One of the most frequent topics I get asked about is courting. What it is, why you should do it, how beneficial it is etc. A lot of people make assumptions about courting without understanding it. If you will lend me a few minutes of your time, I would like to explain exactly what courting is. And in my next article, I’ll discuss why we do it.
The basics of courting
Some people like to refer to courting as “dating with purpose”. But in reality, courting and dating are two different things altogether! Courting is a way to get to know a potential spouse in a real environment, with accountability partners, while protecting your heart as much as possible. It is a unique approach to relationships specifically engineered to bring about results that dating does not always achieve. Here are some of the main points in a courting relationship:
- Courting is conducted around close family and friends
- Courting is strictly for couples potentially seeking to marry each other
- Courting involves saving one’s heart and body for their spouse
- Courting is a way to maintain an accountable relationship
How exactly does courting work?
In a courting relationship, a couple will spend the majority of their time together with one or the other’s family and friends. Instead of going out alone to watch a movie, the couple might go see the movie with their siblings. Or instead of going on a bowling date, they might go bowling together with their Sunday school class. Often a courting couple will spend a good deal of time just “hanging out” with their families. Maybe one weekend they will play board games with his family at his house and the next weekend have a cookout with her family at her house.
Courting helps minimize temptation
After talking or writing about courting, there is often somebody who will claim it won’t work for one reason or another. I have heard just about every reason courting shouldn’t work. One of the most common, though, is people claiming courting won’t work because there isn’t enough ‘alone time’. This stems from the incorrect assumption that a courting couple is never alone. The reality is, a courting couple spends time alone, but without being left alone.
For example, while courting, a couple may spend time sitting on the porch by themselves talking. Or maybe they go for a short walk by themselves. They can also talk over the phone without somebody listening. The idea is not to prevent the couple from learning about each other, it is to prevent the couple from getting into a situation where they will fall to temptation.
Everybody has their own standard when it comes to physical intimacy before marriage. Some take the Bible passage that says, “It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (1 Corinthians 7:1) literally. They abide by almost no physical contact before marriage. Some allow hugs or hand holding. Typically, courting relationships are strict about physical contact, however, whatever the couple’s godly standards might be, courting seeks to help uphold them.
Courting helps protect your heart
Courting is a way to protect your heart before marriage. Many people have a pattern of giving away their heart and getting hurt. That is why courting relationships are not considered unless marriage is on the table for the couple’s near future. I’m sure you have all heard the expression, “Why shop if you can’t buy?”. It is the same concept at play here — why get in a relationship if you can’t get married?
I have outlined in this article a general idea of what courting is, but not all courting relationships look the same. Different people have different standards. I know some people who will not allow any alone time at all. Some don’t mind it under strict guidelines. And others may be ok with it under relatively lenient guidelines. Just like dating is different for every person, so is courting. In order for it to be courting and not dating though, certain things must be the same. The basis of courting is being serious about the relationship and spending the majority of your time around family or close friends.
I hope this article gives you a new perspective on courting, or has helped you discover the idea for the first time. It is a unique and rewarding way to do relationships! Next time I will discuss the benefits and rewards courting offers!
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