Courtship Questions for Potential Suitors

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Let me begin by introducing to you our married children, their spouses, and our beautiful grandchildren…


Blanchard Family
Courted and married in 2006


Hector Family
Courted and married in 2010


The Sanford Family
Courted and married in 2013


Jessica & Jacob
Courted and soon to be married


Mr. and Mrs. James McDonald VI Happily and deliberately pursued godly marriage in 2011)

Our son and his lovely wife did not enter marriage in a way we would describe as “courtship;” however, we are thankful for their godly pursuit and celebration of marriage, which is the ultimate goal!

On to the questions…

My husband, James McDonald, created the following questions for the purpose of getting to know potential suitors for our daughters. This list is NOT meant to be a “checklist,” a “pass-or-fail-test,” or an in depth parental evaluation. Each young man is free to decline questions he feels are too personal. Incidentally, our daughters and current sons-in-law even helped add questions to this list – a list that has grown over the years.

During our years speaking at various Christian conferences, my husband has received numerous requests from parents for his “famous” courtship questions. However, he has been hesitant to make them available, since it is easy for people to want a formula for courtship. His concern was that families may misunderstand the purpose for the questions and miss out on potentially wonderful matches for their daughters.

melissaandGarTherefore, please keep in mind that most of these questions do not have right or wrong answers. They are intended to help both parties get to know one another on a deeper and more deliberate level by creating points of discussion. In fact, our daughters have also filled out the questions, upon the request of certain suitors.

Due to the varying theological positions and personal convictions of Christian families, these courtship questions are designed to help disclose important facts that may be significant in both party’s decision of whether or not to  move forward in courtship. It is our prayer that these will be a help to those seeking godly marriages for their children.

For a more detailed explanation of what we mean by “courtship,” feel free to click HERE

One thing I’d like to point out before you read these questions is that we haven’t used this list in its entirety for all of the young men who have called on our daughters. It is a compilation of all the things we thought would be helpful to our daughters in making a decision of whether or not to move forward in a courtship. Things she should know and evaluate, things they could discuss and work out together. Each of our married daughters also answered these questions for their suitors during the courtship. It gave them wonderful discussion points.

The “eager” chaperone.

If you decide to borrow our idea and use these questions, make sure you customize them for your own family. And again, remember, there are no right or wrong answers. The questions are intended for the purpose of “full disclosure,” as well as for discussion points. This doesn’t mean that certain questions won’t be “deal breakers.” Obviously, if you discover the young man is not a Christian, it would be sinful to proceed toward marriage (2 Cor. 6:14).

Remember, these questions are meant to help everyone get to know one another. One of our daughters and now-son-in-law (Ben and Tiffany) spent hours each evening by the fire discussing the questions. Use wisdom, but relax. These are special times – you want special memories!

Your Spiritual Life

  • What are the evidences of your salvation?
  • Our family subscribes to the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Shorter and Larger Catechisms as our statement of faith. To what creed or confession do you subscribe? Do you take issue with any part of the Westminster Standards? If so, what?
  • We are members of the CPC – a reformed Presbyterian denomination. Please read through the Constitution and Form of Church Government I sent earlier and let me know if you disagree with any part of these documents.
  • What do you understand to be the role of baptism? What about the Lord’s Supper? Who should participate in these sacraments?
  • What do you understand to be God’s purposes/priorities for the church?
  • What is your view of the Sabbath and the proper use of that day? What activities can children enjoy on the Sabbath?
  • What is the present day application of the Mosaic Law?
  • What do you see as the man’s role in the local church? Your own role?
  • What do you see as your wife’s role in local church ministry?
  • How do you view age-segregation in the church (youth groups, Sunday school)?
  • What is your view on the celebration of Christmas and Easter?
  • How would those who know you well describe your personal character?
  • What is your view of Christian liberty? How does this view affect your lifestyle?
  • Are you faithful in church attendance/participation? How long have you been a member of your current fellowship?
  • What are your habits with regard to prayer and Bible study?
  • What is your opinion of personal witnessing?
  • What would you say is your spiritual gift(s)?
  • What are your spiritual strengths?
  • What is your father’s understanding of Christianity? How would you describe your father’s personal character?
  • What is your mother’s understanding of Christianity? How would you describe your mother’s personal character?
  • Recognizing we are all imperfect, in what one or two areas do you think God wants you to improve most?
  • Do you have a teachable spirit? Can you cite any examples?

Your Relationships

  • Describe your relationship with your father? Was (is) it honoring? Was (is) it obedient?
  • Do any mental or emotional illnesses that could effect your children run in your family?
  • Describe your relationship with your mother? Was (is) it honoring? Was (is) it obedient?
  • How many siblings do you have? What are their names, ages, cities of residence? Can you describe your relationship with each of your siblings?
  • Can you describe your relationship with your grandparents?
  • Can you describe your relationship with your friends? Have you ever been peer-dependent? How did you resist this?
  • Are you consistently faithful in fulfilling your commitments? Give examples.
  • Do you show a regular willingness to serve others? In what ways?
  • In what ways is self-centeredness expressed in your life?
  • How do you relate to authority in your life? If so, what adjectives would your employers use to describe you?
  • Have you ever been a supervisor? If so, what adjectives would your employees use to describe you?
  • Are you ever manipulative of others?
  • What kinds of situations cause you frustration? How do you respond?
  • What circumstances might make you impatient or angry? How do you handle anger? Have you ever been violent? Do you raise your voice when angry?
  • Have you ever had to deal with a broken relationship? If so, please provide the details of that relationship, how long ago, the situation, and how did you handle it?

The Bible gives us many prescripts, but not as many processes. God’s Word presents a number of concepts on how men and women are to relate to one another, as well as how they might prepare themselves for marriage; but it is certainly not a cookbook. While I don’t see a “biblical formula,” I do see biblical principles that will help our children move toward marriage in purity.

Personal Habits Affecting Marriage

  • What are your beliefs regarding diet? Are your eating habits disciplined? Do you have any food dislikes? Are you a vegetarian?
  • Do you have a weight problem?
  • Do you have any physical or mental disabilities or diseases? Any allergies? Prior or current health problems?
  • Do you drink alcohol? If so, what and how often? What are your views on alcohol?
  • Do you smoke? What are your views on smoking?
  • Are your spending habits disciplined? Do you tithe? What is your view of debt?
  • How would you describe your work ethic? Do you have a high standard of excellence? Do you tend to be either slothful or a workaholic? How many hours per week do you work?
  • Do you travel with your job? If so, how often? Do you see this changing in your future?
  • If a relocation were offered to you by an employer, would you consider it? What would you weigh when considering such a move?
  • What is your discipline in studying?
  • Do you read regularly, and if so, what? Who is your favorite author? Outside the Bible, what would be your five favorite non-fiction books? Five favorite fiction books?
  • What are your habits regarding sleeping? Are you lethargic? Are your sleep habits irregular?
  • Do you follow a regular schedule? Are you organized?
  • Would you consider yourself neat or messy?
  • What is your practice regarding personal prayer?
  • What is your level of personal cleanliness and hygiene?
  • Do you have any personal habits that might annoy others?

So, the way our family chooses to live out these precepts is just that – our choice. It is our application of the biblical precepts found in Scripture. This is not a new law for you. You may choose a very different path with your family and your children. While I do believe the modern concept of recreational dating is dangerous, even foolish, I do not see a “one-size-fits-all” model in Scripture for the godly pursuit of marriage. Each family’s version of courtship and/or betrothal will look different – and it may even look different from child to child. It has in our family!

Marital Roles

  • If you already subscribe to the concept of courtship, give me your definition of it.
  • Do you tend to be more of a leader or follower in life? Can you cite any examples?
  • In making decisions, what role does God’s Word play?
  • What is your attitude toward women? What is their purpose?
  • What is your view on the role of a wife?
  • What are your views on women working outside the home?
  • What are your views concerning divorce and remarriage?
  • Can you tell me your thoughts on how a man should provide for a wife and family?
  • Can you tell me your thoughts on how a man should protect a wife and children? How do you feel about guns?
  • How do you see your future relationship with your in-laws working out?
  • What has been your prior experience with dating and romance? Have you ever kissed or been physically intimate in any way with a girl/woman? If so, explain the circumstances.
  • What is your stand on abortion? What about in the case of rape?
  • How do you relate to children? How often are you around children?
  • What are your thoughts regarding birth control and family planning?
  • How many children do you hope to have?
  • What is your attitude toward adopting children?
  • What are your views on child training, including corporal punishment?
  • What are your views on homeschooling?
  • What are your thoughts on family worship? What would be the key attributes of such a practice in your home?
  • When you fail someone, what actions do you take to rectify the situation?
  • Are you honest? Do you ever slant the truth for your own benefit?
  • How have you prepared yourself for marriage?
  • In what ways do you think you may need to grow before marriage?
  • What does “leave and cleave” mean to you? Are you prepared to put your wife first, before all others, including your parents? Give me an example of what this may look like to you.

Moral Standards

  • What are your standards of propriety in dress? How do you dress?
  • Describe your standards of dress for women?
  • What are your views on head coverings for women?
  • What are your views on public swimming?
  • Do you use offensive language?
  • Do you watch television, R-rated movies? PG-rated movies? What were the last five movies you watched?
  • What kind of music do you prefer? What kind of music would you find offensive?
  • Have you ever been exposed to pornography? If so, explain the extent and the circumstances.
  • Have you ever been exposed to homosexuality? If so, explain the extent and the circumstances.
  • Do you currently use any type of drugs? Have you in your past? If so, explain the extent and the circumstances.
  • Do you have any financial debt? If so, explain the extent and the circumstances.
  • Have you ever been in trouble with the law? If so, explain the extent and the circumstances.
  • What tendencies do you have toward prejudice or racism?
  • Have you ever had periods of rebellion?  If so, explain the extent and the circumstances.  Are there any unsettled issues with your parents?

