Courtship - is it realistic?


#1

So. I've been thinking about the concept of courtship a lot lately. I'm just interested to know if anyone has developed a good relationship through courtship (ultimately leading to marriage)? & what does it involve? Can you court someone whilst still discerning? Do you or can you go on "dates" with the person you are courting, or are you only meant to spend time with each other in group situations? Say if you decide to marry the person do you know them well enough, really?

Sorry about all the questions! :) just wanting to learn a bit more about it all!

If anyone has any experiences & would like to share them that would be awesome :)

God bless & thanks in advance :D
Live4life


#2

I recommend:

Courtship: The Chaste Preparation for Holy Matrimony

store.catholicism.org/the-chaste-preparation-courtship-cd-.html


#3

I think it is very important to go on dates. Not spending hours at each others place alone but to go for coffee where you can have a somewhat personal conversation. A lot of people can only show their ‘romantic’ side in private.

For example, one thing to discuss is how many children you want. Very few people are comfortable sharing that in a group setting. Not to mention, I would be really annoyed if I was on a group outing and a guy and a girl started talking like this

Guy ‘Would you prefer to live in the city or the country’

Girls: It would depend where I work I don’t want a long commute’

Guy Well since I would like you to sat at home with the kids you wouldn’t have a commute in the first place

Girl blushinly says 'Are you saying you are thinking of marrying me? giggle giggle

Guy: Yes but I don’t have money for a rign yet

Girl Well be sure to ask my father first. He is old fashion

Everyone at the table will start to make fun of you or at best get up and leave thinking you want to be alone

Of COURSE you need to have private dates

CM


#4

[quote="live4life, post:1, topic:231415"]
So. I've been thinking about the concept of courtship a lot lately. I'm just interested to know if anyone has developed a good relationship through courtship (ultimately leading to marriage)? & what does it involve? Can you court someone whilst still discerning? Do you or can you go on "dates" with the person you are courting, or are you only meant to spend time with each other in group situations? Say if you decide to marry the person do you know them well enough, really?

Sorry about all the questions! :) just wanting to learn a bit more about it all!

If anyone has any experiences & would like to share them that would be awesome :)

God bless & thanks in advance :D
Live4life

[/quote]

I have read a lot about courtship. One of my sons is chaste and intents to court/discern. The other has made mistakes already but insists that dating is good for him.

Here is how I would implement courtship v. dating. First, it is perfectly fine for young people to go out in groups (after about age 14), but not singly. So young men and ladies can be in one another's company but only in the presence of others and preferably with a chaperone until they are proven to have self-control.

Discerning is for when the young man is ready to be married, or is close to that time. So he can then date a young lady one-on-one, but not in very tempting situations such as spending a lot of time alone, in a car, in a dark theater, etc. Some young courting couples only do daytime dates. Hopefully, the girl and boy have already spent some time together and talked within that group of friends. But if not, then these dates are helpful to get to know one another. Since they are keeping things very quiet emotionally, if either party discerns that the other person would not be suitable, they may go their separate ways without a lot of turmoil/hurt, etc.

It's not just to have a lot of fun together. Some of discerning must be serious talks about the future, to see if the other person is in agreement with religious issues especially. Family, children, work, use of leisure time, are all good things to discuss. I guess I use the terms "courtship" and "discernment" interchangeably.

OK, so if the two of them decide they wish things to go further, then the families need to meet, if they haven't already. At that point I would expect engagement to be imminent. But there may be problems to work out before the marriage. Once they get engaged then there are classes to take, etc.

I think that serious dating/courtship/discernment should ONLY be done once the young people are looking to be married, and yes, of COURSE they can know each other well enough to marry! In fact, because sex is not involved, they can get to know each other BETTER because they are not all emotionally attached and are paying attention to what the other person really says and does instead of just being attached because of sex.


#5

Courtship is romance God's way, so yes it is realistic


#6

All courtship is is dating with the intention of discerning marriage.

I know plenty of young Christians who do that. Are there plenty who enter into relationships foolishly without intending to discern marriage?

Yes, but courtship lives, I promise you. But it's within the context of our current culture and not according to middle class mores of the Victorian era.


