Good day all,
I must address the issue of courtship because I understand that many of us though unmarried are presently in courtship and may be looking to apply the proper procedure for it! Before, you go into courtship, please read this first
You need to be ready for marriage already i.e emotionally, spiritually, financially and so on. You and your partner must both be saved and you should have spent sometime getting to know them as friends! When you get to know someone as a friend, you know their true colours and their true personality, you then can make an informed decision on whether or not you would like to court them. Courtship is not dating and should not involve any physical intimacy.
What is courtship?
It is the period in a couple’s relationship which precedes their engagement and marriage, or establishment of an agreed relationship of a more enduring kind. In courtship, a couple get to know each other and decide if there will be an engagement or other such agreement.
I emphasized “committed” because you would expect to see their commitment to Christ worked out in their daily life. [2 Cor 6:14; They should be eager to know more of God, enjoy going to church, enjoy serving others and generally be a faithful and diligent member of their church and community. Most importantly of all, your partner must be willing to address their faults and work them out with God and their leaders. [Pr. 3:11-12; Pr. 1:5-7; Rom. 13:1-5; Lk. 7:6-10] .
Spend the time praying together and praying for one another! ALWAYS pray for God to lead the two of you during the courtship and once you’re sure you are headed for marriage, decide and agree when you are getting married and prepare towards it. PRAY PRAY PRAY!! Attend marriage seminars and classes together, read Christian books, medicate on the Bible’s promises and guidelines for marriage and vow to do as it says! Attend pre-marital counselling! Many couples get carried away with the wedding planning and do not prepare for the marriage. The wedding lasts only a few hours but the marriage lasts a lifetime. If you spend six months planning a wedding of only a few hours, you definitely need to put in a lot of time and effort to prepare for the marriage!
You should cultivate a great friendship with your partner. You should have been friends before the courtship, spent time getting to know one another before deciding to court. But even whilst courting, a lot of time should be spent nurturing and building a solid, genuine and loving friendship. Long after you’re married, it’s that friendship and communion that will continue to breed closeness between the two of you. So, developing an intimate and genuine friendship during courtship and ever building on it, is a great way to forge ahead. Some people stay best friends for seventy years no matter the trials that they went through, it is that same unique friendship that lasts forever that you should build. So, even after the looks are gone and the fun and excitement dies down, you have an amazing bond and friendship. Amen.
Courtships should ideally not linger for too long. Most things in life depend on quality and NOT quantity! The point of courtship is to reach the end point which is marriage! Courtship in itself is not an end! When a married couple decides to have a baby, they come together, the woman gets pregnant and then she delivers a baby! The pregnancy is not the end objective but the means to it! She knows she will be there for 9 months and is given a due date, some ladies deliver prematurely, while some go slightly over their due date! Note my use of the word-slightly! You need to define the courtship; how long is it for? You must both decide on a time frame; many men and women get detained in courtship for two, three, twelve years and by this time, they feel “bound”. Don’t put yourself in such a situation. Get to know each other very well! It doesn’t have to take several years, it could take months; it’s the quality not the quantity; how well and not how long! Many Churches encourage the singles not to linger in courtship for too long, it can delay marriage, lead to sin and cause confusion! Be very prayerful and concerted in your period of knowing each other and make wise decisions! The Reedemed Christian Church of God advises that couples should court for a minimum of six months before marriage and a maximum of two years. They say even the two years is an absolute maximum, for example for excruciating reasons (This is why I say you shouldn’t enter into courtship until you are absolutely ready for marriage). As such, you do not need to waste time in courtship, except for getting to know each other. So, the RCCG advises between 6months and 2years; preferably 6months to a year! As long as you are both genuinely born again, spirit filled, God led Christians and you followed God’s direction, you wouldn’t need five years to make the decision.
In Jewish culture, both parties had a dowry. Today, this would mean that a husband could probably buy a house whilst his wife could probably furnish it (full amount of three years wages each). [Romans 13:7-8] The responsibility for the wife’s dowry lay with her father, ie. it was his blessing on their marriage.
The concept of dowry has been (fairly, IMHO) extended to include character. This means that, just as getting married with a huge financial debt over your head is unwise, so is getting married with a huge emotional debt over your head. Issues such as unforgiveness, bitterness, abuse and lust need to be addressed before marriage. Otherwise marriage might merely be the result of people trying to fulfill these needs in a partner instead of God.
The aim of courtship is to go into marriage; God is the author of marriage! Honour Him and Him alone in your courtship! That means, the two of you should keep yourselves Holy- No fornication, petting or kissing! Many people in courtship practise sleepovers, holidaying together and what not! Those are adventures reserved for marriage; they can lead to intimacy and sin! When you get married, you will have a permanent sleepover and lot of holidays; God willing. But if the courtship doesn’t work out, you may regret selling yourself short.
A lot of Christians today still practise fornication and ask- How can we be in a relationship without being intimate? That is the way God wants it- before marriage, you are meant to get to know each other, spend time preparing for marriage and getting accustomed to one another! You don’t get intimate with your best friend, do you? It is meant to be the same until you get married! When you fornicate, you push God out of your relationship and open the doors of lust, infatuation, selfish desires and distrust! A lot of couples today don’t trust one another because during courtship, they broke God’s trust! If you honour God’s word and do not fall into sin, you are sure that your partner fears and obeys God and you can trust them to be faithful to you after marriage.
Courtship is the period to watch out, observe and relate with one another! If there are any issues, deal with them before marriage! This is the time to decide what the vision of your marriage is, where you want to live, what your plans are, if you will be a house wife or a career woman and so on.
Don’t get carried away in courtship; don’t neglect your home, job, career business, service or family during courtship! There should be a balance! Becoming too clingy may distort your judgement and put off your partner! There are also things that should be reserved for marriage; although it is nice for your partner to eat a meal if he comes to visit your home, women shouldn’t specifically dedicate their time to cleaning and cooking for their partner! This is the duty of a wife; though you should demonstrate your domestic and wifely qualities, you need to limit them to marriage! Men, courtship also is not the time to be jealous or controlling; neither is marriage!
The parents would have close relationships with their respective children. Based on God’s leading, the parents, together with the children, initiate the courtship process. Once both children commit to this process, they are “betrothed.” In their cross-family relationships, they should have already addressed all “compatability issues” before this phase of the couple’s relationship ever began. This is a particularly critical foundation to a sound marriage — having won the family’s trust and support, there is a clear avenue of future advice and encouragement in times of trouble. All too often, parents are forced to side in a problem against the spouse, rather than in support for the marriage. A strong, mutual commitment to each other’s success as Godly men provides an established positive advocacy.
A three fold cord is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Involve God in your relationship but also involve his representatives here on earth i.e your Pastors. You need to have a Pastor presiding over your relationship, one who can counsel the two of you, encourage you, show you where you’ve gone wrong, advise you and reveal things to you which you don’t know. So, cultivate a great relationship with your Pastor even before this and introduce your partner to your Pastor at once and ask them to pray along with you. If your partner refuses to meet your Pastor, you should be careful, anybody who runs away from counsel, usually is dangerous. But if the person has good and genuine intentions; they will be more than willing to meet with your Pastor.
I hope this will bring peace, joy, prosperity and breakthrough to many courtships in the house and they will successfully end up in marriage and for those of you still single, don’t worry! God loves you so much, He has kept you so you acquire all the Biblical knowledge and tools you need to succeed in your courtship and marriage! This is your season of divine announcement, celebration and decoration! AMEN! Your marital status is changing, get ready!
God bless you all.