Miscellaneous Discussion Starters

  • What is your attitude toward pets? Indoor? Outdoor?
  • What are your political leanings?
  • What is your general attitude toward civil government?
  • What is (are) your favorite sources for news?
  • What are your interests, hobbies, talents?
  • What are your income producing (vocational) skills?
  • What is your attitude toward family (home) business?
  • What do you value most highly in life? What next?
  • What do you tend to do in your spare time?
  • What is your involvement in sports? Do you participate, attend games, watch it on TV? To what extent? What sports do you like?
  • If “your” daughter were marrying “you,” what cautions would you have?
  • What are your thoughts on alternative medicine?
  • What are your thoughts on immunizations?
  • What is the role of psychology in the life of a Christian?
  • Do you prefer to live in the city, suburbs, town, or country; farm, seaside, mountains, or desert? Why?
  • Describe a typical week day in your life from start to finish.
  • Describe a typical Saturday in your life from start to finish.
  • Describe a typical Sunday in your life from start to finish.

Your Future

  • Can you describe your life purpose, i.e., how you intend to use your interests, experiences, skills, and talents to serve and glorify God?
  • What role would your wife and children play in your life purpose?
  • What role would your job/career play in your life purpose?
  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years? In 20 years?
  • Where do you see yourself spiritually in 10 years? In 20 years?
  • When the Lord calls you home, how would you like people to remember you?


  • Do you have a personal timetable for marriage? If so, what is it?
  • What type of education are you hoping that your future wife will have?
  • List the five most important characteristics of a wife (for you personally).
  • List any characteristics or personality traits that would bother or irritate you in a wife.

Please feel free to copy and modify these questions for your own personal use in your family.  If you would like to share these questions with others, you can click on the options at the bottom of this page, or use the “print” option at the top.

Copyright © 2002-2014, Family Reformation® Ministries. All rights reserved.

110 Responses to “Courtship Questions for Potential Suitors”

  1. Becky says:

    Your post here made me smile. Especially when I got to the second paragraph. We are going through our first courtship expirence with one of our daughters and we have been asked a gamut of questions from our (mostly) non-christian family, and also from those in our church – which is made up almost completely of homeschooling families. I admit our situation is not what we originally envisioned when we talked about courtship for our girls – after all, we kind of thought we would be approached by a young man who had been homeschooled and understood courtship, but that was not the case. He was from a “normal” home environment and had attended public school. So our first time out of the gate we had to explain courtship not only to our family, but also to the young man that was interested in our daughter. He is truly a wonderful young man though and I’m glad we decided to give him a chance and not brush him aside because he didn’t come prepared (or prepackaged up in the way we imagined) for courtship. He has adapted well and, in my opinion, a great test of his mettle as a man has been the way he has delt with all the questions (and comments of “Your crazy!”) he gets from all his friends.

  2. These are some great questions to ponder and think about Stacy–thanks for sharing. I will post this on my blog and share the button too.

    Have a blessed week!

  3. Jennifer says:

    Are daughters aware of a young man’s interest when he first starts asking/answering questions?

  4. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for the answer!

    While we don’t have this practice, it might be kind of nice for my dad to weed out any unpleasant men, with my own personal questions. “Do you believe in sacrificing morality for entertainement? Do you like ammoral stories? Do you think it’s okay to make police and doctors look bad by abusing the concept of their practices on TV for dramatic effect?..Okay, sorry, Jennifer’s not interested. No seriously, she doesn’t approve of that kind of thing. She could hurt you, in fact.”

  5. Thank you Stacy and James for these. I will be posting them to my blog and to facebook! Tracylea

  6. Stacy McDonald says:

    In our household, no. The young man is requested to keep his intentions to himself until he has permission from my husband. If my husband feels he is a godly young man, he is allowed to hang around and get to know her and us.

    Again, this is just the way it works out in our home.

  7. Thomas says:

    Eager chaperone indeed! If you need assistance with my fellow bugaphobic friend, let me know.


  8. Sharon says:

    This is quite a comprehensive list! Were the young men who answered these questions already friends or at least acquaintances of the family? I would think it would be quite difficult to provide answers to so many intensely personal questions to a total stranger! But I suppose if a young man is interested in your daughter, he would likely already be acquainted with her parents as well?

  9. Margaret in VA says:

    Those are great questions, Stacy! When our oldest went through his courtship he was asked many of the same questions by Emily’s dad. (She didn’t know for the first three months while he “courted her dad”.)
    It was helpful for me as a Mom to realize that the answers to these questions, if honest and therefore not all perfect, didn’t mean automatic disqualification but were to open up dialog. A wise father knows that his daughter isn’t marrying someone who is fully sanctified but is looking for someone who is teachable, and desirous of following God.

    Also, Emily had such a good relationship with her Dad that he knew what kinds of things were “deal-breakers”. So, her Dad was able to protect her heart while he got to know our son better.

    They’ve been married for almost two years and I have the most adorable grandbaby! We all thank God for His grace to us and look forward to the next courtship event in our family.

  10. Melanie Young says:

    Hi Stacy!

    We’ve taught our sons, and now our young daughters about courtship from the beginning – that is the expectation in our home. Now that our older children’s generation is entering that age frame, we are seeing some unexpected complications that I wish you’d address.

    Courtship, as we all usually explain it, does a pretty good job of protecting the girl’s heart – though one of our young friends told us she was very hurt by hoping young men were interested in her when they weren’t — this stuff is hard! The issue we’re seeing in our community is a little more troubling for the guys. I think of a young man of my acquaintance – for the record, not one of my sons. A real Christian, always homeschooled, very nice guy. Not as settled into a career as he could be, but a good prospect as a husband. A couple of times now, he has watched a young lady, thought about whether he wanted to pursue her as his wife, prayed about and for her for some time and finally approached her dad. In the case of both girls, their fathers said no. One would not even give him the courtesy of telling him why, so he’d know if there was hope for the future or not. He can only think that perhaps the girl was completely uninterested.

    My concern is, if a young man, once he approaches a father, should be prepared to win the young lady to marry him, he can hardly help his heart being committed to a degree to be ready to do that. That’s fine if he’s allowed to court her, but what if he’s not? Our young friend has been very, very hurt. What of the young man’s heart? He is having to commit himself to pursuing marriage before he knows if the young woman has any interest at all.

    Do you have any thoughts on this, Stacy? Have you had any sons involved in courtship?


  11. Paula says:


    How would you handle a situation where you and your husband felt he was NOT a suitable man for your daughter but she insisted on marrying him anyway. Do you allow the wedding to proceed?

  12. Paula says:

    Basically, what I was asking is what if your daughter disagreed with you on whether he is a good suitor. Just to clarify.

  13. Lady T says:

    These questions are thorough and terrific. However, I am well acquainted with someone who asked great questions many years ago before courtship was taught in Christian circles. A young man gave the “right” answers. He seemed like quite the prospect. But they were ideal answers, not the real, truthful answers. Since it was a long distance courtship for a year and a half, not enough time was spent seeing if the answers he gave truly played out in his life. Much heartache followed with God’s heavy hand of chastisement upon this husband. But, “where sin did abound, grace did much more abound.” The rest of the family is still serving God faithfully!

  14. Stacy McDonald says:

    :-) Thomas, you were a fabulous chaperon (and very entertaining!). I’ll be sure to pass on the offer to Sister Bugophobe!

  15. Tracy says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with wanting to hear someone address the question Melanie just posted above. While I agree with the idea of courtship, having sons myself, I see that while courtship protects the young ladies, it hurts the young men (emotionally) to be rejected by fathers, sometimes over very trivial items. The young man really puts his heart out there to make that step to approach the father. He is realizing he can be slapped down, and if fathers are ungentle about it, it sours the whole idea of courtship.

    Do you have any experience with sons going through this?

  16. Stacy McDonald says:

    If a young man, once he approaches a father, should be prepared to win the young lady to marry him, he can hardly help his heart being committed to a degree to be ready to do that.

    Hi Melanie,

    I’ve thought about this too. It does seem to be a little tougher on the guys. But, we counsel parents with sons (and young men, themselves) to view every young lady (even those they think may make a good wife) as sisters in Christ and potentially “someone else’s wife.” While the courtship period is certainly a time to build a friendship, it is primarily a time to intellectually and spiritually determine if this young woman will be someone he can love and safely trust in – someone he would be willing to sacrifice for. It is not a time of romance and unrestrained emotion. He still must guard his heart from lust and close emotional attachment. She may in fact be some other man’s future wife. And his future wife may be somewhere awaiting him, hoping that he is guarded and faithful.

    This is all easier said than done, I realize. But we have seen courtships that did not end in marriage (we consider these successful courtships as well); and, when hearts were guarded during this time, everyone is thankful.

    The young man you referenced may have been hurt or felt rejected, but this may have happened no matter what method of wife-hunting he would have chosen (perhaps even more so). I have no idea what the reasons were these parents decided he was not for their daughters, but, if he isn’t ready to support a family, that is a very good reason to guard the gate. Perhaps God wants him to prepare himself further before pursuing a wife. And of course, it could be that the girl was not interested.

    Either way, the right thing to do would have been to let him know the reason. We expect these young men to be honorable; we too, as parents, should treat them with honor and respect.

  17. Christina says:

    Another question that pops into my own mind involves circumstances in which I found myself: What should a young man do when he finds himself interested in a young woman whose parents are divorced and has no father figure to look out for her? Hopefully the young man is smart/kind enough to be careful of her heart, but I know these circumstances come up much more than everyone knows.

    I was 19 when I met my husband, and we were married a year later. We have a beautiful relationship and marriage, and I am so blessed to have met him when I did. When I met my husband, my parents were in the proceedings of a terrible divorce after 23 seemingly wonderful years of marriage, in which I had been raised to be a God-fearing honorable young woman, who relied on my parents’ help when it came to meeting young men. If I hadn’t met my husband then, I honestly don’t know what I would have done. We actually never had anyone chaperoning our courting (dating in hopes of marriage would be the better term, as that is what we were really doing), and I was a very confused, sad and emotionally struggling young lady who looked up to this new man for help and kindness, which he gave me.

    My point is: If I find my own son (if I am blessed with a son in future) in the same place my husband was, what advice would you give?


  18. Stacy McDonald says:

    Lady T,

    These courtship questions aren’t meant to be a fool-proof checklist for a guaranteed happy ending. They are only a very small beginning in a long process of real life examination and growth. I too know of a few families who found out the hard way that some young men are just good “test takers.”

