Finding the love of your life is something that nearly everyone on the planet struggles with at some point. After one too many failed romances or long bouts of no romance at all, it feels like there are no good options left. It’s a difficult cross for anyone to bear and not one that is made easier by society.
For those wishing to escape today’s hookup culture the alternative is almost as bleak though it usually doesn’t seem that way at the time. I never had any interest in dating around. I hated the idea of having many boyfriends throughout my life and wished only to find one who would eventually become my husband. I suspect that many people have a similar outlook. However, we’ve been conditioned to keep our long term romantic goals to ourselves until we feel we’ve achieved a sufficient level of emotional closeness with the other person for fear of scaring them off or perhaps ending up stuck with the wrong person. We don’t want to come across as too hasty or pushy and this is where I feel our culture has failed us.
We live in a society of “let’s see how it goes.” It’s common and even expected in many cases to date someone for years in order to discover every little thing about them that might be a barrier to eventual marital vows. But at what point do you pull the trigger? When do you wake up and decide that you’ve seen and learned enough? In the game of “let’s see how it goes” it’s more than likely that one person in the relationship is ready to go to the altar and say “I do” while the other is still just having fun and wondering if something better might yet come along. Some will call me old fashioned but, in my opinion, dating is a waste of time. After investing years of your life and some degree of emotional and physical intimacy into a relationship it’s unlikely that you’ll be willing to simply walk away upon discovering that their dreams don’t align with yours.
If at any point in the relationship you don’t feel that you can have a frank and honest conversation about your marriage goals, you shouldn’t be with that person. But if dating is a waste of time, how then do you attract your future spouse? The answer; through proper courtship. In this arrangement it is mutually understood and agreed upon in the early days of the relationship that marriage is the intent and that certain intimate activities are to be saved for after the wedding. For many people this sounds like a stuffy practice and a giant step backward in human history.
However, the reality is that it actually opens the door to true romance while alleviating any confusion about where you stand with potential suitors. It forces both parties to be original and genuine in wooing the other. There’s no added awkwardness which comes with trying to decide how soon is too soon to sleep together. You’re not in it simply to wear the other person down enough that they’ll agree to be intimate. In fact, the opposite is true. From the start of the relationship you begin to develop a team mentality as you both work together and help each other to stay chaste, something that becomes increasingly difficult as feelings grow. You have to get creative and be very deliberate about how you show affection for one another. If you both fully dedicate yourselves to this kind of relationship, you’ll arrive at your wedding with a mile long list of things you love to do together outside the bedroom and you’ll be thrilled to death at the prospect of spending the rest of your life with your best friend.
Of course, there’s no single path to true love. I know many happily married couples who didn’t take this courting approach in their early days. It’s not the only way to cultivate a healthy relationship and it’s certainly no guarantee that your next first date will lead to marital vows. However, it does cut away all that wasted time spent dating people who don’t share your values. In my experience, courtship is the surest way to start a heart-stopping, wholesome, old-timey, life long romance and friendship.
5 thoughts on “Dating to Courtship: Romance with Intention”
I love this! Our kids are all planning on courtship, and you should see the looks they get from people the work with! lol! A lot of the time, though, they get a “GOOD FOR YOU!” comment… especially from people who wish they’d done it that way. This is a really great and encouraging post! We all loved it!
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Thank you very much! It can be difficult when it feels like the rest of the world is doing something else but patience is a virtue and definitely pays off in the end. Thanks for commenting.
I wish today’s pop culture would sell marriage that way but obviously they do not as the profit motive kicks in otherwise.
Yes, if only society promoted wholesome family culture, the world would be a much better place.
One might search for their true life soulmate authentically under such conditions. That cannot be done easily but seem worthwhile.