In today's culture, most people are accustomed to dating, which is sometimes a more casual approach to seeking a life partner. A person may have multiple romantic relationships before they marry. Some people start with dating, followed by courting and finally, marriage. What is the difference between courting and dating?
What does it mean to court someone? Courting refers to the activities that happen when a couple is past the dating stage and in a more serious stage of their relationship. It happens right before the two people in love become engaged or married. Usually, a man attempts to woo a woman, with marriage as the end goal.
What is courting? It is the process of trying to attract and persuade a romantic partner to create a long-term relationship with you or to marry them.
Courtship definition may make you envision a man wooing his lady companion with roses and chocolates, and eventually getting down on one bended knee asking for her hand in marriage.
This term is somewhat outdated for the present-day generation because sexual abstinence and modesty are now commonly scoffed at. Casual sex and living together before marriage have become the societal norm.
Now that you know the courtship meaning, does it still happen today? Soma people argue that we have not entirely abandoned courtship in our society. Instead, we have added dating into it.
This simply means that dating has just become an extra layer to our process of finding a mate. Unfortunately, dating for fun often widens the pool of shallow partners.
Courting vs dating: The difference explained
Is courting and dating the same? No, courting a woman is different from dating. Courting involves a lot of discovery between two people who are trying to find out whether or not they are compatible for marriage.
The ultimate goal is to protect the emotional state of both parties so they can have a godly and fulfilling marriage. The are several differences between the two.
1. Before you decide to court someone, you must get permission
If you ask a traditional person to define courting, they will tell you that it involves the male suitor getting parental permission to date their daughter.
2. Usually, the man initiates the relationship
In modern-age dating, either the male or the female can initiate the relationship. However, the man initiates the friendship and approaches his and the woman's parents for their blessing in courting.
When a man informs the woman about his intention, it is expected of a woman to act a little bit indecisive at first. She should be shy and not act as if she could not wait for this guy to make the first move.
There is the belief that a man enjoys being the hunter and the hero of the story, while the woman enjoys being a princess who patiently waits for her knight in shining armor.
3. There must be marital intent
A couple that is dating may not have any specific expectations for their relationship. There is no expectation of engagement or marriage. Both parties are just having fun without necessarily thinking about the future.s
Unlike dating, courtship rules say that both individuals must feel fully mature and ready to take on the responsibility of marriage. The main motivation for the relationship is discovering whether or not you will marry your partner.
NB: You are not obligated to marry the person you are courting. The final decision is yours, and you can choose what to do with your life.
4. A life of purity is encouraged
There is no physical intimacy outside of marriage. The couple waits until the wedding night to have sex, especially if they are Christians.
Non-religious dating culture upholds the importance of discovering sexual compatibility before marriage. However, those who court believe that real commitment means learning to be sexually compatible after marriage, even if it does not happen immediately.
Soul ties are avoided by focusing on creating healthy attachments based on friendship. Romance before commitment sends mixed signals and can sometimes join a couple at the soul level, which may be detrimental in the future.
Since there is no physical intimacy, there is much more space for other essential things such as friendship, companionship, respect, and romance.
5. Family compatibility is tested
Courtship definition is not limited to learning more about each other. It is also a time when the couple spends large amounts of time with each other's family to assess compatibility.
During this period, close relatives weigh-in and get to know the potential person joining their family.
6. There is an emphasis on being in groups and not alone
Unlike dating, there is not much privacy. The couple is encouraged to go out in groups to prevent premature emotional attachments that may lead to physical intimacy.
One-on-one date nights are basic protocol for people in relationships, but in courting, the goal is to help the couple get to know each other on a friendship level before becoming romantic.
Being in the company of others helps to limit opportunities for sexual activity.
7. It does not last for many years
Courtship and marriage go hand in hand. Usually, the courtship period does not last more than a year. The couple is encouraged to decide to marry within a reasonable time.
Dating is all about testing the waters, so the couple may get tired after a couple of dates. However, courting is a more serious and committed relationship.
Both the man and woman know that they will continue to see one another for an extended period. They will, therefore, engage in the same activities as a dating couple, such as going on a movie date, but they do not stop after two or three dates.
8. The couple is always open to the counsel of others
Learning how to court a woman also involves a lot of learning about life and marriage from other people. Emphasis is placed on acquiring wisdom and not feelings.
As a result, the couple is not afraid to seek advice from parents, pastors, and mentors about various issues.
