Courtship is the FIRST step toward marriage. If marriage isn’t the intent or a possibility, courtship shouldn’t ever be entertained. One should know BEFORE entering courtship whether or not marriage is intended — simply because that choice is so paramount so that one doesn’t enter into other sin as a result.
Courtship is NOT educational or recreational. Courtship is not for the purpose of getting to know someone. If you don’t know them well enough to marry them, you likely don’t know them well enough to court them.
I Timothy 5:1–2 directs men to treat all young women to whom he is not intended as sisters, with absolute purity. During courtship the relationship between a man and his intended should be pure; but it is MUCH different than this directive (as his sisters). The dynamic of conversation, the physical connection (holding hands, extended eye contact, etc.) changes. One who enters into courtship with no intention of marriage defrauds the other. (To defraud another person is to stir up in them desires that cannot be righteously satisfied.) “A woman can defraud a man by the way that she dresses, talks, or acts. A man can defraud a woman by improper touching or by talking about a marital commitment that he is not able or intending to carry out.”
To engage in courtship is an agreement so big that the Bible addresses it many times. One example is: Joseph and Mary were not yet “legally married” when she became pregnant with Jesus; and the Bible tells us that in lieu of public disgrace he was going to “divorce her quietly.”
If courtship doesn’t lead to marriage one or both parties have defrauded the other. In the eyes of God, once you have entered courtship you are committed to the other party. The Bible defines affairs are when “one intended for another” entertains the company of an “outsider.” Matthew 5:28 takes this even further. When two individuals engage in courtship, they intend themselves for one another.
When one digs into scripture and really looks at original hebrew and greek this becomes overwhelmingly clear.