A Christian Young Man’s Guide to Life and Finding A Wife in a Post-Feminist World

Recently I received the following email from a young Christian man which ended in a challenge from him to me.

“Dear BGR, I am a 17-year-old male who will be graduating high school in this next year.  I have attended a Bible preaching Baptist church for all of my life. I was taught both at my church and in the public schools I have attended that women being given equal rights with men was and still continues to be a good thing for society.   My parents are conservatives and I have considered myself a conservative for a long as I can remember.  Like many conservatives, I believed that equal rights for women was good thing.  But this is no longer the case for me.

Because of your blog I have had my “cultural blinders” as you call them removed.   

I did not make the connection between the rise of feminism in the mid-1800s and the rampant sexual immorality, divorce, abortion and problems with LGBTQ that we face today until I read your blog.  I cannot believe how blind I was and how blind the adults around me still are to this connection.

I love how deep you dive into the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures and how you base everything you believe on the Bible, the whole Bible and not just the parts people like.  I also love how you dissect and tear apart liberal, socialist and secularist arguments against the Bible.   With that said I have a favor to ask you or maybe more of a challenge for you.

Can you write a simple list, like a step by step list, of how young Christian men like me who have had our eyes opened to the evils that feminism has brought on our society can navigate this Post-Feminist world and live in a way that honors God and his design of gender roles?  And here will be the hardest part for you – can you do it in 1000 words or less? I just know that a lot people my age don’t have the attention span that I do and I think if you made it short, they might just listen.

Jonathan”

Jonathan – challenge excepted.

Step 1 – Know Your Purpose in Life

God created you to be “the image and glory of God” and he created woman to be “the glory of man” (I Corinthians 11:7).  This means you were created as a man to display or live out God’s attributes in your life’s work outside the home and as a husband and father in your home.

Companionship, sex and having children are all benefits of marriage and commanded by God in marriage but they are not the reason for marriage.

Ephesians 5:23-24 tell us “the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church” and “as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing”. It also tells us in Ephesians 5:25 that husbands are to love their wives “even as Christ also loved the church”.  It is “for this cause” (Ephesians 5:31), the cause of picturing the relationship between God and his people, that we are to seek and enter into marriage.

Step 2 – Read Your Bible from Genesis to Revelation

You cannot be the kind of spiritual leader and teacher to your future home that God has called you to be without becoming a student of his Word (2 Timothy 2:15, 1 Corinthians 14:35, Ephesians 6:4).

Step 3 – Keep Sexual Relations for Marriage

The only sexual relations that God calls “honorable” (Hebrews 13:4) is that which occurs within marriage between a man and woman. When you have sex with a woman before entering into a covenant of marriage with her you pervert God’s design for man, woman, marriage and sex.

Step 4 – Build Your Career First, Then Seek A Wife

In Proverbs 24:27 we read “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house”.  Build your career first, then get build a home and family.  In Ephesians 5:29 we read that husbands have a responsibility to nourish or provide for the physical needs of their wives “even as the Lord the church”.  A man’s ability to provide for his future wife and children is a critical aspect of him picturing the relationship of God to his people in marriage. No man should ever even begin to seek marriage until he is fully prepared to be a provider for his future wife and children.

Step 5 – Look for A Woman Who Knows Her Purpose

Just as you must know your purpose in God’s creation as a man, so too you should seek out a woman who fully embraces her purpose in God’s creation as well.

“4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

Titus 2:4-5 (KJV)

The women you seek should fully embrace the teaching found in the passage above.  No part of it should be uncomfortable for them.

Step 6 – Avoid Sexual Temptation While Waiting on Marriage

Some men may be able to provide for a family and therefore can marry in their late teens or early twenties because they enter a lucrative skilled trade or family business.  Others may have to wait till their late twenties or early thirties after they finish college and then spend several years in their career before making enough to be the provider God has called them to be.  A good example of those who would have to wait much longer are doctors and lawyers as it takes them almost a full decade to be firmly established in their careers.