    Each situation is different, but if you don’t already know the family or the young man, it is very important to make sure that you have a courtship that is long enough to truly know the person. That means they need to be in real-life situations, with real stresses and irritations. I think you made a good point when you said not enough time was taken to see if his answers “played out in real life.” That is the key. One family I know recommended taking the potential suitor on a family vacation with all the little siblings. The “real person” can come out quickly on a long crowded van ride. :-)

    Again, there is no way we can fool-proof our lives from deceptive or dishonest people. However, we can trust God. As we use wisdom and discretion, taking our jobs as parents seriously, we can trust that God will protect us and our children.

    A list of questions are no guarantee, but they are a start. We can’t check off our list and relax. There is much work, prayer, discussion, and getting to know him/her” that must go on.

    The bottom line is that courtship should be entered into with the “intention” of marriage; but, it is not marriage – and it is not betrothal. Hearts should be guarded during this time of discovery and friendship. Again, if it is determined that the couple is not a good match, it should still be considered a successful courtship. A solid, godly marriage for our children is the goal.

  19. Stacy McDonald says:


    No, I do not. We have not had any sons go through a courtship yet.

  20. Stacy McDonald says:

    How would you handle a situation where you and your husband felt he was NOT a suitable man for your daughter but she insisted on marrying him anyway. Do you allow the wedding to proceed?

    Hi Paula,

    I guess it depends – what was the reason we felt the young man was not suitable?

    We’d have to determine this on a case by case basis. Is he an unbeliever? Is he addicted to pornography? Has he shown a tendency to be dishonest? Is he unwilling to respect or submit to authority? Has he given us reason to believe he may be abusive? All of these things would be serious issues that would require us to be more insistent that she listen and submit to her father, trusting that God is protecting her through her father’s wisdom.

    But what happens if the parents are simply being unreasonable or controlling – maybe they just don’t care for the guy’s personality or profession? Or what about cases where the parents are putting unreasonable requests upon the young man (you must have $50,000 in the bank and a paid-off house). This could keep their daughter from ever having the opportunity to marry a man and train up godly seed for the Lord. And, personally, I think many parents need to examine their hearts here, and see if they aren’t in sin.

    Ultimately, the man a daughter marries, needs to be the man the daughter wants to marry. We don’t advocate arranged marriages. But, at the same time, a daughter is wise to heed the counsel and direction of her parents. When a father has won the trust of his daughter, she will be glad for his guidance – and it will be a blessing to everyone involved.

  21. Stacy McDonald says:


    Every situation is unique. God is faithful. Praise the Lord He placed a godly man in your path who was honorable and seeking marriage!

    I know of one man (who is now nearly 50) who courted his wife years ago, at his request. The girl’s father was happy to allow her to date, but the young man approached the father with his desire to court her (with the intention of marriage). The father was impressed and very happy to comply, and step up to the role of leader/protector. The couple married and now has 8 children (3 are grown).

    So it is possible for the young man to believe in courtship, while the girl and her family are unfamiliar with it, but willing.

  22. Lady Rose says:

    Wow! These are some very interesting and thought provoking questions. I had to copy them into my Word file so I could read them more in depth.

    I just had one simple question. Obviously, there are many questions here to be answered. I was wondering how the father goes about asking these questions to a potential suitor for his daughter? Does the father ask the questions over a period of time during the courtship, or is he asking them all at once?

    Lastly, I appreciate the fact that you have provided these questions for your blog readers.

    -Lady Rose

  23. Jennifer says:

    Excellent answers, Stacy.

  24. Sara says:


    Stacy, this list of questions is such an encouragement to me. While my parents were not familiar with courtship, God had given me a vision of asking these type of questions to the young men who were interested in dating me in college.

    This was not a vision I had in HS or the beginning of my freshman yr., but by God’s mercy, He continues to refine us!!!! I had always been encouraged to make a list of character qualities and miscellaneous items that were important/deal breakers for me. God had protected my heart, because no young man asked me out until I had that list and the vision of asking questions. When I did, the calls came. When a young man called, I simply started by asking if he was a Christian and when did he repent and believe. Surprisingly, 4 of the 5 calls I received that year, ended after I asked that question. God kept my heart very guarded during this time.

    My husband and I got to know each other through our church. We were just friends, and I began asking him my questions as we would spend time together. He actually said that is when he went from noticing I was attractive, to really wanting to get to know me to marry me. Yet, he did not ask me out until I had most of my beginning questions answered. When he did ask me for a date, my mom asked me if he was a man worthy of marrying me. I knew he was. We were engaged shortly after. My parents, not being familiar with this type of “dating” made us wait a year to get married. In full disclosure, we did kiss when we got engaged. That made it a very long year and I would not recommend that for our children!!

    I hope this gives some hope to those young ladies/young gentlemen who may not come across the ideal courtship situation. God can still guard hearts and beautiful, God-fearing, God-glorifying marriages can still come about in a God honoring way!! (We’ve been married 11 yrs. and have 6 children so far!!)

    Thank you for the inspiration and encouragement you and Mr. McDonald give us!

    In Christ,
    Sara McPherson

  25. Erin says:

    Thank you, to you and your husband for sharing this comprehensive list of questions and for an excellent post about courtship.

    As a teen, there were very few dating restrictions for me in our household. I dated several boys and engaged in physical activity that is inappropriate outside of marriage. I was unmarried and pregnant at 21, married the “man” and we were divorced less than a year later (the marriage was abusive, dishonest and he was unfaithful).

    I became a follower of Christ almost 8 years ago, married a wonderful man 9 years ago who is a terrific father to our 12 year old daughter and our nearly 7 year old son. I am blessed to be a stay at home mother and our children attend public school. While we are open to homeschooling, my husband doesn’t feel homeschooling is right for us, at least at this time. All this said, we are committed to raising children who love and serve the Lord and we are committed to following the courtship model for when our children reach a certain age, which has yet to be determined. My daughter is entering middle school this fall and despite how we are raising our children, I know she will be exposed to many new things, including teen dating and dances at school. In my heart I believe that to allow our daughter to attend these functions we would be committing treason against our beliefs about courtship, not to mention our desire to protect her heart. In some cases, parents allow their children to attend such social functions with friends who will remain in a group setting for the evening, but I’m not convinced that is the answer. Perhaps chaperoning events like dances would be a possible solution? I’m trying to prepare in advance for the inevitable request from our daughter to attend these functions, as I know she will be curious about.

    I see how this is rather specific, and may be a bit off subject, but I would love to hear your opinion about this matter and whether or not you feel it would be going against our plans for courtship.

    Thank you so very much for your time and for the encouragement you provide through your blog.

    Many blessings,
    Erin Bishop

  26. Tom says:

    I am curious to your answers to these questions personally as well as if you would provide them to the potential suitor since you are digging so personally into their own lives.

  27. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Tom,

    I would not provide the answers to you. What’s your last name again? :-) However, we would be very willing to have such a conversation with a young man we trusted enough to pursue marriage with one of our daughters. Her heart is more important than any one of these questions.

  28. Julia Anderson says:

    Those are some very interesting questions, not ones I would have thought of? I would be more inclined to ask questions about lifestyle and career choice and “why”. (Church attendance and involvement is a given). But I would caution that TIME is best, give them lots of time! We have found that any young man can answer questions and seem as if he is telling you (your daughter) the truth. It is important that a young lady ponder what life would be like married to a pastor, doctor, construction worker, ect.
    and how that dove tales with her gifts and desires. Also, until a young man is at least 25 he really has not fully formed his opinions and self concepts so it is difficult to know how he will “turn out” in later years. They, young people, change a lot. They may think they are being “honest” about them selves when in fact they don’t know them selves well enough yet!
    We have been reading the “Boundaries” series by Cloud and Townsend and I think it has been really valueable tool for our girls to think about what they really want in a mate! (As well as how to test someone) Any one can lie their way through a barrage of questions, look at the IRS. :)
    God Bless and protect you and your family.

  29. Helen says:

    Since I don’t wish to be rude or uncharitable, I will only say that I am very thankful that my husband and I are choosing to approach dating/courtship/marriage preparation for our kids VERY differently from you folks.

    I was really quite taken aback at some of the things the girl’s father thinks he should be privy to; in particular, a family history of mental or physical disability?!?! I find it extremely offensive that one’s physical state is even a consideration in these proceedings. And to dredge up any (perhaps painful) family baggage of mental illness?? That just seems, for lack of a better word, WRONG.

  30. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Helen. Why don’t you tell me what you really think? ;-) I’m sorry that the way our family practices courtship offends you.

    And by the way, no one who has been given the “questions” has ever been offended before. Again, there are no wrong answers. The questions are intended for full disclosure and discussion.

    If I married a man and discovered after marriage that mental illness ran in his family, or that he may have a rare genetic disease that would affect our children, and he hadn’t told me, I would feel betrayed. It is better to know these things up front, so everyone you can make an informed decision.

  31. Stacy McDonald says:

    “Also, until a young man is at least 25 he really has not fully formed his opinions and self concepts so it is difficult to know how he will “turn out” in later years.”

    I don’t agree. There is no magic age. Different men mature at different rates. And they *should* mature much sooner than most do today. However, there is no way you can tell how any man will “turn out” in later years.

    There is also something to be said for growing and maturing together, as well.

  32. Evelien says:

    I think some of these questions are way to personal to ask… I would not like my father asking them to my boyfriend… Well, at least some of them, like if he has kissed someone else or done anything physical and to explain the situation… My boyfriend picked me to be his best friend, not my father…

    I do think these questions are good to talk about as a couple though!
    And most questions should not have to be asked in my situation because we just talk about it when we’re having dinner at my parents house, or similar situations :)

  33. Priscilla M. says:

    Hi Stacy! Thank you for posting these questions and all of your explanations. Our oldest son was in a courtship with a girl long distance since he is in the Navy. We all thought things were progressing fairly well even though her father chose to not be actively involved, but she abrubtly cut everything off last December, and it was four months later that we found out why. One of my daughter’s called her, and she explained that another family introduced her to a young man, and they were going to get married soon. Since this was our first courtship experience, and being long distance from both the girl and our son, we learned much. We spent some months praying for her and scratching our heads about why she had cut off the relationship, and were glad that she is getting married. Our son guarded his heart, and we felt it was a sucessful courtship. It would have been easier if the girl’s father were involved, or if the girl had been open and honest about someone else coming along. The truth is easier to take than no communication. My son had felt the girl held herself in reserve and did not reciprocate, so it was easy for him to guard his heart.

