastor, or older, godly people you respect. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” Prov 12:15