I’m going to talk about the differences between courting and dating today. Let’s start!
Courting is not dating, but you could call it ‘dating-with-a-purpose’. When you enter into a courtship, your intention is to get married. By the time he asks to court you, you should already be very good friends, and know a lot about each other. The purpose of a courtship is to get to know each other more, with marriage in mind.
What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word ‘courting’? Probably a bunch of rules about what you can or cannot do with whomever your courting, right? Do you think of young men and women from the early 1900’s? Allow me to paint a new image for you.
- To be involved with someone romantically, typically with the intention of marrying.
The world has mocked and put down the idea of courting. It’s seen as over-protected and old-fashioned. People have presented arguments saying, “We don’t need to court. We won’t do anything wrong.” or “We know how far is too far… we don’t need rules to stop us from making mistakes.” and the like. The problem here is that the wrong image of courtship is in their minds. Courtship is meant to protect you from temptations. It’s supposed to help keep you on the ‘pure’ path.
God created humans to long for love, and that’s not a bad thing. But God specifically said that the marriage bed should be kept pure before marriage.
“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” (Hebrews 13:4)
Courtship is supposed to help you keep away from any temptation of defiling the marriage bed. We’ll look at typical courtship boundaries in a moment. First, let’s look at dating.
- To be romantically involved with someone
- A form of romantic courtship typically between two individuals with the aim of assessing the other’s suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship.
Dating is meant for fun. It’s a social activity. The difference is that dating is for the here-and-now, not looking ahead to marriage, where as courtship is thinking ahead from the very beginning. In a courtship, you wouldn’t consider a young man whom you would not want to marry. When you date, you’re giving pieces of your heart away to every guy you like. You start saying ‘I love you’ and you’ve given some of your love to him. You won’t have that ‘first’ for whom you truly want to give it to. You give each other ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ kisses and you may be tempted to go farther than that.
Here are some typical courtship boundaries:
- Have a chaperone (or people around you with similar convictions) with you at all times
- Keep physical contact to a minimum
- The young man must go through Dad in order to court the girl
- Texting, phone calls, and video conferencing usually include Mom and Dad
Courtship isn’t meant to stop a couple from getting to know each other, or from showing their love to one another. But it is always done in a godly self-controlled way and environment. When a couple is courting, they’re number one focus is to please the Lord with their relationship, and it should be the same way in their marriage. I’ll talk more on this soon. 🙂
Let me describe to you a story in hopes of better painting this picture.
Josh’s best friend got married in 2007. They became friends through church,and they were both strong Christians. A lot of the guests are from their church, but there are lots of Christian friends and family there as well, many of whom are strong in the faith. At the wedding, Josh was introduced to Rachel Smith, through one of Rachel’s brothers. They became fast friends and had a wonderful time getting to know each other during the reception. Josh found out that Rachel and her family are from New Hampshire, and Rachel learned that he was from Maine, where the wedding was being held. Now, fast forward a few months. Josh is in Massachusetts for work and decides to stop by Rachel’s church in New Hampshire on the Lord’s Day. Rachel is excited to see her friend again, and Josh is excited to see Rachel. They chat through the day, becoming better friends. Mr. and Mrs. Smith invite Josh to come visit them in New Hampshire any time. Josh takes them up on the offer! In fact, the two families become very close over time. Josh often comes down to New Hampshire with one of his siblings for a visit. Eventually, Josh finds that he wants to be more than just friends with Rachel. He prays and earnestly seeks the Lord in this important decision. A week later, he calls Mr. Smith. He explains that he appreciates Rachel and her godly attributes and that he feels like God is bringing them together. He asks permission to court Rachel. Mr. Smith is pleased, for he has spent a lot of time with Josh and been impressed with his godly features. He tells Josh that he will talk with Mrs. Smith and ask Rachel if she is ready for that commitment. A few days later, Mr. Smith calls Josh back and tells him that he and his wife feel that God is indeed bringing Josh and Rachel together, and Rachel feels that God has His hand over them. Josh is invited down to New Hampshire for another visit, in which he asks Rachel to court him. She joyfully agrees. They are courting for almost 9 months before Josh is ready to ask Mr. Smith the next question. By this time, Mr. and Mrs. Smith are excited to have this godly young man ask for their daughter’s hand in marriage. Soon, the wedding bells are ringing and Josh and Rachel are married.
This story is supposed to be a picture of courtship. Notice how Josh and Rachel had already become close friends before they started courting? They already knew that they had a lot in common (the same goals, convictions, beliefs, etc), so when Josh proposed courtship to Rachel, she knew that she could enter into a courtship with the intention of marriage.
Hope you enjoyed!
Have a blessed day!
Featured image taken from Stock Snap.