WARNING: Rebecca D. shows flagrant disregard for the rules of punctuation... She uses ellipsis with wild abandon... Punctuation interventions have been done to no avail... If you are offended by such irreverence to the rules of grammar... The very glue that holds our society together... STOP READING NOW... Move on... There is a little button at the top that says "next blog"... You would be well advised to use it... You were warned...

How We Do It...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Yesterday I told you I'd fill you in on our dating/courting rules, and so in a rare turn of events I decided to be prompt...

Please keep in mind this is our opinion... This is what works for our family... I am in no way telling you to try this in yours... It just turns out some of you were curious and I am willing to risk inciting the "haters" to share this with you... (Please... No hating on me today... I did say it was opinion...) I am also about to share our opinions about purity and purity pledges... Again this is just how we do it... Every family needs to make their own choices in these areas...

When I was a teenager I wasn't saved and grew up in a fairly liberal home... Dating was whatever I wanted it to be. My mom took me to the OB/GYN the summer before high school and put me on the pill. I guess she wanted me "prepared." She said it would help with my cramps but we both knew she just didn't want premature grandchildren. Yikes... I felt like I was at the starting line of some race and they had said  "On you marks... Get set..." and I hadn't trained or conditioned for this race... I won't go into the gory details but I didn't wait until I got married... In fact nobody even suggested I ever do such a thing... It was a forgone conclusion I would have sex before I got married.

Lets just say our approach has been different... We talked to the girls about purity and what the Bible says about sex... I even had some frank talks with them about the consequences of sex (not just STDs and pregnancy but also the emotional toll.) but left the decision in their hand. We both felt they had to choose purity for themselves or it wouldn't mean anything. I am serious, we didn't pressure them to make a public vow or sign some kind of contract, and refused to participate when a youth group was doing a "purity drive" trying to force all the kids to sign a public decree... We told the girlies they had to come to this decision on their own following how they felt led by the Holy Spirit but if they decided they wanted to remain pure and decided they wanted a "purity ring or necklace" or something to have an outward reminder of their vow before the LORD let us know and we would take them to get one. Both girls came to a decision on purity at different times and for different reasons... Well, for one reason, but different things prompted them... When we talk about sex I still tell them this vow is between them and the LORD and that they alone are the ones to make the continual choice to keep it, and they will have to live with the consequences of choosing otherwise. As they have gotten older I have been able to share more about my experiences with premarital sex and the regrets I have in this area...

That's purity and we feel it's their vow and their choice, but in dating it is our job to set the rules and standards. We know rebellious kids will break the rules, but we set them assuming they won't rebel and decided to deal with rebellion should it surface in this area only if it arises. We personally feel too many parents of good, non-rebellious kids assume their kids will rebel at some point and need to set the rules accordingly. Typically in our observation these parents set such restrictive rules from the start that it is only a matter of time before the kids feel the need to rebel. Look at history, it is human nature (not necessarily a good thing) to rebel against oppression... We need to guide our kids not oppress them people...

"Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord."
Ephesians 6:4 AMP

Hopping off my soapbox now...

When we set our rules for dating/courting we set them to help hold the girls and their "boyfriends" accountable, but not to discourage or oppress them. You see, we kinda wanted our daughters to make these first steps into relationships while they still lived at home, while we were there in a literal sense to guide them. We never encouraged them to date, but we didn't discourage them either.

Here is what "dating" looks like in our family... We encourage them to come to us if they feel they want to pursue a "dating" relationship and encourage them to have this talk with us as a couple. We don't require the boy to go to Paul and ask his permission, but we do find it respectful if they sit down and talk to us together. We really don't like it when some boy asks my husband for permission to date our daughter and hasn't even asked her yet... My husband says he is not in the business of "pimping" out his daughters... If she wants to date a boy it is because they have spent time getting to know each other and they mutually decide to pursue dating. (This has happened.) The "rule" is ideally they need to be friends with the boy first. (This has mostly worked out so far.)

