Does courtship protect the woman more than the man?

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Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
In light of the recent courtship thread, I thought I would ask about the benefits of courtship for the man.

I read this paper:

http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/books/courtshp/courtshp.pdf

It was kindly posted in the other thread and I found lots of information on how the father can "assess" the godliness and suitability of the man. While this is good for the woman to be able to select a proper husband, I wondered about the other side!

Take a look at some of the questions in the latter part of the article. They are quite challenging and probing, such as in regard to the young man's past sins and repentence (sexual, alcohol/drug, personal relationships, anger, pride, etc...).

Ought the young lady also "submit" to this sort of "questioning"? Perhaps with an older female adult, or the suitor's mother? Otherwise, it seems quite uneven.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
While men (and women!!!) need to be upfront about past sins, wisdom (common sense) dictates you do this wisely. Don't turn it into an inquisitor moment (e.g., have all the family and cousins and such listen to him confess to all his moral shortcomings. In some ways, let this discussion be between the courtee and courter). You are not trying to humiliate the person.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Well Said Joshua. I have some Mennonite friends back home in WV and I was invited to go to what my friends derisively called a "Courtship Trial" in which the Father of one of my friends was questioning the suitor oh his eldest daughter (who was not Mennonite). Evidently they required "witnesses" or something, who knows. Went "well" until they found he was not completely chaste. Then not so good, though they ended up getting married anyway and last I knew were still married 11 years later.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Well Said Joshua. I have some Mennonite friends back home in WV and I was invited to go to what my friends derisively called a "Courtship Trial" in which the Father of one of my friends was questioning the suitor oh his eldest daughter (who was not Mennonite). Evidently they required "witnesses" or something, who knows. Went "well" until they found he was not completely chaste. Then not so good, though they ended up getting married anyway and last I knew were still married 11 years later.
That's horrible. Really. So bad I actually can't cry.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
Well Said Joshua. I have some Mennonite friends back home in WV and I was invited to go to what my friends derisively called a "Courtship Trial" in which the Father of one of my friends was questioning the suitor oh his eldest daughter (who was not Mennonite). Evidently they required "witnesses" or something, who knows. Went "well" until they found he was not completely chaste. Then not so good, though they ended up getting married anyway and last I knew were still married 11 years later.
Dude, his name is Jacob. :p
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
I'm sorry, but that is just a disgusting thing to do. I can understand a little talk between father of the girl and the young man/mother of the young man and the young lady...but something like that...no way.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Well Said Joshua. I have some Mennonite friends back home in WV and I was invited to go to what my friends derisively called a "Courtship Trial" in which the Father of one of my friends was questioning the suitor oh his eldest daughter (who was not Mennonite). Evidently they required "witnesses" or something, who knows. Went "well" until they found he was not completely chaste. Then not so good, though they ended up getting married anyway and last I knew were still married 11 years later.
Dude, his name is Jacob. :p
Sorry :lol:
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Well Said Joshua. I have some Mennonite friends back home in WV and I was invited to go to what my friends derisively called a "Courtship Trial" in which the Father of one of my friends was questioning the suitor oh his eldest daughter (who was not Mennonite). Evidently they required "witnesses" or something, who knows. Went "well" until they found he was not completely chaste. Then not so good, though they ended up getting married anyway and last I knew were still married 11 years later.
That's horrible. Really. So bad I actually can't cry.
Interestingly enough it was part of the reason why a couple of them that I knew actually became Old Order Mennonite (one even went Amish). They thought the "modern" Mennonites they were raised around had lost the reasons for why they did certain things and had perverted them.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Why couldn't the potential suitor also question the parents. A young man sure shouldn't jump into a marriage with a woman with crazy parents.

From many sites and books it appears that the suitor has to become a groveling neutered pup instead of prince chamring ready to fight for his bride. And with many weird marriages and sub-par parents, I would invite young men to also examine and question the parents.

My wife's father is an unbeliever wo did not adequately care for my wife as a child, and there is no way that I ever did or ever will allow him to dictate the terms of my relationship with his daughter. It was more like rescue than begging for her hand in marriage.

Some forms of patriarchialism allow fathers to become overbearing brutes not only to their own children but to any potential suitors as well.
 

