Most people today associate courting with the famous stars on the television show 19 kids and counting on the TLC network. However, before the popular series, courting was a thing in the past that only a few exercised in their relationship. Unless you grew up in the late fifties or attend a church that holds age-old standards such as this, courting would be considered an unfamiliar term and practice to you. Not to many people are familiar with it but due to its upturn in some christian fellowships the principles of courtship is celebrated. So, what is courting exactly? And where did courtship originate?
Well, before romanticism, courtship was used as a negotiation of increase for men in their careers. Courtship was most popular in the middle ages and victorian era and was a common practice in Europe. The concept of chivalry and the coming out of debutantes had been birth and was making its way into the middle ages. Courtship was a practice taken serious by both the individuals and the parents. “All courtships differed from social classes, wealth, power, and property.” Men of prestige wanted to find women suitable to either increase their ranking in society or further advance their assets. A man courted a woman by putting her wants and desires first. And a woman groomed and prepared herself for this role her whole life, to be a dutiful wife and life partner. “She trained for years to be well skilled and versed in literature, fine arts, etiquette, speaking new languages and the art of silence.” Also, the man worked hard to financially be stable to pursue a woman. Whereas, the woman worked to properly receive him.
Courtships were usually practiced amongst the upper class of people of similar levels of wealth and social status. “Post courtship a girl was under her mother’s wings and learned all the customs of what made a woman a lady.” During that time the single woman wasn’t allowed out unless chaperoned and she was always to appear her best in public.
Once the advances of courtship was made from the season of singleness, “the couples began by first speaking and walking out together and finally keeping company after mutual attraction had been confirmed.” The gentlemen had to be properly introduced to the woman and great care had to be taken in the public eye. The sanctity of courtship was for the woman to adhere to the standards and keep her purity. Other guidelines included a woman never approached a gentleman unless introduced. She never walked home alone, or rode alone with the opposite sex. There was no sexual contact before marriage, and even in a stage of courtship the couples walked lengths apart while chaperoned, just to name a few.
The term courtship comes from the root word “court” which is defined as a formal legal meeting in which evidence is presented to a judge and often to a jury so that decisions can be made according to law. The suffix “ship” is the state and condition of being; traveling in the same direction. When you enter into a courtship this day in age the intended end result as aforementioned is marriage. The suitor whomever it may be is brought before “court”, along with a jury. During the season of courtship significant amount of evidence is tested and tried in order to make an overall decision about the suitor. The “ship” is the condition you are in to know if both of you are traveling in the same direction in life.
Courtship is the time of getting to know one another, along with boundaries to guard your heart, and integrity in society. Choosing a mate was usually between the parents as a business transaction. However, your jury today can be considered close friends, family members, counselors, and God. Marriage is for a lifetime and you want to properly choose who you will spend forever with. Courtship can differ from dating due to the fact that the practice isn’t recreational. You may begin to date just for fun and companionship. Courtship is “let's see where God takes us”. Whereas dating is “let’s see where this goes.” Are you guys on the same ship?
The Bible doesn’t even speak about dating or courting. It goes from being single to being married. It is now up to us to properly fill in the blanks with the material given to us by God. Everything has a purpose, and the purpose for sought out companionship should be to spend your life with them. If not, you should keep your hands off someone else's future. Before Eve there was Adam. He was the only human on earth. When God seen this, he noticed it isn’t good for this man to be alone. Therefore, he gave him a helper. God didn’t give Adam, Eve because he was lonely, He was there with Adam, but because there was none like him out there as a human. When we are in search for our beau to court it shouldn’t be because you are lonely in the sense of inadequacy. But, first that you know God, then you know yourself, and once all that is complete it is now time for you to not be alone, and you can begin looking for someone just like you in essence. Not just anyone can fill that role, so courtship is designed to properly find not just “the one” but “the one like you.” If you overstep boundaries that you shouldn’t you can run the chance of ruining your integrity and you may also settle for just “someone.” The Bibles tells us to be sober minded and to also guard our hearts. If we get to caught up in systematic behaviors brought on by dating we may pick up habits that was only meant for marriage. We should use precaution, or we could end up on a ship going the opposite direction than where we were originally headed. Let’s continue on by decoding courting.