So how does God want you to handle your unmet, yet God given sexual desires during this waiting phase of your life?  The answer is one word and it is an uncomfortable word for some while others have been taught it is a sin.  And that word is masturbation.

The scriptures condemn lust, not masturbation.  And then we must understand how the Bible defines lust verses how we define it today.  Romans 7:7 teaches us that lust is not mere sexual arousal or sexual fantasy, but it is in fact covetousness as defined in the 10th commandment. It is not a sin for you as a young man to be sexually aroused by or even have sexual fantasies about women.  It is not even a sin for you to masturbate to such thoughts or images.

Lust, in the Biblical sense, is when you think about or desire to entice a woman into having sex with you outside of marriage.  So, you don’t have to suppress your sexual nature until you are married, but rather you must exercise it within the bounds of God’s law.  And a big part of avoiding sexual temptation before marriage is to set a boundary for yourself that you will never be alone with a woman that is not your wife or your blood relative.

Step 7 – Be Diligent in Your Search for A Wife

Jesus said in Matthew 7:7 “seek, and ye shall find”.  You cannot hope to find a wife by simply sitting around and waiting for one to fall from the sky.  40 percent of couples who married in 2017 met online.  Use all resources at your disposal and do not limit your search to only your local area, but look nationally and globally. And yes, if you look outside your local area it will require a lot more money for travel. So, start saving.  Concentrate your efforts on rural areas as urban areas are often filled with women who don’t follow God’s purpose for their lives.

Step 8 – Do not Date but Instead Court

Dating leads to relationships based on emotion rather than compatibility.  The Courtship process helps protect a couple from the temptation to have premarital sex while at the same time allowing parents the ability to offer an objective analysis of the compatibility of the couple.

A Teenage Girl’s Courtship Covenant

Today I make the following covenant before God.

I will only seek to court a man when my father gives his permission to court that man and I will honor his rules for courting . (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 man that I am not married to unless he 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 husband 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.

What is the difference between courting and dating?

Both dating and courting will involve couples doing things together.  A dating couple and a courting couple might go out to dinner, a movie theater, a sporting event or church event together.  A dating and a courting couple might spend time together with their various friends and family members.  A dating and a courting couple may be physically attracted to one another.

With all these similarities it understandable how some people might confuse dating with courting.  But the differences between these two activities are a matter of WHY, WHEN and HOW.

WHY Dating and Courting Occur Is Different

The reason why men and women date is to enjoy one another’s company.  For instance, if a couple goes on a date and either one or both do not enjoy the other’s company then they will not see each other again.  Even if a couple has been dating for some time, if they cease to enjoy one another’s company then they simply “break up”.

The reason why men and women court is for the purpose of discovering if they are compatible for marriage.  While courting couples may enjoy their time spent together as dating couples do they understand that this is only a happy byproduct of the courting process and not it’s core purpose.  When one courts they are interviewed by the other’s parents, family and friends and they also interview their prospective spouse’s family and friends.

Courting is not about having fun, it is a fact-finding mission about a prospective spouse.

The purpose of courting is to find out the character of a potential spouse by asking them about what they believe about God and about life and then finding out from their family and friends if their life matches their beliefs.

While courtships are sometimes terminated like dating relationships are, the termination of a courtship does not happen easily and it a serious event for both families.  Only if a serious incompatibly was found or if unfaithfulness was found on the part of either person would a courtship process be terminated.  Another important reason why courtships are terminated far less often than dating relationships is because both families do a preliminary investigation of the potential spouse before a courtship arrangement is agreed upon.

WHEN Dating and Courting Happens is Different

In dating a man typically approaches a woman and “asks her out”.  It might be to dinner, a school event, a church event or some other event.  With courting a man does not ask the woman out.  He asks her father’s permission to court his daughter.

