The Bates Family

A Special Day!

by Kelly on January 10, 2013


    December 4, 2012 was a special day atWZqLwh4S01w8fcSLZEh5W0ybEpcGkNMjIMpbZvHuGEo our home… It’s the day  Chad Paine asked our daughter Erin to court (a pre-engagement stage of their relationship)!


Chad showed up at Erin’s college on the last day of classes bearing a dozen long stemmed roses and an invitation to a dinner date that evening!

  Next, the JlDAyYRgvBooT-3wzPAKEtcXkQIj22sHZ4Z7F8km7_Yelated couple drove to Gatlinburg where they rode the skylift to the top of the mountain. Overlooking the beautiful lights, on their ride down, Chad asked Erin to court. They spent precious time together at a restaurant where Chad had prearranged for candlelight and a table overlooking the river. He presented her with a beautiful double-heart necklace… needless to say Erin was speechless!


We couldn’t be more excited to watch God work in their YOrllFYtOKinxQ0ikVnlz-Jgm5yGdlddd631oBEG5AMrelationship and we are so happy they have chosen to share their special moments with family and friends.

    We ask for your prayers as they seek God for direction over the course of this new year!




{ 96 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanna January 11, 2013 at 6:39 am

Congratulations Chad and Erin! I wish you all the best in your relationship. Love from New Zealand.


Kimberly January 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Thank you for sharing some of your families special moments. It brings such happiness to see your happy moments. Praise God. Thank you.


Brenda H. January 11, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Their joy is so evident in their faces!! I will keep Erin & Chad in my prayers. Please tell them Congratulations & God Bless. Thank you for sharing this very special time in their life and in the Bates Family life too!


Robyn Wilson January 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Thank you all for sharing. As a mom of all girls, reading this with them has given hope of their own God written love stories! Sometimes when you do things a little more differently than the world, you don’t get to see many stories written this way. We recently read Preparing to be a Help Meet by Debbie Pearl together & then the journey of Erin & Chad has shown them God is still working in old fashioned ways. =) Congratulations!


Sunshine January 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Awww. Glory be to God!!!


Barbara January 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Wonderful! What a blessing! I wish them both much inspiration and patience as God’s plan for them unfolds!
Que Dios Los Bendiga!
Miami. Florida


Donielle Spencer January 11, 2013 at 3:52 pm

I am so excited for Chad and Erin! Congratulation to the both of you, and may God be honored through this beautiful relationship.

If I may ask, what is your family’s understanding of Courtship? I have had several close friends of mine go through courtships but each family perceives it differently. One of the family’s viewed it like the couple was practically already engaged. Another family views it as just a time to strengthening the friendship and see if they were interested in each other? What about your family?


Kelly January 18, 2013 at 1:26 am

Dear Donielle,
You are right, there are so many differing views about courtship. To make it more confusing, there are hundreds of books, DVDs, and speakers to promote their opinions. There can be much wisdom in the counsel and experience of others. It can also be dangerous, because it is “opinion,” not Scripture. If you’re not careful, you get the mindset of “Do things MY way, or it’s not the RIGHT way!” Since there are no clear guidelines in Scripture for how to date or court, and each example of marriage is completely different, we suggest you learn as much as you can from the experience and counsel of others, but foremost, get alone with God to seek His direction for you as an individual.
Note… this is purely opinion: I don’t think courtship or engagement is binding like marriage. Marriage is a covenant with God. Courtship and engagement are a means to prepare for marriage. What if a person has hidden sin that he/she has lied about deliberately? What if the couple realized they really had different goals and beliefs, after more in depth communication? What if one of the person’s involved “puts up a front” during the getting to know each other process, but later the “true self” comes out?… At the same time, I think there needs to be a definite sobriety about entering a courtship. No one wants to end up with a lot of relationships that end in heartache. I think that’s why we all took a little more time getting to know Chad and his family before prayerfully agreeing to continue the relationship. Love, Kelly


Khiana Burrell January 11, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Congrats Erin. So happy for you. Chad is handsome. Good luck with your relationship. Praying for marriage in the future.


Beanie January 11, 2013 at 4:52 pm

That was sweet of him. :) I’ll bet y’all are happy parents! :)


Danielle M January 11, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Thank you for being such a wonderful example to myself and countless others
Congratulations and I truly look forward to what the Lord does in your lives together.


Cindy January 11, 2013 at 6:18 pm



T. Gates January 11, 2013 at 6:59 pm

What an exciting time in both of their lives! They make a great looking pair! Congrats to them, and may they always seek God’s guidance in their lives!


