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This is actually a post suggested by a family member of mine. My cousin requested I do a post about Dating and Courtship. I didn't actually have an idea as to what direction I was going to write this post. I began with looking for a graphic for the post and I came across the one used to associate with this post.

It actually does the work for me. LOL! It distinguishes the difference between the two, which {from what I've noticed in most recent conversatons and terrible outcomes} people have no clue where to draw the lines. I recently listened to a radio show on why men are scared to get married and then I heard another radio show on relationships and the question was posed; "why isn't {starting} family valued anymore?" Two perplexing questions that I will not say I have the exact answer, HOWEVER... I will say I have an idea and it's this. Men aren't afraid of marriage. I believe they don't know how to cultivate one. I also notice what should be done only in marriage, men have access to during dating. So someone please tell me. Why would I take on a committment and get the benefits of what I can get with out a committment? We'd all ditch our contracts with our cell phone providers and go month to month if we could. These types of behaviors pull the value away from marriage.

I see many men and women have no clue what these two stages (dating and courtship) look like. So you have a few things happening here. A) You have people doing things in the dating phase that should be done in marriage phase (Playing House). B) You have people who place themselves in the courtship phase, but there was no dating phase. C) You have people who date and enter into courtship, but rush the courtship process only to jump headfirst and blindly into engagement and then marriage. D) You have those who date, skip the courtship phase altogether, and enter into engagement. E) Then, there are those who are infatuated with the IDEA and CONCEPT of being married that they just skip all the warning signs in the dating phase, courtship phase, and the engagement phase.

In all these scenarios, the commonality is "OUT OF ORDER". Two summers ago I did a talk for some young adults on the movie "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man" and my main point was this; "When things are done out of God's order, EXPECT COMPLICATION AND CHAOS." The most popular advice people will often, if not always, give anybody pertaining to relationships is "Keep God first". Newsflash: You cannot "keep God first" if He's never talked about in dating or He's never talked about during courtship. The only time He's brought up is in the wedding ceremony. You can't invite God to the wedding ceremony and not into the home of a marriage. You can't ask for God's hand to bless your marriage if you haven't sought His face throughout the process.

Refer to the pic associated with this post for the distinctive differences between the two. In short, my advice would be to understand clearly what these two are and be upfront with what your intentions are. Both men and women.

P.S. There will certainly be a pt. II post to this one. It's entirely too much to cover in this one post. Your comments are welcomed!

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