FIVE CRUCIAL ELEMENTS OF CHRISTIAN COURTSHIP
She said “yes”! The woman of your dreams agrees to marry you. This is the best season of your life. Congratulations to you; but is that all? How can you maximise the courtship season? Courtship period is the period between the time a lady agrees to marry you and the time you take her to the altar to legitimize the union as marriage. It is a time to get to know each other better, a time to announce your intentions to people, a time to check certain fundamental issues that will indicate whether the two of you can walk together in harmony along life’s journey. It is like the final check or confirmation of whether or not you are to proceed in the relationship to the altar or not. So, do not trifle with it.
‘Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?’(Amos 3:3)
Here are five fundamentals that must be found in Christian courtship.
Make up your mind not to indulge in sexual relationship in any form with your fiancée until you are married because it is sin. There are many reasons to abstain from pre-marital sexual relationship. If you want God’s favour in the relationship, then sexual purity is a must. The Bible says in Hebrews 13:5 that God will judge both those who engage in pre-marital sex as well as those engaged in extra-marital affairs. Also, sexual sins ensnare you such that it becomes an addiction. It also becomes such a distraction that all you will be interested in is for her to be alone with you so you can fondle her thus losing the essence of the courtship itself. Your major focus becomes romance rather than a preparation for a life of marriage.
Another reason to run away from sexual sin is that it tends to blackmail you into marriage; you will feel indebted to her such that if you no longer feel she is the right woman for you, you might not want to break the relationship, for you have seen her nakedness. You will likely patch things up to the altar. In addition, if the person you are courting happens to be in the occult, sleeping with her will make you a puppet in her hands and she can toss you anyhow unless a greater power sets you free. The reasons why you must not indulge in premarital sex is endless. For these reasons, you must define the boundaries early with your fiancée. The two of you must together agree on boundaries you will not cross as you relate together. You must help each other to be sexually pure. Tell her from the beginning that she should not expect kissing, caressing and the like from you. This will be a great help to you in your bid to prevent yourselves from falling into sexual sins.
- NURTURING OF LOVE:
Spend time with her, get to know her more. Time of courtship should be exciting times; time you are spending with someone you love and you are looking forward to marrying. Visit friends together, attend Christian conferences and various programmes that will build both of you up, go for marital counselling. You should have times of praying for your future together. It is your personal spiritual investment into your future home.
Don’t forget to give her pleasant surprises. Let her know that you care. Support and assist her to be the best that she can be. Plan your dates ahead and don’t forget to avoid being alone for long hours in isolated places or behind closed doors which can encourage you to break your physical boundaries. Meet at places where you will not be tempted to do anything funny. Part of the boundary you should give her is that you do not expect her to come and take ’wifely’ roles like washing your clothes and sleeping over at your place. Always remember she is your betrothed and not yet your wife.
- MEANINGFUL DISCUSSIONS:
Learn to communicate, i.e. express what is on your mind in a way that will enable her to enter your world. Focus on speaking words and doing things that would increase her faith in your love for her. Do not pretend; air your opinion freely but with tact. Be observant and sensitive to her moods or feelings before raising issues. There are issues to discuss like your aspirations, the kind of marriage you desire, the kids you will like to have, where you will like to live, what you expect in a wife, let her tell you what she expects in a husband, how money should be handled in a home, What your future purpose is all about and so on. If you do this, you will definitely have points of disagreement, such moments are part of the marriage pre-test you will have. How both of you handle such conflicts will determine how you will handle conflicts in marriage.
- RESOLVING OF DIFFERENCES:
Disagreements will sometimes occur between the two of you. When it occurs, the issues have to be resolved. Learn to reason with one another without letting tempers fly. But if both of you are irreconcilable over so many issues, it suggests that there is a major problem that you need to address. Ask yourself, why it is so difficult for the two of you to resolve issues. Is it because she is stubborn or is it because you are, or is it that you just can’t see eye to eye. Or could it be that you have an ego problem and you are trying to force her to submit to you as the man by disagreeing with her and even if what she’s saying makes sense, you still find it difficult to admit that you are wrong when indeed you are? If that is the case, you need to work on your character.
However, you need to particularly watch out for disagreements on fundamental issues like issues of your faith in Christ and your commitment to obeying instructions in the Bible. Do not sweep these disagreements under the carpet. Seek counsel over such issues, but if you cannot resolve these issues, you will need to reconsider your intention to get married.
- CLEAR MINDEDNESS:
As had been stated earlier, courtship is like the final check of before deciding to go to the altar. The wise man of the bible said
“A prudent person foresees the evil and takes precautions, but the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (Proverbs 22:3 NLT)
There are certain signs that when you see in the courtship, is a warning signal. If the lady is insincere and you keep discovering lies in her words or actions, you must beware. If she always compares you unfavourably with other men such that you have to keep struggling to meet up to her standards, you need to take a second look at your relationship. If you notice she is only milking you; she demands for money endlessly and does not really care how you get it, you might be courting a gold-digger. If she is consistently making attempts to lure you to have sex with her, then flee! If she is rushing you towards marriage without giving you room to pray, reflect and think or she asks you to make blood covenant with her, take caution. Finally, if you feel trapped each time you think about the relationship and you have a deep seated fear whenever you think of going to the altar with her, you should not go ahead yet.
When you have passed this stage and your relationship looks like one that will progress into marriage, then you should to let her meet your family members while you should also visit hers. Ensure to teach her how to behave when she visits your family because she might be from a different background. Teach her how to incur their favour. In addition, approach your counsellor for godly counsel as you prepare for your marriage ceremonies. You should identify elements of the cultural ceremonies that amount to idolatry or demonic worship as well as practices that the Bible has forbidden and thus avoid. Finally, be determined not to go into your marriage on a wrong platform; if you are required to do things that are sinful, resist it politely but firmly.