    My husband is currently reading Voddie Bauchum’s book, WHAT HE MUST BE If He Wants To Marry My Daughter, as well as referring to the list of questions your husband gave him. I am thankful for the godly information out there for those of us who desire help as we prayerfully guide our children to the marriage alter.

    There is a young man interested in one of our daughters. My husband found that the young man’s greater need is to be discipled, and not to pursue a relationship at this time. He is willing to take that responsibility on, but is conscious of guarding our daughter’s heart most of all. He understood that certain questions on that list are reserved for later, and some are appropriate for now. He has other questions he has added. I agree that the list is a great reference, and is a place to start.


  34. AW says:

    What happens if your daughter chooses a man without your approval? Do you disown her? How old is a girl when her potential mate is being vetted for her – 18? This is kind of sad – denying your kid a chance to go out and experience the world and fall in love with the person of their choosing. I get that you are trying to avoid unnecessary heartache, but your children are human beings independent from you.

  35. Stacy McDonald says:

    What happens if your daughter chooses a man without your approval? Do you disown her?


    This is kind of sad – denying your kid a chance to go out and experience the world and fall in love with the person of their choosing.

    No, what is sad is shoving her out into the world with the ridiculous notion that recreational dating is a good way to find a godly husband. (And, by the way, we do not “choose” husbands for our daughters. I suggest you reread the post.)

  36. Lewis says:

    Stacy, you do realize that there are other methods of two people coming together in relationships that lead to Christ-centered marriage other than courtship and recreational dating, right?

  37. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Lewis,

    Yes, I do. I have known many couples who have entered into godly marriages without having courted (my husband and I are an example).

    I was responding to AW’s assertion that the way our family approaches courtship/marriage is “sad.” In turn, I pointed out what truly IS sad.

    I was not implying that any pursuit of godly marriage outside of courtship is “sad.” Far from it.

    The goal is to see our sons and daughters enter into the covenant of marriage prepared, chaste, and with a healthy understanding and knowledge of who they are marrying. We believe that courtship allows for this better than any other way we’ve seen, so that is what we’ve chosen for our family. You can do what you please; I’m not saying “it’s the only way.”

    I am willing to say that there are way of finding a godly spouse outside of courtship. But I have a feeling you wouldn’t be willing to grant me that same respect. :-) Though I hope I’m wrong.

    We have a daughter who is in a courtship right now. We have two daughters who have entered into happy healthy marriages through courtship. Can you at least acknowledge that this is a good way to pursue a spouse, though not the only way?

  38. Lewis says:

    I can’t, Stacy, because I don’t believe it to be a healthy way.

    I also don’t believe there would be no retribution, emotional or otherwise, if your daughters rejected courtship and chose another path.

  39. Do I know you?

    It seems you are being very condemning of my beliefs, Lewis, without any clear reason. Can you not see how wrong (and legalistic) it is for you to make judgments about people you don’t even know based on assumptions?

    You don’t agree with courtship, and I respect that. I find it very interesting that you can’t bring yourself to respect our beliefs. I wonder what you would call that if I made the same sweeping judgments against yours.

    By the way, Lewis, I understand that you have accused us of legalism elsewhere on the Internet. I find your hypocrisy interesting. You are accusing us of legalism while giving us an extra biblical law. You have implied by your statements that practicing courtship is sin. Though Scripture does not forbid courtship, you have made a new law for me.

    You are being legalistic in your anti-legalism.

  40. Lewis says:

    Scripture doesn’t even MENTION courtship as a proper or “godly” means of finding a mate, Stacy, but it does mention meddling in the same line with murder and thievery. Men have elevated courtship to biblical command levels, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.

    I respect your right to have and practice your own beliefs, Stacy, I would guess far more than you respect the right of a homosexual to be homosexual, a feminist to be feminist, or a liberal to be a liberal.

    That doesn’t mean I respect the substance of your beliefs. I don’t, and it would benefit no one to pretend that I do.

  41. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Lewis,

    In a culture where marriage is redefined to include perverted homosexual unions, where recreational dating and “hooking up” is the norm, and where couples divorce because they “fell out of love,” courtship and betrothal may seem old-fashioned and strange. We grew up in a world where dating numerous different people, sometimes at the same time, was part of growing up. “Going steady” a few times, “experimenting in the back seat” a few times, and “breaking up” a few times, were expected rituals.

    While we believe courtship is a wholesome and effective approach to finding a mate, we do not claim there is a “thou shalt court” passage that commands all families to practice courtship the way we do. The goal is to see our children enter into the covenant of marriage chaste and prepared. To liken courtship to murder and thievery is nonsensical.

    Men and women do not have the “right” to practice homosexuality (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom.1:27). It is an abomination before God. Are you saying you believe courtship is an abomination before God?

    If you read HERE you will find that we do not view courtship as a “doctrine” as you claim.

    May you prosper even as your soul prospers.

  42. Stacy McDonald says:


    I did not approve your last comment. It is obvious that you have no intention of being respectful or charitable. You came to my blog for the purpose of insulting our beliefs. That is clear.

    We are not patrio-centric. The father is not the center of the home – Jesus is. Your insistence otherwise reveals your intent. Your egalitarian position understandably conflicts with ours (Eph. 5:22-29; 1 Cor. 11:3); however, that is no excuse for misrepresenting our beliefs.

    I will not be questioned by an antagonist on my own blog and I won’t give you a platform to insult and judge other Christians. Please take your vitriol elsewhere.


  43. Hi Stacty,

    I have 2 sons who are still very young -7 & 3-, and of course, wish they would follow the path of courtship, have great marriages, etc.
    I read the questionaire and find most questions appropiate. But not all. Some of them, I think fall into the realm of what should be private and personal, only for the couple to decide on their own, for instance the question about the number of children or about birth control. I think that we parents should not interfere in this.
    Would you reject a possible suitor if he had a different view than you in this?
    What about the doctrinal issues? Would you turn down a young man who grew up in a baptist church? Who is OK with age segreation in the church, etc.?

    Thanks in advance and sorry if there are spellings mistakes in my English.

  44. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hello Carolina,

    Thanks for writing. Good question!

    While some of the courtship questions may seem intrusive, it is important to remember the purpose for them. While birth control may not seem like a big deal to some Christians. To others it is a matter of strong conviction. That is the point. None of the questions are meant to be “deal breakers.” (Except perhaps whether or not he is a Christian) They are for the purpose of full disclosure. If there are things that either party “just couldn’t live with,” it is good to know up front.

    For instance, some Christian families do not believe in celebrating Christmas. Our family does celebrate, and most of our children feel strongly about it. If a young man was from a family who thought celebrating Christmas was sinful, it could be a real source of contention/frustration. It would be good for her to make a decision on whether or not she thinks she could live with that for her and her future children before entering into a relationship.

    And, no, we would not automatically turn down a a man who grew up in a baptist church or who is ok with age segregation, but it would certainly be cause for deeper conversation. :-)

  45. Laurie says:

    We have had 2 daughters get married through courtship and have Godly husbands and precious children. However, our son entered into a courtship with a girl from our church. He had watched how we had done it and was looking for the same thing but got nothing. He was approved to pursue their daughter but then they turned around and kept making more rules and making it more difficult for him at every turn. After a year and half when he had asked to marry her several times but was always told not yet, her father broke off the relationship. She and my son were devastated. She was encouraged by them to go out and make her life and she is now a very different girl, they have left the church for a more “modern and current” one. I am so glad my son did not end up marrying her but he has not yet recovered. It has been 8 months and he says he doesn’t know if he can ever do it again. He is very sensitive and quiet and caring and had given and was prepared to lay down his life for her. So even though it was successful in weeding out someone very inappropriate, it was beyond hurtful.

  46. Kim says:

    Thanks so much for sharing here on your blog. I always enjoy reading and once again you’ve given great information. I appreciate how open you and your husband are. It’s a blessing to many.
    Praising Him,

  47. Sue M. says:

    Hello Stacy,

    Apparently the courtship model that you and your husband have developed has worked well for your family and that’s great!

    There are a few things that I’m wondering about, though.

    First, did you let your daughters have some input into the questions, or if not input, let you know which ones carried more weight for her?

    Second, I know your husband values your opinion very much. Did he give you a chance to review and recommend changes to the questions before he started using them?

    Third, about the very personal questions about serious physical or mental illnesses that ran in the young man’s family, did you ever consider leaving that subject alone until your daughter and the young man were actually courting and then making sure your daughter’s suitor told your daughter about them … and then let her decide for herself whether she could live with them or else.

    Fourth, you may have already answered this question above, but in case you haven’t, what would you do if one of your daughters flat out refused to participate in a courtship model? Not necessarily that she went on a dating rampage, but she just didn’t feel it was right for her. Would it make any difference whether she was 20 y.o. at the time or 28 y.o. (and still living at home).

    Since I’ve never known anyone who met their spouse through a courtship process, I appreciate you sharing your family’s store.


    P.S. I do know one couple from India whose marriage was arranged, but they did exchange pictures and e-mails and met a couple of times before marriage. They have a happy marriage. They were actually both in the U.S. for a while before their wedding (he for grad school and her for a college semester abroad), but kept their promise to not meet unchaperoned. I think it’s sort of sweet in this day.

  48. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hello Sue,

    Thanks for writing.

    Yes, our daughters not only gave input, they also helped write some of the questions. In addition, our sons in law also added to the questions, taking into consideration things they thought were important to know. And keep in mind, this is somewhat of a “master list.” We won’t necessarily use every question on the list with every suitor.

    Yes, my husband gave me the list to proof read and to make recommendations.

    As far as the questions regarding serious physical or mental illness, we have never had a young man tell us this was too personal; but, if he told us he felt uncomfortable discussing the topic with us at this stage, we would honor that. And, to clarify, the question is in there for our daughter, not for us. It would be totally up to her if she could live with whatever issues there were.

    As to your fourth question, I always hesitate in answering a hypothetical question like this. There are so many factors involved. First, let me begin by saying that we do not believe in “arranged marriages.” You may like to CLICK HERE to read a little bit more about courtship and how it varies from family to family.

