Better Homes and Garden's Guide to ... Courtship?

I think the love story of Isaac and Rebekah is a beautiful one. Unarguably.

But if you don't mind me sharing a pet peeve ...
Every time I hear it used as a model for "Biblical courtship" I cringe. And even more, when I see those attempting to replicate it.
With the failure of the dating system came a generation seeking an alternative. We turned to scriptures for guidance (which it gives) and specifications (which it does not).
 I don't believe God gave us a play by play. And as much as we think one might help us in our 'quest for love', surely God truly knows best and thats why He didn't give us one. Therefore, I think we should be minimalists when writing "How-to" books, giving advice, or laying down the rules.

However... [ read more]

believe it or not, I find my own opinion on this matter to be annoying and even restricting at times.(not because its not truth, but because of my human tendency to get off balance). I found that having stepped outside of one "box" I had stepped into another. Every time I read the story I remembered the way it had been misused. I was distracted from its worth and message.
Well, I read it again the other day. This time sincerely hoping and praying for a fresh perspective.
I saw some fundamentals that no Christian should ignore or down play. And of all things, they have nothing to do with how much the parents should be involved in a courtship relationship. *wink*

:: Abraham wanted and believed his son should be equally yoked. He went to some extreme measures to assure that it happened. 
    "Thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: but thou shalt go unto my country..." vs.3&4

     :: Rebekah had a servant's heart. The essence of the Proverb's 31 woman. 

    "And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted... And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. [note: camels drink a. l.ot.] And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels. vs.18 & 20

    :: Abraham had faith. Not in his servant, but in the Lord. Isaac must have had faith too, to be a 40 year old man who let his father's servant choose for him. (amen?)
    "And the servant said unto him, peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land...? And Abraham said unto him...The Lord God of  heaven, which took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence."  vs. 7

    :: Their faith was rewarded by God's unquestionable guidance. Prayer and the answer thereof.
    The servant said, "...I bowed down my hear, and worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham which had led me in the right way..." vs. 48

    As you can see, each of these relate to not only courtship and marriage, but other areas of life as well. Maybe I am splitting hairs when I say that these aren't specifications for courtship. All I know, is that these are all principles we see through out scripture. For that reason, I feel fairly confident in saying, "And this goes for all of you." Rules and grid-lines bring us temporary peace. But God wants our utter dependence to be on Him, not a bullet point outline. The result? Everlasting peace in knowing that we truly did it God's way.

    I'll limit myself to only one disclaimer: I do believe parents should be involved when possible. I do not believe this is a commandment, but rather a measure taken because of wisdom and dare I say, logic. (along with scriptures which tell us to honor our parents so that we'll live longer and heed their advice as it is wisdom.) I do not find this principle being taught in this passage. Abraham's involvement was to trust in the Lord (good) and to send a servant to pick a wife for his only son. (um, no thank you?)

    Which extreme to do you lean towards? What other fundamentals do you see in this passage? Hash it all out and get back with me.


    7 Reflections:

    Mark said...

    Agreed. There's very little that bugs me more than when people use a story in the Bible as an example of how we should live when God never tells us that. Just because something HAPPENS in the Bible doesn't mean that God has put His stamp of approval on it. (there's LOTS of sin in the Bible folks - and just dumb things that people did). God has given us plenty of guidelines that we can use to live by. He's given us the tools we need to make Godly decisions. Sometimes we'd rather cop out of decision making and so we just look for some skewed interpretation of scripture that tells us EXACTLY what we are supposed to do, rather than just make a decision on the matter based on Godly principles. Hope that makes sense, and sorry Kaylene for expounding so much... maybe I should get my own


    Melinda said...

    Wow, Kaylene. Excellent thoughts. I really, really do agree with you. Don't you just love that story though? I do. ;) But, for myself, I cringe at arranged marriage for me personally. ;P
    And Mark, I really like some of the points you brought up too about Godly principles.

    Kaylene said...

    Yep Mark you should get your own blog. But nope, you didn't expound too much. Your thoughts are welcome! A good point you made is that God has given us plenty of guidelines. And I personally believe that if your living out those guidelines, the rest He will "cause". That's just how amazing He is.

    I should clarify, I don't think Isaac and Rebekah did it wrong. They did it right, for THEM.

    Melinda, I do indeed love the story, and even more now, I think. Maybe I should acknowledge that certain issues like arranged marriage are cultural. It probably wasn't that strange in that day for Abraham to send his servant to find a wife.

    Thank you for your comments!

    Anonymous said...

    I agree Kaylene! I also think it is not only annoying, but not God's will when people lay out a step by step, this is exactly how you are to go about courtship. I agree with Mark, just because a story is in the Bible does not mean that everything that the people did in that story was right. I do love the story of Issac and Rebekah, but I also like parts of the story of Jacob and Rachael. (the fact that he willingly worked 14 years for her) I think prayer by both young people and direction from parents and Godly, trusted friends should determine what is done in each individual courtship. Thanks for the post Kaylene!

    Abbie said...

    Amen and AMEN! I've always wondered why the whole "courtship" thing bugged me so much. And eventually I realized it was because of the rigid, MUST-DO, MUST-NOT-DO rules. I think courtship is a condition of the heart and attitudes, and a desire to please God in seeking a spouse!

    As always, I absolutely LOVED reading your extremely balanced thoughts and ponderings.



    Kaylene said...

    Christin, Jacob and Rachel's story is incredible and unique. How come we never use it to illustrate courtship? I doubt it suites most men's fancy to work 7 years (er make that, 14!) for their bride. :)

    Abbie, yep. It bugs me too. But you know, guidelines are good. I WANT my parents to say "you shouldn't do this" etc... but thats because they know me, and they're praying for me. I'm not going to say that the same set of guidelines should be for everyone.

    The "courtship movement" (as I've so dubbed it) issue aside, you hit the main thing right on. A right condition of the heart and attitudes and a desire to please God. You can't go wrong.

    Sarah H said...

    I agree. We have too long leaned toward legalism. Every courtship will and should be different. We also need to remember that there are girls (and guys) out there who's parents do not have the same standards they do. How are they supposed to do courtship as we know it? Great post!

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