Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Systems of Relationships

How do you pursue the one you love?

In modern society, usually we start dating them, or if we come from a more traditional family, we start courting them. So which is better: casual dating or traditional courtship? Well, let's take a closer look at them both...


Casual Dating

I call this "casual dating" because I feel like this best reflects the normal system of relationships our society follows in their pursuit of romance. It's very laid back and without very high expectations. Usually, it all comes down to this basic template:

  • We see a person and “fall in love”.
  • We fantasize about them.
  • We express our interest in them, by asking them out.
  • We get to know them in a romantic setting.
  • We express our feelings physically.
  • After a while of the fifth, we might consider marriage.

This template is pretty much the same for both Christian and non-Christian alike - the only difference is, Christians usually don't go all the way, physically, on step five. This is the system of dating.

Traditional Courtship

This system is very different then the first one. Unlike Casual Dating this isn't as popular today as it was a long time ago. It goes by this basic template:

  • We see a person and "fall in love".
  • We fantasize about them.
  • We express our interest in them by asking their parents permission to court them.
  • We get to know them while accompanied by a chaperone, in a romantic setting.
  • We wait to express our feelings physically.
  • After awhile of the fifth, we decide on marriage.

This template is generally favored by very conservative families, and usually doesn't differ between Christian and non-Christian circles. This is the system of courtship.

Both are Flawed

So which one should you use? In my opinion, neither one. While yes, both do have their strengths, neither of them are ideal. Both run on the wrong mindset and operate off of a very distorted view of love. Both create an illusion based on feelings of attraction, which in my mind is the reason for the insanely high divorce rate. Casual Dating often leads to heartbreak and immorality, while Traditional Courtship often leads to legalism and inappropriate parental control. Both systems provide false atmospheres for getting to know each other, because both try to do it in the midst of a barrage of infatuation-overdrive. Casual Dating quite often leads to compromising situations because of the highly-romantic atmosphere (and with someone you barely know), while Traditional Courtship treats both of you like children who can't "be good" without supervision.

Both are flawed. Neither are ideal.

The Alternative

So what's the alternative?

This is a question I've asked myself many times when I was younger, especially when my parents told me in middle school that I wasn't allowed to date. Eventually, after reading a certain book on relationship, my interest in love was kindled: I wanted to find the truth. I wanted to know, truly, is there a better way? and more importantly does it actually work?

Now, years later, I've written a book detailing what I believe to be exactly that: a better way. This way places relationships back into the place they're supposed to be: between the true definition of love (see 1 Corinthians 13), the common-sense benefits of wisdom (see Proverbs), and a right standing relationship with Jesus Christ (see Romans 10:9). This is the basic template this system goes by...

  • We get to know the person as a casual friend.
  • We get to know the person as a good friend.
  • We get to know the person as a close friend.
  • After at least a year of close friendship, if we still want to pursue more, we enter into an exclusive relationship to determine if we should get married.
  • After awhile of the fourth, we decide on marriage.

This is the way I'm going about relationships. Why? Well, I explain in much more detail in the book, but here are just a few reasons...

  1. When your relationship is built on strong friendship and mutual support, it becomes something that supports you instead of something you have to continually work to maintain.
  2. When you wait to start your relationship until after you think they're the person you want to marry, you're cutting the chances of heartbreak or wasting your time.
  3. When you only enter into a relationship with someone you're close friends with, you're increasing your chances of ending up with the fairytale dream of "marrying your best friend".
  4. When you wait to pursue an exclusive relationship until after at least a year of close friendship, you can usually "weed out" the people who aren't patient enough to wait alongside you. This helps remove much of the potential for "players" getting into your relationships.
  5. When you know an exclusive relationship is off limits for at least a year, you are free to develop many different meaningful friendships with both genders, drama free.

And that's just five reasons!

You see, the point is, even though it's not normal, there still is a better way - one that I'm on, and am absolutely passionate about. It actually works - and (among other things) it's given me the absolute best friendship I've ever had. I'm also confident that if you follow this way, something very similar can happen for you. You just need to think radically. Instead of thinking "what's normal?", start saying "what's best?". That's what I did - and I'll tell you what, I've never regretted it.

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What do you think? Let me know in the comments section below! I value your input and will do my best to help answer any questions you may have about the article. Thank you for reading. :)

For a more detailed look into this new system of relationships, sign up here to receive an email when Trent's new book, Revolutionary Relationships, comes out!