Why I Was Part Of Courtship Culture
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Why I Was Part Of Courtship Culture

Won't God reward me with the perfect relationship and marriage later if I gave up temporary flings now?

Why I Was Part Of Courtship Culture

There's been a lot of discussion online about purity culture, courtship, and dating.

I want to write about this, not because no one has said this before, but because I hope this can be a refreshing personal contemplation about what it is like coming out of a conservative culture.

Ultimately, this article isn't about me. This is about letting God be God, in every area of our lives.

“I Won’t Get Hurt”

Growing up, I heard this as a primary defense of relationships models. If we follow A and always do B, then we’ll avoid heartache and pain.

It was an obvious choice to me. Of course I wanted the God-approved, pain-free route!

I didn’t realize until years later that I had subconsciously chosen to “please God” when, in reality, I just wanted to benefit myself. I didn’t want the possibility of heartache. It seemed natural that if I gave up temporary flings, then God would reward me with the perfect relationship and marriage later—all to His glory, of course.

What I’m learning is that we live in a broken world. God is the Redeemer, and He makes crooked paths straight (Isa. 45:2). But the process of straightening out what sin has warped can be painful at times.

The sin in our hearts hurts. The sin in others’ lives hurts. That sin impacts every area of life, relationships included.

While God never intended for us to experience pain—and while His heart breaks for our brokenness—we can either let pain drive us closer to Him or farther from Him.

No matter what we experience, we can surrender it into the hands of the only One who can make beauty from ashes (Isa. 61:3).

Following the Rules

By nature, I am a rule-follower. But it isn’t just my personality that encouraged me adhere to such strict relationship rules; I genuinely thought that it was the way to honor Christ.

If you’ve been part of that culture, you know exactly what I mean. The rules vary lightly among subcultures, but a popular example is no kissing before marriage. Some go so far as to say no physical touch at all before marriage. Whatever the rules happened to be, the important part was that they weren’t optional; they were The Way to honor God.

As God has challenged me on my beliefs, I’ve begun asking questions.

Or rather, He’s begun asking me questions.

Do you really want to honor Me? Or do you just want to control your own life?

Do you trust Me to lead you without a “plan?”

Do you have faith in this system of relationships, or do you have faith in Me?

I was clinging to a system of relationships out of fear. I was afraid of messing up. Afraid of damaging a future marriage and, ultimately, of dishonoring God.

So I grabbed ahold of a spiritual-seeming plan. There were steps that prescribed exactly the way a relationship should unfold. It seemed like a great idea.

Except that it left no room for God.

In my wonderful plan, there was no room for faith. No room for God to work in unexpected ways. I could make one of the most important decisions of my life without really needing God to guide me.

In essence, this model allowed me to live a life of fear instead of faith and love.

In Conclusion

I've seen individuals jaded and embittered over the scars of legalism.

I'm not advocating discarding all this "purity nonsense" in favor of running to the opposite extreme.

Satan has this cunning ploy of mixing some poison into truth so that we reject the whole package. There is some good that I've learned—like timeless honor, the importance of guarding oneself, and the role of community. It's just that we added a bunch of human ideas to God's very simple commandments regarding relationships, which is to love God and others with a sacrificial love (Mt. 22:37-40).

What I do propose is that we quit relying on human wisdom and holier-than-thou methods. Let's simply submit ourselves to God, trust Him, and learn to walk in the freedom and service of the Holy Spirit.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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