Saints court. Ain’ts date. Dating is one of the cardinal sins, up there with worshipping Baal and spitting in the Communion cup, or is it? I delve into the seemingly miry waters on how to begin a relationship.
I hate buzzwords and the word ‘courtship’ has caught on like wildfire.
I hate the word courtship. It’s archaic and quite frankly I find it’s a way for the über serious Christians to lord the superiority of their relationship over us — mere Christians. My dislike could also come from the fact that, as a contrarian, I hate buzzwords and the word ‘courtship’ has caught on like wildfire.
I have, however, slowly descended from my ivory tower of contrarianism to realise that my disdain for the word should not cloud my judgement. My intolerance for buzzwords should not translate into a disdain for the act of courtship. (Please know that as I write the word ‘courtship’, my blood vessels constrict and my chest gets tight — fix it Jesus!)
I don’t understand why dating and courtship are pitted against each other. If done right, both are viable, conscientious routes to marriage. Now, I know dating has a bad reputation, evokes sinful connotations and is a secular word. So, the alternative to that must be courtship, right?
Once I took my contra-tinted glasses off, I came to realise that people use the word courtship to highlight that they are actively choosing to glorify God in the way they conduct their relationship! I applaud them for that! What I have an issue with is insinuating that dating cannot be done to the glory of God too – God’s redemptive power is far more encompassing than we imagine.
I do not think dating and courtship are the same thing, ipso facto, they cannot be used interchangeably; to confirm this, I put some feelers out there and general consensus is:
Courtship is delving into commitment off the bat! No toe-dipping. Full-on plunge. You’ve done your research / known them (not stalked) as a friend, and you’ve decided to commit to them with the hopes of marriage. It’s serious. It’s intense. It’s kind of a big deal! If I’m being honest, I’d simply call that a relationship and do away with the C-word.
Whereas, dating is seeing if someone is worth committing to. It’s more laid-back. Contrary to popular belief, dating does not create a nation of commit-o-phobes. There is a myth circulating that dating comes with no intentionality. I’d like to argue the opposite, there is intentionality in dating – it is to find out who the person is with the hopes of committing to them. We exist in a time where we have been afforded the opportunity to get to know people before committing to them, I think we should take that advantage – it is difficult to promise commitment to someone you barely know. You can date with gumption!
Most people are not afforded the opportunity to be around ‘prospective-bae’ often enough to engage in platonic research, so dates are an efficient way to do that.
Now, I’m not saying just date for the sake of dating. If you can’t entertain the thought of committing to them with the hopes of marriage or you’re doing it for a free meal – DON’T DO IT. Certainly don’t date out of pity! – that’s just patronising and time-wasting.
Regardless — exercise discernment and set the necessary boundaries.
If you are earnestly seeking to glorify God and treat people’s emotions respectfully in your approach to entering a relationship why should it matter what path was chosen?
Do not shame the path not travelled. We don’t have to be divided on the issue: #TeamDating or #TeamCourtship, a happy middle exists —#TeamGodlyApproachToRelationships.