Courtship vs. Dating: The Breakdown

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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.

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Don’t Microwave It. Put Your Dating Experience In the Slow Cooker

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Microwave Love Isn’t For Me

No wonder relationships don’t last, and dates are so short-lived. A lot of us want that microwave love. It’s all pre-packaged and ready to go within 30 seconds. In our fast-paced lives, we don’t want to slow down, mute the distractions, and cultivate our relationships. We don’t want to invest the time and effort needed to really learn and understand someone. As a result, once you open the package, the picture on the box is hardly the way it really looks inside. Yet we’re shocked. It was a 30 second meal! What did you expect? We want slow-cooked taste, in 30 seconds or less. We want a 5-star restaurant feel, in drive-thru efficiency. And, we will keep getting the same bad tasting, falsely advertised, negative results… until we learn that nothing worth having comes pre-processed.

Slow Cook Your Dating Experience

When it comes to dating, most of us want the result to end in companionship (or marriage).  So why in the world do we expect symmetry to occur without doing the, “work” involved?

You know what? Let’s not use the word, “work.” Let’s say, “process.” Because, while dating, you are going through a process.  A process that cannot be on microwave speeds.  This process is slow-cooked.

Remember, you are getting to know an entirely new being that comes with new experiences, personality traits, pet peeves, habits (good and bad), etc.  So, that process takes time.  The amount of time is relative, but no matter who it is, they will need, “time” to get to know, and understand.  A rapport needs to be built.  Channels of communication need to be established.  You simply cannot get to know someone on microwave speeds.  Slow-cooking is the only way.

Step 1: Let It Marinate

Like Martin Lawrence says…”let it marinate.” Let your dating experience, “soak.” Let all the seasoning absorb.  This way you will have time to process what you’re doing, and what you’ve learned. As a result, you will make better decisions about moving forward.

Also, this will give you the necessary time to appreciate the process of getting to know a new person. So many people say…”I can’t stand starting over.” Trust me, I totally get that. However, if you make dating fun, it can be a worthwhile experience.  Enjoy the conversations before the date. Get as much information as you can to learn about the other person (make sure you ask the necessary questions listed here )… then, “let it marinate.”

Step 2: Pre-Heat Your Oven

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Photo Credit: Taylor Kiser

Now is the time where you will prepare for the first date.  If you did your homework, asked questions, provided information, shared and opened up freely, you should have a good idea of who it is you are about to go on a date with.

If you spent enough time in marinate-mode, you should feel a bit more at ease about spending time with this person.  Anxiety will always be there, don’t worry, it’s normal.  However, the amount of time wasted on dating will be limited since you are on slow-cooker speed, vs microwave.

As daters, we tend to have a few conversations and jump straight into romantic situations (microwave speed), when, we need to cultivate first, to see if this person is even a good complement for us.  They could be a good person, but this doesn’t mean they are a solid match for us.

Step 3: Slow Cook The Process

When I say, “slow,” I don’t necessarily mean, “go-slow.” I mean, take your time.  So, the time that it takes is totally up to you.  Just don’t microwave through the process and expect the results to be same as slow-cooking.

When you slow-cook food, the seasoning is allowed to penetrate.  The meat becomes tender and more flavorful.  We all know, there’s nothing like a slow-cooked meal.

That being said, make sure you don’t let the, warm-and-fuzzy feelings get the best of you.  Stay focused on the goal, and always keep things in perspective.  Discuss your goals and aspirations, pet peeves, your family, and most of all, talk about how a relationship looks to you.  Give the other person a detailed account of what you need (and some of what you want).  You probably shouldn’t do all of this on the first date, and hopefully you’ve discussed a lot of these things before going out.  However, if you didn’t, make sure you ask some of the most important questions, and generate conversation around them.  Don’t get, too serious.  Do what feels right in the flow of the dialogue between you two.

Lastly, laugh, and laugh some more!

Don’t forget to follow my blog!

 

Closure and Reassurance

So, I read this great post yesterday entitled “A Letter To The Boys Who Refused to Be My Man” and thought…

Finally!

I needed to read this post yesterday. I needed to align my thoughts with the universe and realize that there is nothing wrong with a man not choosing me. It’s actually pretty darn wonderful. Because in essence they were not the ones for me.

This was evident last night when I had dinner, drinks and a cigar with Mr. K. The whole dynamic was different. I think I truly saw the real him for the first time. Not the guy who was trying to woo me, but the man who was still running game at his age (48). Now, let me give you some background…

Mr. K and I dated briefly in the spring and it ended by the summer. LOL. We couldn’t make it a season. But, there is a season for everything right? So, I understand this. He wooed me. Courted me. Was a perfect gentleman. Opened doors. He started off giving me his undivided time and attention. That started to change as we went from spring to summer.  He  always said that it’s his hectic softball schedule and his responsibilities with his 19-year-old son.

