187: Courting Vs Dating // What We Would Do Different
What are the benefits of courting and how to talk to family members who think your child should be allowed to date?
We had a 10 month courtship (our first time around) and then a typical dating relationship later. We would not necessarily recommend courting, or at least the way we did it. We don’t want the dating model for our children though either. It’s not to say that a lot of harm can be avoided, but we think it can be so uptight and intense. It can also lead to not developing a great friendship or ground level relationship before you dive into marriage. Getting alone to have one-on-one raw, meaty conversations is a healthy part to getting to know someone before deciding to spend the rest of your life with them.
We think it’s more helpful for the guy and girl to explore a relationship together in terms of hanging out a couple times together, asking people who know them questions, asking each other questions, seeing if your personalities connect, seeing if you have fun together, and ultimately, seeing if you want to make this work in the infancy of the relationship. After you’ve done that and you think this person is worth fighting for, then bring them into the family and start putting them through the paces. I think when you put them through the paces before both people are even sure they want to pursue the relationship, it can just really muddle the emotion and be very stressful on everyone involved.
If you want to be married to someone of integrity, someone who protects, cherishes and is faithful and loyal to you, you would want there to be this open line of exhortation and discernment from the parents as soon as possible. We think courtship can be a beautiful thing, if you realize as the parent that you are the counselor and your adult child needs to make their own decisions and come to you and you don’t try to control the situation. We want to raise our children in a way that they value our opinion and discernment and be able to trust them, trust their standards and desires for a relationship and marriage.
To answer the second question, our parents would say, children don’t need to date. You date to get married. When our child is old enough, an adult and ready to get married, then that’s when they will date. When the time or person is right, then we would definitely encourage them to date. You also don’t need to answer to anyone how you parent your children. You answer to God.
To sum it all up, we aren’t bitter at courting and don’t think dating is great. We are somewhere in the middle! :)
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