Timothy William

Puritan Board Junior
When I read the link mentioned in the first post I thought much the same things. It does seem awfully one-sided. My observation is that most parents are one-sided when it come to their children's choice of romantic partner; whether it be dating or courtship, the desire to check that someone is good enough for your precious child is always there. I have seen relationships (and may have been in one) where both sets of parents were convinced that the other partner in the relationship was not good enough for their child.

As to there being a one sided or sexist aspect to it, that I'm a little less sure of. Parents seem equally biased in favour of their sons and their daughters. Church-wide there may be some of that though; going on my limited experience, it does seem to be a common complaint that there are insufficient number of eligible men for all the women, even when there are similar numbers of both genders in the appropriate age range.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Pergy, those with crazy parents shouldn't be turned down for marriage. Just know what you are getting into.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Why couldn't the potential suitor also question the parents. A young man sure shouldn't jump into a marriage with a woman with crazy parents.

From many sites and books it appears that the suitor has to become a groveling neutered pup instead of prince chamring ready to fight for his bride. And with many weird marriages and sub-par parents, I would invite young men to also examine and question the parents.

My wife's father is an unbeliever wo did not adequately care for my wife as a child, and there is no way that I ever did or ever will allow him to dictate the terms of my relationship with his daughter. It was more like rescue than begging for her hand in marriage.

Some forms of patriarchialism allow fathers to become overbearing brutes not only to their own children but to any potential suitors as well.
:amen:

My wife was in a similar situation with her Mother (her Parents are divorced, her Father is a Christian man, albeit a little on the liberal side but he has a very credible confession). She is actively antagonistic against her daughter's faith and of course my call.
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
I recall that paper being discussed in a previous thread sometime ago.

Although I remain open to correction, then as now I felt that some of the questions on character border on invasive, even from, or rather especially from, a christian perspective.

Many of the questions, especially those with respect to past sin struck me as focusing too much on the past of the candiate. I do not see that the bible portrays past sin as following a man around like a criminal record. Repentance and a presently righteous life ought to be enough to clear a man of any past sins. If the sins are relatively recent, than yes, a man should be made to prove the sincerity of his repentance, but I don't see the need to go about digging up things which are in the past.

I do believe that parents have the right and authority to ask such questions, I just wonder about their propriety.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
One thing I have noticed is that there are many 'boys' who are afraid to stand up to a girls father in the line of these type questions. So to me, it's not really about getting all the questions answered, but really about HOW he answers them.

If he is a man and not still a boy, is he ready to be married, by being able to stand up to the father and not worrying about offending him, after all He will be the head of the home of this man's daughter..will he be able to protect her and his marriage from outside forces..even if that includes the parents interfering?

I have watched many marriages be intruded upon by in-laws trying to control their children and grandchild and boys who are not yet men answer or run away in order to avoid the conflicts with the potential in laws, so one must ask is he prepared to stand up against such things and not belly up under pressure in order to avoid conflict, merely because it is with a future inlaw?

I think many people today have turned it around as if to destroy a young man, but in reality, it has been intended to make sure the man is able to truly protect their marriage and his bride, and in that, no, I don't think the same applies to the girl and the young man's mother..as she is not called to be the head of the family.

edit to add:

My daughter was recently going out with a young kid, who was always trying to impress her, even when he couldn't afford it..if he wanted to take her out instead of waiting till he had the money to do so, he'd put off his responsibilities and take her out. I asked her what that tells her about him, and his taking responsibility over things? If he can't control himself in managing his finances how do you think he will be able to control himself sexually? if he can't be honest with you and say "I'd love to go out and do this, but I really can't afford it this week, would you mind if we do something else?" and see that she can respect that and not pout and pitch a fit because he truly can not afford it, then he's not the right guy for her, and if she pitches a fit, when he is being honest, then she is not the right gal for him either. It's not up to her to protect him, but for him to protect her.

It's part of the leaving and cleaving that makes a marriage, and he needs to be able to respectfully stand up for himself and her against her parents and his own from interfering.
 
