Vital Tactics Behind Courtship and Dating

January 17, 2011
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I believe there are some very vital differences when it comes to Christian courtship vs. dating that you should be aware of. Having an understanding of these differences will help you make wiser choices.

I also believe there is a very obvious way that God shows you what could be a good relationship or bad relationship with a man or a woman and by getting a better grasp on this you have a good chance of avoiding unnecessary trouble and pain.

By now you may be asking yourself what way is that?

And I have a very simple answer: friendship.

But let's talk about courtship for a minute.

You may hear the word "courtship" and think I'm talking about something people haven't done in decades.

Or you may hear the word "courtship" and simply say, "Oh, you mean dating."

They are sometimes used interchangeably.

But I will make an attempt to define the difference between the two by defining them as most people define each word.

What is courtship?

Courtship is just an evolved meaning of the word friendship. It's a friendship between a man and a woman that could have the possibility thereof. That is my definition of what I like to call contemporary courtship.

There is another type of courtship that most of us know of as traditional courtship.

But right now let's talk about contemporary courtship.

When I mentioned contemporary courtship I defined it as "a friendship between a man and a woman that could have the possibility thereof."

You may be asking yourself what does the phrase "the possibility thereof" mean?

It means there's a chance that the friendship could evolve into a relationship. That both parties are open and receptive to the possibility that it could become something more.

The reason behind why God would prefer us to court rather than date is quite simple.

So we can avoid 90% of the mess we get ourselves into like when we date someone.

Before I go on to explain, let me define dating.

What is dating?

A basic understanding of dating is one spending time with another with the hope of being in a relationship with that person.

Sounds similar to the definition of courtship doesn't it?

But there are differences.

The differences are actually very discreet to some degree. If you don't pay attention to them you may not notice the difference.

But these differences are the reasons behind why God would prefer us to court rather than date:

Dating means being more than friends and then discovering whether or not the relationship will work out.

Contemporary courtship means being friends and then discovering that a relationship is blossoming from that friendship. So what is the difference? BEFORE and AFTER.

When you date you discover a lot of the essential information after you've put yourself into that relationship.

When you court you discover a lot of the essential information before you put yourself into that relationship. But that's just a small portion of the differences. Let's look at some other defining differences between dating and contemporary courtship.

Dating - other notable differences are:


One who dates may not have the intentions of ever getting married.

It puts physical attraction first and then the spiritual attributes are forced to follow.

One seeks out a partner without God's consent.

It is a sequence of steps that are out of order.

It applies force.
6. It (often) works through the emotion of lust.

Since a lot of important qualities in an individual are not often found out until it's too late, one or both parties end up going through bad experiences that could have been avoided.

Courting - other notable differences are:


One who courts has the intentions of getting married.

It puts the spiritual attributes first and then the physical attraction follows naturally.

One allows God to (help them) seek out their partner.

It is in a sequence of steps that are in logical order.

It does not apply force.
6. It works through the emotion of love.

Traditional Courtship

Traditional courtship, aka "wooing." Traditional courtship is when a man seeks out the affections of a woman for the intentions of marriage.

What is the difference between dating and traditional courtship?

Purpose. Faith. Measure. Longevity. Intentions.

Purpose: The pursuer has marriage in mind and has no intentions of desecrating the person he is courting by becoming intimate before marriage. One who courts considers sex as a gift of marriage and does not make it a lifestyle to do this with anyone he does not plan to marry.

Faith: He allows God to lead him to the right woman (or vice versa). He would not make a habit of seeking her out without God's leadership.

Measure: Those who date usually date on a recurring basis. Those who court do not court on a recurring basis. By that I mean that it is not a lifestyle for the pursuer. It would most likely not happen more than three times during his lifetime. And if it happened more than once it would most likely be that the woman he was pursuing fell in love with another, died, etc.

Longevity: Dating births many temporary relationships. There is a question of whether the relationship will last when dating is involved. There is no staying power--each person has habit of giving up on each other very easily. Courtship births permanent relationships. There is little to no questioning involved and both partners usually have the full certainty (and concentration) that they will be (or will stay) together until death separates them. Courting does not provide the worries that dating provides. Each person is in it for the long hull.

