Courtship Questions for Potential Suitors
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.
UPDATE: Three of our daughters are happily married after having been courted by godly young men. Melissa was married this past Spring. We now how have five grandchildren (one yet to be born).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
- Describe your relationship with your father? Was (is) it honoring? Was (is) it obedient?
- Does your father have any medical or mental problems that could affect you or your children?
- Describe your relationship with your mother? Was (is) it honoring? Was (is) it obedient?
- Does your mother have any medical or mental problems that could affect you or your children?
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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