Friday, October 08, 2004

Dating and Courting

I've been reading Joshua Harris' Boy Meets Girl, which I heartily recommend to anyone seeking advice on how to pursue Godly romantic relationships. However, there are some things which he seems to gloss over, perhaps assuming that people already know. I was talking to a friend of mine, and despite our talking with parents, siblings, friends, and such, we're still not fully clear on what dating is. We're thinking that until we can figure out exactly what is meant by each, we have no business doing either.

Courting seems to cover a spectrum of thought, ranging from "dating with purpose and responsibility" to "pre-engagement." Generally, though, it involves the guy having asked permission from the girl's father (or appropriate guardian) to get into a relationship with her in which they will try and determine if they should get married down the line. So that's fairly easy to recognize.

Dating, however, is more complicated. The standard image is a guy and a girl who only go out with each other, kiss, hold hands, and write bad poetry to each other. However, there's more to it than that. Sometimes, dating and courting are synonyms. However, our concern is over what constitutes a "date." Is it a guy and a girl (obviously not close relatives) going and doing something together? Does there have to be romantic interest from one or both people? I mean, I can say if something isn't a date, but I'm not sure I can prove it.

If I eat lunch with a girl in whom I'm not interested, is that a date? What if I'm interested in her (whether she is interested in me or not), does it become a date if it wasn't before? Assuming either situation is a date, and a friend comes and joins us, does it cease being a date? If I eat lunch with a friend's romantic interest, I don't think that's a date, but it would be one if I ate lunch with someone in whom I'm interested.

Basically, it's very important to me to figure out what is and isn't a date, so I can figure out when I am and am not going on dates. I don't want to lead either girls or myself on, but I do want to be able to recognize what I'm doing. If there should be no dating before courtship, and lunch alone with a girl is a date, then I need to rework some things.

If you're confused at this point, that's okay. So am I. However, any thoughts, especially from girls (and you can be anonymous), on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

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