Both family members and friends are welcome in the relationship and the couple counts on their support in finding their right match. Besides getting advice, knowing someone's closest friends and family can help you to understand them better.
9. Unlike dating, it is complementarian
Typically, dating assumes that a good relationship will meet all the needs and desires of a person. Courting, on the other hand, recognizes that men and women are created differently, and each gender has its roles in the community and family.
10. You can only have one partner at a time
There is exclusivity in courting because it is a serious commitment. The couple is exclusive and monogamous, and neither the man nor woman can go on dates with anyone else. If they do, the relationship is over.
Anyone who wants to fool around and live the life of a bachelor while seeing someone else cannot court.
11. The couple is accountable to authorities
There is no accountability for the couple in a dating relationship and little or no interaction with family members. A couple participating in courtship is accountable to their parents or other mentors.
These mentors ensure that the couple stays faithful to each other and their religious beliefs. There is a call for each person to save their raw emotions for their one true love.
Why is courting better than dating?
Now that you understand courting meaning, we think that it offers certain benefits in comparison to dating.
1. It can eliminate short term flings
There are no mixed signals, hidden messages, and no need to decode other people's thoughts, words, and actions. It involves complete honesty right from the early stages of the relationship, so you can rule out mixed signals or different goals early.
The person you are with expresses their true feelings and intentions, and so do you. The two of you agree to be exclusive, so there is no need to see other people.
2. The battle of the sexes is curbed
Does courting define gender roles? Since it is a more archaic type of dating, there are less progressive views of male and female roles in relationships.
Women and men are the courter and the courted, respectively. As a result, gender roles are assigned. In today's world, the couple can choose to ignore some gender roles or to do things differently.
3. Both the man and the woman go the extra mile
While courting, both parties go out of their way to make their partners happy. Little acts of appreciation, like sending flowers, go a long way in creating a good relationship.
4. You cannot get cheated on
Since there are strict rules on how to do it, both the man and woman are safe from getting led on and from getting cheated on.
Courting in Christianity
Courtship can mean many things to different cultures, with some describing it as an inherently religious practice. However, it was not born out of any religious scripture.
In the 1800s, it was the standard way of pursuing someone with the intent of marriage.
What is courtship in Christianity? It revolves around maintaining God's presence within the relationship.
Both the man and the woman must decide if it is in God's will that they are together in the long run. Although it is mostly associated with conservative people, courting in Christianity is usually based on Biblical teachings.
The Bible does not mention the term courting or dating, but it provides essential principles on how Christians should live as followers of Christ. These principles ought to be applied to romantic relationships in preparation for marriage.
What is the biblical difference between dating and courting? In the latter, a man senses God leading him to pursue marriage with a specific woman. As such, he must seek counsel from God-given authorities such as the pastor.
He also informs his parents. God's direction to pursue a certain lady is confirmed through the man's authorities.
Therefore, he uses insights from God's word and prayers before contacting the woman's father. Usually, his pastor accompanies him to her father's house.
The church has a structure for courtship and marriage, so it gets a supervisory role in the relationship. The relationship only starts after the woman's father has given the man his blessing. Only then can he embark on a journey to win her affection.
The rules of Christianity state that the relationship should only commence when God has confirmed that this is the right time for the man to pursue marriage. Therefore, he has a strong feeling that the woman could very likely be the helpmate God has been preparing to be his wife.
God confirms His direction through His word, the approval of God-given authorities, and the Holy Spirit as a witness. No one should enter courtship if marriage is not a realistic possibility.
Everything is done for the glory of God. In Christianity, marriage is special because it symbolizes Christ's pure love and union with the church.
As such, the relationship should reflect Christ's love and honor for each other. Both the man and the woman should understand the importance of the decision they are making regarding marriage.
They must also establish commitments about their relationship before entering a courtship.
Tips for a successful courtship
- Have a willing and teachable spirit that seeks parental guidance and advice from the relevant authorities.
- Ask questions about each other's convictions, values, aspirations, and other pertinent matters to prepare yourselves for a marriage covenant.
- If you are both practising Christians, make it a habit to pray together for loved ones and the church. You should also pray for your future marriage.
- Be willing to understand each other's likes, differences, and preferences.
- Always exercise self-control in your passion for each other. Both of you should remain determined to keep yourselves pure for a marriage covenant.
Courting is the development of a relationship in which a couple gets to know one another with the ultimate goal of getting married.