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Courtship vs. Dating: The Breakdown

Courtship is a mutual partnership, a journey together with the intended purpose of marriage (from the beginning). Dating has no real purpose. Most people date.

I believe that we have confused courtship with dating…

Dating is what most people in the American culture do. Courtship is what most people in the American culture aspire to do, but conform to dating because either they don’t know how to court, they realize dating is easier, or they have been socialized and conditioned to find their mate one way, not the other.

Please stop using the word, “courtship” when you are actually speaking about dating.

What is Courtship?

Courtship is a mutual partnership, a journey together with the intended purpose of marriage (from the beginning). Courtship is intentional and purposeful.

Courtship is focus on marriage (or lifelong companionship). This happens from the door, not months down the road.

Men get antsy when the “M” word is mentioned. Why? A man that is intentional with a woman won’t get nervous at the sound of the word, “marriage.” In courtship, marriage is discussed, early and often. You don’t waste time playing around, having casual sex, and doing extraordinary things for a person who you don’t see in your future.

Finally, courtship is a linear process. It’s doesn’t have various different versions that are left up to perception, translation or recreation. It’s very strategic.

An example would look something like this:

Step 1: Get to know the person on a personal and spiritual level consistently. Talk about expectations, family, friends, finances, goals, and past experiences. Always have fun. Laugh, joke, and enjoy each other.. enjoy the process.
Step 2: Stay out of romantic situations
Step 3: State your intentions with each other
Step 4: Always pour into each other
Step 5: Stay out of romantic situations
Step 6: Make it official
Step 7: If you want to begin romance and intimacy, here is where I’d start
Step 8: Involve trusted family (or friends) in the process to get to know each other
Step 9: Involve your religious leader if you have one
Step 10: (Men) when you are ready, propose! Take her off the market
Step 11: Seek marriage counseling
Step 12: Make it official under God

What about Dating?

Dating has no real purpose.

You almost immediately jump into romantic situations (dinner dates)… and develop romantic feelings for each other. Real hardcore conversations are rare, and intimate encounters are abundant. As a result, the infatuation is allowed to creep in, while the intentional aspect (courting) is pushed to the side.

Ever date for months only to find out you really don’t know the person? This happens often. Then we wake up one day, in a bad relationship, or with a person who deceived us because we didn’t, properly court the situation or the person.

Most people date. [you disagree?] OK, how many people have you dated in your lifetime knowing you wouldn’t marry them? You knew this, but you still spent time with them, had sex with them, etc.

That is why dating has such a high failure rate.

Dating looks something like this:

Step 1: Meet the person (on or offline)
Step 2: Get to know a few things about them, and then jump into romantic situations based on lust and infatuation
Step 3: Feelings are involved but you barely know the person
Step 4: You’ve probably had sex by now, or at least kissed (opening up the door for more)
Step 5: You really have no idea where this is going
Step 6: You still don’t know a lot about the person you’re having sex with
Step 7: Feelings of fun and sexual pleasure override logic, and you forget you had a goal in mind (marriage)
Step 8: You finally ask “what am I to you?” Or, “How do you feel about marriage?” He responds with a blank stare or curious look
Step 9: You overlook step 8, and continue dating even though you both don’t see the other as marriage material or a long term GF/BF.
Step 10: It finally dissolves because it was never meant to be in the first place
Step 11: But you could have figured that out a lot sooner, had you courted

Or something like that…

A few things I know about Courtship and what it’s really about:

1. Mental

Unfortunately, our sex saturated culture encourages people to lust over the person they are pursuing. We need to intentionally get to know them. How do they see life? What makes them tick? How does their mind work? How will they handle themselves in adverse situations?

2. Spiritual

Unfortunately, many people compromise this principle because they are unable to find enough Christian (or whatever you practice) singles to date. However, we’ll never experience the same level of connection with an non-believer as we would a spiritual follower because they don’t share our values, beliefs, and/or worldview.

They are on a different level than we are.

3. Physical

Sex is promoted as casual and meaningless everywhere we look in our society. Consequently, most people in the dating scene expect to have sex within the first few dates. Also, when sex is acceptable, many men use women merely for physical gratification, leaving both partners feeling empty and unsatisfied. Therefore, we must develop a “flow sex” policy with the special someone we are courting. We should commit to spending time (primarily) with them in public to avoid sexual temptation — and to keep our relationship moving in the right direction.