    I realize it is probably difficult for most people today to have a concept of what our life looks like. In many ways it is foreign to the modern family. Usually, by the time a girl gets to marrying age she is so detached from the family, and from her parents that the idea of Mom and Dad having any sort of input into her life is just plain weird. Daughters have their own jobs, their own social sphere, their own boyfriends, and sometimes their own apartments. Our life doesn’t look like that, so it’s hard to compare. We are very active in our church, and our daughters work alongside us ministering to others, socializing with other families, praying together, learning together, singing together, enjoying life together.

    Our children have been raised to see the wisdom and beauty of courtship. While it may seem foreign to some, it is only because our culture has created a “new normal.” The whole recreational dating model would have seemed shocking and foreign to the average family less than a hundred years ago. And, since my husband and I think dating has been one of the many factors that have contributed to the damage of marriage and family, we are purposely creating a “new normal” in our lives. And to our children, courtship is normal. We have attended many wedding and know many families who have courted and married.

    I realize you don’t know any families who have practiced courtship, so it makes sense that it sounds odd to you. But there was a time when we didn’t know any families who lived this way either. This past May, after a beautiful courtship, our daughter, Tiffany was married to a godly young man. Photos HERE. Video HERE

    [By the way, our son is engaged to be married to a godly young woman. And, while he didn’t embrace the courtship model we would have chosen for him/them, we are thrilled that God has protected them both, and brought two godly young people together for His glory! Our son is now 27; he was 15 when we began to believe that courtship was the best way for bringing two young people together for marriage. We rejoice with them both and eagerly await their upcoming marriage.]

  49. Cindy says:

    While I do not practice your beliefs in my own life, I do respect that you want what is best for your daughters. I wonder if after the suitor has proven himself acceptable to her father, does the daughter feel pressured to accept the courtship even if she does not feel an attraction to this person? Is physical attraction or that “spark” of butterflies she may feel a consideration? It seems as if this is more of a business transaction….here are all of his qualifications….rather than two people meeting and falling in love. If anything, I would think she should be able to ask him these questions herself and get to know him that way rather than having her father choose her husband. Then again, I live in a world where men don’t make my decisions for me.

  50. Stacy McDonald says:


    We have two daughter married through courtship, and one in a courtship. All three have kept their “sparks” at bay until the proper time. Think about what “falling” in love implies. There’s no decision to love involved. It has more to do with hormones and lust than it does with wisely choosing a husband/wife. “Falling” in love implies that we are being led by our flesh.

    I am NOT saying that physical attraction has no place in courtship. If there is no physical attraction at all, there could very well be problems later. I just think sometimes we place too much of emphasis on “butterflies.” Feelings and physical attraction can be deceiving. I had plenty of “butterflies” around numerous guys throughout high school, and it certainly didn’t mean any of them were “the one.” :-) And the “butterflies” I have for my husband now (and yes, I still get them!) are more powerful and consistent. ;-)

    I do see what you are saying, and again, I think (restrained) physical attraction is part of the equation, but so far “butterflies” haven’t been a problem in any of our daughters’ relationships. Typically, it’s the other way around. ;-)

    Also, my husband does not “choose” a husband for any of our daughters. He simply helps her to evaluate who she gets involved with before getting emotionally attached. Like I said, our daughters have written some of these questions themselves, and they also discuss the questions with the young men. Additionally, the final decision of who gets to spend time with her is her decision – not Dad’s.

  51. Belinda says:

    Thanks for the information, very interesting. I have a seventeen year old daughter that has had the same boyfriend for alittle over three years. When they started liking each other she was thirteen and he was sixteen. They say they plan to marry and have not shown interest in anyone else. I think using these questions with them would be a great idea.

  52. Dawn says:

    Our young adult son may not be able to have children. I won’t go into the medical reasons why since that isn’t really relevant to my question.

    In my completely unbiased opinion :-) he is a wise, godly young man who wants to serve the Lord with all his heart and will make a wonderful husband at what ever time the Lord brings the right young lady into his life.

    If you had a son who may not be able to have children, at what point would you advise him letting the young lady’s family know? Should he be upfront about it the very first time he talks to the father? Or should he wait and make sure that the parents and daughter “approve” him before he shares such personal information?

    This is something that my son and husband and I have discussed recently. We are praying for the Lord’s perfect timing in this matter and have decided not to “worry” about it until he is ready to ask a father for his daughter’s hand in courtship.

    However, because I do respect the way your family handles courtship, I would be very interested in knowing what you would advise your son to do.

  53. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Dawn,

    I think if it were my son, I would struggle with that answer as well. Still, I do believe openness tends to always be the best option. I have a cousin with Huntington’s disease. My daughter and I were discussing today how difficult that information would be to share with potential suitors if it were us (since it is a genetically inherited disease). I have to think it would be fear that would keep us from wanting to share this too soon. But at the same time, it could be fear that keeps someone from moving forward as well, if they “know” too soon. If there is such a thing. Good question. Hard stuff.

    Then I go back to thoughts about your son. What if he moves forward in a courtship without sharing that information. And what if he develops a strong emotional attachment for the girl – and then tells her about his medical condition. If she decides she can’t live with that, now he is devastated because he has become involved with her emotionally. Do you see what I mean?

    I would hope that none of our daughters would “turn down” a suitor based on this. But at the same time, I am certain the “right girl” for a young man in that position will not be hindered by such information. God is sovereign.

  54. Dawn says:

    Thank you so much, Stacy, for taking the time to respond. You raise some very excellent points. Openness about this right up is probably the best way to handle it. It is a rather difficult thing but, as you said at the end, God is Sovereign and if a young lady (or her parents) turn him down for that one thing, she would not be the young lady the Lord has for him. Thank you again for your time and for your insight.

  55. Kim M says:

    Thank you!!! I need all the help I can get. I desire this so much for our family, and haven’t even known where to start.

    Thankfully my oldest son is still only ten, but I feel as if I should start talking to my children even now about this.

  56. stephanie says:

    How do we possibly go through that checklist? lol
    I agree with my whole heart. Thank God, they’re here for me to read while they’re still young and I have time to prepare!
    Thank you!

  57. Bethany says:


    Thanks for publishing your list of questions. My husband and I followed a more dating-toward-marriage model in our relationship. However it was an admittedly conservative one (in my life I have only dated two men, I was engaged to both of them, and I married one). Both gentlemen asked my father for my hand prior to engagement, but I was confident that the relationship was worth pursuing before they asked. My father certainly asked some questions, but since I wasn’t there I don’t know which). In addition, my husband and I made a point to work through these questions as part of our time together, but it took us months to fully cover all of our questions.

    I know some others have asked this, but I didn’t see an answer to it. How does your family ask and answer these questions? That’s a poorly worded question and I can’t think of a better way to phrase it, so please let me illustrate with a “sample” answer:

    Perhaps your husband emails these questions to the suitor so that they can prepare their answers and then they spend an evening in discussion. Then your husband supplies your daughter with a summary of the young man’s responses so she can consider her options. If she chooses to begin a courtship, then the two young people spend hours discussing the intricacies of their own positions and perhaps find some common ground.

    The main reason I ask is that the list is of questions (by virtue of being thorough) is very long and some of them require essay type answers. So I’m wondering how your family makes the application practical.

  58. bobbi says:

    Thank you for the great list of questions. I heard a tape of your husband on courtship and wished I had the list of questions. We had to make up our own earlier this year. Our question/dilemma: Our 18 (almost 19) year old daughter is being courted by a 20 year old wonderful young man. Our dilemma is that he still has three years of college left. Our daughter will receive her AA in May. They would like to get married summer 2011. We have always thought that the man should be done with school. Is it fair to make them wait? We have no reservations over the young man. He seems to be a perfect match for our daughter. We are just not sure when we should allow them to marry. They are very willing to do what we wish. Of course, they would like it to be sooner than later. Any advice? Do you have a firm rule in this area?

  59. Jean says:

    If I may, Bobbi, the solution may be to let them decide. They are adults after all and now that the betrothal is sealed, they should have the autonomy to determine these kinds of things.

  60. Holly says:

    I’m probably not the normal person you get commenting here. I am definitely not so much like you guys — I’m a mainstream Methodist who goes to church several times a year. However, I was directed to your site and have read much of it curiously and learned a lot of very interesting things and been exposed to new ideas, which has given me pause to think.
    However, I don’t understand some of your questions, so I was hoping you might explain. How can one be “exposed” to homosexuality? Does that mean, for instance, you had a homosexual experience or thought? Or are you “exposed” to homosexuality by having a gay family member? A gay friend? Passing a gay person on the street?
    I hope I’m not coming off as obnoxious. Full disclosure — I have a gay sister and I’m totally pro-gay marriage. But I’d like to better understand your belief set and understand your way of life. I strive to learn about others choices to ensure that I could not make better ones by following their example. I’d truly love an answer to this question. Thanks and be well.

  61. Michele says:

    Stacy, Thank You for the exhaustive list of courtship questions. I wonder how many of these my husband, who is also a pastor, has considered he will ask of our daughter’s future suitor. As the mother of a daughter who will soon be entering the courtship era of her life (she is 14), NOW is the time to prepare both my daughter and son (10) of what to expect in the future. Might be a good idea to print this now and let them look over it. Questions from my husband or the father of the girl my son might be interested in will not be very different, I would venture. Good to prepare them both. Thanks again. We seem to agree on many points of the courtship process.

  62. Patty says:

    This post makes reminds me of when my cousin was asked out by her unbelieving co-worker. She informed him (he already hadn’t taken the hint that she was NOT interested) that he would have to ask her dad first. Her dad still recalls in amusement how a drunk young man called him very late at night to ask if he could date his daughter. The young man stumbled and slurred his way through the first question, something to the affect of, “How would you describe your relationship with Christ?” Needless, to say, the relationship this young man was hoping for never happened, and he left my cousin alone after that.

  63. Jennifer says:

    She works and still needed her father’s permission?

  64. Stacy McDonald says:

    I think you’re missing the point, Jennifer. ;-) The young woman was happily deferring to her father’s authority – a father who was more than willing to be his daughter’s protector (albeit an amused one). She wasn’t asking her father’s permission; she was glad to let Dad take care of booze boy. :-)

  65. Jennifer says:

    If she was being light-hearted and using him as protector, that’s good (and smart! :) But if she was deferring to his authority, then it was more or less asking his permission.

