Christianity was supposed to be about becoming like Jesus. We went in the wrong direction.
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The contemporary process of marriage involves selecting a candidate (usually through a visual appraisal), dating, fornication, cohabitation, and marriage. This process produces results that are at least tolerable half of the time (given a 50% divorce rate).

Previous to the dating method was a courtship method that involved families consisting of several generations, and over a protracted period of time. While constructed with obstacles at first, it would produce a higher chance of marital longevity and success when completed.

One might picture courtship as an antiquated practice associated with a rural past and unsuited to the pace of modern urban life. Courtship would definitely have been easier when most people lived their lives in the villages in which they were born and grew up. People would begin the process with a lifetime of knowledge of the other people and make a selection with a high degree of success based on knowledge already acquired.

Attempting a courtship practice in today’s society places a greater burden on all the parties involved. The most significant obstacle is the lack of information . Historically people beginning a courtship already have tons of information and were mostly attempting to gauge temperament and compatibility.

Today an attempt at courtship has to have front loaded a process of gaining information. This would be done through family activities whereby slowly over time one would be assessing character qualities that have greater significance than visually obtained physical attributes. In this, the involvement of relatives is useful to direct the passions of youth aside so that a more deliberative and evaluative process can be conduced.

The young girl who succeeded in marrying the High School football star may, ten years later, wish she had instead married someone with a better sense of humor. These are the sort of regrets that might be avoided when an extended family is involved in the courtship process.

The advice of older and wiser relatives can be invaluable to those whose youth tends to fail recognizing some of the deeper and more substantive issues of life. For example, if two people feel attracted to each other and both are of a personality that is quiet and withdrawn, even if both desire affection, if neither is inclined to initiate it, a resulting marriage might starve both parties of what they desire.

Religion is another important factor the importance of which young people dating often fail to consider. It used to be that Catholics and Protestants would not marry. This is not as much of a problem today because usually Protestants and Catholics place less value on their beliefs. If one person has a growing faith that questions an explores spiritual issues and the other person has a static faith that does not tolerate deviation from a denominational stricture, there will be tension in a marriage.

Issues of character and belief are usually demonstrated over time. The courtship process is intended to allow both parties gain the information they need to make informed decisions. It is better to make the beginning of a relationship difficult to insure its success rather than make it easy and pay the price in a lifetime of regret, bitterness, or sorrow.



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