Courtship is a process of developing a closer friendship with the opposite sex with the idea of 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 it is crucially important. It is, therefore, a time for very hard work.
Unfortunately, most couples abuse courtship and 'marry' before they marry. It is only after marriage that they find themselves as incompatible strangers. Failure is inevitable.
What to do during courtship
Learn as much as you can about your partner. Include educational background, family background, profession, personality trait, health status and hobbies. Also find out about your partner's cultural background, favourite foods, attitudes about money, lifestyle and spirituality.
You should also find out about his or her 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 to get better.
If you have a luggage, it could get heavier when you marry. Marriage merely carries on your life. You must, therefore, not carry baggage into your marriage.
Set guidelines. These must include improvement on your income, skills and qualifications. It is also advisable for partners to avoid pre-marital sex, at least some months before marriage, so that you can build your trust, self control and emotions.
Pre-marital sex is a powerful tool that could put your mental and emotional connection at risk. Signs of healthy courtship
Partners show great understanding, honesty and commitment.
They show appreciation and 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.
Signs of bad courtship
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 like 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 partners to their friends and parents.
Anytime the issue of marriage comes up they make excuses. Their body language reveals lack of interest.
Never ignore any weaknesses in your relationship. Never believe a partner will improve when you marry. Work on your weak areas. All behaviours can be improved upon within two weeks if you work on them.
Pay attention to how your partner treats you, his friends, colleagues and family members. Find out what others say about him.
You may never know everything about your partner. You will also never find a perfect partner because marriage is about imperfect human brings.
However, if you work hard and spend a lot of quality time with your partner, you should be able to make an informed decision within 6-12 months. It is not advisable to stay in courtship for a long time.
Decision to marry
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 someone you can commit your life to after a healthy courtship.
Courting or having fun 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 you are 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.
Never see courtship as time for fun. See it as time to prepare hard for God's call into marriage to serve Him through the sacrifices you .