So, what is courtship anyway? How is it different from dating?
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).”