Courtship is a process that prepares one for marriage, it is a necessary period of determining if that particular person is the person that you will marry.
The concept of courtship is not the same as dating. For many, the concept of courtship has been replaced by "dating," which has in fact lowered the expectation.
For many, dating is not about finding the one that you will spend the rest of you life with, but rather, a means of meeting personal needs and satisfying personal desires (clearly not the same thing).
Below you will find some guidelines to follow during this period of courtship.
Both partners must be aware that that are marrying a human who is not perfect. Yet, each person enters into a relationship with some form of expectations.
Being aware of these expectations and sharing them with one another may avoid conflict in the future.
This period of courtship is also a time of formation.
If one recognizes that he/she lacks a particular quality or discipline, then this would be a good time to work on it.
If an individual has had painful experiences; this would be a time for healing, seeking counselling or the necessary help needed.
Courtship, actually, is a continual process of discovery and sharing throughout the entire life of a marriage, from the time you meet, through the time you exchange your vows to the day when you bury your loved one - and the key word is "communication."
Being able to discuss "heart to heart" what each other thinks and feels - without prejudice or judgement - in regards to all matters - big and small. This only strengthens and improves the bond between husband and wife.
This ceremony usually begins the courtship period. The priest or deacon is present to bless this beginning. For the couple see to base their married life on the Lord. They invite family and friends to seek their love and support during this time of searching and understanding.
Look for lasting values and not only at the exterior.
Check to see if your partner prays, goes to Mass, Confession and is obedient to the Church?
Seek for a companion, who will understand.
Does the couple feel comfortable to communicate freely?
Is there a problem of trusting?
Does one person have the problem of talking too much and not listening?
Or does the person have a problem of expressing himself or herself in anyway?
Your partner must be one who will bring the best out of you.
Watch for negativism or an attitude of constantly finding faults.
Can you see in your partner qualities that compliment yours?
Does your partner have a sense of humor?
Does he/she have a balanced life-style of prayer, exercise, fun, healthy food habits, rest and adventure?
As a woman you look to the man you marry to see if he can truly be a provider for the family.
Watch for signs of any addiction or character defects that may bother you and be a bad example to the children.
As a man look for a woman who knows how to run a home.
Someone who will with her warmth and love be able to provide for you and the children a home.
How does she handle finances?
Can she manage with what you would provide?
Or are her tastes beyond your means?
Checking family background may be useful for both parties. It might reveal often certain aspects of behavior or patterns which may disturb later.
Recognize your partner's attitude to marital union.
Does your partner have a healthy understanding of this relationship?
Marriage is a lifelong commitment in which One fully commits themselves to the other, unites with the other in communion, and serves the other through love and respect for the rest of their lives.
What God has brought together no man shall separate.
Hey Deacon Pat,
So in your opinion, does that mean that young people shouldn't "court" until they are ready to get married? I fully agree that in all reality every relationship we have before marriage is God's way of forming us and preparing us to choose our life partner. And also helping us to figure out how to actually LIVE with them once we are married. But I also believe that it is fun! and when done with purity (or purely--not sure on my gramar there), don't you think God is ok with us going out and being social and having fun with each other even if we aren't ready to actually propose?
And I had never heard of the ceremony to begin an engagement. Your writing at first made me think it was something that was required and I certainly missed it. :-) But after doing a little research I found that there is a Blessing of an Engaged Couple (Book of Blessings, Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1989, page 59.) But my research didn't make it sound like it was something necessary, but just available. Is that correct? Sounds beautiful and like a wonderful way of starting out your life together. We should make sure our Marriage Prep Ministers know about it!
Peace of Christ be with you!
To answer your question, “The Order For the Blessing Of An Engaged Couple” Book Of Blessings, Page 96-101, Book of Blessings, catholic Book Publishing Co. 1989, isn't mandatory, but it is a beautiful option, and who wouldn’t want it, especially a truly Catholic Couple.
Your other question regarding dating; what do most people think dating is?
I am not sure there should be such a thing as dating.
No, I don’t think people should date until they are at a point within a year or two of being able to support a wife, what is the purpose.
I like the term courtship much better.
Can't people be friends, get to know each other without physical contact?
Dating, that sounds exclusive.
Making an exclusive commitment that isn't engagement and marriage just helps perpetuate the concept that relationships often are not permanent.
If it isn’t exclusive, what is the purpose if we aren’t talking sex?
Friends can do things together, especially in groups, this ensures the security of the woman’s reputation.
Marriage is permanent.
What is the rush!
So many trivialize dating to be mini-marriages so they can feel committed and then justify sex…..
Men and Women should be developing Virtue and Character in their adolescence and young adulthood, restraining from the emotional impulses, mastering self-control and discipline.
Youth need the example and encouragement from Adults that patience, honoring the reputation of woman, and the necessity of obtaining the education and skills needed to be a provider are all needed before one could even consider dating / courting,
If not, then we are left with a society that places more emphasis of having fun dictating and guiding the youth and altogether missing that the depth of commitment, true love, and communion come from courtship and marriage, not dating.
I feel that it is the responsibility of Pastors, Clergy, and Youth Ministers to be the leaven in our society and be the example through our lives, our actions, and all our teachings to transcending our current culture of death and nothingness, and to clearly show the way for God’s children. To be a true servant of Christ, we are to willingly take up the cross, be counter cultural, understand we often will not be popular, often misunderstood by most around us, yet our lives speak the truth, unlike the world around us. If we don’t look and act much different than society around us, we are assured that we are not much different than the world around us, and that would is not Christian… At least not Christian as Christ would see it.
Jesus himself, not the culture around us, should be the guide regarding identifying Christian values and lessons, and answering questions and guiding us regarding what is appropriate or not.
Would Jesus think is was ok for children to hang on each other when they have no means or marriage… Youth of His day would not ever think of even holding hands without being engaged… Why should it be different now, because everyone is doing it….
I think Not!
Written in Sincere love and humility,
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