  66. This list is amazing and so comprehensive–even though it’s not comprehensive :) Very thought provoking and excellent for learning more about somebody’s true colors.

    I would like permission to repost part of your post that send readers to your website to read the article in its entirety.

    Many of our families care much about these issues and questions.

  67. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Jay – please feel free!

  68. Edward says:

    Ok, wait a second – hold the phone here . . .

    The fundamental assumption behind biblical dating is that it ostensibly results in better marriages that secular unions – defined as loving relationships b/t men and women. That is clearly NOT the case! The worst marriage statistics by far wrt divorce, physical abuse, etc involve Christian evangelicals as a group in the southeastern US- look it up for yourself if you do not believe me. How many of these women after being married would have opted for something else, if given the chance to do it over?

    Given this, why the courtship ritual, the “guarding of the gate?
    Is a courtship designed to protect the girl’s virtues, or protect the purity of the evangelical belief set? “Restricted access” like this will prevent the larger evangelical body from being diluted – if you limit the types of unions allowed, then there is no chance an independent thinker will enter the family or the church, and no chance he will ask questions which might cause others to think for themselves. A theology continues . . .unexamined and unchallenged.
    As one evangelical put it – “if you think for yourself, you might go down the wrong road . . . ” . The scary thing here is a lot of people on this board who read this believe that, and will never think for themselves because of fear and guilt. I don’t recall ever reading in the Bible where this is so . .

    I do not subscribe to this sort of inquistion presented here . . . if an intelligent, hardworking guy asked my daughter out, I would give him the benefit of the doubt, so long as she is happy, he futhers her life and endeavors. I would be scared to let my daughter around a male raised in a dogmatic, legalistic environment reflected by questions such as these . . a HUGE red flag if I ever heard from her a guys parents would enter into such discussions.

    Such evangelicals have become true Pharisees . . it has come full circle.
    How ironic.



    An evangelical once told me – “if you think for yourself, you might go down the wrong road . . .”

  69. Stacy McDonald says:

    Interesting thoughts, Edward, as confusing as they are. A few things:

    1. We are not discussing “biblical dating.”
    2. We do not define marriage as a “loving relationship between a man and a woman,” though that is certainly part of a godly marriage.
    3. It is far too easy to claim alleged statistics without proving them yourself. I’m sorry, but you’ll have to do the research to convince me. I won’t do the work for you.
    4. Your whole premise concerning “non-thinking” Christians is ridiculous. We ARE “thinking Christians.” That is the point. We don’t allow our emotions and feelings to control and blindly lead us. We think, we examine, we compare to Scripture, and we practice self control. And when we feel and love, we feel and love deeply, deliberately, and within the bounds of marriage.

  70. Edward says:

    Hi Stacy

    To clarify – my point is just that the assumption you are making is that there is something really wrong with secular dating, and that the evangelical courtship approach is a better way – leads to a more godly union . . . I agree in large part that dating today is NOT healthy, regardless of age. However, the marriage statistics out there indicate evangelical southern states have higher rates of divorce, physical abuse etc . . . assuming the stats are true (they are),then I think we agree these are not all godly unions . . they are unhappy, sad unions esp for the woman.

    I agree with the concepts of self control, and knowing who you are marrying – without question. However to practice a form of Christian inquistion as you direct with your questions may lead a girls parents to throw out some really great guys, on the basis of doctrinal technicalities . . . ie what catechisms do you subscribe to . . what???? huh?? Are you trying to protect the girl or ensure religious purity within a church or a family? I am confused as to the purpose of such questions. Would you personally “throw away” a guy who lets say is a physician, educated , good family, good moral, hard worker, etc on the basis of doctrinal differences ? W hat if he had a postmodern lean to his thoughts? Is that an automatic elimination?

    With all due respect this is not a loving form of Christianity as I grew up with , but a form of doctrinal legalism . . I just do not see how a man’s answer to the westminster catechism question (among others here) has ANY bearing at on on his ability to function as a warm, loving husband, and good father , and create a godly union.

    I see a tree of questions, guaranteed to filter out anyone not a hardcore evangelical. . . question is, does being a fundamentalist, giving the ‘right’ answers to these questions, mean he is capable of the love that you or any parent would wish for a daughter? Does this make him a good husband and father? If this were automatically so, one would expect to see much lower rates of divorce, marital discord among evangelicals who subsribe to this . . . I am not aware this is the case .

    So why go thru all this? Is is about religious purity or you finding someone to truly love your daughter the way Christ loved the Church?

  71. Stacy McDonald says:

    Edward, since you agree that dating today is not healthy, have you considered the fact that the statistics you mention are based on the fact that most evangelicals today practice secular dating? :-) That’s part of the problem. Of the people I know who have married without dating, I only know ONE couple who is now divorced.

    However to practice a form of Christian inquistion as you direct with your questions may lead a girls parents to throw out some really great guys, on the basis of doctrinal technicalities . . . ie what catechisms do you subscribe to . . what???? huh??

    Edward, I think you need to go back and read the article – and the comments section.

    “Therefore, please keep in mind that most of these questions do not have right or wrong answers. They are intended to help both parties get to know one another on a deeper and more deliberate level by creating points of discussion. In fact, our daughters have also filled out the questions, upon the request of certain suitors.”

    As to the purpose of the questions. That was answered in the beginning paragraph:

    …For the purpose of getting to know potential suitors for our daughters. This list is NOT meant to be a “checklist,” a “pass-or-fail-test,” or an in depth parental evaluation. Each young man is free to decline questions he feels are too personal…The questions are intended for the purpose of “full disclosure,” as well for discussion points. This doesn’t mean that certain questions won’t be “deal breakers.” Obviously, if you discover the young man is not a Christian, it would be sinful to proceed toward marriage (2 Cor. 6:14).

    Remember, these questions are meant to help everyone get to know one another. One of our daughters and now-son-in-law spent hours each evening by the fire discussing the questions. Use wisdom, but relax. These are special times – you want special memories!

    Due to the varying theological positions and personal convictions of Christian families, these courtship questions are designed to help disclose important facts that may be significant in both party’s decision of whether or not to move forward in courtship.

    Edward said:

    I just do not see how a man’s answer to the westminster catechism question (among others here) has ANY bearing at on on his ability to function as a warm, loving husband, and good father , and create a godly union.

    Edward, How many persons are there in the Godhead?

    And can you define for me “doctrinal legalism”?

  72. Edward says:

    what is a Godhead? I do not know the term . .

    You still are not answering what I am asking – is this about finding a suitor or is this about maintaining religious purity? Do you feel it’s possible to do one without the other?

    at what point do you as parents pull the plug on a relationship due to religious differences? How big a chasm is too great? Is postmodern orientation a reason to dissuade your daughter from pursuing a courtship?

    these are important questions I am struggling with . .

  73. Stacy McDonald says:

    The Godhead is a reference to the Trinity. It is question #9 in the Westminster Larger Catechism. The answer is: There be three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one true, eternal God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory; although distinguished by their personal properties. (1 John 5:7, Matt. 3:16–17, Matt. 28:19, 2 Cor. 13:14, John 10:30)

    This is my point. Even if a man had never heard of a catechism, it would matter very much to our daughters what a potential husband thought and believed about the Trinity. Therefore, the questions and answers contained in the WLC and the Confession of Faith would be a great tool for discussion.

    As for your question concerning “religious purity” – it depends on what you mean. 2 Corinthians 6:14 tells us “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” So, obviously, our daughters would not be marrying unbelievers. Also, there is an element of being like-minded that should be considered (Rom. 15:5, Phil. 2:2). Not that a young man will or should believe every single thing we do, but he and our daughter should be on the same page theologically so that they are able to serve the Lord together with greater peace and unity. The questions help them both to determine if that is likely.

  74. Edward says:

    thanks for your answer – have a good holiday season.

  75. Jennifer says:

    Hi Stacy, I just linked over to this post from a friend’s blog. I haven’t read anything else on your blog yet, but I will. Our daughters are still fairly young, but we have already discussed dating and courtship and are considering what both mean. Your questions and the comments have been helpful and given me even more to think about.

  76. Annie says:


    While I don’t share all of your beliefs, I’m always surprised about the things that are similar! I really agree with your comment that too much emphasis is placed on “butterflies.” My husband and I have been together 9 years (married almost 4), and we are also very against the “butterflies.” We actually began our relationship as friends when we were freshmen in college and it became romantic after a very close friendship. We addressed all of these questions many times in the 5 years we were together before we married, and I’m so thankful we did. I think of all the times we have been tested in our short marriage already (recession related, mostly), and we’ve been so fortunate that our foundation together is made of so much more than “butterflies.”

    While I would not have been comfortable with my father taking on a role in the process (and I’m not sure my father would have been either, though he is a wonderful man and father and provided a great example for what I should look for in a partner), I understand and respect that they are your beliefs. I think no matter how it is done, it is so important to know as many things as possible before marriage, and really make sure that the couple’s values are aligned. A life can’t be built on who is “hot” right now alone.

  77. Jacqueline says:

    Like Holly, I am also interested in knowing what would be considered exposure to homosexuality. That question is listed under Moral Standards, so is it more of a question regarding the person’s views on homosexuality? It is rather difficult not to be “exposed” to homosexuality in any way, shape or form, if “exposed” is taken in the broadest sense (Having family members or acquaintances who are homosexual, “Gay Pride” parades, sex education in school, etc.), but obviously there are varying degrees.

    I don’t mean to nit-pick or over-analyze, but I was intrigued by this particular question as I also do not fully understand its meaning.

  78. Debbie Yuck says:

    Stacy, I’d just like to commend you for the gracious way you’ve answered the questions of those who disagree with the courtship/betrothal model. Well done!

    Needless to say, Paul and I agree with this model and are thankful our marriageable age children believe likewise.


  79. Meredith_in_Aus says:

    Hi Stacy

    I think the mental illness/physical illness questions are good ones to ask. My dad felt betrayed by my mother’s family because they didn’t mention any of the problems she had had in the past. He was faithful to her, but truly had no idea of what he was getting himself into. Had he known, I’m sure he would have still married her (she was an amazing lady) but would have understood the danger signs (of an episode) and been able to deal with it much better than he did, given he had no idea. He felt as though my grandparents had just passed her off to him, ridding themselves of ‘the problem.’

