In the story, a baby girl is born to a King and Queen. God entrusts the new parents with a most precious gift: their daughter's First Kiss. As she grows, they dilligently guard their daughter's treasure, until she is old enough to be entrusted with it. Suitors then come, asking for her hand in marriage, and the story tells the tale of how she finds the only one to whom she will trust with her most treasured possession.
It's simple, but sweet, and appropriate for any age. It reads like a fairy tale and manages to teach a moral without sounding preachy. Our son loves to hear it each year, and I think it's a great opportunity for us to impart our views of dating, on to our son (even though we did not follow those protocols ourselves).
Now, for some background...
Although our son is not yet a teenager, it's never too early to develop a Biblical model of dating, for your children. Dating and relationships are difficult topics for parents to discuss, and Farrah and I want to avoid the mistakes that we feel our respective parents made when raising us. So, a couple years ago, we attended a talk on courtship, given by a pastor in our area, and our eyes were opened.
The Bible has lots of examples (good and bad) of how men and women got together (Adam and Eve, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel and Leah, Sampson and his women, David and his women, Solomon and his women, etc...), but there is no single recipe for how God specifically wants his people to handle courtship.
While parents implement it to varying degrees, courtship is somewhere between the sterility of arranged marriages and the emotionally clouded, modern dating model. The basic idea is that the parents are responsible for their children's purity, and need to guide the process by which their children select a spouse.
Some of the guidelines include:
- A minimum age for courtship (possibly old enough to marry)
- Boy asks parents' permission first
- Boy and girl do not "go out", but get to know each other only as part of family activities
- Boy and girl study the Bible together with the families
- Affectionate behavior, including the first kiss, reserved for marriage