Kirk and Rahel Schafer
From the beginning, Rahel and Kirk agreed their courtship would be different from their friends’.
What a Relief!
Upon first discussing our feelings for each other and our intention to pursue a deeper friendship, Rahel and I agreed that we wanted to keep any deep or involved physical intimacy for after our wedding, whether we eventually married each other or someone else. This was something God had put on Rahel’s heart from a Bible class in academy, and a concept which I had read about and appreciated from the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Josh Harris. In fact, it was quite a relief to each of us to know that this had been a desire in our individual lives before we decided on it corporately. We decided the best and easiest boundary line would be drawn at the level of kissing, and so we agreed that we would postpone kissing and any other type of sensual touch for post-wedded celebration.
We had several reasons for wanting to keep our physical relationship free of sexual or even sensual content. First and foremost, we had a desire to honor God through all aspects of our relationship, and physically, we knew God would be pleased if we protected the gift of purity He had given us. Instead of focusing on all the things we were determined not to do physically, we sought out ways to celebrate and enjoy physical and sexual purity. We noticed that often in the society around us, and in the relationships of friends and acquaintances, sexuality seemed like a struggle, like more of a curse than a blessing. We wanted to ensure that this beautiful gift from God was something cherished for marriage.
Additionally, we wanted not only to protect our own purity, but to practice the utmost respect for the purity and boundaries of each other. We believed that abstaining from any type of sexuality in dating was a positive way to demonstrate the high regard we held for each other. By not pushing or overstepping her boundaries, I also hoped to practice the type of responsible behavior which would let Rahel know that I was serious about getting to know her, respect her and love her.
Implications for the future. Protecting our sexuality also had important implications for the future of our relationship. Neither of us was interested in “playing around” or in trite dating practices. We were attracted to each other based on the qualities we desired in a potential marriage mate, and we desired a relationship that would prepare us for marriage. By celebrating purity and refusing to pursue sexuality, I was demonstrating to Rahel that I could be trusted in the present, and that sexuality outside of marriage would never be an option for me in the future.
Although we realized that these decisions did not solve all the problems we would face throughout our relationship, I am convinced that they laid a foundation that allowed us to enjoy dating on a deep and wholesome level, and that they gave us a unity and sense of purpose that made any problem or issue conquerable. In addition, we have been able to give glory to God by explaining our relationship to many curious friends and acquaintances, thus fulfilling our most important priority: to honor the God who has given us so much. Kirk
An Incredible Alternative
When Kirk and I first talked about liking each other and wanting to pursue a relationship, I had very strong feelings about not dating the way so many around us were. I honestly thought I would never find a guy that felt the way I did, but God led me to Kirk. In fact, for several months we didn’t even say we were dating. We called each other “glorified friends,” a concoction of mine that Kirk kindly put up with. We decided that we were not dating just to have fun or because the other person was attractive, although both of these were true.Instead, from the very beginning, we pursued a courtship in which we had talked about the fact that we might marry some day. This was important to me, because I feel that finding one’s life partner is a serious matter that deserves much prayer and careful thought.
Early difficulties. At first it was difficult to define exactly how we would date differently, but God led us to many fun ideas and activities. We both felt that it was important not to waste money and/or our health on many dinners out, and that movies today are full of garbage, so we found alternatives to the traditional dinner-movie date. I found out that neither of us knew how to Rollerblade well, so we learned that together, along with other new things, like birding and lap-swimming. We both love our families and found that there were many things we could do with them, such as concerts, tennis, backpacking, visiting beautiful parks and gardens, walking on the beach, and sledding. In fact, as much as we love being alone, we found that our relationship was enhanced as we included friends and family members in our activities. I was able to see how Kirk interacted with a variety of people, and I got to know his family much better than I would have otherwise.
Probably the most beneficial activity for our relationship was service together.Many Sabbath afternoons found us in Benton Harbor helping with the kids' ministries there, or singing at a nursing home and visiting with the residents. Each of us worked at youth camps during the summer. Although the camps were far apart, we were able to share our experiences of helping to teach kids about Jesus. I am part of a Pathfinder club, and Kirk would come on campouts with us and help where needed. I enjoy so much serving others with Kirk and feel that our relationship was used by God to minister to others.
Sometimes alone. When we did have time together alone we focused on sharing our goals and dreams and the things we had learned that day in our classes. Every evening we would pray together, a practice that did more than anything else to focus our relationship on God. Some people may think ours was not a normal dating relationship, but we would not trade it for anything; and we hope we may persuade others to consider this incredible alternative in which God led us. Rahel
Did we marry. Oh, yes, we certainly did!
Did we save our first kiss for the wedding? Yes, indeed!
Was it worth waiting for? You’d better believe it!
Are we happy? Supremely so. We just wish everybody else’s marriage could be as happy as ours.