    In Him


  80. Stacy McDonald says:

    Thanks, Debbie. I try to remember that, because of our current culture, the concept seems foreign to many.

  81. Caitríona Myres says:

    It is encouraging to see someone with a long, inclusive list of questions like this! I was beginning to think I was the only one out there with a list so detailed, and afraid that I was getting too picky! Having seen your website has given me courage to ask “embarrassing” questions that need to be asked! Thanks!

  82. Hello Stacy, my name is Osinachi Nwoko from Lagos, Nigeria. I hope it’ not surprising for a man to be commenting on your blog? I truly appreciate the questions your husband came up with for potential suitors for your husband and your assertion that this is not a one size fits all. Please I’d like you to ponder these situations:

    Would you have a young man approach a girl’s parents who are Muslims? I ask this cos’ I’ve got a very dear friend of mine who is in such a position. Both the girl and the guy attend the same church as myself. The girls was converted a few years ago and this doesn’t sit well with the folks even till this day and so I can assure you if you aren’t aware that the man not only will be rejected, but he exposes himself to physical danger if he approaches the door of the girl’s parents home.

    This also goes for girls with Roman Catholic parents and other numerous false religions. Would you subscribe to the same method that the girl must always approach the Father? My thinking has always been that in such situations, the young man informs the church elders and let them do the chaperoning till an opportune time presents itself for him to approach the parents.

    The other situation is this: What is to happen in a case where a certain lady lives in a different city –perhaps due to work or school or even the mission field– from that were her parents live and a young man attending the same church with her sees her and takes an interest in her; is he to fly all the way to where the girl’s parents live to tell them about his interest in their daughter before acquainting himself with her? How about if he hasn’t got time due to a tight work schedule, is he to still wait just observing the girl because he is yet to see her folks?

    Please I crave your responses to these two situations above. Thank you and God bless.

  83. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hello Osinachi,

    You make an excellent point – each situation is so unique. We must remember that the ultimate goal is a godly marriage. It is our assertion that the “dating model” has been a general failure. Therefore, a courtship model (or whatever you want to call it) makes more sense.

    In the case of a girl who has escaped the Muslim religion, obviously he would not be able to approach her parents. In my opinion, your idea is a good one – inform the church elders and allow them to step in for accountability as counselor and chaperone. I know of one young woman who did just that in a church in Colorado. She was not from a Christian family and had no “protection” other than her church elders. They stepped in and the process was so beautifully handled. She is happily married today with a lovely family.

    As for the girl who lives in a separate state from her family, one could certainly be creative. I would still see it as crucial for the suitor to contact the father if possible. However, if the father is not willing to correspond, again, the church elders could step in and help.

  84. Mrs. Amy Koelln says:

    I know this article was written some time ago but I wanted to comment on what Helen said in the top part of the comment section.

    She found the questions regarding medical history offensive but I feel she isn’t looking at the bigger picture here. Someone or their family’s past medical history affects the present whether we like to admit it or not.

    I experienced this first hand. I was raised by my birth mother but adopted by my (step) father as a toddler and never knew my birth father which never affected my current life until after my daughter was born.

    After a routine checkup at 2, my daughter’s pediatrician called for blood tests and found an “abnormality”. Now all of sudden my medical history came in to play and I realized I was missing half of it. Waiting for the results was very hard for both my husband and I. Thankfully it was nothing life threatening but we discovered that she is a carrier for a serious anemia disease, which was passed on to her from one of us.

    Though it doesn’t affect her it could potentially affect our grandchildren. If my daughter marries a man who is also a carrier, their children will most likely have the disease which will require blood transfusions for the rest of their lives.

    That is very serious and you bet your bottom dollar that I want to know if he’s a carrier. Would that eliminate him from having my daughter’s hand? Most likely but the final word rests with God and my husband. In a perfect world I wouldn’t have to think about this but it isn’t and smart parents look ahead and do what is right for their children no matter how politically incorrect it is.

  85. Ria says:

    First-time commenter here^^

    These questions are very good for getting to know somebody…but I don’t think it wise to go through them all at once too early! About courtship in general, I think its weakness is to get too serious too quickly. It’s wonderful for young people to start thinking about marriage and being intentional in their relationships, but I was once hurt by one young man who put immense pressure on me to consider marriage to him when I wasn’t ready, “because we’re courting and I’m not going to court another girl” He was passionate about doing a courtship right by all the rules with the result of marriage to me, but he did it without giving me the space to get to know him and form an opinion and feelings about him.

    Right now I am in a relationship with a young man who wouldn’t fit some of these questions. He was public-schooled, raised in a non-Christian home, and became a Christian a few years ago. He is also Japanese, and in Japan things like guns and homeschooling are out of the question! We started dating while abroad so he had no chance to meet my parents, which is not something Japanese do anyway until they ask the girl’s hand in marriage. But the reason I chose him was his faith, which in this truly godless country is persecuted in ways Americans don’t have to experience. It’s given him a strength and devotion that I’ve never seen in American men and that was immensely attractive to me. His love for God makes him very keen to live a holy life and “court”, even though thanks to our different cultures from the outside it doesn’t look like your typical ideal courtship. We have to have some different questions to ask each other as marriage will require one party to live in a foreign country away from home and family.
    My point is to echo what this article and some commentators have already put forth–don’t pass someone up just because he doesn’t fit your “mold”!

  86. Brandon says:

    As a guy, I actually find these questions quite good for myself even apart from a relationship. Though I don’t necessarily adhere to courting, I think all these questions are good and I might even go through some of them just to see where I am in these areas. Thanks!

  87. Theresa says:

    I found your blog after finding out this evening that my husband was approached by the 22 year old son of our pastor with an interest in courting our 17 year old daughter. He thought maybe they could begin writing one another to get to know each other better. They have known one another for 3 years. He still has 3 years to complete college and she is a senior in high school. She is also the oldest of our 10 children, so we have no experience with courting, although we like the idea.
    My question is…with the age issue, is it practical for a young man to “court” for possibly years? He said he is in no hurry but she is much younger and I am concerned that her knowledge of his interest could be infatuation for a young lady. Should she know? Can they just continue a friendship for the time being and her father and the young man wait a while for her to be told of his wishes. I guess I’m wondering why this would have to be announced at this point by the young man.

    I hope this makes sense. Thank you!

  88. Ann says:

    Thank you for posting this very helpful information. It helps to remind us of things we have forgotten. We have one daughter successfully married, and are pleased with their courtship, although there are always improvements.

    Now, have you had any sons court/marry yet? I think things will look quite different from the other side, and I’m wondering what my role will look like with potential future daughters. I know it will look significantly different, and my role will be less in this courtship, but it is still important to develop a relationship with her and help guide our son.

    We’d love to read your thoughts on that, if you have sons!

  89. Ann says:


    Regarding when to tell about a medical condition: I am in agreement with what you and Stacy said. I just want to add to the discussion that it is difficult to make the decision to be right “up front” with these things because then the person feels like they are defined by the medical condition (or other private, delicate data.) It is an entirely private matter, not known by friends but only by family, yet when a young man declares himself interested, suddenly the skeleton has to be paraded forth.

    We have wondered about the manner in which a person should disclose whether or not they are still “pure.” While wanting to be honest, we don’t want to drag the young lady through the mud, rubbing their “impurity” in their nose. (Whether through voluntary or involuntary circumstances.)

    There are no simple answers here, and I am not disagreeing with anything already said about this. I just wanted to add another angle with which we struggle. God is indeed sovereign, and we’ll just have to “pray our way through” each situation with his guidance. :-)

  90. Jennifer says:

    I believe, Ann, purity or really personal medical conditions need to be the kind of matters left between the two intended adults.

  91. Joshua Schwisow says:

    Hi Stacy,

    Thank you for sharing this list of questions, I have found these personally useful for preparing to discuss this topic with others and helpful for considering areas where I need to improve in preparation for marriage.

    I’m curious, in your opinion, should the suitor or the parent’s of the suitor be able to interview the daughter of the other family with such a list of questions? It seems one-sided to only put the suitor through this process, though he may be the first to go through it.

  92. Rebecca says:

    I am so amazed going through this list of questions! I just finished reading your book “Passionate Housewives Desperate for God” and thought I’d check out your website. Boy do I have my work cut out…

    The reason I find this list so helpful is because my family is only half grown :) and there is still time and hope. Many of the standards you have included in the list are exactly the items we have been discussing and settling for our own family.

    Not only will we be helping our daughter in finding a husband, but also preparing our sons to someday answer these sorts of questions; first for their own self-evaluation and then, Lord willing, as they look forward to becoming husbands.

    Neither my husband nor I come from a ‘courting’ type of family, and we all know how quickly children grow up! So like I said, I’ve got a lot to learn myself.

    Thank you, and Mrs. Chancey for writing your book. I’ve never read anything like it.

  93. Anne says:

    Please, I need some advice.

    I am a 23 year old young woman desiring to go through a courtship someday. The problem is that my parents have been divorced for years. I did ask both of them if (supposing a young man showed interest in me) they would go through the courtship experience with me. My mother said that she did not think it was a good idea because she did not believe I would be able to find a young man who would be interested in courtship and that I might miss “the right guy”. My father said that yes, he would do that with me–but he said that a few months ago and has not spoken a word of that conversation since and I do not think we have the same idea about courtship. Sadly, I do not think my father would know if a man was right for me because he hardly knows my heart at all.

    So here are my questions, Stacy:
    1) how can a daughter go about courtship when her parents are divorced? I live with my mother, and see my father once every couple weeks
    2) should a daughter go through the courtship experience with her father if he does not know her heart? her passions? her “deal breakers”?
    3) Ultimately, what is a daughter to do when both parents do not feel it is important for them to be involved in courtship and would not even care if their daughter married a stranger?

    As a daughter of divorced parents, I long to be able to respect my parents and have their involvement in my life. I feel as if I am the one driving them (or dragging) them into this.

    Please respond….I would greatly appreciate it.

