Courting in the Age of Quarantines, Social Distancing & Pandemics
Step 1: FRIENDSHIP
You see someone you might be interested in, but you don’t know the first thing about him/her. How can you strike up a friendship? Here are some ideas;
Find out if you’re both on the same social media circles and follow each other to see some of the other person’s interests, views and also if you have mutual friends, etc.
Participate in some of the Healthy Relationship Singles’ Activities (be sure you’re on the mailing list!). These activities are designed to introduce singles as well as host social gatherings so we can get to know one another better. Also, look out for Singles’ Socials that are being planned locally, regionally and even nationally—don’t be a wall-flower, get involved!
Step 2: COURTSHIP
So you already are acquainted with someone you’re interested in, and you see that you all have some things in common. Because you are already prepared for marriage, you’d like to take the friendship to the next level and enter a deliberate process of discovery. How to initiate a courtship:
Either the brother or sister inform their Student-Laborer that they would like to start courting. The Laborer then makes the other party aware of the courtship request. The Laborer should not make their own determination as to who can or cannot court, fail to inform, or block someone but, if they have concerns about either the brother or sister, they should counsel both parties and inform them of their concerns. After the 2 have been informed/introduced, they can start the courtship process. If you live in 2 different cities/states/countries, find out at the beginning if one or both are willing to re-locate. If no one is willing to relocate, there is no need to court because obviously, you won’t be able to get married UNLESS you both agree to a long-distance marriage which is not advisable. Further information is available in the Courtship Manual.
If someone does not want to court you, DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY. It could mean the person isn’t ready to court or maybe they know you well enough to believe you aren’t compatible for marriage, or maybe they like you but aren’t interested in marrying you. Don’t beg, plead or stalk---keep it moving and thank Allah for blessing you with the person who is to come. To read more on rejection, click here: Article.
The next question is, how do I get to know someone in the era of quarantines, social distancing and pandemics? The following are ideas to help you get started:
You should look at duplicating what you would do in person, virtually---so download Zoom, get your cel phones, iPads, laptops and PCs ready!
Share each other’s schedules and commitments and be respectful of each other’s time. This includes work schedules, time with children, assisting with family members such as parents. If you’re tired or you need time alone, be sure to communicate this to your courtmate. This “me time” should not extend to days and weeks otherwise, it signals the Courtship may be over or it could be a red flag.
There may be some activities that one of you like but the other isn’t interested in. Learn to compromise as that is what you will do in a marriage. However, if you find that there is a wide gulf between what you are both interested in, you may need to evaluate if there are enough compatibility factors for the courtship to continue especially if you feel it won’t lead to marriage.
You should meet your courtmate’s family members starting with the parent(s). Talking with the parents should be at the top of the list in terms of getting to know your courtmate.
Connect at the start and end of the day with the greetings of Peace. Pray together. If you both meditate, try meditating together.
Go for a walk with Facetime (requires iPhone) which will enable you to see and talk with each other
Cook together in real time and then…
Have dinner together (make it a candlelight dinner if it’s not too dark)
Watch a movie together (and don’t forget the popcorn!)
Find out what you both like by doing hobbies together
Sing Karaoke (try it with other people)
Join a book club together
Take virtual dance classes together
Study together (beyond Study Group)
Talk with each other---use the questions in the Courtship manual as well as anything extra you can think of
Attend a live stream event together
Share each other’s credit reports and if there are dings, discuss it. Your credit report tells a story – yours, so be honest and upfront.
If you’re doing chores, or grocery shopping or other everyday tasks, include your courtmate in these activities so they get a real time feel for how you live your life.
Write letters—letter writing is a lost art, revive it and express yourself
Don’t court in isolation—none of us are islands to ourselves—we have families and friends we constantly interact with. Involve each other’s families and friends if at all possible as you would in the non-virtual world. You will get to know the ‘real” person when they are around friends and family members.
If the courtship progresses to the point where you believe it will lead to engagement and marriage, begin to involve the children, especially if they are old enough to understand that you have intentions to get married.
Here are some activities that you can do alone, with other couples or family members:
Virtually explore the world. Here are a few places;
Virtual games such as;
Virtual escape room
Trivia (sporcle.com) and
Jackbox party pack (jackboxgames.com)
There’s much more to be explored on what you can do to get to know one another. However, don’t let the activities take up so much time that you don’t ask the very necessary and important questions in your quest to know if this is someone you will spend the rest of your life with.
Stay away from:
Sexting – Trust that this will end your courtship. Besides, why ruin it with an activity that’s not God-centered?
Sending scantily clad or nude pictures – these do nothing to advance the courtship. Please don’t do it or you could find yourself plastered all over the internet because you really don’t know the person you are exploring until you’re married and under the same roof and even married, it’s not advisable for many reasons.
Be aware of your presentation—for example, face-timing or zooming while in PJs or not fully clothed, or laying down in bed---again, it does nothing to advance the courtship and should be avoided.
Google Virtual Arts and Culture for more sites to visit