2016/09/29

Dating? Courtship? My Thoughts


Courtship. I was very intrigued when I first heard this term. It sounded very old fashioned (and I indeed first heard it when watching the movie "Old Fashioned"). And when I first started to research what that actually meant, I thought "Is there anybody who really uses this concept?". But as I learned about the motivations behind courtship, I realized that I had been wrong. In this post I'll tell you what I think of courtship and which aspects I would apply to my life. 


If you don't know what courtship is, I've put some links under this post where you can read about courtship, but I'll also provide a short definition. It basically means a relationship with the purpose to evaluate whether you want to marry that person or not, without the physical interfering. Some couples don't even hold hands before they're married! The prospect of marriage is essential to this type of relationship, in contrast to dating, where you might end up in a relationship, but marriage is nowhere to be seen. 


My experience with dating and courtship + Disclaimer


As you might have read, my boyfriend and I dated each other for 3 weeks, so that was a rather short period of time! But at that time, I didn't know of any other method than dating (I think that courtship is almost completely unknown even to evangelical German Christians). This means that I have no experience with courtship. Thus, everything I write about is just theory. 
I am also not married, so I won't evaluate whether dating or courting is a better preparation for marriage. In my environment, no one would marry without having had a relationship first and I can't imagine to do it, either. But I don't judge those who do it and I want to apologize for leaving out marriage in this post. So please note that I don't ignore that courtship is meant to lead to marriage. 

A clear focus

What I like most about courtship is that there's a clear focus. Both partners are in the relationship for the same thing and when they make their decision to be together, they really mean it. It's not like "so we're in a relationship now and we'll see how that turns out". 
I also like that couples in a courtship do not shy away from talking about "unromantic" issues like finances, plans for the future or politics. Many dating couples don't really care about these things and only later, when they are already in a relationship, living together or married, these issues suddenly appear. 


Are chaperones babysitters?


The third point is dating in group settings or being "chaperoned" by friends or family. While I don't believe that (young) adults necessarily need a babysitter and there are many ways to date without being tempted to do anything you don't want, it still makes sense. Because then your friends and family get to know your partner and you can also see him interact with them. Although I believe that for a successful relationship, it is not mandatory for your partner to get along with all of your friends or your family, as some people just don't click with each other, it is a lot easier when he does. And they can give you lots of feedback on things you might not have noticed. 


Final Thoughts


In my opinion, there is no right or wrong approach on how to find a partner. If I could live my life again, I would probably do things a little different, but I'm okay with how I met my boyfriend. Courtship is a very interesting concept and I think that even when you're not Christian or you have different boundaries, you can and should apply the three points that I mentioned above. (This would be "courtship-inspired dating" then ^^) But the most important thing is that relationships should always be intentional and respectful. 


If you want to know more about courtship, here are some links: 

The Old Fashioned Way Review (this book contains a lot of wisdom about relationships and also information about courtship and some questions for a courtship in the appendix)
The Long Way To Go - Courtship (all of the posts that fall under the courtship category, including Emily and Wesley's wonderful lovestory. This was actually how I found this blog - I was looking for real-life courtship experiences.)
Boy Meets Girl - Say Hello to Courtship (The second book by Joshua Harris that introduces the concept of courtship. I didn't like it that much, but it's still worth reading.)
Teens, Dating and Courtship from Tolovehonorandvacuum.com (She reflects on her views on courtship and dating and how they've changed and also how her definition of dating has changed.)

What do you like most about courtship? 

Do you think it's okay to do "courship-inspired dating"? 

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