And this brings us to another key difference between courting and dating.  The man does not ask permission to court another man’s daughter until he is prepared to support a wife and family.  Courtships unlike dating are not meant to be conducted over many years.  They are meant to be a short time to see of the couple are compatible for marriage and then they marry.  Typically, this process takes only a few months but usually does not go beyond a year.

From a courting perspective, it would be highly inappropriate for a young 16-year-old man in high school who is totally unprepared for marriage or unprepared to support a family to ask a young woman’s father if he may court her.  But with the practice of dating, a man need not be mature enough for marriage or able to provide for a family to enter into an intimate relationship with a young woman.

One last thing about WHEN courting occurs.  We have spoken about the prerequisites for a young man to be able to court someone’s daughter. So the next logical question would then be what about the young woman? What is the age for courtship for her?  The age is when her father deems her ready.  This may be before the legal age of adulthood which is 18 or after the legal age of adulthood. His primary concern would be to make the determination as to whether his daughter is spiritually and emotionally mature enough for marriage.

HOW Dating and Courting is Conducted is Different

When young men and women date they may kiss and hold hands on the very first date.  In fact, some couples even have sex on the first date.  Still for many teens they may not have sex for some time but they still become very intimate with each other in other emotional and physical ways.

For many young men and women dating is sort of like taking a drug.  They experience the dopamine rush in their brains of being with a new person.  Every text they receive from the other person gives them a rush. Every touch from that person gives them a rush.  Then they need to go further and further with the touching.  Even if some teens do not engage in full sexual intercourse, many dating teens are touching one another in other sexual ways.  It is all about the rush, the thrill of being with that person.

And then for many teens when the rush and the thrill of the new relationship goes away they breakup and move on to the next teen to experience new thrills with that new person.  And this cycle goes on and on throughout high school or college until they finally decide to settle down, get serious and get married.

When young men and women court they do NOT touch.  Some courting couples may be allowed to hold hands when the wedding is very close. But beyond that there is no kissing or hugging or cuddling during courting. And while they definitely investigate one another for compatibility they are not as emotionally intimate as dating couples.  The goal of courtship is to make sure a couple is compatible but at the same time not engage in the emotional and physical intimacy God meant for marriage.  Courting couples experience that dopamine rush too, but they do not allow it to control their actions.  They can finally and fully let go once they are married.  And on their wedding night and during their honeymoon – physical and emotional intimacy is all new for them and as beautiful as God intended it to be.

To help courting couples avoid the temptation to touch or talk in ways that are reserved for marriage they are never allowed to be alone.  They always have parents or siblings or other Christian elders with them at all times. Courting couples might go out to dinner, a movie theater, a sporting event or church event together but often they don’t even sit next to one another. Someone else is in-between whether it is a sibling or a parent.  So, they experience the events together but they do not touch. This is a major difference between dating couples and courting couples.

Conclusion

Some people wrongly think that courting is just “dating for marriage”.  But as we have shown here it is so much more than that. A core component of dating is physical intimacy even if the couple does not go all the way to intercourse.  Another critical difference between dating and courting is the parental involvement.  In dating the man asks the woman out, in courting the man asks the girl’s father for permission to court his daughter.  With dating the ability of the young man to provide for a family and his overall readiness for marriage is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is if the young woman finds him attractive and fun to be around.  In courting, the young man’s ability to provide for a family as well as his faith and overall maturity are critical prerequisites to him asking to court a man’s daughter.

Can You Follow the Courtship Model Without the Support of Christian Parents?

While Christian churches and civil governments have usurped authority over marriage for many centuries, the fact is God did not give either of these spheres any authority over people entering into marriage.  You will not find one passage of the Scriptures granting authority over marriage to either civil or church leaders. Not one.

You will however, find passages like the Exodus 22:16-17, giving fathers authority over their daughters in marriage:

“16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.”

Exodus 22:16-17 proves that God gave authority over marriage not to the civil government or the Church but to the family, and specifically to fathers.

