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Courting vs. Dating: What's the Difference?


Have you heard that Christians should “court” and not “date?” In the past, courtship was a more formal process than dating is today. Typically, a man would court a woman by asking her father for permission. Then he’d do his best to impress her with his good manners and intelligence. If the courting couple married, it was generally because they formed a strong emotional bond and their families approved. Courting in today’s world looks a little different. Keep reading to learn the difference between courting vs dating to decide which is right for you.

What is Courting?

For many Christians, the idea of courting is a throwback to a simpler time. It conjures up images of couples sitting together in church pews, sharing a gentle kiss after Sunday service. However, the concept of courting is actually quite simple: it is the process of getting to know someone with the intention of marriage. In today's world, where dating has become increasingly casual, courting provides a way for couples to slow down and really get to know each other. By creating intentional space for conversation and deepening their relationship with God, couples who court can develop a strong foundation for a lifetime of marriage.

What is Dating?

​​Dating as a Christian can mean different things to different people. For some, it might mean spending time with a potential partner in a group setting, getting to know them better before deciding to pursue a serious relationship. For others, it might involve more traditional one-on-one dates with the intention of eventually getting married. And for some Christians, dating is more about enjoying each other’s company without planning for a future together.

Courting vs Dating: Which is Right for You?

The term "courting" is often used interchangeably with "dating," but the key difference is the intention behind the activity. To “court” someone is to get to know them for the sole purpose of seeing if marriage makes sense. When courting, couples often go on dates in public places or groups, refrain from sexual activity, and involve family in their relationship from the start.


To “date” someone is more casual and typically revolves around social activities and enjoying someone’s company. While courting often involves parental approval and involvement, dating is more independent. Some people date for marriage, while others date for fun without the intention of finding a spouse.


Ultimately, the decision of whether to date or court as a Christian comes down to personal preferences and beliefs. If you are serious about finding a lasting relationship, then courting may be the way to go. However, dating may be a better option if you're just looking to have some fun and meet new people. Whichever route you choose, remember that your goal should be to glorify God in everything you do!


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