New Christian Take on the Old Dating Ritual


Casey Moss and Kara Price never dated each other, or anyone else. They never shared a meal alone, never talked about their dreams or plans. They never kissed and never held hands.

Yet two years ago, when Kara was 14 and Casey was 20 and heading off to medical school, they pledged their lives to each other in an improvised ceremony at their church that they called a betrothal. They exchanged matching signet rings, promised to be faithful and considered their vows as binding as a marriage.

Only then did they set about getting to know each other and thinking of themselves as a couple. Last month, with their parents' permission, they decided they could start holding hands.

While their story may seem a throwback to the Victorian age, Casey and Kara are actually on the front edge of a small but growing movement among conservative Christian youths who are rejecting the dominant culture's approach to dating and romance.

They are not simply saying no to premarital sex. They are essentially saying no to premarital romance. Convinced that dating causes emotional pain, broken promises and sexual straying, they are trying to rewrite the rules for relationships.

Although a formal betrothal like Casey and Kara's is rare -- even in conservative Christian circles some would consider their union extreme because of her youth -- many people are promoting a similar hand-before-heart approach they call courtship. The commitment to marriage comes first, before a couple is allowed to begin drawing emotionally close. In some cases, they are little more than acquaintances. Even then they are chaperoned and kept accountable by parents, pastors or responsible peers.

For more of this article go to: New Christian Take on Dating?


What do I think about all this?

We have not totally figured out exactly how we are going to handle courtship, yet.
We know that there will always be chaperoning and no kissing. No dating at all. We feel that purity means purity of body and emotional purity (purity of the heart). If the heart was given away to someone already, then this seems the same as giving away the purity of the body.
Anyway, our children know the standards we expect. So far, no arguments.

Public training


Not that I am an expert, but here are a few things that have helped me.

-Mean what you say. (If you promise a spanking, deliver it asap. If you say they will be denied a priviledge, don't back down even a bit)

-As they say "Walk softly and carry a big stick". Keeping a wooden spatula or spoon in the van is a nice reminder for everyone. Everyone will know it is there for the just-in-case situation. Another at home in the same place all the time.

-Sometimes I still have to implement "one hand on the cart" with my son who is 8yrs old.

-No one may crawl on the floor, climb, advertise a product to me, beg, cry, whine, crawl through a clothesrack or peek under dressing room doors.

-Parking lots really scare me and I, personally, have threatened serious discipline for disobedience or straying there.

-Implement a 5 square rule. I learned this in retailing. In retail, if you the employee come within 10 linoleum squares of a customer, you are to greet them, etc. With your child, shorten that to 5. If they leave that 5 square perimeter... sudden discipline should follow.

-Keep a tally and deliver asap. 3 infractions for Jim, 2 infractions for Sally and they get a dose of trouble for each issue. If you swat- break the swats into the appropriate groups.(If you normally give 5 swats and they broke rule 3 times give notice that the next set is now beginning after each 5 swats for a grand total of 15) If they get time out- same concept of delivery.

-Quote a few key scriptures. They will get to know them well!!! Ask "Are you loving your neighbor?" "Is this showing honor to your mother?" "Are you delighting in another's wrong doing?" "Is that something a foolish man does or a wise man?"

-NEVER EVER reward bad behavior or bribe. Good behavior is expected. It is not a treat your child blesses you with.