“…in the courtship stage, a couple must have conversations about his and her pasts. Back in those days for Lauren and me, we began many conversations with “Here’s what you need to know about me…”
“Here’s what you need to know about my background…”
“Here are some things that happened to me growing up that have left marks on me…”
“These are the reasons I act this way…”
“These are the reasons certain things bother me…”
We had a lot of questions for each other and we had a lot of insights about ourselves to share.
This kind of openness obviously creates a risky season in the relationship. But as the relationship progresses – and remember, we’ve already established safety with each other; we already trust each other – we enter that season when we describe our lives with depth and sincerity reserved for only those who know us most closely.
“Here are my concerns…”
“Here’s where I’m growing…”
“Here’s where I’m afraid…”
“Here’s where I’m struggling…”
The conversation is growing in depth, growing in meaning. There is more honesty, there is more risk. There is more willingness to expose our hearts, even though we know that it could still go bad.
We’re not covenanted yet, and we haven’t fully locked in. We haven’t said, “till death do is part”. We haven’t said, “For better for worse”. But we are moving towards saying those sacred words
This is why courtship is deeper than dating – because it is dangerous, vulnerable, and awesome all at the same time. We are testing the waters of grace, Trying to see if the attraction is evidencing real love, the kind of selfless love the bible calls married couples to embrace. And precisely because in courtship we show more of our hearts to each other, including the darker parts, courtship can go badly.
My wife and I are dear friends with a single woman who cannot have children. It is not just physiologically possible. Revealing this about herself is part of her conversation in her relationships as they get more serious, and there have been men who walked away because it’s something they can’t see themselves getting over. As you can imagine, this is extremely hurtful and disappointing to our friend. But she knows she has to bring it up, as risky as the conversation is, as things get more serious.
Obviously, sharing this kind of issue puts a person in a vulnerable position, but to “save” it until after he or she gets married can make both feel even more vulnerable. It can provoke a feeling of betrayal. Issues like this must be addressed before a lifelong commitment is made so that no one feels misled.
And as painful as it can be to have people confront the reality of your issues walk away, imagine how confidence building and hope giving it will be when you enter marriage with one who has confronted the reality of your issues and says, “I’m all in. Nothing can stop me from marrying you “
Matt Chandler; The Mingling of Souls