Tuesday, March 25, 2014

An Ounce of Prevention: '23 Things to Know About Dating and 27 Things to Know About Courting'



That quote up top tickled me...

On to the matter at hand. I sometimes find myself in discussions about the differences between dating and courting. Quentin McCall has broken it down pretty well. First, I'm going to share his article "The Difference between Dating and Courting" followed by the 23 dating points and 27 courting points that he provided:

Dating and courting can be beautiful, rich, learning, and growing experiences.   These experiences are a path to helping us find the person we will choose to love.  Love is a selfless, unconditional action; not based on anything unstable.  So, since dating and courting may lead to love, we must be responsible and handle both situations with care.

If approached correctly, you will never have to wonder whether you are dating or courting anyone.  You see, we should not haphazardly fall into dating or courtship.  “Dating” and “courtship” are not just words used to casually describe our relationships and interactions with people.  They should both be experiences we manage in healthy ways.

Dating and courting in healthy ways will eliminate 85% of our pain, drama, or problems in dealing with men or women.  So, let’s go a little deeper in defining some things that distinguish dating and courtship.

1. The Goal – The goal of dating is to get to know people (and even learn some things about you in the process).  The goal of courtship is marriage.  The transition from dating to courtship comes after two people have gotten to know one another really well.  After this, they can talk openly and decide they both want to move towards marriage.  The two people should both be able to say, with confidence, “We are courting to get married.”

2. The Relationship – When dating, you get to know people as acquaintances.  You learn about their likes, dislikes, interests, etc…  When courting, you become best friends.  This is where you begin to share more about the reasons for who you are, why you like the things you like, the source of your interests, etc… This is where you spend time together experiencing one another’s interests for the purpose of supporting them and helping them move towards their goals.

3. The Status – Dating is a temporary place and should be a safe place for getting to know someone. Courting is for a loving and secure relationship.

4. The Communication – You should be honest, no matter what.  That speaks to good character.  However, during the dating phase, you share in order to learn about one another.  During the courtship phase, you learn to actively listen and work together to lay a strong foundation for marriage.

5. The Intimacy – Sex is not for dating or courting.  It should be reserved for marriage.  During the dating phase, you may find yourself attracted to a person.  However, this is the time for you to establish boundaries and ensure you do not place yourself in situations where you will be tempted.  During a courtship, you should have open and honest communication with your partner and work together to establish boundaries.

6. The Family – The dating phase is not the time to “meet the family”.  Remember, when dating, you are developing acquaintance-level friendships.  Once you have had a chance to get to know a person without a lot of outside influences, had a chance to evaluate them for yourself, and you know they are someone you would considering marrying… then you can start to integrate them with the family.  Now, let me add, I am not saying you must be secretive about everyone you are dating.  Apply wisdom and definitely let someone know who you are spending time with.  However, I am saying to have some discretion about who you start to integrate with your family.  Courtship is when you should meet and spend time with each other’s family.

7. The Preparation – Being happy alone is the prerequisite to having a happy relationship and marriage. No man or woman can do what God is supposed to be doing in your life and there is no way around it.  Once you are happy alone, you may choose to enter the dating phase.  During this phase, you should do things to help you continue to grow as an individual (prayer, reading, studying, counseling, etc…).  In a courtship, you should seek resources that help you learn how to grow together as one in preparation for marriage (e.g. marriage counseling, reading, open discussions, etc…).

8. The Commitment -  Whether dating or courting, either party can decide the relationship is not for them and choose to walk away.  When dating with boundaries, ending a relationship is not devastating because you have an acquaintance-level friendship and you both respect the other’s decision to walk away.  When in a courtship, there may be hurt involved from ending the relationship.  However, the honesty and security in the relationship allow you to walk away with mutual respect.

In dating, the motives are not always clear. If we place a premium on friendship, and not having sex or companionship, the motives will be made clear overtime. The problem we have is when people see dating as a recreational sport of sex, fun, variety, companionship and using people until someone else comes along.

Here are 23 things you need to know about dating:

1. Dating is not for having sex, using people, numbing your pain or dealing with aloneness.

2. Dating is not for having multiple sex partners or test driving sex to determine if the sex is good enough before we marry someone.

3. Dating is for getting to know people and establishing an acquaintance-level friendship with the possibility of deeper friendship.

4. If you remove the sex and do not rush into physical and emotional relationships you will get to know people in healthy ways.

5. Dating may or may not lead to marriage or courtship.

6. Dating is usually a result of physical attraction and not spiritual attributes.

7. In dating, people usually seek out people without seeking God for direction or an answer about the person they are considering.

8. If you don’t take your time with your dating approach, you increase your chances of being hurt and becoming bitter because of your pain.

