Courtship & Grammar

One of the big blessings of courtship versus recreational dating is that the two people involved view the whole process as something serious. But it still isn’t simple. It is still a mystery how it all works. Wise Solomon himself said there were three things (even four) that he couldn’t understand, and one of those was the way a man behaves when he goes a courtin’. But even if it is puzzling, a young woman can benefit by remembering her grammar lessons of old.

First of all, it is the man who is doing the courting. The woman in question is just minding her own business when along comes a man who wants to court her. She is the direct object here, not the subject. (John is courting Sue. Sue is not courting John.) The woman is being courted. His purpose is to win her, and by agreeing to enter into a courtship, she is saying in so many words that she is willing to receive his attentions. She is agreeing to let him try to win her. Whether or not he will succeed still remains to be seen.

So, a woman does not need to describe her own condition as one of “courting.” She is being courted; she has a suitor. If she finds him to her liking, she may be pleased that he is continuing to show her attention. But if she does not, it is no shame for her to end the courtship. That is her prerogative. At the same time, she should not view his attentions as simply a recreational activity. He has stuck his neck out, and she should honor him for doing so.

You may wonder why I am fussing over such a grammatical error, but I think it is a significant one. If a woman believes that she has to have the same level of commitment entering into a courtship that the man does, she is bound to feel a little worried. He has obviously been thinking about this, praying about it, and then goes and sticks his neck out by asking. It may or may not have ever occurred to her to be interested in him. So it may take her a bit to get up to speed. She may know from the getgo that she is not nor can she be interested. Or, she may think he is worth considering. She does not need to know that she will marry him in order to agree to a courtship. All she needs to know is that she likes him well enough to receive his attentions.

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5 thoughts on “Courtship & Grammar

  1. I’ve never been in a courtship, but this reminds me of mistakes I’ve made in joining churches. I knew I had significant problems with my last church before I joined it, but I’d been visiting for a while and ended up joining out of a sense of guilt — I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings! That was foolish, of course. I’d have done much better to have kept looking for a better place rather than having to go through the rather painful process of leaving four years later. My current church membership worked out much more like a good courtship. I was actually planning on moving out of state, and was just sojourning for a while, but this wonderful congregation won over my heart and changed my agenda! Not an exact correlation, of course, but it points to a common feminine foible of making decisions out of pity and false guilt rather than wisdom and clear-headed concern for the best interests of both parties: “He’s been so nice and attentive…I guess I have to marry him (despite X, Y and Z nagging doubts and concerns).”

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