I promised an evaluation of courtship yesterday but have decided to hold off on that for a day. Because I first defined courtship, I now want to define the Christian understanding of dating. Please note that this is my own version of dating and that other renditions do exist. What I am about to offer is merely one take on the matter, though it has been developed from conversations with others.
Christian dating may in fact look quite a bit like courtship. There can be intentionality, a focus on marriage, and parental involvement. Perhaps the main difference, however, is that there is no set plan, no one way that the couple will necessarily end up together. The person who signs up for courtship signs up for some sort of prescribed system, much like I outlined yesterday. But Christians who date have not begun to get to know one another by a certain system. Significantly, one need not be heavily considering the other person in order to date them. This is a prerequisite of courtship. The person with whom you are interacting is someone you are considering quite seriously for marriage. Not so with dating. This can be happening, but it need not be. Christians may date simply to get to know one another in a more focused way. In this way, dating can serve as an effective pre-courting option.
I would write more, but I must be off to see my grandparents. Stick with me, and we’ll look into this further.