Courtship isn’t only for the conservative set. Here are 5 rules all daters can use.
Tired of dating? Have you considered courtship? It’s difficult to define, but the essential difference between courting and dating lies in their purposes: people date for various reasons, but people court only under assumption that they will marry. And despite its old-fashioned connotations, courting is still widely practiced today, especially in religious circles. But even if you’re not religious, courtship guidelines can offer solid advice to the modern daters among us. Check out five guidelines below and find out how they can apply to your dating life, whether or not you’re in for a full-court press…
1. You only court one person at a time. There’s no “shopping around” once you start courting. The “what are we” talk may even occur date number one. This initial commitment is meant to provide the freedom to love each other fully without being afraid that the other person will start considering other partners. Of course, this doesn’t mean all courtships end in marriage, as reality dictates that some things simply aren’t meant to be. It just means that people enter into courtships for the purpose of a serious, future-focused relationship.
Apply this: Be honest and direct about your intentions when you start dating someone. Looking for a rebound? Say so. Want a long-term relationship? Make that clear. Likewise, be honest with yourself. If you want to settle down, don’t feel uncomfortable passing on a man who’s sweet and charming but a total commitment-phobe.
2. The man pursues the woman. While this practice varies from community to community, most groups that favor courtship also favor a more traditional method of wooing. The man initiates the friendship, the “talk,” and even approaches his and the woman’s parents for their blessing. Think The Kite Runner.
Apply this: If you’re a woman eager to let the man take the lead, by all means, let him! For those who prefer an equal-opportunity approach to dating, well… try letting him pay now and then, or at least hold the door for you without being deeply offended. Many men like to feel they’re leading the way, even if you know you secretly have the upper-hand.
3. Family and community are central. Courtships are always conducted publicly, and with the approval of both parties’ parents. Oftentimes, the man will ask the woman’s father for his approval before the courtship officially begins. In more conservative circles, pastors and parents act as matchmakers. The goal is for the family to help the man and woman stay accountable for their level of commitment to each other. So, Mom and Dad are allowed to counsel their son if they feel he is compromising the woman in any way.
Apply this: Sometimes your mother does actually know what’s good for you. Don’t dismiss advice from your elders. Relationships haven’t changed all that much in the past few decades.