So, what is courtship anyway? How is it different from dating?
Couple on a Road

Grace and I get this question a lot. Here is our official answer.

Courtship: If Jesus ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy.

  • Courtship has a purpose and happens to be a lot fun. As opposed to being fun and happening to have a purpose.
  • Courtship is about identifying martial compatibility.
  • Courtship about honesty and intentionality instead of playing manipulative games.
  • Courtship includes family and friends (in that order) instead of excluding community.
  • Courtship spurs couples towards Christ instead of distracting them from Him.
  • Courtship is about standing alongside each other serving Christ instead of facing each other thinking primarily about the couple.
  • Courtship is not about rules. It is about identifying the true motivations of the heart.
  • Courtship is about accountability. Not secrecy.
  • Courtship is about pleasing God in physical and emotional intimacy first and pleasing each other second.
  • Courtship is about treating each other like a son or daughter of the King. Not like an object to be used and used up.
  • Courtship is about thinking of the other as more important.
  • Courtship is about bringing families together, not about excluding the parents.
  • Courtship is fun. Anyone who says it isn’t hasn’t tried it.

Happiness is a side effect of courtship. Not the goal.

Specific differences from dating (for us):

  • Most of the time we have spent together so far has been with our families or with groups of friends.
  • We see our families as allies, not as enemies or obstacles. Grace’s siblings are becoming my friends and my siblings are becoming Grace’s friends.
  • We keep our parents in the loop and are accountable to them. I am learning that moms are a good source of advice when it comes to what women want. And more importantly what they don’t want.
  • We don’t touch each other much. As a single guy, watching unwed couples hang all over each other made me feel uncomfortable. I don’t want to perpetuate that. If this courtship ends in a green light then there will be plenty of time for touching. If it ends in a red light we will be glad we kept our hands to ourselves. This doesn’t mean we don’t touch at all. Grace and I went to the Spring Formal Dance for instance. But we don’t touch much.

You may think we are a couple of fuddy duddies for our lack of physical contact and you are entitled to that opinion. But I will say that this has been one of the most exhilarating times of my life and I don’t need to have my hands all over Grace to have a good time with her.

I think Grace says it best:

“Courtship is allowing God to be the focus of a relationship instead of the couple being the focus, or the world of couples (culture).”