The Logic Behind Love; Part II

Hi hi, Sisters! See, less than 24 hours later, I already have more to write about… xD

The bulk of this hash-out will be driven by… definitions and analogies. =)

Bits from a comment on Part I–

Aisa, here’s the ordeal. To answer analogically, it makes girls happy to go shopping. It’s that simple. Even if she knows she can’t afford it, or she doesn’t intend to buy it… temporarily, you have to admit, it makes them happy.

Yes, and *then* they tend to be sad because as a matter of fact, she couldn’t buy it. But at the time… she just can’t help going shopping?

But with courting — when or how would you ever know it’s serious? Doesn’t that go right to marriage? No dating stage, just courtship then marriage? Can the girl be courted by several guys until a particular one proposes??

Well, honey(s), let’s talk a bit about shopping, shall we? What do we mean by shopping? Here are my thoughts, and a bunch of analogies, please let me know what you think!

Yessss as girls we loveeeee shopping. But, for me, a huge part of what makes shopping fun is the selection. It’s one thing to say, “Oh, I love this dress,” when I’ve only got five or so to choose from. But say I said, “Oh, I LOVE this dress!” after I’ve looked at fifty! If I really love that dress out of fifty dresses, then don’t you think that dress must be super super special to have won my heart out of fifty dresses? That’s not to say it’s super super less special than the one I loved out of five, but if I spent time and effort looking through fifty dresses, figures that’s got to be one that’s pretty good, eh? and that there’s less of a chance of finding that it’s not so special. Say I went and got that dress that I thought was the best out of five choices. But then I went to another store with a bigger selection and found a dress that was even better than the one that I thought that was the best out of a mere five?

What I’m trying to get at with this analogy, dears, is that we can’t say we’ve gone shopping, until we’ve really gone shopping. Our selection can be very limited based on lots of things — and one of them is age and location.

Ask yourself, How much of the world have you seen? How many years have you been alive? How many of those living years have you been actively shopping? If we haven’t moved around a lot, or we’ve only recently really started noticing the selection, it can be very easy to say, “Oh, this is the best I’ve seen yet,” and be tempted to be content with that. Imagine if we are currently in a chapter of our life where we happen to be in a store with a very small selection. We go and buy our favorite dress out of five dresses… but then the next chapter of our life, God brings us to a store with a much bigger selection, and after looking at fifty dresses, we find that a lot of those fifty dresses are so much better quality than the one we thought was the best out of five in the previous chapter of our life?

Say the really really gorgeous dresses are the more expensive ones. But… huwaah! We spent half our money on that best-one-out-of-five back in that other store! We don’t have enough to get that one that’s now really really the best-out-of-fifty! I’m sure I would find myself wishing that I hadn’t spent so much in that other store that had less selection!

And that’s what saving our hearts is like. Yes, God can heal us, yes, we can be forgiven, yes, we can be made whole again… but is that any excuse to go and get broke? He created us a certain way… and He gave us free will. That means that while God can heal us if we turn to Him with sincerity, He will not a) change the way we’re wired because He has already given us the free will by which we can actively conform to how we are supposed to act based on how we have been created, and He will not b) give us completely whole never-ever-before-touched hearts as a result of our repentance, because that would be reversing how we’ve been created. He can heal our wounds, but He cannot make the scars disappear overnight. He can heal us in His own good time spiritually, and that may be easier depending on our relationship with Him, and that is a great step, but He has already created us in such a way that there is a natural way for us to heal physically, which, bar a miracle, He will leave to be fulfilled. Which means that only time can really heal those scars… if they ever fully  heal at all. You know those dark spots that sometimes never go away even after the defined lines of the scar do? Mm… yeah.

=) So now I’m done talking about shopping and now I shall move on to courtship. Again, this is coming from Aisa-almost-eighteen who has never been through it, so please, we would all do well to ask our parents and CCs for further insight!

First of all, American courtship is still different from Pinoy courtship (and ya’ll know me; I’m all for the latter!!! xD).

