What is the difference between courtship and dating? I don't see any difference.


Dating in American culture is when a boy and girl see each other regularly and go out on outings together, one-on-one. The purpose is to get to know each other and to decide if each wants the other as a potential spouse. The ones dating typically do all the decision making.

Through the years, many have recognized that there are problems with the way dating has developed. Young couples are often too inexperienced and too distracted to make good decisions which effect the rest of their lives without at least some advice from older people. But the biggest concern is with temptation. There are too many opportunities to misbehave sexually since few monitor the situation.

Because of the recognized dangers in dating one-on-one, some families have decided to forbid one-on-one dating except in the formal setting of courtship. Courtship is the way dating was handled in the 1800's. In this arrangement, a boy who is interested in a girl must first approach her parents, asking permission to court her. If her parents approve of the boy (often asking the girl privately if she has any interest before they give their consent), then the girl and the boy can spend time together, but only in monitored situations where a responsible adult can check up on them.

There are many advantages to this arrangement in reducing temptations, and the novelty of it in our current society often makes it appealing to young men and women. It also tends to force the young man to think more seriously about himself. It is one thing to impress a young woman, but it is something different to think about impressing a parent who is protective of that young woman. Young men in these situations tend to work on themselves and their financial situation first before attempting to approach the young woman's parents so that he can say he is offering her something more than just dreams.