By Pamela K. Orgeron, M.A., Ed.S., BCCC, ACLC, Author
Honestly, I am not a big fan of courtship, including arranged marriages, or dating as preparation for marriage. Neither the word “courtship” nor “dating” are found in the Scriptures. Though arranged marriages are found in Scriptures, I believe that was probably more of a cultural thing rather than something mandated by God.
No doubt, my negative thoughts and feelings towards courtship, arranged marriages, and dating stem from my own past failures in these endeavors. To be truthful, I rarely dated in high school. I never went “steady” with a guy. I only had the very rare opportunity to attend a school dance or other function with a friend. Circumstances did not change much once I got in college either. I attribute that to two factors: the first factor is that for some reason I only attracted the “jerks” who only wanted sex out of the relationship. Since I had been taught and made up my mind years before that I was saving “sex” for marriage, the few men I had dates with would move on because I wouldn’t cooperate with their desires.
The second factor I attribute to my lack of dates is the sheer facts that I just couldn’t handle dating nor was dating a priority in my life; although, there were times when I would have a tinge of jealousy towards girls who had steady boyfriends. What do I mean by “I just couldn’t handle dating?” Two reasons: one, having been sexually abused at an early age, my hormones kicked in prematurely making the temptation to give in much stronger than had I have not been sexually abused. Secondly, because of the sexual abuse and having gone out with mostly “jerks”, I learned early to associate sex and love. These were issues I had to work through before the Lord sent me my husband.
My parents also tried “fixing me up” or arranging marriages for me but those never worked out either. Most of the men I had little in common with. Additionally, a very stubborn, independent person, I didn’t want anyone else telling me who I would spend the rest of my life with; thus, I never went along with any of other people’s efforts to try to “fix me up.” Furthermore, dating and getting married was always at the bottom of my priority list until I reached my late 20’s. Before then my focus and priority was on getting an education and getting a career started.
With a lot of relationship issues growing up and in my early adult years, what changed to enable me to end up in a wonderful, Christ-centered marriage? First, I took to heart advice given to me by a couple of wise individuals. The first, my paternal grandmother always said, “If a marriage isn’t made in Heaven, then it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.”
Another person told me when I was in my late 20’s to early 30’s, “If you want to find the right person, then you have to be the right person first. Then when you least expect it and aren’t looking God will surprise you with the love of your live. That reminded me of an old poem I had stored away that someone gave me when I was in high school. I want to share that poem here.
Be United With God’s Love
Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone—to have a deep soul relationship with another—to be loved thoroughly and exclusively. But God, to a Christian, says: “No, not until you are satisfied, fulfilled, content with being loved by Me alone—with giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me— having an intensely personal and unique relationship with Me alone, discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found, will you be capable of the perfect human relationship that I have planned for you. You will never be united with anyone until you are united with Me—exclusive of anyone or anything else, exclusive of any other desires or longings.
I want you to stop planning, stop wishing and allow Me to give you the most thrilling plan existing—one that you cannot imagine. I want you to have the best. Please allow Me to bring it to you. You just keep watching me, expecting the greatest things. Keep experiencing the satisfaction that I am. Keep listening and learning the things I tell. Just wait, that’s all.
Don’t be anxious. Don’t worry. Don’t look around at the things you think you want. Just keep looking off and away to Me or you will miss what I have to show you.
And when you’re ready, I’ll surprise you with a love far more wonderful than you would ever dream. You see, until you are ready, and until the person I have for you is ready (I am working even at this moment to have both of you ready at the same time), until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me and the life I have prepared for you, you won’t be able to experience that love that exemplifies your relationship with Me and thus the perfect love.
And dear one, I want you to have this most wonderful love. I want you to be in the flesh a picture of your relationship with Me, and to enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting union of beauty, perfection, and love that I offer you with Myself. Know that I love you utterly. Believe it and be satisfied.
So that’s my alternative to courtship, arranged marriage, and dating—Put God first in your life, and He’ll take care of the rest!
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV): 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.