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Courtship vs. Dating


Gothardgrrl

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One of my least favorite characteristics of fundies is their desire to sugarcoat the parts of history that they love. Probably thanks to the Bates family, the latest subject of my annoyance is courtship. It seems like fundie families believe that courtship was the wholesome way all young people got together before evil modern dating, ignoring the fact that young people have been doing unwholesome things since the world began. So I was looking up the origins of courtship and was a little surprised to find (though I probably shouldn't have been) that the idea originated in the courts of kings. The words courting, courtier and courtesan all relate to the behavior of people living at court. I don't know about the rest of you, but I to me, courtly behavior conjures up ideas of decadent, worldly and politically-motivated romance. Do any of them know this? Would they care or is it good enough that most people think of courtship in the same quaint way that they do?

I was actually thinking that, as much as they hate the term, dating might be a better word for what they do. They do, in fact, set dates for their times together; much more than most normal dating couples I know. They seem to have pretty set time-limits both on the amount of time they spend together and the amount of time this courtship should last. So wouldn't dating be a better word for what they do? If you think about it, the word "dating" has a much more bland, clinical feel to it than "courtship" which has centuries of not-entirely-innocent baggage attached to it.

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I grew up in a conservative (but not fundie) family. When my sister and were allowed to date there were rules. The boy had to come to the door and was told what our curfews were. There was no interrogation. We were allowed to go out and date like normal teenagers.

My grandma still refers to dating as "courting" because that's what it was called back in her day. This grates my oldests niece's nerves, because grandma jokingly asks her who she's "a courtin' now". My niece automatically thinks of Duggar and Bates style of courting. :lol: Grandma even refers to my SO as "that boy you're a 'courtin'", but I laugh it off because I know what she means.

Anyway, back on topic.....Fundie courting seems like nothing more than attempting to arrange a marriage. How can you possibly share your feelings and really get to know someone with a chaperone hovering over you. It takes more than sharing the same religious beliefs to build a relationship. I have to wonder if maybe this isn't part of the reason some of the older fundies we talk about aren't courting.

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My grandmother used to call it 'courtin' also. She had an older farmer who was her long time beau who used the phrase 'go courtin'' to mean looking for young women to date. Apparently, when he was young, he used to dress up and go to town 'to court' but as far as I could tell, he meant hanging out with other teenage boys and looking for a girlfriend. In other words, this old gentleman who would have been born early twentieth century acted a lot like young teenage boys do today.

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I think most fundies would be apalled to have their romanticized notion of what the word "courting" entailed outside of the very narrow portion of Victorian society that they like to refer to debunked.

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I grew up in a pretty modern but traditional Indian home. My parents told us no dating until college (I didn't really listen to it haha). I guess you can say that my parents wanted us to "date with a purpose" but unlike a courtship where a girl waits for God to reveal to her her one and only, we were allowed to date around but keeping in mind to find a guy whom we would want to settle down with. The guy did not have to call my dad, asking for permission to date me nor did we have chaperons. My parents gave my sister and I the freedom to find our soul mates without them making the decisions for us. My boyfriend and I go on dates alone, talk on the phone alone, even go into my bedroom alone, without my sister or my parents following us wherever we go. Guess what? We've been together for 5 years, with no problems, and are planning on getting married in the future.

I agree with RosyDaisy that a courtship is just a nicer way of saying "arranged marriage". I know fundies argue that the girl has a voice in a courtship but it's the same exact thing in an arranged marriage. Just like in an arranged marriage, a girl waits for her potential suitor to call up daddy dearest and ask for permission to get to know the girl better. The father, just like in a courtship, asks the girl that so and so is interested and allows the daughter to think about it. If she agrees, the suitor and his family comes over to the daughter's house; the parents sit around to talk while the girl and guy sit outside or go for a walk to get to know one another. If the guy sees she's the one, he tells his parents and then calls the girl's father regarding marriage, just like in a courtship. If the girl also agrees, she tells the father and the father gives the guy the green light. What makes courtship slightly different than an arranged marriage is that they have "time" to know each other better before the engagement. In an arranged marriage, there is no engagement-just a wedding that occurs a few months down the road. In some gujarati culture, they have a ceremony called "Nakki" which means the girl is off the market and it's official. My boyfriend and I had our ceremony on Sunday but it was because I'm going to RSA with his family in June for his sister's wedding and they wanted something "official" between us before I go. Pretty much, we're "official" in a sense that we both will be getting engaged and married to one another, in the future. They still do the old school Nakki in some families but most have modernized it a bit like my boyfriend's family.

Back to courtship-it's no different than someone having an arranged marriage. In both cases, a girl and guy have to go through the father before anything happens, which is dumb. I found it so annoying when Jill Duggar said "Ask my dad what type of guys we like because he knows". Um, no, he does not know. You're the one who knows, not him! What if a guy calls who is perfect but the father rejects him for some stupid reason? Then what?! I will give Erin Bates and Chad credit in that they do have alone time to call each other for an hour and are allowed to text each other without a middle man reading it; however, I find it stupid that they don't trust themselves enough to be left alone that they need chaperons to keep them "accountable".

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It reminds me of how Elisabeth Elliot said in Passion and Purity that arranged marriages aren't bad because they seem to last longer on average. She chose to look at one positive element and ignore everything else. Forget the fact that arranged marriages also led to more unhappy, unhealthy, and loveless marriages than we have with modern dating.

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My one grandma was a total party-pooping, guilt-tripping, debbie downer who made us believe back in the day everybody was a saint, and we were SINNERS. However, later on in our lives, she told us stories of 'courting' among teenagers in the countryside of the Netherlands, circa 1932, and let me tell you ..WUT!

Because all the farmhands and maids lived in such relative isolation, once a year something called 'meidenmarkt' (i.e. girls-market) would be organised, where all girls would get a ticket with a number, and then boys would have to buy a ticket, and you were supposed to go out with/date that boy/girl for the day (holy awkward batman!).

And there was 'going out' during the rest of the year as well (or 'walking with someone' as it was called), and a (literal!) romp in the hay was expected from age 16 onwards, as long as you made superduper sure you wouldn't get pregnant nobody batted an eyelid. And that's where my last idea of the Innocent Past was shattered....

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