So, the method thus far has been fairly simple. First, a guy asks a girl on a date. At the end of the first date he asks for a second. If interested, the guy continues to ask and take the girl on dates until around date number seven. On that date he has a DTR with the girl and they discuss the ‘next level’ of their relationship. The guy, then, repeats that process every 7 dates or 2-3 months for as long as the couple needs to until they are ready for engagement. Prior to engagement, though, I recommend that the final ‘level’ of dating should be courtship.

What is Courtship?

Courtship is supervised dating. The old-time stereotype of the crotchety old woman tagging along on a date with a young couple was, typically, only for the purpose of chastity. Whether or not that was the case back then, I think there is remarkable wisdom in having someone supervise a couple’s dating relationship today – especially if they are considering marriage. The supervision should not only be for reasons of chastity, but also for reasons of clarity. In courtship, the dating couple seeks out an older married couple (ideally a couple that the dating pair would like to emulate) and invites them to supervise the relationship so as to be able to mentor the dating couple towards marriage.

Why Courtship?

1. Ignorance. Most young couples have no idea what they are getting themselves into when they start talking about marriage because most of them have never been married. And yet, most couples make the decision to get married before asking for anyone’s insight, advice or guidance. We seek mentors for other areas of our lives – why wouldn’t we seek mentors for our future marriage? Why wouldn’t we invite someone into our relationship and ask them, “Will you please have a look around and let us know if you think we’re a good match for each other?”

2. Impurity. I mentioned in chapter 3.1 that the dating couple should avoid isolation. The longer the dating relationship lasts, the greater the temptation to isolate becomes. As that happens, there is an even greater probability for the relationship to become unhealthy. It is far easier for physical, emotional and sexual immorality and abuse to exist in a relationship that is unsupervised (especially in relationships that are ‘meant to be’ and have been ‘together forever’). Courtship helps to prevent this isolation and is another way of keeping the relationship healthy and pure.

3. Incompatibility. Since the couple will be receiving guidance and advice from a supervising couple, there will be instances when that supervising couple recommends that the man and the woman not get married. It is far better for a couple to realize they are incompatible while courting than to deal with the embarrassment of a broken engagement or the heartache of a painful divorce.

How Should Courtship be Done?

I am proud to say that this is the only part of this dating method that my wife and I actually practiced. After a short period of dating, my wife and I both agreed that we were interested in marriage and ready to do so in the short-term future. So, I invited myself over to her house for dinner and proceeded to ask her father’s permission to court his daughter. Part of that request involved our asking of them to supervise our relationship. Not only did they graciously accept, but my future father-in-law also offered to meet with me one-on-one as well. I, of course, jumped at the opportunity.

Most of the time her parents did not go on dates with us (I don’t think they really wanted to!). Instead, we would make it a regular practice to have a double date with them at the house and that’s where they got to see most of our interactions. In addition to my wife’s parents, we also invited a few other couples to “watch” our relationship because we not only respected their opinion, but we also wanted our future marriage to look like theirs.

Finally, after about a year in our case, we all decided together that marriage was a good choice for us. I made arrangements to propose and, shortly thereafter, asked my wife if she would marry me.

She said yes.

Courtship isn’t supposed to be fancy or filled with rules and regulations. It’s simply admitting as a couple that you need some help with the final steps of the relationship. It is a wise step to take before the ending of the dating relationship.

In the fourth and final chapter we’ll discuss what it looks like to effectively end a dating relationship and, hopefully, get married. Chapter 4.1 will be an interesting way to start.

———————

What have been your thoughts or impressions about courtship prior to reading this? Did this post change your thinking?