Friday, December 10, 2010

Courtship questions for potential suitors

If you know me, you know I wrote a book some 20 years ago about Dating With Integrity. We've kept it in print all the way till today, thought I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps we should let it go sometime in the next few years.

Meanwhile, I remain interested in the general subject.

I saw this post and thought: "Wow! Pretty deep. But . . . even if you weren't to view such questions as some kind of "Final Exam" for a potential mate for your child, and even if you were to throw out half the questions as impertinent, offensive, or opposed to your own views on this, that, or the next subject: How valuable might it be to engage a potential future son- or daughter-in-law in discussions on such subjects? Might such questions actually help build deeper relationships . . . not only between your son or daughter and his or her potential mate, but between you and that potential mate as well . . . as you mutually explored some of the deeper aspects of your respective philosophies of life?

Please understand: I am not an advocate of the so-called "Courtship Model" of acquiring suitable partners for one's children. If you believe in such a thing, I'm not going to get in an argument over it. I will be happy to discuss the pros and cons.

My point: I am not advocating that you adopt any of the philosophy of Stacy McDonald.

However, I do think she and her husband have raised some very valuable questions worthy of your and my serious consideration as we consider how to help our sons and daughters (or, now, grandsons and granddaughters) find appropriate mates.

PS: I like what Stacy writes on August 20 in the comments section:
These . . .. questions aren’t meant to be a fool-proof checklist for a guaranteed happy ending. They are only a very small beginning in a long process of real life examination and growth. I . . . know of a few families who found out the hard way that some young men are just good “test takers.”

Each situation is different, but if you don’t already know the family or the young man, it is very important to make sure that you [get] to truly know the person. That means they need to be in real-life situations, with real stresses and irritations. I think you . . . [need] to see if [a potential mate's] answers “played out in real life.” That is the key.

One family I know recommended taking the potential suitor on a family vacation with all the little siblings. The “real person” can come out quickly on a long crowded van ride. :-)

Again, there is no way we can fool-proof our lives from deceptive or dishonest people. However, we can trust God. As we use wisdom and discretion, taking our jobs as parents seriously, we can trust that God will protect us and our children.

A list of questions are no guarantee, but they are a start. We can’t check off our list and relax. There is much work, prayer, discussion, and getting to know him/her” that must go on.
Lots of additional good, thought-provoking discussion in the (unbelievably long!) comments section!
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