A man only courts a woman who loves God more than she loves him.
As you continue on the glide path toward mature manhood, the day will soon come when you will want to pursue a relationship with a girl who grabs your attention. You’ll be entering into the dating or courtship phase of your life.
These are perilous waters, and you want to navigate them in such a way that you can look back on these days without regret.
How do you do that? Number one, accept the parameters established by your father as long as you are living at home. Every father will have slightly different standards than other dads. That’s fine. Your job is not to compare your dad’s standards to anyone else’s. It’s to honor your father by accepting his standards and following them.
These standards will have to do with such things as whether your dad follows the courtship model or the more conventional dating model. His standards will deal with issues such as when you can start going on group dates, when you can start going on solo dates (in our house it was group stuff only until 16, then solo dates with permission and strict curfews), where you can go, and when you have to be back. (The day will come when you’ll be out having fun and want your dad to extend curfew. Well, call him, make your case, and then do what he says.)
Regardless of the approach your father takes, accept his guidance and follow his lead. He loves you more than any other father does. So follow his guidelines. Your father knows that the day will come when you will be on your own, away at college for instance, and will be in a position where you will have to make choices on your own. He’s got you on a glide path to prepare you for that day.
What about whom you date? When we talk about marriage, we’ll establish a principle: don’t marry anyone who doesn’t love God more than she loves you. It’s the same in dating. Dating, or courtship, is the process by which you seek a mate for life. It’s a process that should in the end lead you to the woman with whom you will spend the rest of your life.
That’s its ultimate purpose. So your desires for a lifelong mate should guide your dating and courtship decisions.
I remember a dating seminar in college, where our campus pastor used the analogy of being unequally yoked together. That’s a metaphor from the world of agriculture, in which two animals were put in the same harness to work a field together. Yoking two animals of different kinds just didn’t work because of differences in size, gait, and strength. You’d never, for instance, yoke an ox and a camel together. It would wind up being cruel and unfair to both.
So our mentor advised us against marrying anyone who didn’t share our deepest spiritual values. To do so would be to go through life unequally yoked which will wind up being bad for everybody. So naturally one of the guys raised his hand and asked, “Is it okay to date a camel as long as you don’t marry one?” Everybody laughed, but it was a good question. And the best answer is “No.”
My advice to you is don’t even date someone who doesn’t love God with her whole heart, soul, strength and mind. That ought to be a non-negotiable standard in dating as well as in marriage. You may have fewer dates that way, but trust me, you will also have fewer regrets.