Jessica was in her mid teens when she heard about courtship. It sounded good after what she’d just been through. She had just broken up with someone who appeared to be a real loser. Then she found a book, all about courtship and letting God run your love life. At first she had been sceptical, but the more she read, the more she wanted to give it a chance.  She hadn’t planned on the friendship going anywhere, but things had just happened. She had felt that she was being a good Christian witness to this unbelieving guy.

The fact that Jessica was such a nice, innocent Christian girl had made her more exciting for him to keep chasing. Before Jess had known it, she was emotionally involved. When she finally called it off, she had been shocked as she watched the guy she had fallen for go from one girl to another just to use them. Not long after, there had been another guy that asked Jess out. This guy was different. He was of a similar faith to Jess—although not of the same church, but pretty similar. He seemed to have a fair bit going for him.

Things had started out well, but it soon became evident that he didn’t have the same ideas she did. Even though they were of a similar faith, the few differences had become points of tension. He had also tried every opportunity to wear her down on her ideas of what was proper in a relationship.

Within a short time this relationship had broken up as well. Jess wondered what was going wrong. Why this heartbreak? She dreamed of meeting prince charming, but it seemed like it would stay at that—just a dream! That’s when she read the book on courtship. Maybe God really is interested in this part of my life, she thought.

Around this time life got more busy, and Jess started thinking more about where she was going. She decided that she had better do something about a decision she had put off for a long time. She hadn’t yet made a public commitment to God by baptism.

Jess had put this off for so long because, well—wouldn’t life be boring once you made that kind of stand? She thought she would have to be re- ally good after that and wouldn’t be able to have much fun.

The decision had been put off for a couple of years. Time went by. Finally Jess felt so convicted she needed to be baptised, that she decided to risk having a boring life. She would commit her life to God. Little did she know what was ahead. The real fun was about to begin.

Not long after making her big decision, Jess met some new friends. One of them was a cute guy named David. At first she didn’t think much about him, but as time went on, her appreciation of him grew. It didn’t take long for her to realize that Dave was all she had ever dreamed of, and more.

Jess didn’t dare even think that this would be more than just a friendship. It was all too good to ever happen to her. So she decided to pray and leave it at that.

Unbeknown to Jess, Dave was thinking the same thing about her. He started pray- ing too, and getting to know her family. They spent about a year getting to know each other in normal life settings. Neither one really knew what the other was think- ing. Neither did the rest of the world, because they still treated each other just like they did any of their other friends.

Dave asked his family what they thought of Jess. He asked his minister. Meanwhile, Jess was getting input from her family too. Dave and Jess wrote to each other, chatted occasionally and the more they got to know each other the more they seemed to get on.

It was one evening after dinner that Dave said he wanted to talk to Jess alone. Her heart fluttered, as this was really unusual! He told her he had talked with her dad and wanted to know how things stood with her. This meeting ended up being the beginning of a close and special time of courtship.

The months that followed were ones of happiness for Jess and Dave. They shared and learned lots about each other. They both continued to pray and ask God to guide them.

The special day came as a surprise to Jess, and she joyfully responded with a defi- nite “yes” when he asked the big question. Then they knelt down and asked God to bless them and to help them honour Him.

Things that helped make this relationship different were the principles they followed. They decided to keep themselves for each other for they were married.

This meant “hands off.” They protected each other by not allowing themselves to be in any compromising situations. On their wedding day they kissed—for the first time. They kept God at the centre of their relationship, by learning about His principles for courtship and marriage. They read through the book Adventist Home and then shared together what they were learning and how they wanted to implement this in their lives. David and Jessica have been happily married for years. If you ask them today what has been their secret of happiness, they’ll tell you it was putting God first.

They also believe they have the best marriage on the planet. But there are many more just like them, all of whom have learned that the One who made marriage gives the best directions on how to get off to a good start.

This article is an excerpt from ‘Courtship’, the first booklet in the new ‘Great Relationships Series’, by the joint committees of the Youth and Education Departments of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement Australasian Union Conference. Order your set today, and enjoy the complete series! Youth Challenger wishes you all the best and God’s guidance and blessings in your pursuit of a happy, loving and God-honouring relationship.