Intentions: The seriousness and reasons behind the pursuer's wooing--as said before, a lot of people who date have no intention of ever marrying. And those who do have the intentions of marrying have the displeasure of getting involved with those who want to "play." But those who court have every intention of marrying. Courting's main purpose is to find one's God-given partner and marry her. Contemporary Courtship Both individuals begin as friends just like any other male-male friendship or female-female friendship. Contemporary courting is not defined as courting until the friendship evolves into a relationship. Then and only then does it blossom until its full definition.

To clarify, you will not know you were in a courtship until the two of you discover you want to be more than friends. If you become nothing more than friends then it is and always will be just a friendship.

The beauty behind contemporary courtship is simply doing nothing at all. Just let God handle your friendship.

How do you do that?

The same way you handle a same-sex friendship. By being your true self and enjoying each other's time as friends. It will become something more if it's meant to be. If not, then you have a wonderful friend for life. Or that person will eventually leave your life if they are after something else less honorable.

The understanding behind a contemporary courtship is that you are both interested in finding someone, BUT you realize that each other may not be that person.

There's a very mentionable difference between dating and contemporary courtship. And that is "the unspoken language."

What is "the unspoken language?"

The act of not bringing forceful, premature relationship-elements into the male-female friendship.

What is a premature "relationship-element"?

A premature relationship-element is flirting or making sexual advances toward one another and toward love as if love didn't have its own natural timing.

Ever been in a chat room? All you have to do is simply enter into a chat room and what I mean will be as obvious as the sun in the sky:

"23/f/ blonde hair, blue eyes, great body looking for hot stud and a passionate romance."

Sound familiar?

This person is already jumping past five chapters of "the right way to meet my soul mate."

Dating is very similar to that. Two people meet and they barely know one another's first and last names before they try jumping into a relationship with one another. Six months later they break up and wonder why.

People who court know the right way to go about it. They are patient and far more relaxed.

They have trust that everything will works itself out in time.

Those who date, on the other hand, are usually in a hurry and are always rushing to beat the invisible time clock.

Patience and "the unspoken language" are one of the best things you can have when you want a partner for life.

I believe during today's time the contemporary version of courtship is far more suitable for everyone.

Simply because men rarely court women for honorable intentions anymore so it would be a rare case in which the traditional methods of courtship were of use.

Although the traditional courtship offers most of the same benefits there are several reasons why I like contemporary courtship best. Here's why...

Courtship allows for sex to be taken out of the equation. We all know sex causes a lot of problems and that there are people out there specifically interested in you ONLY for sex. If you get rid of sex you get rid of people who are only interested in sex.

Courtship keeps out relationship elements. This is really a little more detail to the first comment but with a different angle. When you date your objective is to know what you have in common with the other person. But when you court that information comes naturally without any risks involved. A lot of people who date still do not find out who they are with until they are married to them. And usually that specifically has to do with how the relationship was formed to begin with. People who date do not form a friendship during their dating process...

Courtship offers you a chance to become best friends with the one God partners you up with. A large part of a marriage is based on friendship. Great marriages equal male-female best friends+. It is hard for a marriage to stand strong against the test of time and life if friendship is not a part of it. And to top that... I can't tell you how many times I've heard people from great relationships say,

"He's like the male version of me." "He's my best friend." "I feel like I always knew him." Courtship is just another way of God trying to tell you not to act prematurely.

For very good reasons.

If you go about it in the proper order He knows that you stand a great chance of seeing the entire situation objectively. And you get a chance to really get to know each other. Chances you don't get when you jump in too quickly.

He just wants to keep you from unnecessary suffering. Because a lot of the times it CAN be avoided.

But if you put yourself inside a relationship prematurely, then it's hard to see whether a relationship is good or bad for you from that angle.

And it's hard to dodge those curve balls that you could've missed if you watched the baseball game instead of deciding to play it.

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