Michael Guthrie January 11, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Congradulations Erin and good luck


Amee January 11, 2013 at 8:27 pm

The courtship pictures are beautiful! I can definitely see the love they both have for each other. They make such a cute couple and I wish them nothing but the best! I hope the Lord watches over them and helps them to develop a deeper bond between them

I do have a question, though, if you don’t mind answering for me since I did not grow up in a conservative Christian home. My parents allowed all 4 of their children ( poor daddy!) to date at the age of 18 but with a purpose. At the same time, they told us the importance of remaining pure until marriage, which is what I and my 3 sisters did. We were allowed to, however, kiss, hug, and hold hands if we wish to but to remember to date to find our husband and not just to date. Compared to a courtship, my parents were not involved in the whole dating thing with me or my sisters. I went out on a few dates until I found my husband about 6 years ago! We’ve been married for about 6 months now and love every minute of it. One of my co-workers is against dating and says it leads to divorces, which is why he’s heavily involved in his daughter’s courtship and believes a courtship with heavily involved parents make a successful marriage. He also stated that any form of dating leads to pieces of your heart being thrown away because teenagers just date to date, especially when the parents aren’t involved in their children’s decisions. He also stated to me that if God isn’t involved, that, too can fail a marriage.

Although my parents were not involved in who I was dating, they taught me to date with a purpose and remain pure until marriage. I’ve dated a few men before my husband but I don’t feel like my marriage is doomed because my parents were not involved. Do you think parents have to be heavily involved in their child’s courtship to have a successful marriage or do you think there should be a limit to it?

Also, my co-worker stated he has put a “6-inch rule” between his daughter and the potential spouse to avoid “urges” and cannot be left “alone” in a room without one of her siblings sitting there with them. How did you and your husband come to the decision to allow Erin and Chad to have some space and allow them to be closer with each other in pictures, without the “6-inch rule”? Did Chad and Erin pray about it and asked you two if it was okay or was it something you and your husband were already ok with?

God Bless you and your family! I hope you guys enjoy this precious time. It was difficult for my dad to watch my sisters and I find our true loves-I can only imagine what your husband is feeling right now..especially being the father and all :)


Kelly January 18, 2013 at 12:55 am

Dear Amee,
I think there are problems in traditional dating that can lead to later sorrows and regrets, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a wonderful marriage now. It also doesn’t mean you can lump everyone into one category. I know people who dated one person, stayed pure, got married, and lived happily ever after. I dated Gil, but at the same time, I wish I had done some things differently. I wish I could say he was the only one I ever dated or kissed. I guess for our children, we’d like for them to learn from our mistakes and be able to enjoy their relationship to the fullest, without any regrets.
As for parental involvement, I think anything out of balance can be a blunder. Too much parental involvement, doesn’t allow the children to “grow up,” yet they’re gonna embark in marriage?? That makes little sense, but many parents have a difficult time letting go. Too little parental involvement doesn’t offer any helpful counsel from those with experience, and doesn’t take advantage of an opportunity to develop close relationships and communication.
It sounds like your co-worker has made choices for how he wants to protect his children. He must realize that he can offer ideas to others who may want to learn from his point of view, but at the same time, he must be careful to offer any dvice he has in a loving spirit, not a critical one. We often tell our children: “Our choices are OUR choices. They are not to be forced on others, just as we don’t want their’s forced on us!” Instead, we should seek the Lord, His Word, and wise counsel for decisions. We should always be open to truths, and be teachable. We must also give others “room to grow,” and realize that God is certainly patient with us! Offering advice to others, because you love them and want to spare them from sorrow, is a good thing… but keep in mind: “It’s often not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it, that offends people.” Love, Kelly


Kari January 11, 2013 at 8:33 pm

What a lovely evening! Thanks for sharing! Both Chad and Erin are in my prayers. It’s so wonderful to see a young couple so committed to the Lord.


Maria Hanson January 11, 2013 at 9:37 pm

What a sweet, sweet story. God is so good. Congratulations to Erin and Chad! I will be praying for them.


Lisa Boyle January 11, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Congratulations! As I wrote on Chad’s blog, I pray that God will bless them both with nothing but a lifetime of love, health and happiness.


Beth January 11, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Awww that’s sweet! It’s so nice to see young people do things the right way! So special! Looks to be a nice young man!


Kerry January 12, 2013 at 12:04 am

Congratulations Erin and Chad!


