in My Heart



by Tory Shelton



While growing up, one thing young kids always dream about is when they'll be old enough to date. I was no exception. All throughout my earlier childhood, the basic agreement between my parents and us kids was that when we turned sixteen we could start dating. It was hard to hold out for, especially when there were several available girls all around me. The anticipation grew with every passing birthday. Finally my fifteenth birthday arrived. Only one more year until I could begin to fulfill the longing in my heart that would be satisfied only by having a relationship with someone of the opposite gender.

Then a few months down the road my mom was introduced to a new concept, which she in turn shared with us: not dating before marriage. "Not dating before marriage!" I thought, "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard! How are you supposed to find out what you want in a wife?" Little did I know that the question about how to find qualities you want in a wife would not only be answered for me, but to more than my satisfaction. And I would also find myself greatly defending that question numerous times over the next few years.

In dating, people try to put their best foot forward so you don't actually get a chance to see the real them and what they are like around their parents, sisters, and brothers, which is how they will treat their spouse once the newness of the relationship has worn off.

The concept my mom introduced us to is called "Christian courtship", or
"Romance God's way". The basic idea of it is that you pursue an exclusive romantic relationship with someone only once you are ready to "court" that person unto marriage, keeping yourself emotionally and physically pure, abstaining from having s_x until the wedding night.

The day my mom first opened my eyes to this idea, my thinking was greatly challenged. She did not force this idea on me, but made me examine both the drawbacks and benefits of each side, allowing me to arrive at my own conclusions.

Why would such an extreme concept be necessary? What's wrong with the dating scene as we know it? Over the following months and years I would find more answers to that question than I would have ever wanted to know back then, or even thought possible. However, the results have been life changing as they have completely reshaped the course of my life from how it would have been.

First off, one faulty trait in our traditional American dating system is that it puts too much emphasis on the physical aspect of a relationship, such as holding hands,
hugging, kissing, and intercourse, which is supposed to take place only after a solid foundation has been established. S_xual activity creates and allows cracks to form in that foundation which is vital to the survival of the relationship. When "the honeymoon is over" and all the stardust has faded from your eyes, that foundation laid before the physical aspect came into play will be all that you have to base your relationship on. 

The most important thing for a couple to build their love on is God and their relationship with Him. Pursuing a right relationship with God and discovering His will for them, their lives, and why He put them on this earth will ensure this solid foundation will be established and stay strong for years to come. Everything else will fall into place around that. Things like how to raise children, ways they enjoy spending time together, and direction for career and ministry, just to name a few. 

Another thing about dating that is detrimental to the future health of the marriage relationship is that it can be more of a preparation for divorce than for marriage. It teaches that, when the warm fuzzy feelings are gone, that must mean that you are no longer in love with that person, and that you need to move on and find someone new. Dating teaches that to experience true love, you have to feel it all the time. I learned by watching other couples in action, couples I admire, like my parents, grandparents, and people from church, that love is really a decision, a choice you have to make and say "I am going to love you because I am choosing to do so, not because it is so easy for me to do all of the time."

Standing firm in my convictions has not been an easy thing for me to do, especially during the high school years of my life. And I haven't been perfect in them one hundred percent of the time. But I have deep inner peace in knowing that I have made the right decision and
am walking the right path. And the thought of someday standing at the marriage altar with my bride knowing we have done it God's way will make it worth all the sacrifice in the world.




* I have deleted the "e" from the word "s_x" because certain servers, in an attempt to keep web surfing safe and pure for their customers, block any web pages ~ even entire sites ~ from being accessed if they contain "that word."  My web site is hardly one for Christian families wanting to deepen their walks with God or help their children purify their relationships to avoid!




I got the starry background at:



   I got the plaid heart at:



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