My Story

I am an advocate for Christian Courtships….so I want to share a true story. Here’s how the story goes: Boy meets girl at crowded party. Girl smiles and cackles the night away while staring into boy’s brown eyes. Girl falls instantaneously in love….and they ride off into the moonlight, living happily ever after with 2.5 kids and a dog.

Beautiful story right? Well, it’s not quite reality. Okay, here’s how the story really went. It has been a long journey.  For starters, I did meet my future husband at a mutual friend’s house during a theme costume party. I was wearing 80’s gear complete with leg-warmers and a colorful, stripped off-the-shoulder shirt. And he did march in wearing a Jackson 5 afro. We talked, chatted and yes I did gaze into his big, brown eyes, but instead of riding off into the sunset, we spent several months getting to know each other and eventually started a Christian courtship. A What? Courtship. What’s that you ask? Why does it matter? I’m glad you asked. Well, let me break it down to you like this.

When my husband and I met, I was really at a great place in life (finally). I was enjoying my life as a single person, serving the Lord faithfully in my church and just overall content with my season of life. I used my time as a single person to go on Mission Trips in Africa and Guyana to help the underserved and I was also a mentor to high school students. Now, you may be reading this a rolling your eyes or be feeling queasy at the thought of yet another “goody two shoes” who found her Boaz while in the vineyard (Ruth 4:13). Well, let me just say that has not always been this way and it was a journey to say the least. So, let me tell you my story:

I’ve gone through my share of bad relationships: First there was “The manipulator” who had a great personality, but had an excuse for everything and could talk his way of anything. And then I fell head over heels for “The liar” who could just not keep it real. And then there was “The player” who was dating 3 other people at the same time as me (and denying it when caught!). And let’s not forget “The non-committer” who “just wasn’t ready for a relationship” (don’t you hate when someone says that?). I had tried it all and I was tired of it all. I was tired, frustrated and upset because it always ended in disappointment.

I wanted more from a relationship and I desired a more fulfilling relationship with dating. So at some point after all the foolishness, I made a little pact with God that I wouldn’t be on the dating scene – entertaining advances from anyone who I couldn’t honesty see myself marrying. This meant I spent many Friday nights alone in my apartment, but I purposed to wait on His timing, rather than just date for fun. I focused on growing personally and trying to bloom right where I was planted…..and then just when I wasn’t looking, from stage right, in walks an amazing man into my life. This man has a heart of gold, a giving spirit and a kilowatt smile to top it all off. After meeting him, I wish I could say that it just flowed like a page out of your favorite love story, but that wasn’t quite that easy.

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We spent the 5 months becoming friends– spending time getting to know one another and learning each other. We were grooving and I was liking him more and more. Things were going pretty well, until one day I got a phone call explaining that he didn’t think he was ready for a commitment and he asked me the infamous “dagger in the heart” question, “Can we just be friends?” I was like “WHAT?” My jaw sort of dropped and even though I tried to play it cool and keep my composure, I could feel myself unraveling at the seams. As he continued to speak, my mind drifted and I was intermittently thinking of all the things I could tell him to retaliate – because truthfully, I was hurt and upset. In him, I had imagined the potential for a relationship that was enduring and lasting. I hoped for something more than just another “boo” and as the relationship ended, I felt like my dreams were sort of dashed. I was crushed, but I picked up the pieces and went to God. I had decided to chalk the relationship up as an “L” and to erase him from my memory. But in God’s presence…..I discovered something different. I encountered an unexpected peace about our split and I actually received a new assignment. Rather than mope and be bitter, I felt God was charging me to pray for this man. Now, I have to admit – at first, I was totally resistant. And I mean totally, absolutely resistant to praying for this guy who had just up and ended our friendship, but as God began to reveal His purposes to me – He showed me that it was all a part of His larger plan.

In hindsight, God showed me that there were lots of things about me that wouldn’t be healthy to bringing into a relationship and He highlighted things I needed to work on. Talk about a major blower to the ego. You know how you want to blame things on the other person….but then you realize it’s you? Ouch! Rather than be bitter, I got better and I embraced the prayer agenda God gave me for his personal growth and development. And I forgave him in my heart. All of this took place in May 2006. Though I was expecting this man to come to his senses and show up on my doorstep riding a white stallion to carry me into the sunset, we didn’t speak again for another 8 months after that. Yet in still, I remained diligent in praying for him…..And I came to know that God will truly, truly do exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or think.

