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Wrap-up: What to do while you wait
and further resources



The Cherum of Courtship

Strangely enough, I don't believe in waiting around to get married :) If you are ready to get married, then go right ahead! If you're not, then you already know what to do "while you're waiting" -- address your shortcomings.

The years before marriage are a time of preparation. The Bible talks about us being 'consecrated' to God -- that literally means having your hands full of purpose. You need to find out your destiny in life -- how can you be sure your spouse's destiny lines up with your own if you don't yet know what yours is?

Once you have found your destiny, you can start equipping yourself for it, and then doing it. More than likely, you will meet your spouse whilst you are out, fulfilling your destiny. She too, will be there, fulfilling her destiny -- similar to yours, since you will have a joint one together! Those who wait at home "for their prince/princess" to come aren't likely to meet (or attract) the partner of virtue they seek.

More than that though, you need to become a whole person, and then build a dowry. Many people enter in to relationships/marriage in an attempt to fulfill their needs. Pastor Craig Hill uses the example of fleas. One flea marries someone, thinking their spouse is a dog who can fulfill them emotionally, only to find that they are another flea. Pastor Hill says we need to be batteries, finding our source of strength in rechargings from God.

Many of us have vulnerabilities and hurts from traumas in our childhood or even adult years. These needs must be addressed in God before you start to seek relationships with others, or you may well find that you have married a flea. Once you have addressed these major issues, you need to get prepared for marriage by building a dowry.

In Biblical times, a man would present a dowry to his wife, both as an expression of value in her, and as a security for her, should he be injured or die. This dowry (according to Jehle?) was usually about three years wages, around $100,000 today! Similarly, the wife (or her family) would bring something to the marriage, like a cow to parent their new herd.

Whilst I wouldn't necessarily advocate requiring such a substantial investment, I would strongly encourage you to get yourself out of debt before considering marriage. According to Bernice Kanner, money is the top cause of marital strife (29% argue about it most, based on a national US survey). If you come in to a marriage financially secure, you will have a lot less stress. If you are in any doubt about this one, just talk to any pastor or marriage counsellor! :)

But there is more to your dowry than just financial resources. Paul Jehle and Lon Stokes also talk of a "character dowry". A character dowry includes things like a good work ethic, home-making skills (yes, guys should know how to cook and clean too, even if they feel it isn't their primary role), financial responsibility, faithful commitment to and service in a local church, etc.

I firmly believe that if you commit to God's plan in relationships, and focus on fulfilling your destiny in Him, He will fulfill His part of the bargain. Emotionally and financially prepared for marriage, as you develop your character dowry, God will surely direct to your side His chosen partner for you!


                                              DATING vs COURTSHIP PART 6

The cherem of courtship
How your flirting can bring a curse on someone!

Our covenant to God

If we make a covenant to be sanctified to the Lord until we are ready to court, we become sanctified/dedicated to Him. We claim that we are His special property until such time as we are prepared to give our hearts to another in marriage. This makes flirting very dangerous, because it becomes an invitation to steal from God. By flirting, you invite that person to be attracted to you, ultimately, to lust after you. Their desire is for something they cannot have -- something that is set apart to God!


This dedication and ownership to God is similar to our tithe. God describes this portion as His, He calls it 'cherem'. Cherem is an Old Testament (Hebrew) term for something that is holy and set apart to God. Leviticus 27:28-32 describes it as holy -> devoted; it also means accursed and under the ban/banished, as translated in Joshua 7:1. This portion carries a curse with it, and that is why God wants us to give Him our tithe -- to remove the cursed portion from our families and our house.

Joshua 7 tells the story of a man named Achan, who ignored God's plan for the tithe. In Joshua 6:17-19, God had described Jericho as cherem -- it was Israel's first-fruits in battle and possession, and as such, should be set apart to God. Achan, however, disregarded God's warning and took part of this cherem for himself, hidding the golden idol in his tent. Achan's disobedience led to a great defeat at Alia

The cherem of courtship

How does this tie in to courtship and dating? If you have committed your heart to God, it becomes consecrated to Him, just like your tithe -- it is 'cherem'! And then, if you invite someone to lust after you (by flirting), you bring a curse on them, because they desire something that is 'cherem'!

Copyright 1997-2000, Nathan Bailey, All Rights Reserved. Permission is granted to print these articles for personal use, in whole or in part, provided the extract references the original URL,, so that people can find the latest version. Bernice Kanner's statistic is from her book Are You Normal? (New York; St. Martin's Press, 1995), based on surveys of a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults by Market Facts, Inc., Arlington Heights, IL.

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