Courting and dating are two essential ingredients that both work together to produce a successful marriage.
They're not opposites, and you don't have to choose one or the other.
On the contrary, you should understand and use both at the appropriate stage of the relationship.
Both courting and dating have tremendous benefits when you do them intentionally from a place of Christ-centered love.
Dating is important for creating opportunities to get to meet and get to know someone.
If you're not interested in any of the men you currently know, then dating is going to be an essential step on the road to marriage.
But there are some important differences between courting and dating, and if you understand them, you can avoid the "girlfriend trap."
You don't want a boyfriend; you want a husband.
Your done wasting your time, and you don't want to play games.
But that doesn't mean you should avoid dating.
Yes, different people use dating for different purposes. For some, it's extremely casual, and for others, it's something they do with the same person for years.
Ultimately, dating is just a tool, and you get to decide how to use it.
If what you ultimately want to create is a Christ-centred marriage, I recommend that you use dating very deliberately for that purpose.
In my program Ready For The One, I teach my students to establish a weekly date night no matter what.
Don't you find it amusing that Christian relationship experts often warn against dating when you're single but then encourage married couples to be intentional about dating their spouses?
Instead of rejecting the idea of dating because the world is doing it wrong, what if, as Christians, we show the world a better way?
Dating is important for 2 main reasons.
Your intention is to get married.
Great, that is a beautiful God-given desire. But who are you going to marry?
Many women are hoping and praying that marriage will miraculously happen to them. But it doesn't. Marriage is something you must co-create with God. It is a covenant that must be intentionally entered into.
If you want to get married, you're going to have to do more than just think about it. You're going to have to take action.
Dating deliberately is the best way to get started.
We're not just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.
You need to learn how to clearly articulate your intentions in a way that is honest and intentional.
I know that you might be afraid that if you're too forward, you'll scare men off.
You're half right.
You will scare off the men who aren't interested in marriage. AND THAT'S A GOOD THING. Those guys were never going to marry you anyway.
Please believe me when I say that if a man says he's "not thinking about getting married right now" or "He's not interested in marriage" or "he's not the marrying type."
Do Not fall in love with him and then try to change him!
Your time is valuable, and you could be spending it with someone who actually wants to get married.
Your job is first to ensure that you're in a healthy mental, emotional and spiritual state and then meet with men so that you can evaluate your compatibility and move on quickly if there's no match.
Of course, no couple agrees on everything, but there are some key areas in which you MUST be compatible to have any hope of enjoying a successful marriage.
A desire for marriage is one of them.
If you're ready to find the one, courting and dating a man who is ready for marriage is the logical next step.
Dating deliberately means that you only accept dating night opportunities from men who meet your particular initial standards.
Once you've determined your compatibility, then you can transition the relationship into courtship.
At this point, there is a clearly communicated agreement that the purpose of this relationship is to pursue marriage.
This doesn't guarantee that the relationship will result in marriage; it merely expresses a mutual desire for that particular outcome.
Want to tell your family about your relationship?
Courtship is the ideal stage at which to do that; it's exclusive and intentional.
Imagine bringing a man home to meet your mom on Sunday evening, and instead of pretending to watch the news on the T.V quietly playing in the background so that you can avoid any awkward conversation topics, you could actually look your mother in the eyes when she asks about your relationship and says;
"Yeah, mom, we've talked about getting married, and we're looking forward to spending our lives together. Right now, we're getting to know each other a little more before we make that final commitment."
Whether or not you call each other boyfriend/ girlfriend, boo, bae, or honey bunches is irrelevant. The point is that you're intentionally moving this relationship into marriage, and it's not a secret.
Unfortunately, there's this silly myth out there that you shouldn't talk about marriage until he has presented an engagement ring.
This is problematic for 3 reasons.
Use courtship as the season in which you prayerfully make progress towards marriage.
Let me leave you with this observation that I've seen in my work as a relationship coach.
Many relationships fail to transition into marriage because the couple puts up many unnecessary and dramatic roadblocks.
Fear of rushing results in procrastination and stalling for no particular reason. I have heard so many women say, "I'm just not sure if I'm ready.'
Let me give you some tough love...
If you're not ready for marriage, STOP DATING.
Seriously, deal with the internal stuff between you and God before you bring a romantic relationship into your life.
This simple step will save you years of unnecessary drama and conflict.
Not sure where to begin?
Before you begin courting and dating, take my free relationship starter course, and start with knowing your true worth in Christ and loving yourself so that you can love the right man one day.
When you put in the work, that day could be much sooner than you think.
In this FREE Course, you're going to learn:
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My goal is to help Christian women like you enjoy a healthy, thriving relationship with God so that you can confidently pursue your God-given desire for love and marriage. If you have any questions, thoughts, or opinions, I would love to connect with you in the comments below.
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