The Kelce Courtship of Taylor Swift

If you live on planet earth you no doubt have heard of our now famous local love story: Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is courting pop sensation Taylor Swift. One can read multiple accounts of this special love story on the internet. (One of my favorites was written by the London tabloid The Guardian.) I don’t intend to repeat this well-known narrative. Rather, I wish to add commentary from what my wife calls a certified “Catholic Romantic”, or what my students call me, “a lover of human love.”

From the outset, please don’t get me wrong. I do not mean to canonize Taylor Swift or Travis Kelce or propose that their relationship is the ideal. I merely want to notice some very healthy things about it.

I tip my hand in the opening sentence. I describe the relationship as “courtship” not “dating.” Courtship differs from dating in terms of its intention, methods and goal. A man courts a woman whenever he pursuers her seriously for a romantic relationship that is opened to the exclusiveness of marriage. The intent (serious) and goal (exclusive) determines the methods.

After Ms. Swift declined Mr. Kelce’s unimaginative “I’m just a good ole boy” friendship bracelet, he decided to up his game – or better – run his own route. He invited Swift to return to Arrowhead Stadium to watch him “light up the stage” just as she had done three months earlier. She accepted this time. They met on common turf with uncommon talent. But she first made him work “for the right to party.”

Courtship requires work — and clarification. A good man knows she’s worth the work. A good woman knows this too, which brings clarity to the relationship. Ends determine methods.

Another difference between courtship and dating is that it’s a family affair. Persons are more than individuals; we are social creatures who live, move and have our being in webs of relationships. We cannot know each other truly or deeply apart from those webs that create and sustain us. At the first two Chiefs games Ms. Swift attended, she was seen cheering alongside Mr. Kelce’s mom. After those central relationships have been honored, the widening circle of friends are introduced. And good friends know their role: circle the couples relationship and then face the crowd.

Patrick Mahomes, as usual, threaded the needle, saying “She’s good people. Now let’s let them alone.”

What Kelce recently told reporters was refreshing. “It feels like I was on top of the world after the Super Bowl and right now I’m even more on top of the world,” he said. And when asked about having to navigate so much public interest in his relationship, he said, “You’ve got a lot of people who care about Taylor, and for good reason.” Excellent answer.

Finally, not all courtships end in marriage. And if this one doesn’t it is not a failure. If the couple loves each other well they will leave the relationship better for having known each other. Courtship is always a growth in self knowledge by way of self-donation. They will grow as they learn to give of themselves. May they give of themselves and by so doing learn to make their love work.

As others have already said, this is the best catch of Travis Kelce’s life. And I, for one, hope he never lets her go.

Images: Swift: Ronald S Woan wikpedia;
Kelce: All Pro Reels, Flickr.

Tory Baucum

Dr. Tory Baucum, Director of the Center for Family Life, served for 30 years as an Anglican Pastor, seminary and university professor. In this past decade he and Elizabeth, his wife, worked ecumenically and closely with the Catholic Church, especially with the Italian movement Mistero Grande and its founder Don Renzo Bonetti. The Baucums spoke at the Vatican’s 2015 World Meeting of the Family in Philadelphia. Beginning in 2018, Tory’s friends, Fr. Paul Scalia and Fr. Dominic Legge O.P., prepared Tory and his wife for acceptance into the Catholic Church. Archbishop Naumann received them into the Church Easter of 2020. Since then, Tory has served in the Archdiocese of Kansas City-Kansas. In February 2023, he was appointed to the Copernican Academy in Torun, Poland.