Delilah January 12, 2013 at 12:18 am

Such a beautiful couple:) I pray for God’s will!! I love Gatlinburg:)


Alison January 12, 2013 at 12:32 am

Oh, how wonderful! Such an incredible testimony of how the Lord can, and does, work in our lives if we will submit to His good and perfect will. I will be praying for God’s guidance in their lives. Thank you for sharing!


Jo January 12, 2013 at 1:39 am

What an exciting time for Erin and the whole family. Thank you for sharing this with all of us! We look forward to hearing more as the Lord continues to direct your path! Many blessings to you all!


Irelu January 12, 2013 at 1:43 am

Why, this is wonderful news! Congratulations! God bless this lovely couple and help them grow in truth, faithfulness and love.


Crystal January 12, 2013 at 2:48 am

Congrats Erin and Chad


Maureen Werner January 12, 2013 at 4:03 am

We are so excited for Erin and Chad! This is such wonderful news! We will continue to pray for this exceptional couple in their journey of courtship! Thank you so much for sharing these moments, it is so encouraging for my daughters to see a true relationship established with God’s blessings!


Myrna January 12, 2013 at 4:28 am

This really answered my drawback, thanks


Gayle from Canada January 12, 2013 at 6:22 am

Hi Kelly! Congratulations on your family’s exciting news.
I’m so pleased that you are making posts – It is such a joy to hear about your beautiful family. You show that being a mother is such a joy and a blessing, no matter what stage your children are at. God bless!


Diane D. January 12, 2013 at 7:34 am

I am thrilled for Erin and Chad! Although I have not met Chad he seems like a wonderful young man and they make such a sweet couple. I did get to meet Erin at the Indianapolis home school conference this summer and can testify that she is not only beautiful on the outside but equally as beautiful on the inside as well. Best wishes to you both as you embark on this new chapter in your lives. Love the pic of mom and dad as well! Such a happy time and admire their commitment to remain chaste and pure, trusting in God to direct them. Take care!



Maggie January 12, 2013 at 7:58 am

How romantic! Congratulations!!


Liddi January 12, 2013 at 9:26 am

Congratulations!!! may this courtship period work out as best as possible for both!!!


Rudy Tecat January 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Good luck to the both of you. I hope you always stay color coordinated.


Grace Shiflett January 12, 2013 at 4:40 pm

The Shiflett family is very excited for you Erin!!!


Dawn Hancock (for the rest of the Hancocks) January 12, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Congratulations! We knew the Paine family when we lived in the same town in Indiana and rejoice with you. Thanks for sharing your special news. God’s Blessings during this exciting time!


Helen January 12, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I am absolutely thrilled for Erin and Chad. May God bless their courtship and decision making. Congratulations Gil and Kelly, you must be very proud of Erin.

Helen (Australia) :)


James January 12, 2013 at 9:27 pm

CONGRATULATIONS ERIN AND CHAD! We spotted this courtship happening back in November and knew that God had a purpose for the Bates and the Paines to know each other. Chad sure did get a good one! :-) That is VERY exciting.


Lynn January 13, 2013 at 1:27 am

So they’re dating?


Kelly January 13, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Dear Lynn,
They are not dating in the “traditional” sense of the word, because that often connotates just going out with someone…Traditional dating might include going out for fun, without any future desire to pursue a serious relationship. So, the idea of dating for fun until you find the “right one” is considered normal. In the course of a person’s life, they could easily have dated 20-30 people or more before settling down to get married.
In courtship, or “dating with a purpose,” there are goals. Usually, there is a desire to put God as the center of their relationship, to maintain purity, to seek direction for marrying this particular person, and to avoid the routine pattern of countless relationships and break ups that often occur. So there is a little more seriousness of purpose and commitment. I would say, it is closer to “pre-engagement” than just the broad meaning of dating.
In Chad and Erin’s case, they have already expressed to us their desire to get married after Erin completes her college, but this is a time for them to learn about each other on a deeper level of friendship and communication. They’re learning about each other’s pasts, their family life, their goals, their ministry, etc. They are learning to express their feelings, their hurts, their fears and insecurities, their weaknesses. They are learning how to show that they care for one another. They are just simply enjoying each other and their time together.
This stage was preceded by getting to know each other over the past year and a half. They’ve heard each other’s testimonies. They’ve seen each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They’ve learned about each other’s personalities and have spent time with both families.
When they get engaged; it will be a time of business and plans for a wedding. There will be a great deal of prepartion and work…. so they are wanting to especially enjoy this courtship stage that is less pressured, with less obligations and deadlines. For them, this time of courtship is a time of wholesome romance and fun!It’s a time to spend growing close to to the family. It’s a time to do ministry together. It’s a time to laugh and cry together. They write poems, sing songs, do Bible study, go to special places, communicate with each other, and dream together!Love, Kelly


Angie D January 13, 2013 at 10:28 pm

I love how you explain things so well! Thank you for taking the time to do so. I hope to be able to communicate so clearly with my children!