Once you’ve truly established what you have, if you want to have sex, that’s your choice.

4. Emotional

Unfortunately, many people in the dating scene today withhold their emotions for a variety of reasons. Some don’t want to be hurt again because of previous negative experiences. Others don’t want to feel tied down so they keep their emotions surface-level. Still others avoid feeling anything substantial because they are only concerned about personal gain and physical pleasure. These approaches all hinder true intimacy. Instead, if the connection feels safe and warranted, we must allow ourselves to develop authentic feelings to cultivate god-honoring relationships.

Finally…

This is why the intentions of both parties needs to be apparent from the beginning. If you want to date… understand that there are consequences to that process.. emotional, mental, physical and spiritual consequences as we all know. A true courtship has NOTHING to do with a man [simply] pleasing, pursuing or showing a woman all his cards… But it has everything to do with both parties pursuing each other on equal playing fields, with equal investment, and equal risk.

Stop with the posts and comments about what men aren’t doing. Stop with the posts and comments about what women need to do. Gain understanding in what YOU need to do to reach the intended goal.

If you’d like to hear my podcast on this topic click here and follow me for season 2 in January of 2019.

25 comments

  1. So very true, although I do believe romance plays a part in the early part of courtship. It doesn’t have to involve physical romance. There are other parts of romance that are equally, if not more important. I have dated/courted men in the past that I liked on a mental and intellectual level but then realised I was not attracted to. I thought they were handsome men, without a doubt, but I had no physical reaction to them beyond admiration. I think sometimes it’s important to know this sooner rather than later to avoid wasting people’s time.

    Like

  2. This is such a good post. I “dated” my first husband and it ended up to be a horror story. I met him at church so I thought I could trust him. My current and forever husband I had met before in a chance one-of meeting. A few years into my first marriage we were out of money and I found part-time work for my now hubby. I finally left my ex and while working current hubby and I became friends. He had deeper feelings but stayed back for the 3 years it took me to get divorced. We would go for lunch at fast food places around where we worked and that was about it. But we got to know each other and almost as soon as my divorce was finalized he told me he cared for me. The courtship started – I had to be shown that not all relationships were like my parents, my sister, and my first one. He did ask if we had a future and I said definitely but I wasn’t sure I wanted to marry again. He said we would take it slow and we did. We have been married for almost 18 years and we are still best friends first – and to be honest he still courts me! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a great post, I think it would be nice for a lot of young people to know that they have options in the way they date. I definitely agree with your last paragraph, whatever you want to do is fine but make sure you’re being honest with your partner about it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!

      If everyone would take the time to understand that they do not have to subscribe to modern dating if they do not want to. That there are those out there that want to do things a different way.

      You just have to filter out the ones that aren’t aligned with your goals, and move forward with the one that does.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome! Now all you have to do is find someone who is willing to go on the same journey. Furthermore, no matter how much you like them, don’t let them steer you off course and keep you from reaching your intended destination.

      I’ve got a few more blogs that may be helpful. Check em out.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really wanted to court. It was so ideal to my 14 year old self. But at eighteen, I abandoned the whole idea for a casual short-term relationship that was neither going anywhere nor from God. After the relationship, after the healing and the fasting, I continued to tell myself I could still date – I’d just do it better this time. I carried that belief up until right this second, actually. I gotta thank you for that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad I could be of some inspiration. The process of courtship is actually very challenging. Especially when most people date. It can be tough finding someone who is willing to genuinely go through the process with you.

      That being said, always remember your goal, and stick to it. The right person will make it easier for you. They won’t pressure you to steer away from your goal of courtship. Check out some of my other blogs. They may help you along your way 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is very enjoyable and sensible to read.
    It breaks down the situation clearly.
    Absolutely loved reading every bit.
    I would love to hear your thoughts about my post as well
    It would mean so much from someone as talented as you are!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! and you are not a failure. You are unconventional and that’s an asset in a world where so many people are doing the same thing. You are remaining true to yourself. Uniqueness is very valuable, and not sleeping around or sleeping with multiples is a great quality to have.

      Some of the women I respect the most think as you do.

      Liked by 1 person

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