Rediscovering Courtship

Dating, “talking,” seeing someone, going out—these are all titles that we use to describe our romantic relationships with others. One word that is hardly used anymore is “courting” and I completely understand why. The word just sounds so old-fashioned and boring and it almost brings on the gag reflex for most young adults… myself included. After hearing the term used again the other day, I actually felt compelled to learn more about the definition of “courtship.” Here is what I discovered:

Courting became popular in the 1800’s and it was pretty much a more serious form of what we now call dating. The process of courting began by the man gaining permission from the woman’s family to court her and then he would spend time with the woman and her family to judge whether or not marriage would be a good decision for both of them.

Courtship could be called honest dating, because the fundamental purpose of dating is to find a spouse. However, that goal becomes less clear when intentions are not stated and relationships become something used to satisfy physical or emotional needs.

Dating is not a cure to loneliness; it is a process of discernment that requires strength and selflessness.

The process of courting or “honest dating” is something that can only happen between two mature individuals who have serious and pure intentions. For these reasons, I have come to a greater appreciation and admiration for something as clearly expressed and deliberate as courtship.

I’m not saying that you have to marry the person that you’re dating or that you can only date someone who asks the permission of your family before pursuing you. What I am saying is: Be honest. Date with the knowledge that the next step is engagement and if you are in a relationship with someone who you do not believe God is calling you to marry… don’t obstruct God’s plan for both of your lives by remaining in a relationship with them.

In St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, he writes, “And this I pray that your love may abound still more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.”(Phil 1:9-10)

Christ gave of himself fully both in body and spirit in order that we might make it to heaven to be with him forever. Being imitators of him in this way requires us to do whatever it takes to get those we love into heaven even if it means making tough decisions.

If there is any lesson we can take away from the idea of courtship… let it inspire us to have purpose in our relationships and realize the goal of marriage that these relationships lead to. The more honest and pure our pursuit, the more Christ-like and holy our relationships can be.


RebekahRebekah Hardy lives in New Jersey and is a sophomore at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland where she majors in Theology and minors in English. She enjoys playing sports, praying the Rosary, and drinking iced coffee. Her blog can be found and her twitter handle is @bekahhardy7.




  1. The following was an interesting read. It,too, had some valid points.

    Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed

    By Monique | 7 years ago Reply
  2. So true!

    By Shane Sweeney | 7 years ago Reply
  3. Thank you for this article. I will have my 17 yr. Old son and 14 yr. Old daughter read it..

    By Bill | 7 years ago Reply
  4. Great post! Rediscovering Courtship.

    “The more honest and pure our pursuit, the more Christ-like and holy our relationships can be.”

    By Martin Leung-Wai | 7 years ago Reply
  5. What a lovely post. It’s really encouraging for those of us who may feel alone at times dating with a purpose. It can be really hard in a culture that pushes us to flee from serious pursuit of pure love meant to last for life. Thank you. <3 God bless. 🙂

    By Tammy | 7 years ago Reply
  6. This is a very nice article that I will be sharing with my teens. Thanks for posting!

    By Sarah | 7 years ago Reply
    • How can Thomas no what courtship is or isn’t when he has never dated nor courted?

      By Ladasha | 7 years ago Reply
  7. It is so refreshing to read this article!!

    By John | 7 years ago Reply
  8. If God is not front and center in your relationship then he need’s to be. This article is well written I am in a relationship with a wonderful woman. From the get go we have used the word courting. I have met her family and she is meeting mine this weekend. We always make time to pray even though we are 7 hours apart we Skype every night and pray the rosary.

    By Steven | 7 years ago Reply
  9. Thanks for the article I’ll share it with my youth

    By Darlene | 7 years ago Reply
  10. Love it. I have always said “I demand to be properly courted!”

    By Drea | 7 years ago Reply
  11. I must agree with the other comments recommending the article: Courtship is Fundementally Flawed. It’s practicality is refreshing. Though I agree with your idea to have intentional dating and not waste each other’s time I do not believe that courtship belongs in the mix.

    By Kayleigh | 7 years ago Reply
  12. God bless you. Well said. Good explaination for those who might not get it.

    By claudia zelaya | 7 years ago Reply
  13. my dad wants me to study courtship, this blog has helped me a lot thank you very much for the hard work you put into this!! and very well written!

    By Ben Baker | 7 years ago Reply

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