How do you involve parents in a courtship when they live far away?

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How do you involve parents in a courtship when they live far away?

Apr 03, 2006 |John Thomas
Question

Most of what I have read recently on the issue of relationships emphasizes the need for family involvement and accountability. As a senior in college I live over 500 miles away from my family and over 60 miles from my girlfriend's family. Because of the distances involved I have not even met her father or mother. How, in the current era of moving around so far, can a person stay accountable to family?

Answer

The principle is not just accountability and respect for parental authority, but also mentorship, guidance, community and even blessing. These are the things that help give a relationship context, and they serve to tie a couple to something larger than just isolated couple-hood.

Parents serve as that first line of context, and when they are not physically present (due to distance, as in your case, or maybe because they've passed away, as in the case of a single friend of mine) then you must be creative in finding ways to fulfill the role they would usually play. You need to "adopt" some local parents who will fulfill that role (my wife and I serve in that role for one of our young female friends, who is in her 30s and both parents have passed away).

Take great care in choosing who that will be in your life — you want people who have a strong, solid track record of authentic faith, a vibrant marriage and family life, and who will take their role as "local parent" seriously. Additionally, your relationship needs a faith community context, so find a local body of believers that will be your extended family and get plugged in and involved in the body life. This, by the way, is the same advice I'd give to the single person who's not in a relationship.

Finally, 60 miles is one hour's drive. I used to have a longer commute to work than that. Load up the car soon and go meet her parents.

Blessings,
JOHN THOMAS

Copyright 2006 John Thomas. All rights reserved.

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