The Importance of Courtship in Building a Relationship
Learn what courtship is, and what it isn't. Courtship does not have to mean cheesy cards and love songs, a fortune spent on flowers or awkward activities that neither you nor your 'courtee' enjoy. There are three accurate definitions of courtship. First, courtship is a period of time during which one person seeks the affection of another, usually the male pursuing the female, traditionally with the intent of gaining her hand in marriage. Second, more recently there is the concept of courtship as an alternative to dating, usually referred to as Christian courtship, and most famously detailed in Josh Harris's book called "I Kissed Dating Goodbye." Third, and most accurate for our purposes, courtship is the behavior of a person seeking to attract, impress and secure the affections of another person.
Learn what a successful relationship is. So far, you may understand courtship but you may not understand why it is important in building a relationship. A successful relationship must have four elements: romance, commitment, trust and unconditional love. It may have many other elements as well, such as common interests, shared sense of humor, similar backgrounds or complementary personalities, but without those first four it will struggle and, most likely, fail. Think about the happy, long-term relationships you know well. Are there any that do not have these four elements?
Learn about romance. Romance is emotional attachment, infatuation, fascination with and attraction to someone. Romance is often associated with physical desire. To be romantic is to display such emotional, mental, and physical attraction to someone in a way that motivates a similar response from that person. The most effective romantic behavior does not conform to stale, Valentine-like displays, but is personal, particular and appropriate for the two people involved. It may not be featured on a Hallmark card, but it will be meaningful to the couple. In fact, the very way a personal romantic act can exclude others from understanding it may only strengthen the connection it creates. This kind of romance results in a private world of affection and appreciation that the two people involved can share apart from everyone else.
D some reading on romantic people, places, ideas, relationships. Check out ideas for creative romance. Talk to the people you know who are still in love after being in a relationship for more than one year, five year, ten years. Think about how the shared interests you and your potential have can be turned into romance.
Learn about commitment. Romance is the fun stuff. Commitment is the day-to-day, even-when-you're-crabby stuff. Commitment is what makes romance believable. Anybody can come up with sweet, affection, exciting moments when spurred on by infatuation. The person who can display kindness, affection, and interest even when not feeling infatuated is the one who is committed. The person being courted, in order to receive the romance, has to understand that it comes from a sincere and lasting interest, not just a moment of spontaneity which will end as quickly as it began.
Decide how committed you are to investing in and building a relationship. If you are just looking for a thrill, don't waste the other person's time. Have some respect. If, however, you are interested in building a long-term, successful relationship, think about how you can show that to the other person.
Understand how courtship relates to romance and commitment. This is how it all comes together, and this is why courtship is important in building a relationship. Courtship is the ideal way to communicate romance and commitment to another person. The very nature and purpose of courtship is exactly what we understand to be romance and commitment. Courtship is continually looking for ways to show affection and to gain affection, to give attention and to gain attention, to attract and to merit attraction in return. Romance is the part of courtship that makes your heart pound and gives you sweet dreams of a life together. Commitment is the part of courtship that makes your heart feel secure and frees you from fear so you can enjoy the romance.
Review long-term relationships that do not involve any courtship, that is, in which neither person actively displays romance or commitment to another. Is that what you want? Probably not. A bad example can stick with you. Observe carefully and note the lack of respect, enjoyment or affection in relationships without any type of continual courtship. Let their failure teach your success.
Realize that the habit of courtship is essential at every stage of a relationship. Courtship is the best way to build a relationship, and it is also the best way to maintain a happy, healthy relationship. Getting in the habit of courtship now, while it is fueled by intense emotion and desire, will help you carry that habit into a relationship that lasts, which will create more emotion and desire, which will keep the relationship exciting and fulfilling. A continually practiced courtship creates a cycle that helps both people enjoy the relationship.
Do your courtship homework. Talk to people, read about happy relationships and most of all, study the one you are courting. The habits, preferences, hobbies, interests, pet peeves, hidden dreams and daily life of the one you are pursuing will provide the best material for creative courtship. This is true not only while building a relationship, but while maintaining one.