What a groundbreaking, paradigm shifting book! Stuart’s basic premise is that having “relationships” before marriage, ie. coupling up/having boyfriend/girlfriends, is not God’s way. That our relationships culture undermines the single status, undermines marriage, creates unnecessary baggage and promotes sexual immorality. That basically the boyfriend/girlfriend status is a counterfeit marriage with many of the same characteristics minus the commitment and does not glorify God.

Stuart then offers an alternative: Two Christians, remembering they are single in God’s eyes (rather than an official couple), remembering the other could be someone else’s spouse, pursuing the possibility of marriage as friends. They are encouraged to not talk as if they are a couple, not behave as if they own each other or belong to one another, not celebrate their courtship in a huge public way as if a status change had occurred, while cautiously investigating if marriage would be a wise option. The result? No more need for Christians coming to the alter with multiple exes. No more need for Christians to have formed intimate “couple bonds” with people they will never end up marrying and then experiencing the bonds getting shattered in a divorce-like split. No more need for Christians to be severely breaking one another’s hearts in the name of love and no more wasting of precious single years jumping from one partner to the next when individuals could be wholeheartedly serving the Lord or meeting their spouse. Furthermore, no more people marrying because they got so deeply intertwined they could no longer see clearly. Just like all the other books on courtship? Not at all. Stuart’s perspective is markedly different to many in that he encourages courtship to be like a low key friendship rather than a very public, official, event where individuals very much behave like a couple. What do I think? Brilliant, God honouring, much needed advice I would like to see go viral in our churches!