God instituted the family as his first human authority structure.  And he never ever took away any authority he gave to husbands and fathers when he later instituted the spheres of civil government and church government.

While the Bible does not require men to have the approval of their parents for marriage the Scriptures do tell sons this regarding their parents:

“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother”

Proverbs 1:8 (KJV)

“A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.”

Proverbs 15:20 (KJV)

“Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.”

Proverbs 23:22 (KJV)

So, I think it is Biblical to say that men should also seek the advice of their parents in seeking the spouse God has for them in the courtship process.

My point thus far in all the Scriptures I have shown is this.  God meant for the courtship process to be a family affair on both sides.  He wants the parents of the man and woman who are courting to be on the same page and comparing notes about their children.  This is not just a man and woman coming together in marriage, but it is also two families coming together.

Sin Sometimes Poisons the Courtship Process

Sin has infected every part of this world.  It has infected our bodies and natures as individuals.  It has also infected God’s institutions of marriage, family, civil government and even his institution of the Church.  Husbands physically abuse or abandon their wives.  Parents sometimes horribly abuse their children through physical abuse or neglect.  Civil authorities abuse their God given power, usurp authority over areas God did not give them and violate the natural property rights of individuals.  And church authorities are no less guilty of allowing sin to run rampant and abandoning the Word of God.

So, there will be times when a young person will not have the support in the courtship process God meant for them to have from their parents.

What happened with my grandparents is a prime example.

My paternal grandmother came from a home where her mother did not have a normal relationship with her children.  She was one of three children.  She had two brothers.  My paternal great grandmother was the matriarch of her family.   Her husband did whatever she said without question.

While it is not unheard of for wives to dominate their husbands and children (although it is sinful for them to do so) it is rare for a parent to forbid their children from ever marrying. That is what my paternal great grandmother did with her three children.  She expressly forbade them from seeking out marriage and insisted that her three children live with her and their father for the remainder of their lives.

She made her children feel that if they loved anyone other than her, their father or their siblings that they would be betraying their family in doing so.

We know when looking at the Bible that such parenting is against God’s design. God gave this command to parents regarding their children:

“Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.”

Jeremiah 29:6 (KJV)

And this command from Jeremiah is based on God’s first command to mankind when he created man and woman:

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

Genesis 1:28 (KJV)

Well you can probably guess that my grandmother went against her mother’s wishes for her to remain unmarried and live with her mother for life, else I would not be here.

Unfortunately, her brothers did not seek out marriage and they remained with their mother for the remainder of her life.  One son died in his thirties before his mother died and the other died single many decades after his mother died.  It is interesting to note that while these men never married they were both extremely sexually immoral and had sex with many women.  But they hid it from their mother, never brought any of these women home and never married so they kept their mother happy.

My grandmother was the polar opposite of her brothers.  She was not a loose girl.  She was a strong believing Catholic and she believed sex was strictly reserved for marriage.

No, my grandmother and grandfather did not court. This new “dating” thing was all the rage and that is what my grandparents did.  They dated in secret in the mid 1930’s a little more than a decade after woman’s suffrage was passed.

And just as I have warned people here about dating, my grandfather was trying to entice my grandmother into premarital sex while they were secretly dating.  But my grandmother held to her Christian faith and she insisted that my grandfather convert to Catholicism and marry her before he could have sex with her.

My grandmother not only insisted that they be married first before sex, but that they also be married by a Catholic priest.  They could not go to her Catholic church as her priest would have told her parents.  So they went further away from where she lived to a different Catholic church and even used different names and were married by the priest under different names as the church would report the marriage to local newspapers.

My father told me that when his father died when he was eleven his mother had a horrible time getting social security because her and my grandfathers’s names did not match on the wedding certificate.  She had to prove through the birth records of my father and his three older siblings and other church records that they had in fact married and she finally got her social security.