#7

[quote="WetCatechumen, post:6, topic:231415"]
Yes, but courtship lives, I promise you. But it's within the context of our current culture and not according to middle class mores of the Victorian era.

[/quote]

I was going to post a similar thing until I saw this.

A lot of good things can be said about what is understood to be "courship" here in our discussions, and it may be a better source of norms than the modern dating system, but it's important to draw the line between what's morality and what's "mores" (social conventions). As much as it may work someone up, it's not a sin to fail to arrange the cups and cutlery properly etc.––obviously, other than, say, when it's a matter of failing in one's duties or disrespecting the guests, but not immediately from the "gaffe" itself. The same way Victorian courtship should be viewed.

As for parental permission, there's definitely room to see the father as the guardian and it would be reasonable to expect to live up to his (reasonable) requirements so that he can be sure he's putting the daughter in good hands but it's a matter of canon law that consent comes from those who are to marry (and not from their parents). And particularly parents are not supposed to pick their children's spouses according to their own tastes or have a veto etc.

This is why I'd advise anyone wishing to draw on the older courtship traditions to take them with a pinch of salt and preserve a judicious mind. ;)


#8

Eh, 20 minutes restriction for editing!

I was going to write a bit more and add that it wasn't necessarily a great idea to force early involvement with friends or family. It could make things more stiff and grave than necessary. With friends especially, it could lead to questions that would have to be answered, as well as forcing the poor guy to sit through a girly chit-chat or the poor gal to listen to beer-inspired car talk. It can be amusing depending on the person but... ;) Same for forcing oneself to join a group together—it's neither necessarily good for the couple nor for the group. Going out in a bigger mixed company is one thing, signing up for what's supposed to be constructive work, or everybody on his own sport, is not necessarily.

As for being alone, what is important from my point of view is occasion to sin (which is not the same for everybody) and maybe scandal more than a problem in its own right. If being alone puts you in too high a risk of sinning in your mind or externally, it's a different thing than when it does not. And the same with scandal, Also, I believe some conversations just can't be had in public or with "chaperones" (cmscms gave an example a couple of posts above). On the other hand, they probably can be had in public places where you don't have a third person coming with you but there's plenty of people around you. In fact, I like it this way: daylight, plenty of people, strong coffee, no softening of the brain due to evening atmosphere. As far as I go, playing chess at a cafe at 10 a.m. is a great thing to do. ;)


#9

To add to what chev said, regular involvement with friends and family simply isn't realistic sometimes. A lot of us older singles live far from our families, and many of our friends are busy raising their own families and barely have enough time to devote to their own romantic lives, let alone ours. One-on-one dates are more often the only option.


#10

Christian courtship recognizes the dignity of human persons as also the children of God. If we claim to love another, we would never desire to degrade them, but rather quite the opposite. Christian courtship establishes, recognizes and protects our God-given dignity, and there is no shame in it.

Pax Christi,
Tim


#11

I checked out these links and I have to disagree with him. For older singles, the “courtship” that he describes doesn’t work very well. Most families live far away from each other and friends, etc are too busy to “chaperone”. Also, I don’t see what is so wrong with a single man and a single woman going to a movie together. It is still a public place and it probably isn’t too much an occasion of sin. I think that if one goes into dating with specific intentions and standards then they should be fine. The sort of courtship that is described in the link sounds more appropriate for teenagers who want to interact with the opposite sex. I know that in my case, especially if one was courting, the man and woman would want to be able to discuss EVERYTHING and honestly, I don’t think that is very feasible if there are younger siblings or parents around.


#12

I had not even considered older singles to be in the same category as young singles - courtship to me means young people who need supervision and guidance as opposed to the way the culture currently views dating.

I would hope that older singles would have the wherewithal to resist temptation to sin, as well as having more social skills that would allow them to get to know each other without the buffer of a chaperone.

It would still be very chivalrous for a man to declare that he wanted to court a woman. It would say to me that the man understands dating in a different way than the larger culture does.


#13

I’d like to comment a bit on the article that’s been linked and talked about for a while. Despite the language of philosophical (or even downright scholastical) debate, it’s addressed to parentally supported young adults (“with your parents as guides”), which makes me wonder.

As for the examples, they shouldn’t be regarded as anything more than examples and certainly not an expression of binding Catholic doctrine on how an interested young man should be received in a young woman’s house.

