Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Role of Community in Courtship/Dating

When my wife and I first started courting, we decided not to post it to Facebook. Why? We were afraid of the pressure. I had seen how people can converge onto a "Relationship" status like a pack of hungry wolves. I didn't want that for Brittany and myself. It shouldn't be this way.

When a friend or relative enters into a relationship with someone, we really need to place ourselves in their shoes. The words we speak have such a great effect, especially at such a time of vulnerability. The prospective couple needs encouragement and support, not teasing and pressure.

"Prospective" couple--that's something that is easy for us on the outside to forget. All too often we treat them like they've already committed to getting married. That makes it harder for them to be honest about their fears and doubts. To make matters worse, it seems we do this despite the fact that we barely know the other person. They're looking to us for unbiased input, and half the time we come across as more biased than they are!

When we take every chance to poke fun and tease, we lose trust. Our friend needs someone to confide in and lean on, but he's afraid that all he is going to get is another jab. He knows we don't have what it takes to remain calm and have a serious conversation.

We are there to be their support. We are their eyes and ears for their blind spots. We are the rock they can depend on when things get rough. We are the wisdom they can come to when they have questions. We are their supporters, helping them to find creative ways to get to know each other without compromising their hearts. And we are the example of love, putting their needs before our own.

To be fair, I think this should be an exciting and fun time. Sometimes I think we take it too seriously to the point of self-hurt (ironically, the incessant teasing does not help lighten things only creates walls). We should be there to remind the prospective couple to enjoy the adventure they're embarking on (remember, we're supposed to focus on their enjoyment, not ours at their expense). And if things don't work out, that's ok. Through joy and through sorrow, be there for them.

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