Dating is a form of courtship or wooing, which is the activity that takes place when we are seeking to gain someone’s love or affection. Courtship is a lot like getting a check ride in an airplane. Check rides were like tests or evaluations. I had to pass a check ride at the end of each phase of my flight training. On the check ride, usually given by a highly trained check pilot, I had to demonstrate proficiency in all the maneuvers I had been taught to date.

It was almost always a stressful situation for me. It didn’t matter that I had done very well in the training phase; somehow the idea that I was being evaluated made me nervous. We used to call it ‘checkitis.’  I had a bad case of ‘checkitis’ and busted my first check ride in a Cessna because it was with a special pilot from the FAA. After two more flights with my instructor, I went on to pass that check ride the second time with excellent scores. The same thing happened on my first military check ride in primary flight school. I was performing really well so my instructor put me up with the most rigorous check pilot on the base. I was so nervous that when he asked me to demonstrate a forced landing from a different situation than I had originally been trained in, I blew it and failed the ride. Once again, two more flights with my instructor, and I went back and passed the check easily. I went on from there to be a distinguish graduate from flight school.

Check rides never stopped. Even after I got my wings and was assigned to a combat squadron, I, like all the other pilots, had to take periodic check rides to demonstrate my competency in all the maneuvers we were required to do. What I realized was that like check rides, courtship never stops. We will always be doing some form of courtship with our partners.

There are two kinds of courtship to consider. The first deals with meeting someone new for the first time and developing a romantic love relationship. The second kind is the courtship that is needed in an ongoing romantic love relationship.

As long as we are in relationship with a love partner, some form of courtship will be a significant part of the relationship. This may be what women talk about when they say they want romance in their relationship. They want to be courted.