Forum Summary: “Dating, Courting, Attraction, and Engagement”

Author: Juliette McNair | Student, Living Education Charlotte 2020

Est. reading time: 1 min. 30 sec.

Mr. Paul Kearns, an area pastor in New Zealand, introduced himself by relating to the students his experience as a Living University student at the regional Church office in Adelaide, Australia.

He said his experience was, “one of the greatest periods in my life.” With the LU motto of “Recapturing True Values” in mind, Mr. Kearns redefined dating, courtship, attraction, and engagement.  

Dating, Mr. Kearns explained, is not “a dirty word”…

but a “non-romantic opportunity to serve somebody of the opposite sex.” Through dating widely and avoiding pairing off, young men and women serve each other and learn.  

In today’s world, courtship is an old-fashioned, meaningless term.

Courting occurs when two people date exclusively towards engagement. This stage requires maturity to cope with the emotions that accompany it. Mr. Kearns shared a piece of advice he had received from Mr. Bruce Tyler, “The right thing at the wrong time is still the wrong thing.”  

Mr. Kearns asked, “Should there be attraction in dating?” 

Attraction, the force by which one object attracts another, is a physical pull in the world around us. For us, attraction should not be the motivator in dating; serving should be. In courtship, while attraction is good, there should be more that attracts us than looks. 

Mr. Kearns concluded with the term, engagement.

This stage should not be a “cooling off period” in which we re-evaluate the deal—it is a formal decision to marry and a stage of relationship God treats seriously.  

By redefining these terms, by God’s standards and not our society’s, Mr. Kearns hoped to help the students recapture true values in their relationships. 

This post is part of our new series of student-written content for LivingEd-Charlotte. These summaries cover topics originally presented by our faculty and guest speakers in our weekly Forum and Assembly. For more Assembly-related content check out our Second Thoughts posts.