Audrey January 13, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Hi Kelly,

Tell me more about 1 1/2 year “getting to know each other stage”. Did you and Gil know that Erin and Chad were interested in each other, before the official courtship began in December? How does this process work?


Kelly January 18, 2013 at 1:04 am

Dear Audrey,
Yes, we knew that there was an attraction on both sides. They met on Valentine’s Day 2 years ago. They noticed each other then, but they actually developed an attraction during a homeschool conference of that same year, in April. At the conference, they were able to spend time together and communicate on a friendship level, in a group setting. We invited the Paine family to visit, and instantly fell in love with their family. Chad visited our house several times with siblings. They also saw each other at conferences several times each year, and continued to text through sibling accountability partners. Chad earned the entire family’s respect through his humility and desire to honor God. Love, kelly


Lex January 18, 2013 at 1:17 am

Could you explain the sibling accountability partners? I read you refer to urges in the past, however, if the partners are planning for marriage and have a goal to stay pure, can they not trust that to themselves? I don’t know if I would feel comfortable texting another person heartfelt and personal things to have them read them off.

Alison January 14, 2013 at 12:07 am

Thank you so much for taking the time to write all of this out. I think I’ll print this out to keep as a list of goals for myself and the man (whomever he is) that the Lord has for me. I am praying for Chad and Erin’s courtship. I can only hope, pray, and trust that the Lord has such a wonderful plan for me.


Patti January 13, 2013 at 3:00 am

Beautiful pictures! We’re looking forward to seeing what the future holds for them.


Denise January 13, 2013 at 3:26 am

Thanks for the update.. What a sweet & cool way to ask Erin to court Him. I love the pic that says “Happy Parents”. Congrats again to the happy couple!!

Hope Zachary is doing well.


Tonia January 13, 2013 at 8:04 am

Congratulations to the new couple, may god bless their courtship! She is a beautiful, talented girl who deserves the very best! He is a lucky man, and I’m sure she feels the same way to have him in her life!


Natalie January 13, 2013 at 11:59 am

Congratulations and Gods wonderful blessings to you both.


kelly jo willey January 13, 2013 at 12:40 pm

the pictures are just beautiful. they look so happy as do you and gil. we hope that they will be extremely happy and blessed. it is so nice to see young people behave as your children do and also show respect to their parents as well as for themselves. many blessings to all of your family and to erin and chad.


A Question January 13, 2013 at 5:41 pm

I was wondering if it is awkward at all to your older children that Erin is the 3rd child and is in a serious relationship before the two older than her are. I guess what I would like to know is how the older ones feel about a younger sibling probably being married first. Thanks!


Kelly January 13, 2013 at 9:17 pm

In our family, we’ve always taught that everyone is different. God’s plan for one person’s life differs from another’s. We remind our children often that they will probably have different talents, different sized families, different income levels, different ministries, etc. God’s timing and calling for each will vary. Because of that belief, we’ve never felt things had to be accomplished in birth order. More important is following God’s direction, in His timing!
The older children are extremely happy for Chad and Erin. Do they want to get married one day?? Certainly!! But that doesn’t mean they think they’re turn was skipped! They’re content to wait on God’s timing! Love, Kelly


Jennifer January 13, 2013 at 8:08 pm

That is so sweet! Congrats to them! May God bless them:)


Alisha Ann January 13, 2013 at 8:21 pm

I’m so happy for you Erin…God bless you and your man =)

Serving HIM,


Donna January 14, 2013 at 12:07 am

I love reading about your family and I extend my congratulations to Erin and Chad. I am very happy that they’ve found each other, and appreciate that God has blessed them!!! I wholly respect your belief system, and have the utmost respect for this courting process, and courting’s desire for purity in a relationship. And, you have such a gift from God in describing all aspects of courting and of their relationship…your writings are beautiful to read…so tender and heart-warming. I thank you for taking the time to share. I do have to say though, that the “dating” process isn’t all bad…I don’t know too many people that have “dated” 20 – 30 people just for “fun”, until they are ready to marry. Generally, people enter a dating relationship, hoping and thinking that this could be “the one”. They want a serious relationship, and we know many, many people who have dated, and have found their significant other right away. The worst offenders of dating for fun only, seem to be people in Hollywood. But in little town, U.S.A., there are still a lot of wholesome people, looking for Mr. Right, or Miss Right, and finding their solemate on the first or second attempt. I did. “Dating” is not unwholesome.


