Women were once raised to set high expectations that demanded a certain honor from suitors. Today, it seems our expectations are not what they used to be. Intentions and boundaries have blurred, to create the “cool” appearance of mystery in case something better comes along. Affection is expressed more indirectly via tweets, status updates, or posting photos.
150 years ago, courtship led to arranged marriages where love was not a prerequisite. There was a high value placed on honor and chastity. There were very formal ways established of social interaction and expressing interest; such as escort cards, where men could offer to escort women home after an evening. Women might receive several cards from different suitors, and select one. Courtship was not just a formal step toward marriage for a man and woman, but also an opportunity for families to become acquainted. Ultimately, family and community provided a safe context for courtship to cultivate respect and honor.
In today’s culture, the dust has settled for dating customs of the modern world. Yet, I am frequently surrounded by women who feel completely discouraged by the dating process. Enchanted by the tips and tricks to keep a man, many have fallen into a powerless role of pursuit. All the while, blindly trading in their self respect and honor. There is such a mix of opinions from women who either feel empowered in this new era, or completely unsatisfied and wanting so much more.
I believe there are 5 empowering ways courtship can be translated into a modern world:
1. Know your standards:
Women were once raised with specific standards and values, that have now phased out of our culture. If you don’t have a set of standards or core values for yourself, it’s time to write them out. What do you really believe about yourself, or what do you want to believe? Have this firmly established in your life, or risk the likelihood of someone else shaping it for you.
2. Build Friendship:
Many are quick to jump into relationships with people that are acquaintances. Take the time to build knowledge and trust in another person. Traditionally, courtship challenged and required much of a man to be intentional and purposeful in pursuit of a woman. Set a high bar for yourself of when someone has earned the right to know you.