Long before I joined the LDS Church; I believed in a very old fashioned type of courtship: an eternal one. Yet, so many now days do not even seem to understand the concept of what eternal courtship is. Indeed, the very idea is becoming less and less throughout the world we live in. I have been asked on more than one occasion exactly what I mean by eternal courtship. It is a tad sad such knowledge is being lost or taught less and less to each successive generation.
Eternal courtship is something which begin by actively courting the woman you have an interest in. This usually starts with beginning a friendship, and building it into a romance if both parties seem interested. Courtship, by the definition from Merriam-Webster is: "The act, process, or period of courting". Courting, from the same source is defined as: "5 - conduct or attention intended to win favor or dispel hostility". Thus, from these two terms alone one can see what courting and courtship are. Eternal from Merriam-Webster, however, is defined: "1a - having infinite duration".
Together, the term eternal courtship can now be fully seen. It is the act of courting the favor of the one we love, but not just to marry them. It is something which continues even after the marriage has begun. Eternal courtship continues after the first child is born, the next one, and so on. The act continues with an everlasting desire to never let the one we love feel undesired, alone, hurt, neglected, and otherwise unloved. Many divorces happen from this very thing not happening within the marriage from one party or the other. Such is not always the case, but is something which can be seen in failing marriages. One of the many things which drew me to the LDS Church was eternal marriage. With a term like that - I knew here were people who understood the concept of eternal courtship.
Does this mean expensive constant dates? No, not even a little bit. It does, however, mean showing affection through a wide variety of things at your disposal. Sometimes, the simplest things can show such affection: helping with the house chores, drawing a bath for our loved one, having dinner ready even when you aren't the one who normally cooks, taking care of the kids for a bit, having a family picnic, or even just a date picnic. Simple things add up, and they show how much our companions care. Naturally, taking our companion out for dinner is not a bad thing either. Courtship can be shown by doing things together with your companion… even such things as cooking side-by-side. It shows a level of intimacy and care towards one another otherwise lost.
So, this is what eternal courtship is. It is my hope I actually find a woman to share such with one day, but for the moment it remains an idea I know to be true. I hope this helps those who have need of such.