Okey dokey.

So, I believed him. I trusted that since we were dating and had no commitment that he would be honest and up front about who he is and what he wants considering that I had done that. However, I realized that he wasn’t being honest. He was slow fading and playing me for a fool.

I decided that enough was enough and didn’t really communicate with him anymore. No emails, texts or phone calls. I wasn’t concerned. But, part of me wondered what the heck was his problem? Why couldn’t he just “man up” and tell me the truth? My best friend is a firm believer in closure, but I never needed it.

Until now…

 

Which is how I ended up having dinner, drinks and cigars with him on Monday night. I wasn’t remotely interested in anything romantic, just trying to figure out what the deal was. Not just with him, but with me. What made me so interested in him? We had a good dinner and focused on safe topics: our careers, our children and our work out schedules. It was safe.

We then went to smoke cigars at this great lounge. Did I tell you that I love stogies? LOL. I do. So, we went to this great lounge that is laid out like a house with leather furniture and flat screens everywhere. It was Monday night right? Football.

We sat and talked. It was awkward in the beginning because our conversation was basically some superfluous BS. Then he paused. He started to let some of his true personality show. He was telling me how he thinks he will be alone forever. “Why?” I asked slowly puffing on my cigar. “Because I’m not good at relationships” he responded.

I looked at him. For the first time in a long time and realized what I knew and he kept denying….he had unresolved issues with women. Women were interchangeable chess pieces and he was just playing a game. I laughed and realized that he’s a prick. He was a prick to me. He was probably a prick to other women. Does it matter? Nope. But, he had to know it right?

He did. Because when he was giving me his full court press he was giving it to 5 other women. I was part of a tribe of 6 women he was dating. In the midst of running around trying to play games with us 6 he fell for one. He thought she would always be around. She wasn’t. She gave up. “For real this time” he uttered. My heart hurt.

not for his sorry behind 

but for the fact that he was in love and had lost it. He was going through it. I could see how this woman who had no name who was competing for time with me was special to him. He took her for granted and she was done. I could have laughed. I could have said, “You’re a loser who deserves this.” but I didn’t. I felt sorry for him.

In that moment, I sent a text to my friend and said “I miss the sound of your voice.” Because it is his voice that I seek when there seems to be chaos and confusion with people I encounter. His calming and reassuring tone soothes my spirit and makes me see clearly. Dang, there was no response.

I looked at Mr. K and said, “Go after her. Fix it. I believe in love and I believe in passion and if you want her, tell her you messed up. Tell her the truth. Man up and be the man she wanted you to be.” He said, “I would have to walk through fire with gasoline underwear on and it still wouldn’t be enough.” I looked at him and sipped my wine. “Make it enough. Be enough. Stop giving excuses. You were a dick to me. To all women. Make it about her.”

At that moment I received not only closure, but reassurance that I had to go through that experience with him to realize what I deserve. He was a stepping stone to finding happiness with myself and learning to wait on God. When I did wait and stopped accepting less than I deserved, I was able to allow this awesome man who is my friend, who courts my spirit and soothes my soul with his word to come in my space. This man who sees my erratic brain and thinks it is slightly weird but incredibly beautiful. This man who gives me time. Who appreciates me and just wants to get to know me.

I’m being courted by a man who knows the value of his words. Who thinks before he speaks. Who makes me a priority and who cares about my spirit. I thanked Mr. K for dinner and headed out the restaurant in a hurry because I needed to speak to my friend. I appreciated who he was and I was determined to let him know that.

Just a really nice guy.

Have Men Gotten Lazy?

My girlfriend and I were talking about our on-line dating experiences when I said to her that “Men have gotten lazy. I’ve been to a bar with one or two women having a drink and made eye contact with a man he still didn’t come over to introduce himself. We eye flirted across the room and that’s it. Ugh!” She said, “Girl, right! They feel like they don’t have to try.”

That got me to thinking…have men gotten lazy? When did a grown man not want to come over and just say hello and offer a number to a woman he was checking out at the bar? I miss the old school days where a boy would write you a letter and say:

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Yes, those were the good old days. I get it when women travel in herds and men find it intimidating. Like we’re planning an uprising to take over the world one man at a time.

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But, if it’s no more than three gathered together, I need a man to come over and say hello. Offer to speak to me privately and offer me your number. Show me you are a man that knows what he wants and will go after it. No matter whose around.

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Will the non-lazy men please stand up? We need you. I need you.