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Shifting from a “dating” to a “courtship” mindset can help single adults achieve greater happiness, too.What’s the difference between dating and courtship?(See II Corinthians 5:7, Psalm , Romans , Psalm 13, and I John 4:8.)Because each individual, family, and set of circumstances is unique, each courtship will be unique.While those who choose courtship will hold to general guidelines for the relationship, their specific choices about when, where, and how to court may differ according to their needs and circumstances.
(We know, of course, from our Catholic faith, that it’s not actually OK to sleep with someone you’re dating … This brings up the topic of “married dating,” a commendable activity to be discussed in a future article.) Think of courtship as a part of the discernment process for marriage. Rather than going off alone together as a twosome, the courting couple spends their time together in community, hanging out with each other’s families or large groups of friends.
Delaying dating in the teen years is a good way parents can help form the virtue of chastity.
Talking with your teens about God’s plan for marriage, and helping them think about what good qualities to look for in a future husband or wife, can help them enter adulthood with the marriage-discerning mindset of courtship. Andrew Parish in Sumner, holds a doctorate in moral theology and ethics from The Catholic University of America, where she specialized in marriage, family, sexual ethics and bioethics.
But actually, the concept of courtship is experiencing a revival, with good reasons.
Reframing dating in terms of courtship can help parents set healthy boundaries on teen dating.
(See Proverbs 3:5–7.)Courtship is a choice to avoid temptation and experience the blessings of purity.