  94. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Anne,

    You’re right; you can’t force your parents to protect you. And they are likely to be very confused as to why you even desire it. Every situation is different. There isn’t a formula for courtship. The goal is a godly marriage, and purity on the road to getting there. If it were me, I would go to my pastor or elders and ask for help. Though, after my husband and I met, we went to our pastor and asked for some form of accountability and counsel – possibly with an older couple. They said “We don’t offer anything like that.” LOL

    I know of a young woman whose elders accepted the responsibility of overseeing her courtship. They were her protection and accountability, standing in for her absent father. They counseled the young man and her. They also asked different families to have the couple over for dinner etc. They got to know each other in a protected, godly setting. We serve a creative God! :-)

  95. Anne says:

    Thank you for responding to my note. I am very involved with my church and there are a lot of leaders and families that I respect and admire there. I will think about what you said.

  96. Jami Leigh says:

    Wow, what a great in-depth list of questions! My sisters are going through this courtship phase with a potential suitor starting to call on one of them :) It’s such an exciting time but also overwhelming for the family to try and decide on the right young man. Ultimately it will be the Lord’s leading.

    Thanks for sharing this today, I am definitely sending this to all my family right now!

  97. Laura9 says:

    Thanks for this very thought provoking list and article. I think the concept is wonderful, and something we certainly intend to do as well; the idea of talking over some of these basic things before a courtship even begins. (our oldest dd is 19 and not courting).

    There are a number of questions which I feel should rightly come after some measure of commitment has been made on the side of the parents and daughter involved, in the interest of “good faith” on both sides; answering or addressing all of these questions only on the side of the young man seems very unbalanced and potentially unprofitable all the way to damaging to the young man.

    These are soul-bareing questions. A young man gives incredible power over to the parents of the young lady in these cases. This is not always, or even often, wise, on his part.

    I am just as interested in protecting my sons as I am in seeking that my dds marry good and godly men. To answer some of these questions is to open a young man up to serious repercussions from individuals over whom he has no real control nor any true means of exacting accountability. In plain language, the parents can indeed do whatever they want with this information after it is given, and it’s all expected to be given before the young man even knows whether or not the girl has any interest in him whatsoever (if I understand correctly that in your minds the father would not tell his dd that the young man was talking with him until the father had decided it was ok to proceed, which would be after going over the list).

    This is a very real concern. We are all fallible sinnners. I have seen it happen (none of my sons are old enough to court yet, still in their early teens) and it has made me very eager to be cautions and protective of my sons in their future dealings. In honesty, I would be uncomfortable with the discernment of a young man who was happy to share all this information without any commitment from, or potentially even knowledge of his interest, on the part of the girl.

    There is a reality of propriety even in these situations which surely should be observed; in what way, if you are willing to share, have you preserved this for the young men in these situations?

    A second question, is this the timeframe when the young man would also receive input from the young lady’s parents as to her preferences and experiences, ie if not a list per say, at least a discussion about the items on the list; in your Christmas example from the comments, if the young man felt Christmas was a pagan celebration and was totaly opposed, would this be the time when dad would say “Christmas is our dd’s favorite time to worship and celebrate and witness” kind of thing?

    Do you find these sorts of conversations develop naturally from the guidelines of the list, is it a useful back-and-forth tool? Or will these kinds of discussions come up later between the young man and your dd after dad has brought the idea of the courtship to her and she’s agree to it’s merits?

    Thanks so much for anything you may be able to address. I’m interested to understand what others are thinking and doing along all these lines.

  98. Alice says:

    I was looking for questions to help guide our daughter, who is in a courtship with a great guy. She had found someone prior to this, and we had given permission for them to court, but didn’t know how to go about asking the important things. We found out after 1 year that his mother was very controlling ( I don’t mean “involved” -I mean CONTROLLING”) and that his life was totally undisciplined and unscheduled.
    Now this new young man shows up and he is in the navy. It is a long-distance relationship, and prior to actually meeting him, we were able to find out a lot about him on the web as a result of navy commendations, etc. We also have his mom and sister as friends on FB, so we see the kind of people they have for friends also. The young man comes to our house to court-he recently spent 5 days with us-and our 4 sons!! We feel we know him pretty well, but soon our daughter will be visiting his church and meeting his family.
    What surprised me is the comments on this blog as to the relationship of the parents and children. Just because kids reach a certain age or work, does not mean parents should no longer be involved in their lives! Wow! We are a close family, and respect each other’s opinions and value our relationships. We don’t try to CONTROL each other, but to HELP each other.If we disapproved of someone, would we “disown” her for going forward anyway? Of course not. But then, I can’t imagine that she would want to be with someone we don’t approve of. She likes the same type of person as we do-by her own choice. Because she likes US. No, this guy is not a clone of us, but he values the same things, and that is the glue.
    My dear D-I-L is like a daughter to me, and I do not butt into their lives, but my son CHOSE a woman we all like-brought her home for us to ALL meet before they would consider marriage.
    The whole idea that courtship is against “choice” is plain ridiculous!

  99. Jennifer says:

    “•Do you watch television, R-rated movies? PG-rated movies?”

    What about PG-13 movies? Just curious.

  100. Aubrey says:

    Although I agree with absolutely EVERYTHING in your blog and books, and do understand that it is hard to be stabbed at by people who disagree with you, I wish that you had not monitored “Lewis”‘s last few comments. Although the person may have been unfairly attacking you,( and you held your own well), I find it interesting to see what people think about our point of view. I find it helpful to know the very worst their tongues may hold so that I am able to defend myself. Just a thought!

  101. Lexi says:

    My husband and I used these questions to working through together during our 8 week courtship period. Despite what most people would think only having known each other for 8 weeks before getting married, we have literally had no surprises. We have been happily married now for two months and have only seen the further physical manifestations of things we already knew about each other’s backgrounds, dispositions, or habits. THANK YOU for such a great list!

  102. John Stevens says:

    Just curious – is there a percentage of your questions that a young man needs to answer “correctly?” If so, what is it?

    I ask because I’m assuming that not all young men (especially those who have not gone to Bible college or seminary) are able to fully articulate their own views on some of the (quite advanced!) theological issues addressed in the questions.

    I also ask because I’m wondering how different a suitor’s views can be before a father intervenes and prevents the process from going any further. There is surely some leeway, but it seems difficult (at least for me) to discern exactly how much leeway there is!

  103. I just finished posting this on some friend’s message threads within their facebook thread and reposted to my wall for everybody to see. It’s a classic post and everybody should share this link on their facebook wall and bring more attention to it :)

  104. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi John,

    Somehow this comment was lost until now. Just a quick answer: no, there is no “percentage.” In fact, the questions are more for “full disclosure” and to spur on profitable conversation. It is not a “test” that one must pass.

  105. Stacy McDonald says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Aubrey. I very, very seldom delete a comment. The comments that were removed were more than someone simply disagreeing or being a little rude. I felt they were offensive enough that it would be irresponsible to leave them. You can scroll through and see where plenty of people disagree! :-)

  106. Lone says:

    I am a christian, and I am amazed at the list you have compiled.
    As great a guy as I think I am, (attempt at a joke) I couldn’t have given you a reliable answer to a quarter of those questions at any point before 25, or probably 35. Instead, I probably would have confabulated (created on the fly) answers that I thought were true, but would ultimately turned out not to be.

    We humans are a remarkably irrational creation that mostly gather information to support conclusions we have already settled on. Bias is built in. Life experiences buffet us and test us and prove us to be far from the people we want or believe ourselves to be. That is one of the reasons that Paul’s message in Romans is so remarkable to me. His realization, that we all fall so short of being able to follow the law, should be such a relief to so many of us.

    That said, what you are doing is inquiring about future mates. A key aspect to a future mate is how much willpower, organization, and self awareness do they have (often referred to as a person’s executive function), as well as, are they loving. To be able to thoughtfully answer most of the above questions, the person would need to be a remarkably inciteful historian of their own life, which, I submit, may be the rarest quality of all. If you do find such a person, they are one in a million…. and they may not be some one your kiddo would be remotely interested in.

    I honor your executive ability that enables you to compile such a list. I hope time soften’s the separatism it seems to encourage, the control it attempts to exert, and the overly-tempered passion that an examined life often exhibits.

    I submit that God created us to depend on him, not on our own understanding, which by design is incredibly fallible, even to people as wonderfully organized and thoughtful as yourself.

    I appreciate your stated desire to not create a formula for the perfect mate. However people coming to your site seem to be looking for one, non-the-less.

  107. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Lone,

    Thank you for your thoughts. We have used this list with four of our adult daughters now and it has served us and them well. It has launched meaningful conversations that may not have come up otherwise until years later. Our daughters and sons-in-law have confirmed that the questions were helpful in getting to know one another and themselves better.

    We’ve also heard from numerous couples (even those who chose to date) who used the questions. That being said, we realize this wont’ be for everyone. And, as you pointed out, we warn people this isn’t meant to be a formula for success. While we realize there is always a danger that people will try to create a formula out of it, they do the same thing with Scripture and any teaching that comes out of the church. It is man’s sin nature that causes him to want to walk according to the flesh, as opposed to the spirit.

    Yes, we are to “depend on him, not on our own understanding;” but, He gives us tools to observe, reason, and explore the facts before making a decision. In fact, I would contend that if we simply rely on our own personal intuition, and then call that “God’s will” or “leading,” we are in fact relying on “our own understanding.”

  108. Lys says:

    I know this is an old post, but I’ll try my luck. :) I’m a Christian young woman, recently graduated from homeschooling. Over the past 6 or so months, I have felt like The Lord is calling me to courtship as a future relationship model. However, this is not something that has been done in my family, as both of my parents are first generation Christians and have allowed my older siblings to date (albeit conservatively, with each of my siblings having only dated one person). How would you recommend broaching this subject with my parents? And if they are not accepting of the prospect, how could I go about courtship without as much parental involvement?

  109. Helen says:

    Wow. This list eliminates pretty much… everyone.

  110. Stacy McDonald says:

    @Helen – Please read the entire article – not sure the questions. Perhaps you missed this part:

    “[We] created the following questions for the purpose of getting to know potential suitors for our daughters. This list is NOT meant to be a “checklist,” a “pass-or-fail-test,” or an in depth parental evaluation. Each young man is free to decline questions he feels are too personal. Incidentally, our daughters and current sons-in-law even helped add questions to this list – a list that has grown over the years.”

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