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Courtship vs. Dating

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January 10th, 2010

The dating game has been played for years, and many people have nothing to show for it but new found bitterness and a broken, distrusting heart. For the majority of single people, dating is the process of finding a serious boyfriend or girlfriend. A disconnect occurs when some adults who are looking for a boyfriend or girlfriend have no intention of going further and finding a husband or wife. Marriage is not for everyone.

Unfortunately, so many don’t figure out that their partner has different intentions until they are too invested. If they were aware of their partner's disinterest in wedded bliss, then they have already wasted too much time trying to change their partner's intentions.

I have fought this battle before, and now I’m constantly watching my friends go through the same song and dance only to get disappointed. The frustration that comes after the heartbreak has had many of them asking: “Are boyfriends/girlfriends a waste of time?”

In today’s society the process of dating is the prevalent means to find a mate. However, there used to be a time where there was no such thing as a boyfriend or girlfriend and “dating” was frowned upon. Instead of going out to the clubs to find someone, men had to court a woman, with his ultimate intention being marriage. During courtship in some circles (mainly religious) a man and woman could not hold hands, kiss, or even hang out without parental supervision. My parents, for example, have been married for 26 years and never went out on a pre-marital date.

Having a boyfriend or girlfriend would not be a waste of time if the title held more importance. The titles should definitely have more meaning once you reach adulthood, because with the title comes expectations of long term commitment. That realization made me understand why my mother, who is of the formal courtship era, referred to my now husband as my “friend” the entire seven years that we dated.

Recent generations take what I like to call the “Forrest Gump Approach”. In the movie he compared life to a box of chocolates because you never know what you’re going to get; the same could be said for relationships, except in the dating process we have become accustomed to biting each piece of chocolate before deciding which one we want to eat.

When you compare the way we find a mate today to the practices of yesteryear, there are obviously extreme differences. On one end, there is the no intimacy before marriage approach, and on the other end, there is the intimacy driven approach. Those who adhere to the intimacy driven approach believe compatibility is dependent upon sexual and physical chemistry. In my opinion, sexual chemistry is just when you discover what you like and being lucky enough to find someone who is willing to meet those needs.

Some people have found a middle ground by committing cautiously instead of isolating themselves. Of course, in would be a perfect world, people would state their intentions up front, and we would be able to see beyond physical attraction to find someone who wants the same things. In the end, you would be wasting your own time if you kept committing yourself to people who simply are not relationship material.

 

by Simone Waugh

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