Growing up, you’ve been taught that romance is something beautiful and special.
That love is one of the most enchanting feelings of them all and that you shouldn’t share it with just anyone.
However, along the line, somehow all of this changed.
Somehow, you forgot about the fairytale you expected while growing up, and you settled for today’s dating concept, which, let’s face it, killed all the magic.
Nowadays, everything happens so fast.
The dating market is ruthless and emotionless, and it appears that nobody is looking for true love anymore.
There is no anticipation before the first full-frontal hug and the first kiss anymore.
Hand holding is not a big deal, and side hugs have become something you can expect while you’re at the club, minding your own business.
In fact, sex itself has become so usual and every day, why would it be intimate to hold hands with someone?
So, when you hear about courtship, the first thing you think about is old fashioned, outdated practices from ancient history.
You wonder what were the rules of courtship in the old days?
What were the rules of courtship in Othello, in the Bible, in the Victorian Age…?
What you don’t know is that in modern times, there are a lot of people following these rules successfully.
Duggar courtship rules
I’m sure that you’ve already heard about TLC’s show “19 Kids and Counting”, which stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the parents of the huge Duggar family with 19 kids.
The show “Counting On” follows this religious family and the way they respect the Christian teachings of the Lord.
However, this season of the TLC‘s show was concerned with Jim Bob and Michelle setting up strict rules regarding courting in their family, i.e. for their daughters Jessa, Jinger, Janna (who has been mainly keeping her courting a secret), and Jill Duggar with their dates (now husbands): Ben Seewald (Jessa’s husband), Jeremy Vuolo (Jinger’s husband) and Derick Dillard (Jill Duggar’s husband).
They’re showing us a completely different world: a world in which parents help their children choose their partners, a world in which any physical touch is prohibited before marriage,and a world in which casual dating is not an option.
The Duggar family lives by strict rules which everyone has to respect.
In the Duggar family, the father Jim Bob (together with the mother, Michelle Duggar) has to approve every love choice their children make.
In some cases, the father even introduced his daughters to their now husbands (i.e. he was the one who introduced Derick Dillard to the family).
However, this doesn’t mean that some exceptions didn’t happen.
For example, Jinger gave her boyfriend Jeremy a full-frontal hug when he popped the question.
Also, Jessa and Ben Seewald have broken some of the rules, for example, when Jessa decided to start hugging her boyfriend when they greet.
Jessa confessed that she and her husband texted in private while they were courting, without other members of the family reading their conversations.
Bates courtship rules
Another family which lives by similar rules as the Duggars are the Bates.
They also have 19 children and don’t engage in sexual intimacy before marriage.
However, it seems that the Bates aren’t as strict as the Duggars, since they allow their children to make their own choices regarding dating.
But how can all of these rules apply to modern dating?
Is it even possible to replace dating with courting?
Read on and find out!
1. Courting always has a purpose
One of the main differences between courting and dating lies in the fact that courting always has a purpose.
You know how sometimes people date just to have some fun, to have someone to spend time with or for the sake of meaningless sex?
Well, when it comes to courting, something like that is impossible.
In fact, you decide to court or be courted only when you are 100% ready for a relationship in the future.
You’re not looking for a good time, and you’re not exploring your options.
You know that your final goal is finding a suitable match and your forever person, and you’re only going in that direction.
As much as this might sound scary and too committing, the truth is that it saves people a lot of headaches.
Young people shouldn’t engage in courting unless they’re mature enough to know what they want
2. But it doesn’t have to end up with marriage
However, this doesn’t mean that you are obligated to say “I do” to the person you’re courting.
After all, the decision is all yours, and nobody is forcing you to do anything you don’t want to do.
Courting’s purpose is to get to know the person you’re about to see down the aisle on your wedding day.
It’s the same as dating—you’re trying to find the right one for you and the one you want to spend the rest of your life with.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that courting can’t fail. You’re still allowed to break up and to end paths with someone you’re courting.
The point is just that in courting, things like this happen less often than in dating.
You follow strict rules, and it is unlikely that one of the people gets heartbroken, whereas in modern dating that happens quite often.
3. You only focus on one person at a time
One of the crucial rules of courtship is that everything is strictly monogamous from day one.
I’m not talking about being faithful in a relationship here only (because that should be normal when it comes to dating, as well).
I’m not talking about the fact that you’re not allowed to physically cheat on the person you’re seeing.
I’m talking about the fact that following these rules means that you only court one person at a time, even if you guys haven’t made things official just yet.
Actually, there doesn’t exist such a thing as unofficial courting.
There doesn’t exist such things as almost relationships, casual flings or no strings attached relationships.
Nothing such as emotional unavailability or sex without commitment.
No dating apps, no talking to other people with whom you might have romantic or sexual ambitious.
You’re all the way in when it comes to the person you’re courting, and at that time, nobody else should exist for you.
This way, everyone who wants to fool around and live the life of a bachelor while they’re seeing someone is out.
You’re safe from getting led on and from getting cheated on (in any possible way) if the other person is strictly following these rules, which is a huge relief for most of you out there.
4. The man courts the woman
Also, in courting, the man is always the one who takes the first step.
The man chases the woman and does his best to win her heart over, similar to fairy tales and old, romantic movies.
The man is the one who initiates the communication and the first one to show interest in a woman; the one who declares his intentions and the one who invites the girl on a first date.
It is expected of a woman to act a little bit indecisive at first about his proposal.
After all, she should be shy and not act as if she couldn’t wait for this guy to make the first move.
Not only that—it is even considered not ladylike for a woman to take the initiative and role of a man.
Let’s face it: what woman doesn’t like to be courted and chased at least once in a lifetime?
