Courting vs Dating
What is the difference between courting and dating?
Courting is pursuing another Christian to become equally yoked and preserving sex for marriage alone. In contrast, those dating don’t intentionally seek out another Christian and often have sex before marriage.
There are lively debates around courting vs dating for Christian singles to consider. The concept of courting may sound outdated to some in our modern world. When hearing the term, many have images of their grandparents being chaperoned by their parents with their special someone. In those days, courting was about getting to know your potential partner as much as possible in a safe, pure environment. Often, these courtships led to successful marriages that lasted lifelong. Fast forward to today’s dating scene and we see surface-level connections, one night stands, and high divorce rates. Obviously, many things have shifted in our culture and the practice of dating is definitely one of them. It’s time for Christians to resurrect the idea of courting and redefine what godly relationships should look like.
The first component to courtship is spiritual. God instructs us to “..not be yoked together with unbelievers..” (2 Corinthians 6:14, NIV). Therefore, we should intentionally court other Christians. Unfortunately, many people compromise this principle because they are unable to find enough Christian singles to date. However, we’ll never experience the same level of connection with an unbeliever as we would a Christ follower because they share our values, beliefs, and worldview. In addition, courting other believers creates wonderful opportunities to do spiritual activities together, such as attending church, Christian concerts, reading the Bible, and serving. These activities will help us to not only grow closer with God, but closer to one another as well.
The second component is mental. Unfortunately, our sex saturated culture encourages people to lust over the person they are pursuing, which is dishonorable both to God and to them. Instead, we must“….take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV) by edifying them with our mind. We need to intentionally get to know them. How do they see life? What makes them tick? How does their mind work? Discovering the answers to these questions will give us a glimpse into the fascinating way God has uniquely crafted them, rather than looking at superficial outward appearances alone.
The third component to courting is emotional. Unfortunately, many people in the dating scene today withhold their emotions for a variety of reasons. Some don’t want to be hurt again because of previous negative experiences. Others don’t want to feel tied down so they keep their emotions surface-level. Still others avoid feeling anything substantial because they are only concerned about personal gain and physical pleasure. These approaches all hinder true intimacy. Instead, if the connection feels safe and warranted, we must allow ourselves to develop authentic feelings to cultivate god-honoring relationships. We must also be willing to share our emotions about life, others, and them to allow our hearts to become slowly integrated.
The fourth component is physical. Sex is promoted as casual and meaningless everywhere we look in our society. Consequently, most people in the dating scene expect to have sex within the first few dates. However, as Christians, we must ascribe to a higher set of morals that honor God by preserving sex for marriage alone. When sex is permitted before marriage, it often becomes the focal point of the relationship, stunting the emotional, social, and spiritual areas of intimacy needed for a successful long-term relationship. Also, when sex is acceptable, many men use women merely for physical gratification, leaving both partners feeling empty and unsatisfied. Therefore, we must develop a “no sex” policy with the special someone we are courting and commit to spending time with them in public to avoid sexual temptation and to keep our relationship moving in the right direction.
So, please join us in godly courting by pursuing other believers, honoring them with your mind, allowing yourself to develop feelings, and preserving sex for marriage alone.
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What are some other major differences between courting and dating?