Courtship vs. Dating

I was recently asked my feelings about courtship vs. dating. I thought I’d post my response.

I don’t think there’s a set of rules or a program that’s going to work in every case. That’s why the courtship thing rubs me wrong a lot of the time.

But the dating thing isn’t any good. My big problem with it is that two young people make a commitment to each other, to ‘see’ only each other, that lasts only so long as both feel like keeping it. It teaches kids a very bad idea of what commitments are all about, and I believe just sets them up for divorce later. There is a lot of pressure to get physical, as a proof of the validity of the relationship, and then when the relationship fails, and the next one starts, the girl (especially) will say to herself that this relationship is the real one, and validate that by getting more physical than the last time. It’s a bad cycle to get into.

So my feelings on it are this. Young people should be encouraged not to make these bogus commitments to each other. A young girl should not believe she has any special status in any young man’s life until that young man puts a ring on her finger. The girl usually only gets inappropriately physical with a guy to legitimize the relationship; so if she understands there is no commitment until there’s an engagement, then that should help with that kind of pressure. Parents should be involved in this, in helping young people, especially a daughter, select the right mate.

So there’s some of the principles of the courtship movement that I think are right on. I’m just not willing to tell people exactly how it’s supposed to look in their case. The courtship people sometimes are quick in my mind to lay down a system for people, say ‘these are all the things that a courting couple is allowed and not allowed to do’. And I think that’s between the parents and their kids.

Hope this helps!

Matt Powell

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