Being Catholic does oblige one to be chaste and vigilant (and modest and a couple of other things) but it does not oblige one to be socially conservative or to follow middle or upper or whatever class mores, Victorian or Edwardian or Newdealian or whatever. I’m not saying this to argue that modern dating is good (in fact, I dislike it) but to argue that societal mores, while it may be important, is not the same as objective morality.

What’s actually good about those home visits etc. is that the pressure may in fact be lower on the young man and woman, making it harder for them to fall to or experience temptations to sexual sins (including ones committed in thought or imagination). The atmosphere may actually be lighter and the struggle less hard. In fact, the Erika & Maurice scenario is quite a nice one when you get over the scholastical English.

This actually brings my attention to the possible problems resulting from the courting approach: the focus on playing a 19th century social drama (to the point of using 19th century English in normal conversations), and forgetting actually to get to know each other and make an informed decision—even though the courting framework may be intended precisely to make such an informed decision easier to achieve.


#14

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:12, topic:231415"]
I had not even considered older singles to be in the same category as young singles - courtship to me means young people who need supervision and guidance as opposed to the way the culture currently views dating.

I would hope that older singles would have the wherewithal to resist temptation to sin, as well as having more social skills that would allow them to get to know each other without the buffer of a chaperone.

It would still be very chivalrous for a man to declare that he wanted to court a woman. It would say to me that the man understands dating in a different way than the larger culture does.

[/quote]

Interesting, I thought the opposite. Most Catholics I know don't court until before 18, making the average courter past the point of being 'in need of supervision'. I thought the family involvement was not a chaperone arrangement because the couple isn't trusted alone, but rather to give them a more normal (ie,family) environment to get to know each other, and so that the family may better be able to provide support and advice.


#15

[quote="Havard, post:14, topic:231415"]
Interesting, I thought the opposite. Most Catholics I know don't court until before 18, making the average courter past the point of being 'in need of supervision'. I thought the family involvement was not a chaperone arrangement because the couple isn't trusted alone, but rather to give them a more normal (ie,family) environment to get to know each other, and so that the family may better be able to provide support and advice.

[/quote]

Sounds like a good motivation. I suppose in the Maurice & Erika example it's somewhere in the middle but to do justice to the example, there was no immediate sight of supervision. I presume the playing with siblings in the den, before Maurice's arrival, was for the sake of the young ones, not because Erika is numbered among children at age 20 or something (but the "your parents as guides" line contributes to some ambiguity here). Unfortunately, in some families, daughters can be treated like children at age 20.


#16

wow awesome, it's good to hear that you can still kinda be "normal" whilst courting. haha
In our society I think it would be very hard to do the whole victorian era style courting...good to know that you do or can adjust it to modern day society without specifically dating.

I know my family would think it rather weird for me to "court" but based on what most of you have said it seems like it wouldn't be that weird ;)

thanks! looking forward to hearing anyone else's views as well.


#17

I think it's possible to do both. I'll use my current relationship to help explain.

I do believe that dating and courtship can go together. When my girlfriend and I first started dating, I told her that I did not want to date just to date; the end goal is marriage and a family. And if she wasn't comfortable with that, then there was no need to date. She agreed. We have both done courtship activities with each other families. But we also have gone on exclusive dates, such as out to dinner, watching movies, etc. with the idea that we are both adults in the Catholic faith. With that in mind, we both make conscious decisions to not engage in any activity outside a few smooches! ;) (I don't think there is anything wrong with showing affection to the person you truly love!) I don't feel like I need her family there to make sure we don't go to far.

Courting is nice because you really get to know the family; I've had a lot of fun getting to know her family. I do agree that if you truly want to get to know someone, watch how they interact with their family. But dating is also nice because you really get to know the other person. There are a lot of subject matters that are not group appropriate and should solely be discussed by the guy, the girl, and God. Families are important, but we have moved past the stage where children live with their parents and grandparents.

I think that you can do both and still live your relationship well within the Catholic faith.


#18

I would check out www.courtshipnow.com
Carmen Marcoux has a fabulous ministry going and really supports the ideas and beliefs regarding courtship. Her books are fantastic, as well as her other resources.


#19

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