9. Dating is often motivated by lust, aloneness, and emotional decision making. We need more people who approach dating in healthy ways and not from the standpoint of numbing pain or selfish reasons.

10. Dating is often a selfish activity where two people are not sure about who they are. We have to learn to love ourselves and become whole alone with God. Being happy alone is the prerequisite to having a happy relationship and marriage. No man or woman can do what God is supposed to be doing in your life and there is no way around it.

11. Dating can cause a lot of hurt. Thus, we must place a premium on becoming friends, prayer, and not having sex. We can’t allow our emotions to rule our decision making or allow selfishness to cause us to rush into relationships we are not ready for.

12.After dating for a while and establishing a true friendship based on common values and character, you can move into a deeper relationship known as “courtship.”

13. Courtship has the goal of marriage. Dating may or may not have marriage as the goal.

14. Dating is not the problem. The people doing the dating are the problem.

15. Dating will not hurt you if you do it the right way.

16. Don’t date if you can’t be happy alone or are seeking dating to numb deeper emotional wounds.

17. Dating will have you thinking the sex you are having is love when it’s really lust. This is caused by how you date, lack of maturity, and how you approach dating.

18. God has given us principles to live by and these principles can be applied in healthy dating.

19. Dating with selfish goals is wrong and will lead to you being hurt, disappointed, bitter and delusional about love.

20. Dating should be seen as something safe, not something that is risky. However, if we don’t apply boundaries it can become unsafe for our hearts. Please focus on safe and pure friendships during the dating process.

21. Even when dating does not lead to marriage, we should leave the situation knowing more about ourselves and who we are. It should not be just another disappointment or sex partner added to the belt.

22. Dating can help develop and improve your relationship skills.

23. God can use any relationship to teach, heal, and develop you for who is for you.


When courtship is the goal, your main intent is to get married.

Here are 27 things you need to know about courtship:

1. Courtship is not about playing, doubt, or uncertainty. In this stage, you are about getting married. Only enter courtship when you are ready to marry.

2. A courtship doesn’t have to develop into marriage because a couple can decide they are not for each other and simply remain friends, which is perfectly OK.

3. In courtship, you are both praying together and seeking God to lead the relationship in the right direction.

4. Courtship will not happen many times in your life, assuming you are approaching relationships from a healthy perspective. Remember, courtship is where you are exploring a deeper relationship with marriage being the goal. So, you will not be doing this often if you are approaching the dating stage with healthy boundaries. 23 Things You Need To Know About Dating

5. Dating is a temporary place and should be a safe place for getting to know someone. Courting is for a loving and secure relationship.

6. Courtship is not for the spiritually and emotionally immature.

7. Sex is not for courtship. Sex should be a gift of marriage.

8. Courtship is for positive intentions.

9. Courtship is done with the goal of having a future spouse.

10. You should not enter into a courtship until you can be happy alone and not attempting to heal emotional wounds through a relationship.

11. Courtship is a selfless relationship. If you are a selfish person, you should not even have a serious relationship until you are mature enough to share life with someone without seeking to gain something for yourself.

12. Selfishness should not drive a marriage, nor should it be the driver of your courtship. (Philippians 2:3)

13. For the men who are reading this, your focus should be on becoming an Ephesians 5 man. (Ephesians 5:25)

14. You should treat the man or woman you are in a courtship with as your brother or sister. (1 Timothy 5:1-2)

15. If you can’t see yourself marrying the person you are dating, delay the courtship. Only enter into courtship with someone you would consider marrying.

16. Courtship is when you should meet and spend time with each other’s family.

17. Courtship requires the couple to be honest and transparent so both can make a choice about life together.

18. A successful courtship requires love, prayer, patience, and oneness.

19. You should avoid hiding your feelings during courtship.

20. The habits you form during your courtship will bleed over into your marriage.

21. A healthy courtship should bring the best out of you.

22. A healthy courtship has strong communication.

23. Courtship is where you can become best friends. We all know the best relationships or marriages happen when couples are best friends.

24. Pray for discernment concerning your courtship and the potential for marriage.

25. When in courtship take time to discern God’s will. No rushing…..

26. Courtship will help a couple determine if they should get married.

27.  Only enter courtship with someone you would consider marrying.

I'll say this. In a part of the dating piece that I did not include, Quentin says that the Bible does not make a clear stance on dating. Technically, he is right. However, one thing that is a *distinct pattern* is the fact that men and woman tended to be *intentional* when it came to spending quality time with one another.

That said, whatever it is that you do with a man, make sure that you do it, mutually so (Amos 3:3), with intention. You are God's daughter. This means that you deserve to be treated as far more than a casual (without definite or serious intention; careless or offhand; passing)...pastime.



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