After they were married my grandmother let my grandfather start having sex with her but no one knew they were married.  She stayed with her mother and would secretly meet with my grandfather.  She asked my grandfather for time to break the news to her mother as she was still scared to death of her mother.  Eventually my grandmother and grandfather were overheard on a party line (people shared phone lines with their neighbors back then) and the secret was out and she left to live my grandfather as husband and wife.

Did my grandmother do everything right? No.  She dated a non-Christian man (He was actually raised Mormon). Also she did not immediately move in with her husband after they consummated their marriage.

But from a Biblical perspective, my grandmother was not sinning by seeking out a husband in direct disobedience to her mother.

Her father and mother were derelict in their duty as parents to encourage their children to marry and prepare them for marriage.   It would have been disobedience on my grandmother’s part to God’s marriage mandate if she did not seek marriage unless God had providentially call her to a life of celibacy in his service.

Conclusion

God’s ideal is that the seeking out of one’s spouse should be family affair. The courtship model reflects God’s ideal.  Ideally a man should seek out the approval and permission of a woman’s father to court her.  And ideally a woman should follow her father’s advice in whom she marries.  She sould seek out his blessing and approval.  But due to sin’s corruption in this world not everyone can fully follow all the aspects of the courtship model.

Father’s die leaving fatherless daughters.  Fathers or mothers refuse to allow their children to marry.  Some parents may not discourage their children from marriage, but they refuse to participate in the courtship process.

So, what is a young person to do in these situations where parents are derelict in their duties in the courtship process?  The answer is that you are only responsible for your own behavior.  You are not responsible for your parent’s bad behavior.

That means if you have no father or mother or you have parents but they want nothing to do with the courtship process then you do what you can.

As a man that means even if your parents think otherwise – you do not court until you are financially prepared to provide for a family.  And when you do court, you never allow yourself to be alone with the women you court.  If her father wants to participate in the courtship process then ask his permission.  And ask for his wisdom in knowing and understanding his daughter.  Guard your heart and keep physical and emotional intimacy for marriage.  Yes, it will be harder without parents to support you, but you can still do it with God’s strength and help.  It is a vast understatement that this entire courtship process, with or without parental participation, should be bathed in prayer.

As a woman that means when you are an adult even if you have parents that were derelict in their duty like my maternal grandparents you should seek out marriage.  It will be a must greater challenge for you as a woman than it is for a man as it was for my grandmother.  But you still need to have high standards.  Don’t just look for the first man who comes along.  Pray hard as you seek the man God would have for you.  It is sad that you as a woman are in this position, but you are here.

In a way this is similar to when a woman’s husband dies. A widow is the position of having to lead her children and provide for them as her husband did.  She has to carry a load God never designed women to carry.  But death in this world occurs because of sin in this world.

So, what does a widow have to do? She has to go out and get a job to support herself and her children.  In the same way if a young woman has parents who are sinning against God’s calling for parents to encourage and prepare their children for marriage then she should attempt to get a job and then leave their home.  Another option would be for her to move out of her parent’s house as an adult and move in with another Christian family.  Perhaps she can even see if another Christian father will stand in as her spiritual father and help her in the courtship process.

I do think though that Christian young men and women as a general rule should commit to honoring the wishes of the woman’s father in courtship.  Yes there will be exceptions like the one I have painted here and others.  But whenever possible, the father’s wishes regarding his daughter should be honored – especially if he is a Christian man who is fully engaged in helping his daughter to find the man God has for her.

Update 9/30/2018 – I let my Dad read this since a I published this a few days ago and he wanted to me to correct and add a few details of his mother and father’s dating and marriage story.  My great grandmother did not know about her two son’s whoring around – only my grandmother(their sister) knew.  Also I did not know the details of how they were married whether by a judge or a priest.  They were married by a priest at my grandmother’s insistence but they went to a different Catholic church than my grandmother attended regularly and they change their names so when the wedding announcements went out to news papers. 

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.