I'd like to introduce you all to Joshua Harris. He is married and has three kids, has written lots of books on the subject, and is a pastor at Covenant Life Church. He is the author of Boy Meets Girl, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is). I highly recommend all of his books.
Lately, I've been listening to a lot of sermons on marriage and dating and courtship. Mr. Harris's sermon "Courtship Shmourtship" is, by far, my favorite. Along with being incredibly insightful and chock full of fantastic advice, it's also pretty funny at parts.
I will type out a small excerpt or two for you all, from the very beginning. Keep in mind, this came out around 2005.
I took my wife to see the new version of Pride & Prejudice this week. Just a little tip for the guys: You can score some major points with ladies if you're into Jane Austen. So I watched this movie, this story, which, if you're not familiar with it: The basic moral of the story is no matter how bad you mess up with a girl, if you're a gazillionare it all works out in the end. Now I knew that was going to anger a few ladies - "That's not true! It's about true love!" Yeah, but he is a gazillionare, isn't he? As I watched this, and all the complications and miscommunications and wrong accusations and misunderstandings and romantic interests playing out in this movie, I thought to myself, "This whole relationship thing has never been easy."
You see, the terms we use to describe our relationships are really meaningless. It's the way we live that matters. I've met people who would describe their relationships as 'dating,' and they are doing that in a way that is glorifying to God, that is marked by genuine love. I've known other people who say they're into courtship, and they're like serial courters. They've courted half the free world! If there isn't genuine love motivating us, the terms we use really don't matter at all.
The rest of his sermon is just as good, and I would encourage you to listen to it. It really is very powerful. You can either listen to it online, or even download it to your iPod.
Here's the link:
His message is that it doesn't matter what you call your relationship, if it's based off of selfish desires, it shouldn't be happening. A relationship can only flourish with genuine, Christ-like love. I think that's a message we all need to hear.