Courtship is a process of developing a closer friendship with the opposite sex with the idea of a possible marriage. It is a period to test, examine and evaluate a lover’s inner characters, values, interests and life purposes.
Courtship is like the foundation of a house. It is not seen but crucially important. It is, therefore, a time for very hard work or serious business, definitely not fun time.
Unfortunately, most partners abuse courtship and ‘marry’ before they marry. It is only after marriage they find themselves as incompatible strangers. Failure is inevitable.
What to do during courtship
Learn as much as you can about your lover. Include educational background, family background, profession, personality, traits, health status and hobbies.
Also find out about your lover’s cultural background, favourite foods, attitude about money, lifestyle and spirituality. Again find out about your lover’s attitude to work, women and marriage.
It is important to be honest with each other. If you lie, you create a self wound which prevents you from committing to your relationship. Tell your partner everything about yourself. Confess your past and let your partner help you get better.
If you have a luggage, it could get heavier when you marry. You must, therefore, not carry baggage into your marriage.
Set guidelines. This must include improvements on your income, skills and qualifications. It is also advisable partners avoid premarital sex at least some months before marriage so that you can build your trust, self control and emotions.
Premarital sex is a powerful tool that can put your mental and emotional connection at risk.
Partners show great understanding, honesty and commitment. They show appreciation, encouragement and openly talk about themselves. Partners communicate effectively, resolve conflicts effectively and forgive each other.
They are financially stable and they don’t depend on each other. Partners develop their spirituality and use their faith in God as the cornerstone for their relationship.
A partner may be selfish and show signs of affection only when his or her needs are met. A man may always want sex and a woman, personal benefits such as money. Some partners are critical, controlling and abusive.
Others show inequality, intolerance, abuse, immorality and poor communication. Some lack trust and respect. Some are in multiple relationships.
Others are married and promise to divorce their spouses. Many partners are not serious about their relationships. They have no vision or mission.
They never introduce their lovers to their friends and parents. Anytime the issue of marriage comes up, they make excuses. Their body language reveals lack of interest.
Again, pay attention to how your lover treats you, his friends, colleagues and family members. Find out what others say about him.
Never ignore any weaknesses in your relationship. Never believe a partner will improve when you marry. Talk about anything that worries you and work at them. All behaviours can be improved within weeks if you work on them.
You may never know everything about your lover. You will also never find a perfect lover because marriage is about imperfect human beings.
However, if you work hard and spend lots of quality time with your lover and support each other, you should be able to make an informed decision between six months and two years.
It is advisable to stay in courtship for a period before settling down.
Courtship is serious business
Choosing a spouse is a lifetime decision. It is the most important life decision because your choice of partner can make or unmake you for life. Compare your needs and complementary roles.
Be sure you can live with what you don’t like about your partner, otherwise hug and say goodbye. Never marry just because you are lonely or need someone to support you.
Marry one you can commit yourself to after a healthy courtship, otherwise you put your life and marriage at great risk.
Global studies show that while 60 per cent of all marriages fail, 20 per cent are lifeless, leaving only 20 per cent success rate for marriage. Studies also show that 75 per cent of women and 60 per cent of men think they married the wrong partners. Failure of partners to take their courtship seriously is the greatest cause of marriage failures.
Take a serious look at what happens in your relationship; is it all about sex, fun and financial support? Do you have a vision or just floating? If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Don’t count on love at first sight, romantic love or soul mates.
Love is not blind. Your marriage will not work because you love each other. It works because you have worked for it through healthy courtship.
Your marriage will, therefore, be as good as you prepare for it. See each day of your courtship as time for serious business and not for fun.
See courtship as a time to prepare hard for God’s call into marriage to serve Him. Your marriage can only be good if you prepare hard for it with serious courtship.