The courtship process is direct and the intended outcome of a courtship is obvious to all of those involved. When entering into a courtship, there is hope for all of those involved that there will be a wedding at the end of the process.
The Purpose of Courtship
Some may call courtship old fashioned. Some may be intrigued while others may scoff at it in a world where dating at a young age and premarital sex are everywhere you turn. Whether you choose to engage in a courtship or you're skeptical of their place in modern society, courtship still exists and its purpose is to allow two people to get to know one another without the confusion of a physical relationship.
While dating can be fun and sometimes has no strings attached or any hope for a more permanent union, the goal of courtship is to determine whether two people are a good match for marriage. Ultimately, two people entering a courtship are hoping that the answer will be yes, that they are an ideal match, and that their path will lead to marriage.
The Timeline of the Courtship Process
This is the flirting stage, the point where you hint to the other party that you're interested and available through verbal and nonverbal communication. The verbal communication part isn't completely direct. Instead of saying, "I'd like to enter a courtship with you," for example, you may exchange niceties and witty banter. Posture, smiling, and other body language also play a big part in this step of courtship.
Initiation and Acceptance
In the courtship process, the man must do the initiating. He will typically go to his own parents and discuss his interest in a specific woman, then to her father (or guardian) to ask his permission to court his daughter. The father then approaches his daughter and informs her of the man's intent. If she accepts, they will officially enter into the courtship process.
Getting to Know One Another
This is where the couple truly gets to know one another-but only under supervision. They are never left alone together so that there will be no temptation to engage in a physical relationship. That doesn't mean that they can't have conversations out of earshot of other family members. The goal of the courtship process is to allow a man and a woman to get to know each other on multiple levels without allowing kissing or sex to cloud their judgment. The presence of a family member nearby reminds them to honor their promise to themselves and others to remain pure.
In this phase of courtship, there is no reason to put on a "mask" to impress the other person. People in a courtship want to get to know each other well by not only letting their personalities shine, but by asking deep questions, seeking answers that will let them know whether they are really compatible enough to enter a marriage.
A big difference between courtship and even the most innocent and well-intentioned dating is that there is no physical contact. That means no hugs, kisses, hand-holding, or sex until marriage. These rules can sometimes be bent a bit. Some couples will hold hands while others will not. Some will kiss when they become engaged while others will wait until they've been pronounced man and wife and the man is given permission to kiss his bride.
Once the couple knows one another well enough to know if their morals, life goals, and interests match up well enough, there is usually a proposal. Because they already had their parents' permission to begin courting, they know that they have their blessing in their future marriage at this point as well.
Marriage at Last
This is where the courtship process ends. The couple is free to kiss, hug, and engage in intercourse once they're married. They hopefully know their partner well enough to weather the trials of getting used to married life because they entered and continued the relationship with clear heads and parental blessings.
Ending a Courtship
Not all courtships end in marital bliss, of course, and one party or the other may lose interest or decide that they are not a good match. Ending a courtship isn't done face to face between the woman and the man. The third party who was the go-between in initiating the courtship will again be the messenger when the courtship is over.
From Flirting to Marriage
Courtship is a much more structured method than dating when it comes to determining whether you and another person are meant to be together for the rest of your lives. The courtship process isn't as common as dating in modern society, but blogs like A Love That Will Last, Bethany's Blog, and many others prove that it can work just as its intended to.