12 tips for women about courtship:
- Only enter into a courtship with a man whom you would consider marrying. A woman might consider “just” dating any guy that she’s attracted to as long as she has no sense of long-term commitment. The problem arises when she’s grown attached to him after a period of time and can’t bring herself to breaking off the relationship, even when it’s not good. She may end up marrying a man that she otherwise would not have. Set the stakes higher–only court with a man you’d consider marrying.
- Enter a courtship to discern whether or not you are called to marriage with a certain man. Courtship is dating with a purpose. If you know that you would not consider marriage with this man, or you are not ready to consider marriage yet, then don’t enter into a courtship. Stay friends or acquaintances for the time being. Courtship is about prayerful discernment, which means you will decide either that God is not calling you to marriage with this man or that He is not. Both outcomes are valid in a courtship!
- Take time through prayer to discern God’s will. You need to foster prayer in your lives individually and as a couple. You can not know God’s will without prayer.
- Base your courtship in the family: As much as possible, spend time with each other’s families. This is so important–for if you do end up married, you’ll want to get along. Family is an invaluable resource and such an integral part of who we are. You will learn much about each other by seeing how each other relates to family members. And your family, in turn, can give you much insight about the man with whom you are courting (and his family, about you!) Family sees things we don’t always see. Love can be blind at times–family (and friends) can really help to correct our vision. If you are far from family, make every effort to get home and spend time with them. And in the meantime, adopt a family (friends from Church, for example) to provide for you all the benefits of a family-based courtship.Items 6 – 15 deal with setting guidelines for yourselves from the very beginning of your courtship. (If you’re starting over–changing from a dating relationship to a courtship model–then begin now with guidelines.) The following points will cover areas you should consider in those guidelines.
Emotional Intimacy: Guard your hearts and do not dive emotionally into a courtship relationship head first. Give yourselves time to learn about each other. Do not open up all your intimate secrets, desires and longings to each other immediately–just because you are courting. Allow your relationship to grow naturally. Keep the mystery alive by not revealing everything all at once. The problem with “dumping” on each other emotionally early on in a relationship is that if you later discern that you are not called to marriage you could have many regrets over having shared those intimate thoughts and secrets with someone who will not be your husband. You need to be honest with each other, but that does not mean you have to reveal everything right away. As the relationship grows, you will discover a natural pace for sharing those emotional intimacies.
- Physical Intimacy: Decide what your limits will be and write them down. Remember that as you store up your treasures of physical intimacy before marriage–every sacrifice that you make to stay pure becomes a jewel for you to share with each other in marriage. At that time–you will be able to delight in the beauty of giving yourselves to each other completely and totally. And your pleasure in marriage will be magnified by your time of waiting.
- To kiss or not to kiss: Are you going to allow for kissing or not? Kissing is NOT a sin. It is not bad. It does not mean that a couple is less virtuous in courting if they allow for kissing. It is a decision you make as you set your guidelines. So think through the reasons why you would choose to allow for it or not!
- Saving that first kiss: Many couples decide to leave kissing out of their relationship–as kissing has the power to ignite their passions. They choose to wait until the altar for their first kiss. They also might be coming out of past relationships–where they are struggling to keep control over their passions. They might be coming from a position of never having been kissed before, and now that they’ve waited this long–they want to go all the way with it! There are a variety of reasons why some couples choose this path.
- Saving that “next” kiss: Other couples, who have allowed for kissing in their relationship, sometimes decide to cut it out and wait to have their “next” kiss at the altar–which could be quite a wait! But they’ve seen how kissing is stirring passions that are making it harder for them to stick to their goal of staying pure in their relationship.
- Kissing with limitations: Some couples allow for kissing–but they limit how and when and where–which is wise if they want to keep it from stirring those passions that can be so easily ignited.
- Hugging: Are you allowing for hugging–and in what context? Hugging is a completely acceptable and beautiful expression of affection, support and love. However, prolonged hugging—while all alone and at times when you might be feeling weak (like late at night)—can stir passions. Just be careful that you are guarding the context well so that it doesn’t begin to undermine your good intentions.