Friday, April 5, 2013

Thoughts on Dating vs. Courtship

One of my Facebook friends posted an article on why modern dating is wrong, and courtship is the way to go. I had a couple of spare minutes before I had to meet a friend, so I figured this riveting article would be a good use of those minutes, and not be so difficult to pry myself away from that it would make me late.

{Clearly British Literature has heightened my tolerance for run-on sentences.}

I read the article, and it surprised me by making me angry and rebellious. It also made me think, which did not surprise me.

In light of that article, it is now time for me, a nineteen-year-old girl who has only dated one guy, to speak with authority about relationships.

Ultimate stance: Listen to God, and things will go well for you.

I don’t necessarily have a problem with dating. I don’t necessarily have a problem with courtship. I see three main issues with both.

Problems with Dating
 1. People do it for the wrong reasons. If you’re dating just to have someone to hold your hand, kiss you, take pictures with you, and be wild with, then you’re doing it wrong. Dating IS fun, but it isn’t FOR fun. It’s to discover the person God has specially planned for you to find and love.

2. People jump straight into dating. Since coming to college, I’ve watched new friends meet people of the opposite sex and immediately begin “talking” to them. A month later, they’re dating. I think that’s shallow and impractical. I don’t approve of dating someone you aren’t already good friends with.

3. Dating makes it more difficult to stay physically and emotionally pure. Like, yes. The second a girl opens her heart to a guy and her hand to his, they are, by definition, going farther than “just friends.” If they break up, they will have to carry their actions with them into any future romantic relationships.

Problems with Courtship
1. People who practice courtship are almost always prudish, overbearing, holier-than-thou types. I don’t know if courtship comes from this type of attitude, or if this attitude comes from courtship. Either way, it’s a huge turn-off to the concept and the people involved.

2. People who practice courtship assume that all dating is always wrong. My question is, “If my significant other and I are genuinely listening to God and seeking to do the right thing, how can you tell us it’s evil and going to blow up in our faces?”

3. Courtship puts unhelpful and stressful pressure on the girl and guy in question. Think about it. A guy kinda likes this one girl. But before he can get to know her as more than a passing acquaintance, he has to go through all this terrifying red tape and gut-wrenching screening process. Then when he and the girl finally begin “courting” and legitimately get to know each other, he better hope to God he doesn’t discover anything about her that would cause him not to love her completely and forever. And ever. Like, holy crap. That’s terrifying.

Obviously, we’re human and therefore going to misinterpret God and make mistakes. Dating is tricky, and it does make it easier to misstep. However, I’ve watched a lot of Christian friends date, get engaged, and marry without any devastating regrets. {Everyone is going to have some regrets in their life, whether they're romantic ones or not.} Like many things, dating has to be handled wisely or it CAN turn into something wrong.

As I think about it, I think the same thing can be said about courtship, just in a different way. There’s nothing wrong, per se, with courtship. How can doing next to nothing be “wrong”? But when your adherence to this principle becomes so rigid and romanticized that you believe the state of your soul is purer, higher, better than others’, that is wrong. Courtship seems to lead to a judgmental attitude, which God does not appreciate.

In conclusion, I think dating, when handled correctly and with Godly hearts, is healthy, constructive, and practical. I think courtship is fine, but is not always healthy or practical and can lead to arrogance.



  1. Can you define your view of dating and courtship for me because I considered them the same thing and I'm having trouble understanding what you mean :)

  2. Correct me if I'm wrong, but to me courtship means you have to go through the family and it's souly for the purpose of someday marrying, and dating is basically being alone or whatever you want to do? That's what they mean to me at least.

    To me .. if your under 18, you shouldn't be dating. At least not the form of dating I just described.

    You're right, people taking dating too lightly. It's all about having fun. I HATE that.

    Courtship can be over baring, but when done right, I think it can be a good thing. If I were to have a rule of courtship for my future children, I would let them be friends with the opposite sex, but only in a friend/family group setting. It wouldn't cross the line into courtship until they two wanted to get to know each other better.

    Good points.