Defining Courtship and Why Society Needs it Again


I published an article yesterday entitled “Why Every Relationship Needs Courtship,” with the hope that I would spark a conversation about what it means to partake in responsible romance. Want to know something interesting? I also expected the subject to be controversial and initially rejected by readers…but it didn’t.

Seriously. I sat in front of my inbox this morning expecting to be bombarded with a flurry of negative responses to my assertion that courtship should make a comeback, but the exact opposite happened. People were highly supportive of my plea, citing instances in their lives when a form of courtship worked for them. I even read a story about someone who wished he had courted his (now) ex-wife.

To clarify, the point of the article was (and is) that courtship is more than just parents selling their teenage daughters for 20 goats. The simple definition is this:

Courtship: that sweet spot in-between dating and a relationship in which two people truly get to know one another before agreeing to exclusivity. This is done outside the context of a physical, sexual romance in favor of a friendship.

Many people will claim that they do some form of courtship called “talking.” For the record, I am atrocious at this type of intimacy and usually ruin the attraction. But for many, the period of time between going on dates and becoming exclusive needs to be lightning fast in order to avoid the dreaded friend zone.

I believe the “friend zone” hang up is the main culprit for hurried intimacy. As I explain in the article, the problem with hurried intimacy is that it postpones commitment and other payments for earned intimacy, like moving in with someone else and sharing your life with them. This is a big reason why we end up with broken homes because children are being brought into this world before two people have actually gotten to know each other.

I painting broad strokes at the moment, so read the linked article for my full explanation. I tried very hard not to alienate anyone who has gone through these real and potentially traumatic experiences and it is certainly not my place to cast judgement or make light of anyone’s relationship.

My only agenda is encouraging single individuals to give courtship a try. It takes a  bit of faith, as George Michael would say, but it is worth the patience and work you put into it. Message me your story if you also think that courtship should be brought back into style.

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4 thoughts on “Defining Courtship and Why Society Needs it Again

  1. Bravo! I was just saying this to my 20 year old ‘stepson’…people need to date and not just instantly become a couple!
    What a wonderful article, thank you, Jon!

  2. Excellent article. I couldn’t agree more.

    My wife and I knew each other for seven years before we became a couple and for most of that time we were best friends (for about two of those years we didn’t talk to each other, but that’s another story. Also, we only met after we had both finished high school.) By the time we got married we had known each other for a decade. On our wedding day neither of us had any nervousness (aside from the standard fear of falling down while walking down the aisle or fainting in front of the pulpit from low blood sugar kind of nervousness) because we knew each other.

    Four years later we’re still learning more about one another, but there hasn’t been any huge surprises. Our courtship was more unplanned and informal than what you’re proposing, but it came down to the same thing – we knew each other and knew we wanted to be together for the rest of our lives. No guessing necessary.

  3. It was funny actually… I just published a review for “Don Jon” and I had touched on the topic of intimacy in a relationship. Moments afterwards, I read this and your published article. Very interesting and supposedly obvious stuff that our culture just seems to neglect. Thanks, Jon.


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