Donna January 14, 2013 at 12:30 am

I mean, dating isn’t always unwholesome. In some cases, it probably is, but we have to be careful, and not lump all “dating” into the same category.


Linda January 14, 2013 at 1:08 am

Hi Kelly , Congrations to Erin & Chad all best to them and to your family.


Laurie January 14, 2013 at 4:18 am

How beautiful those two are!!! I just wish more of today’s kids would act in this manner as Erin and Chad do. I hope and pray all good things for them and a beautiful future!!!
God bless you all!’


Shannon January 14, 2013 at 5:05 am

Congratulations! What a wonderful testament to stay true to God’s plan. I didn’t grow up as a Christian and I wish I had known that courtship was an option. My heart would have been spared much pain! I hope to teach my children to keep God first! Thank you for being a wonderful example!


shelly January 14, 2013 at 1:58 pm

We believe in courtship as well and our oldest had a wonderful courtship and marriage that followed that stage. My question to your family is this: Do you believe that they should hold hands? and if so can you explain why? I only ask to find out where you are coming from on this issue as courtship in general is not really discussed. Our Son and daughter-in-law with the parents agreement decided there would be no holding of hands so that on their wedding day it would be the first time they had touched. Had the courtship phase not turn out like it did with your Son, they would still be completely pure not having touched another man or women. We have a young lady in our Church that the courtship phase really signaled some red flags and thus she made the decision along with her parents and much prayer,Lord’s help to end it. Had she held hands with him she wouldn’t be pure if the Lord opened the door to go down this path. Courtship is very serious and I can tell it is to you all as well. I am just trying to understand the holding hands before marriage aspect. Courtship no matter how well you think you know someone before that point and their family can be a time that God can reveil something that closes the door on a marriage. Would love the hear from you on your families thoughts in this area as courtship isn’t really talked about much.


Kelly January 26, 2013 at 5:35 am

Dear Shelly,
I commend your’s and your children’s choice to maintain purity until marriage. I think their choice to wait to hold hands until marriage was noble, and it resulted in their ability to share that aspect of their relationship with each other only. However, I’ve seen other couples, like Josh and Anna Duggar, who chose to hold hands during engagement, but still maintained purity and still saved that form of affection only for each other. For us, we believe families and couples should carefully pray for God’s direction. We all might have slightly differing views of how relationships should progress, but I think the end goal is the same: We want to honor God and stay pure. I’m not going to criticize someone like Elizabeth Elliott, author of Passion and Purity, who might have made different choices in her pre-marriage relationship with Jim Elliott, yet nonetheless, is a spiritual heroine for setting an example of moral purity! Every choice we make has an effect, so every choice should be bathed in prayer, whether referring to relationships or other daily choices!You are right in saying, we don’t know what changes can happen in a pre-marriage relationship, so I agree, all those possibilities should be thoroughly discussed and prayed about. Love, Kelly


Harvest January 15, 2013 at 12:32 am

Dear Kelly,
Congratulations on your daughter’s beautiful courtship! I can truly see the love between them and I pray that they both continue to love each other and understand each other as time goes on. My father has always taught me that the keys to a successful relationship is communication, respect, and, of course, love! Seeing the pictures of Erin and Chad takes me back to my wedding with my husband back in April. We both grew up in a traditional southern home so we had a southern wedding at my grandparents’ farm, involving both of us wearing cowboy/cowgirl boots, sweet tea, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, pecan pie, etc! It was so romantic and perfect. My sister-in-law played her guitar and sang to a romantic but Christian bluegrass song she wrote for the wedding, for me to walk down the aisle with. It was my first time hearing it, and I couldn’t help but break down and cry even before I reached the altar!

How is your husband feeling right now, with his daughter (close) to leaving home? I have an older brother, who is also married, but I never saw my dad cry until the day my husband asked my hand in marriage! I hope he’s not so emotional as my daddy was…well, that’d be a lie :p. My poor daddy could not say a speech during the reception because he was getting so emotional. It was definitely an emotional moment! I can’t even imagine what went through your husband’s mind the day Chad asked your daughter’s hand in a courtship!
I was wondering, when did Erin tell you that Chad was the one? Was it fairly early when ya’ll met the Paine’s family or did it take a while for her to grow fond of him? My husband knew I was the one the second he met me; whereas, for me, it took a bit longer! I always tell my hubby that God was protecting me, which is why it took a bit for me to fall in love :).

