The first time I heard about the concept of courting was on 19 Kids and Counting. Seriously. Now, there's even a movie about this “Old Fashioned” idea. Closer to home, I have the privilege of watching a courting relationship blossom before us with a woman in our church and a young man from another state. The author of this post, Dakota, I met in a blogging network group and have enjoyed getting to know him through his blog and Facebook page. He is with us today sharing some insight into the world of courting.
When most people hear the word “courting” they think about the early 1900's. It is an old-fashioned term that we don’t use as often in 2000's. Recently, however, there has been a growing movement where people are rejecting dating relationships and once again embracing the 1930s-esque term “courting”.
Quiet often, when you mention courting, people will either smile and tell you how “cute” that is, or they will ask what courting is. Courting is sometimes simplified as “dating with purpose”. However, that isn’t a real fair description. Dating and courting take opposite stances on more than just purpose. If you factor that in it would be more accurate to say that courting is “purposeful dating with accountability in a real environment around people you trust”.
Much easier to just say courting, huh?
See, courting is really about embracing an approach to relationships where you try to avoid the common pitfalls our culture has created. We don’t claim that people who date are necessarily wrong, we just believe there is a better way! A way with more purpose and authentic interactions. A way with less pain and temptation. It is a path we have chosen because we are sick of the world twisting what God designed to be good into a painful game!
Courting is not a one-size-fits-all activity. For one couple courting may look completely different than it will for another. However, in order be courting and not just modified dating, some basics will stay the same in every courting relationship. Below I will list some of those out.
The Basic Principles of Courting
For one thing, courting is serious. How serious exactly? A courtship only begins if both parties are ready for marriage and very interested in marrying one another. Unfortunately, our world has adopted a pattern of using romantic relationships for entertainment. People become romantically involved with people they never intend to marry. Courtship does not succumb to that pattern. A courtship only starts with or continues if both parties see marriage as a distinct possibility in the near future.
Courting is accountable. We live in a world rife with temptation. Premarital sex, or premarital sexual activities shy of intercourse, is becoming more and more acceptable and even encouraged! Obviously, this is not God’s plan. Courting is designed to be carried out in an environment that helps defeat temptation. Typically, a courting couple will have “dates” with or around each other’s family, church, and friends. Most often the couple will avoid things like being in a bedroom alone or being alone in a car. They have their accountability partners nearby. That isn’t to say they are never alone. A walk down the street or some alone time on the porch may be considered acceptable, but only in a safe environment (I.E. no walks alone in the woods, being home alone, etc.).
Next, courting is authentic. When a couple courts they tend to avoid a major pitfall of traditional relationships. By being around family and friends and not going on hyper-romantic one–on-one dates, they get to know each other in a genuine way. During a one-on-one date it isn’t hard to put up a front. Not that we even do it intentionally. It is only natural to try and make a good impression and put our best foot forward. With courting this is not as easy to do. When you spend extended amounts of time with each other around people (family, church, friends) you are comfortable with you will act like yourself!
Finally, courting invites wise counsel. I fall fast. I also fall hard. So when my head is in the clouds and my mind is blinded by love (or infatuation) it is really helpful to have people I trust around to give me counsel! When a couple spends almost all of their time together with close friends and family, they have the best possible counselors seeing everything that happens!
Next time we'll explore some of the benefits of courting. Benefits that are just as relevant today as they were in the 1800's.
Do you know anyone in a courting relationship?
About the Author: Dakota is a mechanic by trade, a writer at heart, and a Christian by God’s grace! He is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in communications while he launches The Christian Guy’s Life online magazine and blog. There he writes about Biblical manhood, relationships, and Christian life in general! You can follow him on Facebook too.