In January 2007 – I got a call out the blue from him inquiring about how I was doing, and wondering if we could get together for coffee. I was like, “HUH? What? Come again?” I was surprised but not shocked because somewhere in me, I knew that God was orchestrating all of it. As it were, I was on a work assignment that placed me out of the state for a whole month!! So, I knew our re-connection wouldn’t be any time soon and it turns out that we didn’t get together for that coffee until March 2007.

This time around….things were soooooo much better than I could have even imagined. It was like God had been in my heart and heard my every prayer.  He was an even better person than before and I had grown a great deal too over those months. I could definitely see God’s hand in the situation. So, by April 2007, we were in a unique place. We were “exclusively” getting to know each other but we weren’t quite an item. That meant that we weren’t necessarily free to be on the dating scene, but we weren’t yet a couple either. It was a different place for me, so I did a lot of soul searching and listening….and by July 2007….I had received a handwritten note from him saying that he was ready to take our relationship to the next level and that he wanted to be with me “officially”. WOW!! How exciting! By this time, I was very into this great guy. But instead of just becoming boyfriend and girlfriend, we decided to do something a little different. We decided to start a Christian courtship. For us, this stemmed from 3 basic realizations:

• that we were too old to be dating for fun

• that we wanted to honor God through our relationship, and

• that we wanted to pray to ascertain God’s will concerning marriage in our life.

Because we did not want to do business as usual and because we truly wanted to honor God, courtship was the best model for us.  Courtship is simply a process to help you discern the will of God and ascertain if an individual of the opposite sex is the person that God has for you to marry.  We recognized that when you enter a courtship, you are not pledging to wed someone or agreeing to be married off, but you are acknowledging a desire to do things God’s way. Courtship lays a foundation for a God-pleasing relationship. In establishing our courtship, we committed to 3 basic things:

1) Maintaining a Commitment to Seeking God (both together and individually) to ask for direction on how to enter/ continue in your courtship. One of the most important things was that we were both committed to God and committed to seeking God’s will for our relationship. Courtships must be entered into mutually… and because we both viewed the other person as a possible candidates for marriage, the courtship was our way to seek God’s will. We also committed to Setting boundaries and accountability in place to lay a solid foundation for our relationship. This was important because it allowed us to stay committed to our relationship goals (i.e. seeking the Lord’s will) and avoid sexual temptations.

2) Spending Time Getting to Know Each Other in a variety of settings was very helpful because courtship is often called a fact-finding period. You are getting to know that person and they are getting to know you to see God’s will.

One thing that is important to note is that courtship is different from dating. The difference between courting and dating is that courtship has an end goal of seeing if this is the person you will marry. Dating on the other hand, usually has no specific, agreed upon end goal in mind. With courtship, you spend time evaluating a person through the lens of them being a potential spouse – and at the end of the courtship – you either have heard the Word of the Lord to know that this is the person that you are to marry….or you have discerned from God that this is the not the person for you and you can end this amicably. With courtship your feelings are protected a bit more because you haven’t totally put everything on the line with no idea where things could end up. Whereas with dating, you are investing time, emotional energy, and giving pieces of yourself with no defined or agreed up return on your investment. In my opinion, dating is much riskier.

It is also important to consider that there is a blessing in courtship. The blessing of courting is that you get to know the person through a safe lens. Because you are both seeking God throughout the process, it allows you to get to know the person with God’s insight. Also, courting is a blessing because when is done properly, it prevents you from becoming so emotionally attached that you unwilling to end the relationship if needed (i.e. you realize that this is not the person for you, but you’re in too deep to get out the relationship).

3) Sexual Purity is Key Component of Courtship Sexual purity is a critical component of courtship because it’s really hard to hear the voice of God if you are snuggled up in bed being intimate with that person. It clouds your ability to truly hear God’s plan.

So, from these key elements, God blessed us get to know one another and discern the will of God. This enabled us to walk into our engagement and with a certainty that God had called us together, all while maintaining our purity. Our desire was to have a relationship that honored God and I believe courtship was the only way for us to do that. It was definitely a blessing. I believe its one of the most effective ways to honor God in your relationship, discern if this is the person for you and protect your heart.

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D.S. Coleman

D.S. Coleman

D. S. Coleman is a freelance writer, motivational speaker and blogger focused on inspiring strong marriages and healthy relationships.Her blog offers fresh perspectives for singles seeking to honor God in their relationships and couples seeking to strengthen their marital bond.Featured in a variety of publications, her blog is the perfect companion for you – as you walk this Love Journey.She is the author of the new book “Why Dating Sucks & How Courtship Is Better” (available on Amazon.com)
D.S. Coleman

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