I am so happy for you and your family! My parents heard ya’ll speak at some church event a while back and they were so thrilled to hear what God has been doing in Erin’s heart! Enjoy this time and savor every moment of it! My momma always tells me how she used to enjoy seeing me get all giggly and happy whenever my now husband would text or call me. She saw what the Lord gave me and wanted to join in on the excitement with me! I will continue to pray for Erin and Chad in hopes that their love for each other will continue to grow and blossom. I hope they continue to understand, respect, and care about each other more and more each day!

Joyfully in His service,
Harvest :))


Kelly January 18, 2013 at 12:32 am

Dear Harvest,
What a sweet story. Yes, Gil will probably cry…lol! But he cries at everything!! He cried at his own wedding, and at every sentimental movie we watch!~ He cries watching the children play and thinking about them growing up! But at the same time, we are excited because we remember our time together…there’s something refreshing and beautiful about a young couple in love! Love, Kelly


Johnna January 15, 2013 at 2:06 am

Congrats to Chad and Erin. Just wondering if they are not required to have a chaperone? Sounds like they spent time alone ?


Kelly January 18, 2013 at 12:27 am

Dear Johnna,
We do reccomend chaperones, and they have also chosen for themselves to have chaperones. Sometimes chaperones are just in sight- not always right by their side, in order to give them some privacy for conversation. Their reason for choosing chaperones, and our reason for suggesting them, is because we know from the testimony of thousands that temptations are much greater when alone. They prefer to be safe, not sorry. It certainly hasn’t dampened their fun together, and in fact, has probably added to their love and respect for one another, since they are able to enjoy their relationship without distraction or guilt. Love, Kelly


Jeanette Gartman January 15, 2013 at 1:09 pm

awwww!!!! Congrats Erin!!!!! How wonderful! May God bless you in your relationship!


Christy January 15, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Congratulations Chad and Erin!! God bless you both!!


Erin K. January 15, 2013 at 9:24 pm

I hope everything works out in this courtship. I know how difficult it is to be courted and come so close to an expected marriage proposal only to have him walk away. In my case, he proposed to someone else two months after he told me he wasn’t ready to get married. Now I’m grateful I didn’t marry him. Writing is what helps me work through difficult times so I wrote a book called “Titanic: A Voyage Through Grief”. Grieving a loss (like a death or a broken relationship) is a long step-by-step process and takes time.


Patti January 15, 2013 at 10:20 pm

I agree with Donna above. There is nothing evil about traditional dating. Most people who “date” agree to go out to dinner, or a movie, or a gathering in a group setting with someone and if they realize they are not compatible, they do not go out again. Simple as that. It does not always involve a physical relationship, and certainly does not “spoil” one for the person they do find to spend their life with. If one or more of your children wants to date instead of court, are you ok with that?
Most people I know too, have only dated a few before settling down with the right one. None of them are tainted in any way.
I am not cutting down your beliefs but I just want to know if your children have choices, or will they be shunned if they decide against courting?


Kelly January 18, 2013 at 12:18 am

Dear Patti,
I guess it all depends on the couple’s goals, and the cautions they take to maintain purity. I’m glad to hear that others have had success in keeping a pure heart! That’s always an inspiration to today’s youth! There are many who testify of wishing they had done things differently. So whatever a person decides to call it: courtship, or dating with a purpose that is different from the status quo, I think everyone experiences true joy when they can say they have a clear conscience, pure motives, and a Christ-like love. Love, Kelly


chasetta shipp January 16, 2013 at 12:49 am



Wendy January 16, 2013 at 7:32 am

Congratulations Erin and Chad. May the Lord bless your journey.


Michelle January 16, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Wanted to wish the couple well and know that they are in our prayers. So glad to see a young couple taking the correct direction of courting/relationships. I went the dating route and I suffered for it. One day I decided to rely on God for direction in my life and He truly blessed me. I have a wonderful husband who is called by God to minister His word. I rejoice daily in the knowledge that God is still working on me and helping my husband and I raise our sons to be Godly men. Thank you for your posts. They are a blessing.

Your sister in Christ,


Rebecca J January 16, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Oh Kelly and Gill….I am so excited for Chad and Erin!!!!! GOD is good!!!!


