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Spring and Courtship

March 5, 2012

Spring is upon us and as Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote in his classic poem Locksley Hall, “ …in the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love…” And, if this is true, it means that there is probably many a young man out there lookin’ for love.

Looking for love – back in the dinosaur era – meant that a young man went “courting.”  And, when he identified someone who caught his eye and his heart, he pursued her – courted her. If the object of his desire was likewise inclined, they entered into a courtship to determine whether or not their mutual attraction might be suitable for something more permanent.

Courtship….what an old fashioned word…..and what a lovely concept. The website, webiq.com has this to say about “courtship.”

“Courtship (sometimes called dating or going steady) is the process of selecting and attracting a mate for marriage. In Japan, there is a type of courtship called Omiai. It is a formal date with the intention of finding someone to marry.”

Today, in Western societies, a date is an occasion when one socializes with a potential lover or spouse. In this sense, the purpose of a date is for the people dating to get to know each other and decide whether they want to have a relationship. Dating  – rather than courtship – may be the term describing the relationship of two people attending a date, but other terms are often used: going out with, hanging out with, etc. And, these terms can imply different degrees of physical involvement, commitment and monogamy.

I shocked some young twenty-somethings recently when I said that now it seems that “dating” is code for “I’m having sex with this person” versus “hanging out” which is code for what used to be called “dating” but now is code for “I’m not having sex with this person.”  The twenty-somethings were somewhat taken aback – but no one disagreed with my observation.

But I don’t really want to write about various degrees of commitment and monogamy as it relates to dating (or courtship) or dissect associated code words.  Rather I want to focus this month on dating and courtship in direct relation to their original purpose – to find a spouse.  So, for the month of March – the beginning of Spring when “a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love” – I’ll be writing about the 3 “Cs” that I believe comprise a successful courtship – success being defined as ultimately culminating in a marriage. Next week, I’ll be talking about the first “C” – connection.

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