Courtship is not an Easy Path, and Fathers are the Key!

(This is an exact copy of a ring I gave my wife when she was 16. We give one to each of our daughters as a constant reminder of their commitment to courtship)

Dear Daughters of Vision and Fathers,
It's been a while since I wrote anything for this blog site, but ever since we announced the courtship of Tara and Stephen, the Lord has continued to lay on my heart all of you who are waiting on the Lord to unveil the one He intended for you to marry. I would urge each of you who are considering courtship to get your fathers to read this.

Our journey to consider "courtship" as an alternative approach to traditional dating methods for searching out a spouse did not begin in familiar territory. Admittedly, my wife and I dated when we were quite young and entered into marriage from a dating background. When we had children, we were neither familiar with homeschooling nor courtship. We both have degrees of higher education and worked prior to having children. How we have arrived at the place where we find ourselves is both astonishing and can only be described at "God-lead".

The idea of courtship was both foreign and something that I would never have considered had I been introduced to it when deciding on whom I should marry. I would have scoffed at the idea and probably written it off as some weird "arranged marriage" sort of situation that any sane person would never consider. When our family was confronted with the idea of courtship, my oldest daughter was in her mid-teens. Even though we had been homeschooling our children when it was not popular to do so, I still found myself skeptical and in totally uncharted territory. The idea that I would participate in helping my daughters choose their spouses was something that I personally had never witnessed nor knew anything about.

Shortly after being introduced to courtship, our Pastor announced the courtship of his own daughter to a young man that lived nearby. Intrigued, we watched, listened and took notice of how they did it. Our pastor was a real trailblazer and as they finally arrived at the wedding altar we witnessed something that none of us had ever seen in our whole lives.....two people who had never dated, nor kissed each other, let alone any one else.....experience their "first kiss" on their wedding day.

Many years later our family would witness our own daughter's first kiss at the wedding altar. She had never been in a relationship with any other young man. The journey from the first time we heard of courtship to experiencing our own very personal encounter did not occur without much prayer, study and preparation on "my" part. We didn't arrive at that moment with me..... Dad.... protector..... defender..... guardian....sitting on the sidelines and just watching the whole process unfold before my eyes just as if reading a "fairy tale" in which all things work perfectly and everyone lives "happily ever after".

If you have been able to get your father to read this post, then don't let him miss this part! There are some essential things you must realize and "DO" if your daughters are to even have a chance at a successful outcome to the dating alternative we know as courtship.

  • You can't wait to start speaking about courtship and studying about it when your daughter is already dating. Courtship is a matter of the heart, not something you "DO"! Without the cooperation of your daughter and the knowledge that you hold the key to her heart and that she trusts you fully to help her find a suitable husband, it wont work!
  • Courtship will take a lot of your time.....if you take your job as your daughter's father seriously. Passive fathers should not consider this in any way, shape or form. Lest I be accused of "arranging a marriage", I do not consider myself to be the "chooser". I am, however, with my daughters full knowledge and consent, the guardian and "qualifier". Counterfeits don't have a chance and "thugs" intent on a casual relationship or testing the waters are sent packing.
  • You must study and prepare yourself, "in advance" so you at least have some direction before the time comes when young men start showing interests in your daughter. It will happen and it comes sooner than you think. I didn't have all of the answers when it happened to our family, but I knew at the least the direction I wanted to go and things that I knew I should do. Since I have four daughters, I at least expect to get it right by the last one! :)

Fathers, without you and your involvement, courtship as an alternative to the dating process just doesn't have a chance.

As I witness the beautiful, wholesome and genuine relationship between Tara and Stephen unfolding before my eyes, my heart also breaks as I see "godly, wholesome and hopeful" young ladies, truly Daughters of Vision who are committed to courtship and long to be married, discouraged and in despair with fathers who are sitting on the sideline waiting passively for "Prince Charming" to appear.

My own daughters' ability to withstand discouragement and despair, even as they grew older, with no one seemingly on their horizon, was with the knowledge that their Heavenly Father and their "earthly father" would not let them down. Dad's, your most precious gifts in life sometimes get less attention than you give to your own car.

Paraphrasing a well known verse in the Bible, I am reminded of this... "For which of you, intending to pursue courtship as an alternative to dating, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation and built up the hopes of his daughter, is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man, set on helping his daughter, gave up, and was not able to finish."

I don't pretend to have all of the answers, but I know this, that if I pray for wisdom, God will direct my path and any direction I take, decisions I make or things I do on behalf of my daughter will be Him doing it through me. Just as we are to be "doers" of the Word and not just "hearers" only, fathers must be the vessel that God uses to assist in giving to daughters the desires of their heart...a faithful, pure and godly husband! Don't let them down!

In Him,
Grateful father to Kristen, Tara, Kelly and Elizabeth.

(For more information on this subject and others pertaining to fathers, click here or visit our father's blog at


Anonymous said...

Thank you for being open in your post regarding the process as a father. This is very encouraging for me as a father of 2 girls (11 and 5).

Stephen Hollifield
Richmond, VA

Steve R. said...

Dear Stephen,
Your girls are at the perfect age to begin laying the foundations of trust and faith. Get their hearts early and you will be as astonished as I have been when you are rewarded by amazing son-in-laws and your daughters have husbands that delight in "them"! God bless you.


Best Life said...

Thank you for speaking out to the fathers. As I read your list of three important things, I could hear my own husband saying that same thing about so many of the challenges of raising children. No matter what the subject, his message is, "Start from the beginning, put the time in, be prepared with a plan and a goal."

Beautiful, thanks Steve. Mrs. P~

Anonymous said...


Thank you so much for the great post. It is so comforting knowing someone who has already ventured into uncharted territory. I am blessed to be able to learn from someone with experience and to have four daughters who are joyful that I will play this role in their courtship. May He continue to direct our paths.

Mr. P


This blog is the place where four sisters share the ways that God is working in their lives.

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