Kerry January 16, 2013 at 11:43 pm

So wonderful! Congratulations to all!!


Piper January 17, 2013 at 4:06 am

Congratulations to Erin and Chad :)


Jennifer January 17, 2013 at 5:00 am

I am so happy for Erin and Chad! You can see genuine happiness on each of their faces. What a beautiful couple they make, striking! I especially appreciate the Godly approach they have taken, what an inspiring story. Keep us posted Bates family! God Bless!


Denise January 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm

May god bless them


Jill Kempf January 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Praise God for you Kelly! Such a sweet and mighty woman of God… your children are blessed to have you as a mother! It’s amazing to see what the Lord has done in both you and Gil throughout your lives… the wonderful people He has created you to be… Thank you for being a light to the world and your whole family for being a city set on a hill that can’t be hidden. ( ;


P.S. My 11 year old daughter, Jade, and I have missed watching you all but also understand God has a specific plan for each of us and He is calling you all to a different season in life! We have heard many others who feel the same. You all were a joy and inspiration to watch! Thank you for allowing people into your lives and into your home. We look forward to, prayerfully, seeing you on the Duggars show when possible. God bless you all.


Kelly January 18, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Dear Jill Kempf,
Thank you for your encouraging words, but I have to say it’s a bit awkward for me, because I see my many blindspots and weaknesses. Families who are in close proximity see aand realize that our family has tons of failures and flaws. There’s usually a mess to clean, a rowdy one to quiten down, an attitude issue that needs to be refocused, a chore neglected, or a squabble over a toy… but I remind myself “We’re a work in progress.” God likes to keep us humble, I think, so that we recognize our need for Him! And the older I get, the plainer it becomes, anything praiseworthy at all, is merely a result of God’s patient instruction, the insights and help of others, and His mercy! And without that, we fall flat on our faces…often! Love, Kelly


Jill Kempf January 22, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Dear Kelly,
It’s my pleasure and thank you for the response! It’s just very difficult to find a family who is truly following the Lord’s leading in their lives. So, it’s so wonderful and encouraging when He places people in our lives that exhibit such a positive example. It gives other brothers and sisters in Christ hope. With all the evil and discouraging events going on in the world (and the negative examples) it is such a breath of fresh air to have a family, such as yours, shine His light in this world. The Lord has taught me that even in all our frailties and flaws, when we are obedient and submitted to Him, His presence shines through.

As a mother and a pastor’s wife, I feel like there are so many demands/responsibilities/roles to fulfill. At times I feel like I’m in over my head! When you were describing the issues above that you encounter, I felt like you were talking about my typical day! *laughs* I constantly feel like I am falling short but then the Holy Spirit reminds me of the scripture in 2Corinthians 12:9 about the Lord’s power and strength being made perfect in our weakness… I feel comforted by it. It’s as though the Lord is telling me I do not have to try so hard to be perfect and that is a huge relief for me! I feel like I can breathe again ; ) I can see why it is Michelle’s life/favorite verse. Our Father always knows what we need and exactly when we need it… and He is faithful.

God bless you,


Elle C January 18, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Congratulations Erin and Chad! I am so happy and excited for you guys. Good luck and May the Lord Continue to richly bless you and your Families. I love your music Erin.


Johnna January 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Just a funny, wondering if Erin is learning to cook? : )



Kelly January 22, 2013 at 3:55 am

Der Johnnaa,
Ha!Ha! Yes, she actually is much more motivated to learn now! Love, Kelly


Tara G. January 20, 2013 at 2:39 am

Rejoicing with you!


ciara January 20, 2013 at 1:29 pm

How wonderful .

Kelly and Gil you are both such a wonderful exampe of godly parents , i can just “feel” your sweetness in your posts Kelly . I will be praying for the Lord to be all over these two as they embark on an exciting adventure together with the Lord guidng their hearts along .x


Jillaine Wonick January 20, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Congratulations! I’m so happy for all of you!


Joshua Kaiser January 25, 2013 at 6:15 am

I just wanted to say Congrats to Erin and Chad. This is a very exciting time for you all and your family. I married my wife Megan a little over 2 years ago and we also courted. I really like how they have chosen chaperons and accountability partners. Megan and I didn’t make it until our Wedding day to share our first kiss and quickly realized how quick things can progress when left alone and quickly started having an adult chaperon at all times. We had her 8 and 10 year old sisters before that. I just wanted to tell you how much of an encouragement is it that there are other young people out there that choose to have a courtship rather than date. My three sisters all dated and I saw first hand how many different guys they gave a piece of their heart to. I looking forward to seeing how their courtship progresses for here. Joshua Kaiser


Christy January 29, 2013 at 2:06 am

Love it! Christy from Florida


Ruthie February 10, 2013 at 4:08 am

How have I missed all these posts?!?!?! Praying for blessings on Chad and Erin in the next chapter of their lives!!! How exciting!!!!


