I’m 37, and for the first time in my life, I have a boyfriend. It’s starting slowly, and he has a lot of patience with me. It is slow, because I buried that part of my heart for years. Which brings me to the topic of courtship versus dating.
Courtship proponents tell something that is almost the opposite of what I now experience. Courtship (which, by the way, would be impossible for me to practice as I don’t live with my parents), thus say its proponents, protects a girl’s heart. With every boyfriend you date, and every infatuation you feel, you allegedly give away a part of your heart. In the end, according to them, there is very little heart left for your husband.
If that was true, I’d have looked down on married believers. The part of the heart that belongs to a husband/ wife then mean less of their hearts belong to God. I’d have advised married couples to have no children – to love a child would be to love the spouse, and God, less. I would have told people with one child not to try for a second, and seriously have worried about children and spouses in large families, if hearts only have a limited amount of love in them. It is hard to figure out how anyone can be simultaneously Quiverfull and believe in the courtship story about giving away the heart.
But it seems to me that the heart is not a pie that can only be cut up into so many pieces. It is a muscle. It is strengthened by use – by loving and laughing and caring and sharing and feeling and yes, even by getting hurt sometimes. And that a part of my heart got weaker through not getting exercise.
Hearts are not meant to be buried. CS Lewis said:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
A heart with Jesus in it is not a wicked thing which should be hidden – it is a beautiful thing which should be used.