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Zenas

Snow Miser
In my experiences, courtship has been an extremely one-sided endeavor. While I have benefited from the experience, I have also been hurt by it as well, and I feel I was not even remotely protected as much as my fiancee' was. I don't think this is due to anything inherant in the notion of courtship, but rather inherant in the parents.
 

danmpem

Puritan Board Junior
Interestingly enough it was part of the reason why a couple of them that I knew actually became Old Order Mennonite (one even went Amish). They thought the "modern" Mennonites they were raised around had lost the reasons for why they did certain things and had perverted them.
Not to get overly-relative with this, but...they're complaining? Man, they should come out to California with me for a couple of weeks. We don't think anything is sacred.
 

Blessed5x

Puritan Board Freshman
A related question....does anyone know of any online sites for Reformed singles to meet for possible courtship? The only one we know of is Sovereign Grace Singles :)
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
There is a facebook group called "Young, Restless, and Reformed." I can't vouch for the quality of it, though.
 

Pilgrim

Puritan Board Doctor
Well Said Joshua. I have some Mennonite friends back home in WV and I was invited to go to what my friends derisively called a "Courtship Trial" in which the Father of one of my friends was questioning the suitor oh his eldest daughter (who was not Mennonite). Evidently they required "witnesses" or something, who knows. Went "well" until they found he was not completely chaste. Then not so good, though they ended up getting married anyway and last I knew were still married 11 years later.
Not completely chaste...is that like being kind of pregnant?
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
The father somehow having the 'right' to demand information that belongs between husband and wife as if he were a confessor or the one who gets to decide how much his daughter can forgive etc. has always seemed to me appalling, and to be a practical denial of many doctrines we affirm. I think the parents can encourage honesty between the two people involved on these issues without violating the trust that is supposed to exist between two people.

I think this kind of mentality where faults are picked over beforehand tends to make young people run to their families rather than dealing with things with one another directly, and I believe this is very unhelpful. I would not have spoken to my dad about my husband's faults before marriage, because I had no intention of discussing them with him afterwards: Ruben has protected me in the same way.
Personally, I think a young man ought to be protected from that kind of questioning, and ought to protect the girl from having to submit to it from his family.
 

Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
Thank you all for your comments.

I think the thing that worried me was the "inquisition" nature of the father's "interview" of the young man, as Greg Price proposes in his article.
If God "forgets" the sins that we have confessed and for which we have been forgiven, then is anyone (man or woman) obligated to disclose these to the other? I understand that it is important to be upfront about challenges one has as a Christian, since each spouse will, no doubt, play a big role in spiritually supporting the other throughout marriage. But perhaps it can take place in a different way?

But regarding the one-sided nature of this, how best can one discern how godly is a young woman? The ways I can think of are:

1. watch from afar - her interaction with others
2. look at the friends she chooses
3. ???

But certainly, the man must be able to ask the woman things up front, perhaps with her father in the room as well? I think it is important to remember that the father is her head in all of this (hopefully he is a Christian).
 

Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
And what sins ought one need to mention to the prospective spouse? What sins are none of their business?
 

Neogillist

Puritan Board Freshman
In my experiences, courtship has been an extremely one-sided endeavor. While I have benefited from the experience, I have also been hurt by it as well, and I feel I was not even remotely protected as much as my fiancee' was. I don't think this is due to anything inherant in the notion of courtship, but rather inherant in the parents.
I totally agree. Biblical courtship is not intended to determine if a young man will prove to be a "super-husband" for a young woman, but rather to determine if the match looks promising. To me, biblical courtship is more a matter of proper "match-making" with the parents' consent than a crazy Mennonite "courtship trial" as was mentioned earlier. When looking in the Bible, we do not see Isaac put on trial by Rebecca's father, nor was Jacob put on trial by Laban. The puritans were also concerned about finding a proper match, as when Matthew Henry lost his first wife when he was 25, his mother-in-law sought to find him another good lady who could replace her deceased daughter. She did find one and they got married. I do not know where this crasy attitude of "patriarchal-regulated courtship" comes from, but it does not appear to be Scriptural. I would almost label it as a new feminist movement among fundamentalists.
 

Zenas

Snow Miser
I agree, it should aid in finding a match.

I have seen it used by some parents as a means by which to exert power over children that are not their own though in areas that are not in their authority, in the name of their own child, with the relationship as a hostage.

Such is life in the fallen world. :)
 
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