Ruthie February 13, 2013 at 3:58 am

LOL, now I think I understand why you got Erin the cookbook during your Valentine’s Day Party! Haha, I have a feeling Chad does not want to starve! What plans do they have together about the future? Does Chad go to college or what does he do?


Kelly February 24, 2013 at 4:48 am

They’re praying about that now. Chad and Erin are both working on completing their degrees. Love, Kelly


JenT February 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Awww…how sweet – so happy for Erin! He’s a blessed young man.


Jaz February 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Dear Kelly,

Although you and I might have different opinions on many things I just wanted to tell you how much I love that you really are taking the time to answer all the questions that come up in your family blog so frequently! (Oh my, that was a long sentence!)

I follow several blogs of families/couples with goals and beliefs similar to yours. However, I have never seen a couple looking happier than Erin&Chad! They look so genuinely smitten with each other, it is a pleasure to watch them and read about their progressing relationship in your blog updates! I really like the way your families are approaching the whole courtship process. You’re giving the couple space, and one can really feel that there is no pressure involved at all!
Erin and Chad seem to have so much chemistry, if I (in my critical mind) were to find a caption for those two it’d probably be “Courtship-you’re doing it right!”
Love, Jaz


wendy February 26, 2013 at 1:22 am

Hi Kelly-
I am the mom of 4 girls/2 boys and your family’s views on courtship have really changed the way we have looked toward the “dating” years with our children. Since both my husband and I grew up in a worldly dating environment, this would be new territory for us. I am so appreciative to see the look on Erin’s face here, how she is viewed as cherished by her suitor, and not the way most boys look at girls, even if they mean not to. I want my girls to be treated as a precious jewel as well.
I respect your families decisions and opinions, and agree with earlier posts, that each family has to let the spirit guide them to their own decisions, as what is permissible for some may not be for others, and that’s ok.
Thanks for posting this. It’s important to see that their ARE other ways to “date” out there. They may not be popular, and they may be ridiculed by some, but I can’t imagine that deep down, every girl wouldn’t want to be treated this way.
Thanks again for your openness! Keep shining the light of Jesus!


Mary Allen June 2, 2013 at 4:14 am

Hi Kelly
May god be with u and ur family. I so happy for Erin and chad they make a
Good couple. U have cute kids


Kelly January 22, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Dear Lex,
Can they trust themselves?? Well, many have succeeded in maintaining purity til marriage, but if honest, there is much greater temptation when alone, even with the purest of motives. King David was a man after God’s own heart, but had a moral failure. Accountability is not a bad thing; it can be the key to success. A wall at the top of a tall cliff is not meant to cause you dissatisfaction in life, but rather, it is meant to provide safety for a more enjoyable life. For that reason, Chad and Erin both wanted to get off to a good start by maintaining accountability and trust.
Accountability partners was just an experiment we tried in order to achieve two goals: 1. To involve the whole family in getting to know Chad while developing their friendship, 2. To remind Chad and Erin to focus on texting that was not just mushy and intimate at first, but rather to focus on topics to get to know each other on a close friendship level and conversations to encourage each other spiritually. We enjoyed the whole process thoroughly and Erin said she’s so thankful they did it that way! We feel much closer to Chad and we think they began with a strong foundation!
At the same time, as they grew closer, there was a need for private conversations! I agree, there are some things that can’t be shared in front of others. So, they began having a designated time for Saturday phone calls, for that purpose. We called it “Open-call Saturdays.”
Now that they are courting, they text direct, without partners. They also call each other daily. It has been an encouragement to watch them progress from friends to best friends, to actually planning a future together one day :)
Our plan is not the ONLY plan, by any means! It may be a plan that we alter and redesign often, with each child or with new insights from others. It is just the plan we felt like God was directing us to use in this situation. We are not experienced in this phase of life, so we are learning and listening! We know there’ll probably be mistakes and revisions along the way, but our goal is to travel down this path with harmony and with a desire to honor God. If we get off track, may God send swift direction!! That is our prayer! Love, Kelly


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