Dating is a product of the modern culture whereby men and women, and especially boys and girls form a 'relationship" and spend some time together, and more often than not break up. It is usually entered into by people , especially in the teen years who have no long range plan where the goal is marriage.
Courting, on the other hand was all about marriage. It was a process by which one would determine whether a suitable marriage could take place. Unlike the modern concept of "dating" serious issues of values wewre explored, and often families were involved.
One of the big differences is that sex did not become an issue, since it was understood that compatibility issues needed to be explored, and a respect and commitment between the two people built up that would stand the test of time. There would be plenty of time for sex after a marriage.
Dating , on the other hand, in most cases in the modern context is all about sex. Children as young as 11 are starting to date, and statistics bear it out that the younger one starts playing the "dating game" the more likely they will have had sex before finishing High school.
When sex is the focus, real substantial issues that will affect the long term prospects of a marriage take a back seat.
It is no accident that marriages don't last like they used to. By pursuing and succumbing to things that should only be part of a married relationship the necessary respect and love for the actual person cannot reach its full potential. It is difficult to truly love that which has become effectively an object.
Sadly, it seems that "dating" is here to stay. I have counselled my daughters to steer clear of it until they are ready to pursue marriage. Some of the reasons i give are:
1) You are young once amd single for a short time in your life. Much more of your life will be spent as married than as single. When you are involved at that level with someone of the opposite sex, you become answerable to them, and a time in your life that should be free from such encumbrances will be ruined.
2) I also tell my girls that invariably, when serious dating takes place at the high school level, one or both parts of the couple will see their grades start to slide. The demands of a relationship are such that something has to suffer along the way, and more often than not it is school work, which can have an effect on one's future whether getting into the University of one's choice, or even getting there at all.
3) I have also told them that out there, is one person who is meant for them, for ever. I ask them whether they want to give themselves entirely to that one person, or do they want to give him only what's left after a colourful past? I also ask them whether they would want the same from a potential husband... someone who has waited for them to come along, or has been with every available girl that came his way?
Which one would either respect more?
4) Obviously the issues of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases have come up, and when you explain it mathematically, essentially by saying that when one sleeps with someone, they are also sleeping with everyone esle they have ever been with, and a vivid picture starts to emerge, which hopefully will be powerful enough to get them to wait themselves and find someone who has waited for them.
Young dating leads to hurt and disappointment, and not just for the couple. They have both taken what is not theirs, and sometimes the consequences will reverberate among otgher people close to them as well.