courting or dating? this conversation is always an interesting one. one of the first times i heard both sides 'defended' was at a church youth service as a teenager. my dad was the speaker who had a panel of people of different ages answering questions posed by the crowd. perhaps surprisingly (considering the topic and stereotypical stance of teenage daughter vs father), i sided with my dad's view on dating. shocking? maybe. but, let's get this started right.......
rachel's disclaimer: i'm no expert here (on courting or dating); i'm simply voicing my thoughts on the subject. a few friends had a chat the other day about it and i thought i'd continue the conversation here. i'm not pointing fingers at people who are dating/have dated or who are courting/have courted to say they are superstars or fools. honest!! (in fact, i know a couple couples who just started dating and i think that's awesome.)
that said, allow me to trek through some treacherous terrain here.
here's where i'm coming from: a good friend of mine told me this Spring that they didn't know how i would ever decide that someone was safe/right enough to date. i believe the direct quote was: "i think when you are ready to date someone, you'll be ready to marry them"*. that same friend said the way he made his mind up about dating someone was that he would date her if he was interested enough in them to see if there was 'anything there'.
* no doubt there are challenges to my supposed style of 'engagement', however, i haven't married a fool yet.... so i think i may be on the right track.
back to my observant friend-- i'm not saying his attitude towards dating is wrong. don't get the wrong idea, he is by no means reckless in his dating ways... i'm just pointing out the difference between my standoffish style and his daring-to-date demeanour.
courting adjourned? - before we get all excited about jumping on the courting train, maybe we should ask an important question: is courting a thing of the past? i mean, it is a thing of the past... since it's been around for a while (see 'Rules of Courtly Love': http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/rules_of_love.html)... but is it reasonable to think it happens these days?
let's define 'courting', shall we? it's synonyms are 'woo, pursue, chase'. def'n: 'to seek the favour, affection, or love of, especially with a view to marriage'. alright, i mean... maybe this is where i show my true colours, but, as my good friend erika would say: "i'm just gonna put it out there"... if we're being honest, we love the chase, am i right? especially the chase that doesn't result in wasted energy, no? the goal is not to be running wild through a field with our arms flailing, people.
i would say it is the purposefulness of courting i find so appealing. communication is upfront; intentions are clear. this doesn't mean the relationship is boring, of course, just... precise in its expectations of the course of the relationship. which is towards... marriage! it may play out as meeting intentionally in certain settings, with different people, to get to know each other. and then, in the event that one or both of you does not see it proceeding in that direction, the intentional time together simply stops.
a matter of tact! - furthermore, for courting to be successful, i think both people have to know themselves well, and be honest with themselves. (this is where some might argue that dating is beneficial: in the earlier years... you learn so much about yourself and others when you date people.)
the hardest part of the dating situations i've witnessed, is that there's a sometimes long period of dating that resembles engagement. people are just gettin' right in there, committing themselves, meshing their lives, and that gets confusing for everyone. everybody's hopes are up (in and surrounding the supposedly blossoming relationship). this makes the 'break up' scenario difficult, and sometimes avoided when it should be embraced (to put it lightly). people get stuck... i've seen it. when the situation has become complex and, in the end, the result can be heart-breaking.
i think dating, in these cases, sets up people to lose-- where attachment meets routine in the worst way. "just go with it, see how it plays out...", "you don't want to hurt him..."... so tricky, i totally get it. all i'm saying is, courting provides a clear way out because you were committed to finding out whether the 'two of you' worked. it's a bit "business", but i'd argue it gets the job done, y'know?
so, what's the verdict? there are some of you who are reading this who might think "your definition of courting is my definition of dating". pa-tay-toe/pa-tah-toe. hakuna matata. sounds good to me... i'm happy we agree! others might be thinking "best of luck with your court-dates, rrrraaach!" and that's cool, too.
thanks for reading - happy dating/courting/daourting! ('cause everybody loves a good combo-pack!)