After they express their desire to date (they don't like the term courting so we just call it dating.) they are expected to spend the majority of their time together either in our home, their home (if we know the family and their standards) or with friends who we all agree will hold them accountable. Please notice I said "majority" not all... No relationship will ever grow under a microscope. We encourage them to get to know each other alone initially in small doses and controlled situations... Some examples are walks, car rides with a destination (not just random driving around) and time outside on the porch together etc... As the relationship grows and our trust in them as a couple grows we slowly increase the amount of time they spend alone and where. (This is also dependant on the age of the girl in question.) Example... Cate's boyfriend lives about 30 minutes from here, they had been going out for sometime and had proven to us they were trust worthy. One night before they were meeting up with friends he needed to go home and change his clothes and his parents would not be there. We allowed Cate to ride with him to his home asking her to wait outside while he went in and changed, then they could proceed to their destination. Some parents might think we were foolish... Here's our point, rebellious kids wouldn't have spelled out this situation for us, they would have lied or "omitted" parts of the truth... We have had no reason to distrust them because they have given us no reason to. They are both open with us about their vows and their desire to keep them. I believe parents have a 6th sense and know (or at least suspect) when their child is up to no good... If you listen to that, you'll probably be fine. Did Cate wait outside? I believe she did, because I trust her. I trust her because she is open with me and does not have a history of rebellion or deception. If she did have a history of such things, if the boy in question had different values, or if we felt they were "sneaky" and not open with us we would not have said ok. (Keep in mind Cate & The Boy are 19... Technically adults... We are lucky they are good kids and are still willing to follow our rules.)
That's kinda it... No hard and fast rules... Nothing we could list on the fridge in numbered format... I don't even know if sharing this will be in any way helpful to anyone... It's just how we do it.

Thanks for listening,


  1. It sounds a lot like our family. Only we're just getting into the stage where boys don't really have cooties...so it was good to read what our future could be like. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Your posts are so much fun to read! I can appreciate a girl who has a lot to say. ;) And, I love details!!! Loved your '10 things', btw. I feel like we have heaps in common! And, I'm with you, I don't like eating cheesecake or washing dishes. lol!

  3. IMHO...

    YOU ARE A GENIUS! What a balanced approach!

    And can I just tell you how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE your hub's comment about "not pimping out his daughter". AMEN :D

    If my boys have any interest in girls they're hiding it well. I'm hoping it doesn't surface for a few years yet. But I'm going to remember this. Love the guideline about MOST of their time being with family/approved friends. Good accountability.

    Hang in there :D


  4. diana at home2/9/11 1:36 AM

    hey rebecca d.
    I found you through LJW - Taylor has the best bloggy friends! Appreciate your approach to dating via courtship without the label. We have discussed a similar plan at some length, but really appreciate your advice after having been through the practical application.
    will visit again!
    I don't blog. I just hijack others' in the comments section! :)

  5. The best of kids are doing lots of things that their parents don't know about. Don't kid yourself that your kids are different. But you are doing a great job of communicating with your girls and they're fortunate to have such caring parents.
    I was raised more like you, no rules or curfews, just don't embarrass the family. My kids were raised with rules and my nearly constant presence. The stories they tell me now that they are all in their thirties just curl my hair.

    I enjoy your blog and your bright, cheery attitude.

  6. We talked to our daughters alot about sex and dating and we have a few family members to hold up as bad examples of poor choices. (That's supposed to be funny in spite of the truth of the statement). We had few rules but high expectations. Thanks for visiting my blog and your kind comments about our heat. We visited Bar Harbor on a cruise hip this past spring and it was so beautiful there. And the only day we saw the sun on the whole cruise! Would love to visit the Northeast again and enjoy your climate!

  7. I think you're right about parents having a 6th sense about their kids lying. I know my mom did. She still does! I could never lie to her even if I wanted to because I know she'll know. So, I think it's great that you have these rules and that they work for your family.


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