What woman doesn’t enjoy being a princess who is patiently waiting for her knight in shining armor to come and get her?
Also, what man doesn’t enjoy being the hunter and the hero of the story? The one who managed to win over the girl of his dreams?
Well, following these rules make you feel just like that!
Of course, this could possibly be of concern to everyone fighting for equality among the sexes.
After all, if girls and boys are equal in all aspects of life, then what is the big deal if a girl approaches a guy?
Nevertheless, what you need to have in mind is that we’re not talking about modern dating here.
We’re talking about some old fashioned tips and tricks that not everyone has to like.
5. You are honest about your intentions
One of the best things about courtship is that there aren’t any games. From day one, you know where you stand and what to expect.
You don’t have to ask yourself whether the other person is interested or not.
Are they not responding to your texts because they don’t care about you or because they’re playing hard to get?
Do they ignore you because they don’t want to look too desperate and clingy or they’re seeing someone else?
Are they unfaithful or they’re just trying to get you jealous?
When it comes to courting, none of these questions exist.
There are no mixed signals, no hidden messages, no need to decode other people’s thoughts, words, and actions.
You don’t stay up all night thinking what the other person wants from you and what they meant when they said something.
There is no second guessing anyone’s intentions, and no wondering where all of this is going.
No, both of the people involved in this kind of relationship are completely straightforward, upfront, and honest.
Sounds too good to be true, am I right? Well, by following these rules, it is the reality.
6. You get to know each other in public places
The catch about courting is that the potential suitor and the girl he is interested in don’t go out alone—at least, not at first.
In fact, sometimes, these young adults don’t even approach one another by themselves.
Instead, they have a matchmaker who chaperones them and does the job for them, which is amazing for all those who get their tongues twisted when they need to make the first move.
This matchmaker doesn’t only help a courting couple get together, the matchmaker is usually even present on their first date which helps clear the tension.
After the initial stage of getting to know each other is over, the couple continues to see each other with others as chaperones.
The potential suitor won’t call his girl in the middle of the night to hang out, and he’ll definitely not ask her to sleep over at his place.
The two of them won’t meet in private places (instead of crowded ones) where they could break the rules they signed up for and where they could anything more beside hold hands.
7. Friends and family members are included
When it comes to courtship rules, unlike dating, family members and friends are very much welcome in te relationship, and the courting couple counts on their support in finding their right match.
At first, they don’t go anywhere unchaperoned, and they engage in numerous activities with their loved ones.
At first glance, this might sound unnecessary and completely outdated.
However, it actually gives a level of seriousness to the entire relationship.
After all, screwing over someone you met at the club and from whose life you can disappear whenever and however you want because you don’t have anything and anyone in common is quite easy.
However, it is much more difficult to ghost someone (for example) whose entire family you’ve met and who’s become a part of your life.
Also, getting to know someone’s closest friends and family can help you get to know them better.
These are the people with whom they spend most of their time and the people that have shaped them into becoming the person they are today.
In fact, these are the people who will become a part of your life as well if you two become a married couple one day, and you want to know whether you can get along with them or not.
Another usual thing is that in most cases, the girl’s family (mainly the woman’s father) actually has to give a green light to her suitor and give the two of them permission to start seeing each other.
In fact, before making any moves, the suitor should go and meet the woman’s father who will see if he is worthy of his daughter’s attention.
8. Commitment is obligatory
Once you decide to engage in courtship, commitment phobia is out of the question.
This is not something you do if you’re not sure that you’re ready to dedicate yourself completely to one relationship and one relationship only.
Not something you get yourself into if you have some unresolved issues from the past or if you carry emotional baggage from your previous relationships.
Not something you do if you think of yourself as emotionally unavailable or uncertain about what you want.
You should enter courtship wholeheartedly and only if you are completely positive that you are able to commit.
Only if you’re ready to fight for this relationship, to try your hardest to make it work, and to put an effort into building it.
It means that you have to be ready to prioritize your partner and your relationship; that you have to treat them with the love and respect they deserve, and make them understand how valuable they are to you.
It means that you have to be consistent in the way you behave towards them.
That you have to make sure they feel loved and appreciated at all times.
It means that two young people who are courting are counting on each other at all times.
That they’re counting on the other person’s love and support, no matter what.
9. Physical intimacy is not a priority
Two young adults going out unchaperoned before they become a married couple? First kiss happening before saying I do?
Full-frontal hug, hand holding, side hugs or any type of physical intimacy before marriage? Forget about it!
Old fashioned courtship rules (also applicable to Biblical courtship rules and Catholic courtship rules in general which follow the teachings of the Lord) don’t allow sex before the wedding day.
Unlike today’s dating, according to these rules, sexual compatibility is something that appears naturally between two people who’ve decided they’re right for each other in all other fields.
Of course, modern courtship rules are a little bit different and not so strict about every possible type of physical contact.
In fact, according to them, physical intimacy is important, but that doesn’t mean that sex should happen as fast as it usually does.
Instead, it is expected of both of the people involved in this relationship to respect each other’s boundaries.
That means withholding physical contact for as long as possible and giving themselves enough time until they’re certain they’ve met the right person.
10. But romance and friendship are
Due to the fact that physical contact is not the central interest of this kind of relationship, there is much more space for other more important things such as friendship, respect, companionship, and romance.
This way, the people engage in courting become friends before lovers.
They see if they get along and whether they’re compatible outside the bedroom before checking it under the sheets.
Also, in this arrangement, you won’t get called out for being too cheesy and corny if you prepare a romantic gesture for your loved one.
In fact, things like flowers, chocolate boxes, and love letters are appreciated and welcomed.