Note: Now that we are married, this is outdated, but the
principles for dating/courting relationships still hold true.
What is Courting?
Good question. It is not something easily defined because it has been mostly forgotten. Let’s look at some characteristics. Primary emphasis on the whole relationship and the future. A typical process would be to get to know the person socially, emotionally, spiritually, and then physically. Family involvement generally plays a large part in the process. Friendship, strong communication skills, and compatibility are all examined/built during the courtship. Both people “have the understanding that marriage is the eventual goal of the relationship. Courtship takes a more thoughtful, long-term approach to a premarital relationship.”
How does it differ from dating?
There are numerous areas where a courtship differs from dating. Courtship seeks to involve the two individuals in each others lives to a degree where they really know who the other is. Dating rarely gets beyond the surface physical/sexual attraction. Courtship looks at the long term while dating focuses on the short. Dating is private and secluded. The courting couple seeks to include family and friends in activities. This helps the other people evaluate whether the couple has a chance by observing weaknesses and strengths which they can share with the couple. Contemporary dating “is characterized by expectations of physical/emotional intimacy without commitment.” Commitment is up front in the courtship as the two people seek God’s will for their lives. In many cases, the binding force is Christ’s love for the individuals and their desire to glorify God as opposed to a desire to glorify and satisfy themselves.
Why have we chosen this route?
Both of us see the flaws in modern dating. The emphasis of personal gratification over the mutual building up and edifying of the other person is a shame. God is the most important person in our lives and we have tangibly seen that in pursuing Him, then each other, we grow closer to Him and each other, strengthen communication skills, and get to know who we are (as opposed to what the world says we are). Waiting for marriage is worth it. If life can be this great while courting, we are really excited to find out how marriage will be. God has been preparing us to make that commitment. I have not proposed to her yet, nor will I until I have met her father (he is in Hawaii and I am in NY) and gotten his permission for her hand in marriage.
And marriage is great! Even better than courting. Camille and I are extremely glad that we waited for marriage in so many areas. I proposed on Saturday, May 20, 2000 in my own special way. We set a wedding date of September 9th. You can see the photos in the photo archive. Our period of waiting (though difficult, especially while engaged) has brought us closer together in bonds of trust and faithfulness that would not be there if we had chosen other paths to follow.
Quotes are from:
Courtship, Dating and Right Relationships
By Tracey Bartolomei