I remember the day my grandma asked me the question of whether or not my "new beau" was courting me.
At the time, I was taken aback, not only by the use of the words "beau" and "courting", but because she believed this was how relationships were functioning in the 21st century.
It wasn't just her words that seemed old fashioned, but also the romancing expectations. But was she onto something that has lost its true meaning yet is vital to the health of any new relationship?
When we think of the word "courting", we usually conjure up images of Romeo-and-Juliet scenarios where one must go to extreme lengths to woo their love -- even possible social ruin. However, courting isn't some over-complicated, dramatic, Shakespearean feat... sometimes it's as simple as holding the door or making a call.
In the 21st century, we have created more ways to find love but forgotten about the step thereafter. What happened to waiting a few weeks to kiss someone? Why did the notion of getting to know someone emotionally before becoming physically involved fly out the door?
We have literally swiped left on the art of wooing the person who takes our fancy. Instead of taking the time and effort to make them feel valued from the beginning, we label the act as needy, old fashioned and inconvenient. And then we wonder why we get sucked into reality TV shows such as The Bachelorette. While this infamous show may be staged to some extent, it still demonstrates the suspense, joy and excitement that comes with courting.
Not convinced? Well here's five reasons you might want to start investing more than just a cute goodnight text.
1. It teaches us to wait
Living in a fast-paced and disposable society, it's so easy to get impatient about everything. We don't just want it now, we wanted it yesterday and at lightning 5GB speed.
However, courtship isn't about an instantaneous result. True courtship is about matching the time to the effort in trying to win someone over. It's about learning to wait for the prize instead of just expecting instant gratification after one date.
Sure, it will mean we have to wait longer than normal and perhaps even learn to be vulnerable to a certain level before we know the end result. But when we give ourselves permission to pursue and be pursued, we learn to appreciate what we have so much more.
2. It gives us a chance to see character and integrity
It's hard to know someone's true intention and character after a few dates, and most of the time we find out the hard way. When relationships move too hard and fast, it leaves us little room to make sensible character judgements and emotionally intelligent decisions.
We all know that the butterflies aren't an indication of a lasting relationship, however courtship helps afford us that extra time to understand our suitor in a little more depth. Think about it, if someone is willing to go to effort and place value on your relationship from the beginning, it really says a lot about their future goals.
3. It encourages romance and chivalry
Let's face it, these two are also dying traits that need to be stimulated. Not because we are living in the past, but rather because romance and chivalry both encourage respect, commitment and selflessness.
Being romantic doesn't have to be a loud, over-the-top display of our undying love, but rather simple, everyday acts such as remembering their favourite food or asking about that important meeting they were stressing about. The whole point of courtship is to make the person you are pursuing feel valued, and romance is a simple and effective way to do this.
4. It encourages commitment
When we show someone that we are willing to bide our time, invest with no certain return and give more than we receive, we offer them a sense of security. And who doesn't want more security in life? Courting someone isn't about stalking or smothering them, it's about singling them out because you genuinely want to spend time with them and build something. In a world of game playing and mixed signals, courtship will set you apart from the other fish in the sea.
5. It builds a strong foundation for a healthy relationship
Because we are an impatient lot, we often forget to focus on laying a strong foundation before building something. If you want your relationship to flourish and thrive, you have to give it the best start possible. Courtship is a great way to build and encourage core values in a healthy relationship. When two people take the time to get to know each other and place value upon one another from the beginning, it sets the tone for the rest of the relationship.