The American concept is that courtship is an alternative to dating. That means that courtship according to Americans replaces dating. An Excerpt from Carmen Marcoux’s Arms of Love (which I highly recommend for you ladies, btw)

“There’s a world of difference between dating and courtship. You see, when a couple dates, there’s often no sense of direction and with that comes an attitude of no responsibility. You go out together. You spend extended periods of time, exclusively with one another. And for some folks that leads to some fairly involved physical relationships. Then, when you get tired of a person, after a few dates or a few years, you move on. You see, it sets a pattern, not for marriage and fidelity, but for marriage and divorce. When you’re bored or overwhelmed, you high-tail it out of there.

“But courtship involves a whole different attitude. There’s direction and with that comes a sense of responsibility and accountability. When a young couple courts, they take time to get to know each other in a solid friendship first. …

“… reserve your affection. Take your time and prove yourself… Test your own sincerity. Perhaps, after a time, one of you may find that the direction of your relationship should stay just as friends… There’s nothing wrong with that. And if you’ve reserved your affection, there won’t be any harm done. …

“So where do you begin in a courtship? You spend time together, with each others’ families. Believe me, family is important. If you end up married, you’ll want to be able to get along with each other’s family, or all kinds of hardships can arise. And you do things together — a variety of activities. You can spend a lot of time in each other’s company — just not exclusively alone. Now, I’m not saying that you’d never get time alone with each other, but that time should be limited.

“And pardon my frankness, but location means everything. You don’t go off to your apartment for an evening alone together and place yourselves in temptation’s way. … I’m no fool to human nature. Lots of good people, with good intentions, end up making mistakes.

“Sometimes people have the impression that if they’re strong Christians, committed to chastity, they can throw common sense out the window. It doesn’t work that way. You have to set guidelines that are practical.

“So you go out for walks. Go out for meals. Go out to the movies, if you can find a decent one. And you spend time doing things together. Because until you’ve seen each other in a variety of different settings and functions, you really know if you’re going to be compatible for marriage.

“You see, the purpose of courting, unlike dating, is to discern whether or not the Lord is calling you to marriage. And like I said, if one or both of you at any point in time feels that marriage is not the best course for you… well you can walk away from it. And you lose nothing. But if you grow in an understanding that marriage is your calling, then you’ll have laid a beautiful foundation for it. You’ll have made for yourself a best friend for a spouse. And that’s a precious gift… It’ll last you a lifetime!”

So there’s a pretty detailed explanation of what American courtship is. But I have some comments — I’d like to make very clear that I do not think that dating per se, is wrong. It is what dating has become that is wrong. At some point in history, dating was as honorable as what courtship, outlined above, is. It had a very clear purpose — to get to know a person. There’s nothing wrong with that, right?

But somewhere along the line, dating became recreational. “Going out” became something fun, and fun became its only purpose. And it got worse and worse and degraded into what it is today to a lot of people — an opportunity to use someone. No, they won’t say it like that, but it’s not about getting to know a person better — or at least, not intellectually. There was an article I read once… I forget where, now, too many years ago, but I think the title speaks very well for itself, and I remember that part very clearly. It was From Front Porch to Back Seat. You know, there’s nothing wrong with spending a few hours shopping or going to a movie or walking in a park and talking about nothing of substance every once in a while. It’s nice to relax some! But if one does it regularly, AND it leads to other things, to physical recreation, then it’s wrong. Right?

Furthermore, there is now a stereotype — it is now generalized that dating includes physical stuff. Which isn’t fair to the people who still practice dating the way it was meant to be practiced — as an opportunity to spend quality time getting to know a person, and not physically! but that’s just the way it is, and we have to deal with it, which means that if we were to “date around,” as in, go and spend some quality time with several different guys separately, even if we’re not actually doing anything immoral and we know it, we’ll probably be labeled a slut just because it’s now assumed that that’s included in the agenda of any date. Sucks for us! But fortunately there is the alternative — which is courtship.

BUT! Hehe, yes, there’s still a “but” here in ‘te ais’ mind. Lol.

