Everyone's trying to figure out the rules of dating. Especially if you're rusty like me. Things have changed. People don't do things the way they used to. And then add Christianity to the mix. How do Christians date? Can we date? It wasn't in the Bible, after all. Don't roll your eyes. These are things women have said before. So exactly what is dating, and what are the rules?
Here's the thing: there are no rules! I did a series on this a few months ago titled the Rules of Dating. And everyone wanted all this information to learn the rules. When lo and behold, there are none. The rules are what you make them. Dating is just what it implies: there's someone that you go on dates with. It's nothing serious. There are no labels or titles. There are no guidelines or boundaries. It's just dating. But many use this term interchangeably with other words and phrases. And because "dating" to one person may also equate to exclusivity, it leads to confusion and sometimes even heartache.
Dating isn't biblical. Neither is courting. What's the difference between them, anyhow?
Dating is a little more modern than we realize. In the 1820s, it was frowned upon. Honestly, the notion smelled about as bad as prostitution. But a little over 100 years later, it was expected. It was the norm. But yet and still, it was in no ways what it's become now. Back then, there were still morals, values, and expectations. Religion and Christianity were more respected during that time, so young adults on the "dating scene" knew being pure and chaste was customary. Dating isn't biblical. Neither is courting. But what's the difference between them anyhow?
Well, dating is when you're more than friends and trying to see if you're compatible with someone. Christians should date with a purpose and with the intent on finding and becoming a life partner, in other words MARRIAGE. Dating is NOT having sex with multiple persons. It is NOT a committed relationship. It is NOT to be stressful. It is NOT to be frowned upon or considered sinful. There should be NO pressure. While the intent for a believer is to come across a spouse, it's not to be an interview process or vetting. It's to relax and get to know someone. Laugh, let your hair down, relax. Be open and honest about the desires, goals, and wants. Understand that while one is dating you, they may be dating someone else. I believe that is why it's important to communicate. When? As soon as you're curious to know something. There's no right or wrong time in the way that others believe. The right time is when you want clarity on the situation.
Courting is when a man and a woman intentionally spend time together to decide if an engagement is imminent. They've gone through dating and they're ready to focus solely on one another and their possible future together. It's expressed that they are intentionally evaluating one another as a potential spouse. This is something that came into existence eons ago. It was done in the presence of the families and the community. Parents and mentors were involved. The idea of courting was expected, and almost required, in the 19th century. People now associate courting with a man picking up a woman for dates, bringing flowers, respecting her purity, limiting physical contact, and keeping marriage at the forefront. For a Christian, this should be the norm. Sadly, it's not with the day and age we're in now. But it's nice knowing that many still hold on to those values, beliefs, and traditions. Even if you don't use the term "courting", the best thing is to give your time to a man that has proven himself in the dating stage. In the next stage, respecting you and treating you in the manner you deserve will come naturally because you made your desires known in the beginning.
There are no rules in dating; only the ones you make. You must make it clear what you expect, know your boundaries, set them, and enforce that others abide by them.
Dating and courting aren't necessarily from different planets. It's just that dating is now an additional step or stage in the courting process. But the thing to remember is that courting isn't biblical either. Many have tried to associate it with the Bible, but nowhere in the Holy Bible is courting mentioned. We do know, however, that anything that has Christ as the center is the way to go. Seeking Him before making a move is the key. Using wisdom and discernment and sticking to your morals and values are the most important things to keep in mind during that time. While courting isn't something most still follow or abide by, while it's a term that isn't used, while it's not something that the Bible points to, it paints a clear picture and model as a blueprint to follow for believers. Before courting, being exclusive, or committing yourself to someone, whatever you want to call it, I recommend ensuring you've gone through the PSP list I've spoken on before. Click here to watch the video if you have no idea what I'm talking about. I always tell women to have that list.
If there's nothing else you remember, know that there are no real rules, only the ones you make. But don't make a rule that you won't enforce. And if you don't make any rules, don't get frustrated when others apply their own, not knowing you had things in mind to begin with that you don't express...