A Teenage Boy’s Courtship Covenant

Today I make the following covenant before God.

I will only seek to court a woman when I am ready to be her head as Christ is the head of the Church and when I am ready to provide for her and protect her as I do my own body as Christ does his Church. (Ephesians 5:23-24 & 29).

I will seek, whenever it is possible, the permission of a woman’s father before attempting to court her and honor his rules for courting his daughter. (Genesis 29:15-20, Exodus 22:16-17)

I will not make provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof by allowing myself to be alone with any woman that I am not married to unless she is my close blood relative. (Romans 13:14)

I will guard my heart and save not only physical intimacy, but emotional intimacy as well for marriage and I will not awaken the type of love God meant only for marriage until I am married. (Proverbs 4:23, Song of Solomon 2:7)

I will not follow my heart or feelings in seeking my future wife as it may deceive me.  Instead I will seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance  as well as the guidance of my parents and other Christian elders as they follow Christ. (Proverbs 1:8,Proverbs 11:14,John 16:13)

I will not date because dating is led by the heart, not the spirit, it can often awaken the kind of love only meant for marriage and it makes provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.

11 thoughts on “A Teenage Boy’s Courtship Covenant

  1. This is a covenant I have written for Christian teen boys as part of a series I am doing for Christian teens. I am also creating images like the one in this article and more and putting them on Instagram. Instagram is one of the most popular venues for teens today, even more so than Facebook and I am hoping this new campaign will change lives for Christ.

  2. BGR,

    Do you have any advice on how young Christian men and women can get to know each other well enough to judge one another’s character while also maintaining proper boundaries before marriage? My son is only eighteen months and still my only child–but we’re trying again soon–so I won’t have to think about this for some years yet, but I’d like to start collecting advice from different sources.

  3. Alex,

    That is a great question. What is the best way to get to know a person’s character? You talk to their friends, both close friends and casual friends. You talk to their parents. You talk to their siblings. You talk to the people they go to church with.

    Also courting does not mean a couple cannot talk, they simply cannot be alone together. In fact even in the sexual arena, I think it is wonderful for them to talk about their views of sex with a Pastor or with their parents. But they don’t have to get too intimate before marriage. That is farce that we are taught today. That couples must be alone together and fall in love before marriage. That is not a requirement in the Bible. In fact too much intimacy, even emotional intimacy before marriage is not good. God reserves intimate relationships between men and women (both physical and emotional).

    We often hear advocates of premarital romance pointing to Genesis 29:18 where it tells us Jacob loved Rachel and served her father for seven years to marry him. But this was not dating. Dating did not exist back then. He would not have been alone with her or dated her as that would have been against the customs of the time. The Bible tells us the basis of his love for her – she “Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.” Genesis 29:17. Jacob saw Rachel – thought she was hot and told her father he would work seven years to have her as his wife. That is not premarital romance, that is man finding a woman sexually desirable which is an honorable before God.

    Instead I encourage you to look at Genesis 24:1-69. We see both Issac and Rebekah trusting in the judgement of their parents to help them find their spouse. Rebekah met Issac. Does the Bible say they went through a pre-marital counseling session? No. Does it say they discussed their religious views or views of sex or marriage in general? No. It says Issac immediately “took” Rebekah where “took” is a euphemism for had sex with her.

    The parents knew their children. They knew these two people were compatible based on how they were raised, shared tribal heritage and values. Notice they did not worry about things like personality traits? You know why. Because in a Biblical marriage they do not matter. If the woman submits to and follows her husband and he loves her as God wants him too any personality difference can be overcome if the two have common values – especially those related to faith.

  4. It’s not just a question of whether or not the young male is ready; it’s also a question of, “is the ‘Christian’ woman actually following God’s standards, or a perverted blend of God’s word and feminism?”

  5. I would like to see some honor extended to any perspective girl’s father, if still living. Something along the lines of asking her father for permission to court/date and asking him what are her strengths, what are her spiritual practices, how has she been discipled and what temptations is she most prone to embrace, all so that he, the suitor, might make a plan on how to disciple her. Regular meetings with her father during the get to know stage would be wise and help the transition from her father’s oversight and authority to his should they marry. Two become one flesh and two households likewise become extended family. It is important that courting her parents not be omitted for many reasons, not the lest of which is to earn the blessings of trust and give due honor.

  6. Jonadab,

    I agree with you in principle about him asking the father if he is still living – I mentioned that many times previously in my discussions of courting. But there is a reason I left that out of the covenant. I am working on a quick followup article now to explain why I did this.

  7. You might want to define ‘courtship’ and ‘dating.’

    Most people don’t and what they mean by courtship is actually similar to dating just with a purpose. But then you could have just called it dating based on Biblical principles

  8. Jonadab,

    After really thinking this over and praying on it I added this line:

    “I will seek, whenever it is possible, the permission of a woman’s father before attempting to court her and honor his rules for courting his daughter. (Genesis 29:15-20, Exodus 22:16-17)”

    I am using this with my younger two sons who are in their early teens. I am just very careful when it comes to making covenants with God that I do not put in things that do not account for us being a in a sin cursed world.

    It would be like if I pledge to give a certain amount of money to my church each week for a special building project I must always couch that pledge in “as the Lord provides” and when I say that it is not just my paycheck – because that is fixed salary. It is because emergency things may come up that drain my entire pay and I may not be able to give as I originally intended. This is just the cautious side of me.

    But as I thought on this and prayed on it – I did come to the conclusion that in courtship the permission of and the honor toward the woman’s father is a crucial component. It is somewhat like God’s call for women to submit to their husbands in marriage, it is the general rule with limited exceptions for sinful requests on the part of their husbands.

  9. In practice, asking Dad for permission to court and for advice along the way will pay big dividends, assuming dad is a good guy.

    He knows his daughter, and can help you avoid many land mines, both before and after marriage.

    Just be careful to ensure an orderly transfer of authority. He should delegate certain limited authority to you while courting (for example he could allow you to determine curfew within his limits, or cede authority for approving weekend plans to you) and it must be mutually understood that upon marriage, she is no longer in submission to her parents, but rather to her husband. If you do this, you will avoid family drama.

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