I was scrolling through my timeline on Facebook, minding my own business, when I happened upon this meme:
I read it once, twice, three times and was reminded that I have been dating all wrong. Since I was 13 years old, when I had my first boyfriend, I have been doing the dating thing wrong. My dating life went like this:
Boy meets girl
Boy likes girl
Boy and girl are now in a relationship
That was it! And as a result, I experienced heartbreak that could have been avoided.
And I have only come to the realization that I have been dating wrong within the last few years. I have to be honest though, my pastor in Philadelphia taught a bible study on dating and what it should look like and I suppose it fell on death ears at the time. The truth though? I wasn’t ready to receive it. It wasn’t until 2014 when I was introduced to the book “How To Cultivate A Marriage Mindset” that I was reminded of what my pastor taught and ready to receive it. I believe at that point I had reached a point where I was tired of the failed relationships and earnestly sought out answers to what I was doing wrong; and I found them in that book.
My first mistake was not understanding that there are levels to which relationships are formed. The first level, dating, is when the foundation for a friendship is being established. Dating involves getting to know one another; and for a believer such as myself, determining if the other party is a believer as well. Dating should not involve any forms of contact. And, although highly unpopular, during dating, both parties are free to “date” other people. In essence, dating is a period where two people are trying to determine if they want to commit to one another. As the meme suggests, dating is done privately. No pictures posted on Facebook. No meeting parents. No telling friends. It is, and I repeat, only a time spent to get to know one another.
The second level, courting, is the level by which two people have stated what their intentions are toward one another and when the masks come off and the real questions are asked. During courting, just as with dating, there is no physical intimacy. Unlike dating, once a couple reaches courting they are now exclusive. They are serious about one another and working toward the third level, marriage.
I wish I had known this earlier. I wish someone had been so kind to educate me on the difference between dating and courting. Maybe if they had I would have saved myself from the heartache.
But it is said that once you know better, you do better. And I’m determined to do better. I’m armed with wisdom and knowledge and ready to apply it. How I date has changed. I’m taking the time to get to know a person so that I am able to make a wise choice when the time presents itself. Finally, I thank God for those he has placed on my path on this journey called life. May all I am gleaning prepare me to be an awesome godly wife.