Here is where we get into the difference between American courtship and Pinoy courtship.

Let’s quickly outline the similarities first, quoting a bit from above excerpt just ’cause it’s easier —

  • You get to know each other in a solid friendship first.
  • You reserve the physical expression of affection.
  • You take time to prove yourself.
  • You take time to test your sincerity.
  • You spend time getting to know each other’s families.
  • You can spend a lot of time together — and again, location is everything.

So now come… the differences. The main difference is that Pinoy courtship is not exclusive. Furthermore, it does not replace the dating stage, but rather, preceeds it. In the American culture, it would go

  1. Friendship
  2. Courtship
  3. Engagement
  4. Marriage

but in the Pinoy culture, it goes

  1. Friendship
  2. Courtship
  3. Exclusive Relationship
  4. Engagement
  5. Marriage

So what does that mean? Well, for one thing, if courtship replaces dating in the American culture, and is still exclusive, then you’re still technically a) getting to know a person while you’re already tied down to them, and b) while, yes, physical expression of affection is reserved, because it’s exclusive, it’s harder, very possibly just as hard as it is in a steady dating relationship, to guard against premature investment of emotions. I believe I already covered in part I why those two things are rather undesirable situations to be in.

Thus, because Pinoy courtship is not exclusive, it is not unusual or unreasonable for the lady to choose to entertain more than one suitor at a time. And there’s your “shopping,” my dears. Pinoy courtship is your store. American courtship, you can only be in the courtship stage with one guy at a time because it’s exclusive. Pinoy courtship, you can be in the courtship stage with a bunch of them all at once. And because you’re guarding against premature investment of emotions, and because you’re refraining from physical expression of affection, you’re not using any of them. You’re not leading them on or anything. You’re not theirs and they’re not yours, both of you know it, and neither of you are going to treat each other like you are, aaaaaand… you get to pick the best one!!! to move forward with into a then exclusive relationship (with purpose! mind you). You get to get to know them before you’re tied down in such a way that could be harmful to the hopefully-lifelong-friendship-if-never-anything-else! Fun fun shopping… xD sorry, I’m laughing as I type. But I hope that makes sense to you lovely ladies!

End Part II. More comments to boost Part III? xD

– ‘te ais

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3 comments

  1. Hi,

    This article answers plenty of my questions about the whole ‘dating’ thing. I am from India, a Hindu by religion and we are usually conservative by nature. Today’s world means that there is a lot of exposure to other cultures and beliefs, many of which are in conflict with our own belief systems. Although, I am not an expert and have no experience of ‘being in a relationship’, I find your comments on what dating was supposed to be and what it has been reduced to, on target. We have reduced men and women to be attractive pieces of meat to enjoy for the time being and then move on. In doing so, we have lost the purity that was supposed to be in love and affection. It seems the trend now, but just doesn’t feel right…

    btw, I do have a couple of questions and it would be great if you could comment on them –

    1. when does a friend who is a boy/girl become a boyfriend/girlfriend?

    2. When you talk about courtship, is it not necessary for both of them to realize that they are not committing to one another? If one of them doesn’t share the same view, then the purpose seems to be lost. what do you say?

    – yogesh

  2. In the early 20th century, a lady of good character would often have a non-exclusive phase of “shopping” which is what you are calling courtship, and that might still be done now, for all I know. I think in USA/Canada that maybe this phase might be less formally defined, and that it might mostly involve group stuff.

    If it is done in an ethical manner, you could call it dating, and say, a non-exclusive and completely chaste dating situation, with a goal towards marriage (which is what makes it courtship with some people’s dictionaries), is a very very good thing. I think by the time the word courtship has been introduced, a more exclusive arrangement has usually been meant, even long ago in north america,but I’m not sure. I’m curious if the culture has shifted even among the most conservative dating/courting couples.

    Both cultures should provide a way for a lady to have her choice, to see who is available, and who they are, and to obtain a stable sample of their character and behavior, because you have not rushed into something you’ll later regret.

    This is fascinating reading, and I enjoy your post very much.

    Warren

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