Before I begin this post, I do want to say that there are so many versions of courtship… mine is one amongst the many! I realize that some, many, or maybe all (gulp!) may disagree with points in this post. This is how I see courtship (though this isn’t a full explanation of how I see it!). I hope you enjoy it though. 😉
A typical misconception of courtship is that it is supposed to end up in an engagement. When a couple of friends enter into a courtship and it ends up not ending in an engagement most of us immediately think that it failed. Yet… is this the right reaction? To think that the courtship failed?
Let’s think about what a courtship is for a minute. The point of a courtship is to find out if you’re good partners for marriage. Courtship is a time of getting to know one another as friends and finding out each other’s interests, beliefs, convictions, etc. The point of courtship is not marriage, however, you shouldn’t enter into a courtship if you know for sure this isn’t someone you could marry. (Example, if you’re a Christian and he is not. Or you know beforehand that important convictions you have are different). As I stated above- the point of courtship is to find out if you’re good partners for marriage.
A courtship that was carried out in a God-honoring way- even if it didn’t end in a proposal- was a very successful courtship. The couple found out exactly what they wanted to find out! They wanted to know if God’s answer to marriage for them was “yes” or “no”. If God says “no” it’s not a fail… it’s a success because they got their answer!
My initial reaction to finding out a courtship fell through is, “It’s just too bad when courtships fail.” But what I really mean is, “It’s just too bad when courtships don’t turn out the way I want them to.”
When we hear news like a courtship breaking off, yes, we should offer encouragement (and sometimes sympathy!) to our friend, but we should also thank God for a successful courtship.