Marriage can be one of the sweetest experiences on earth. It can also be a bitter pill, depending on how you go about it. The Lord designed marriage from inception to be a thrilling experience filled with joyful events, new discoveries, and the euphoria of companionship. After designing and creating the blueprint for a happy home, the Bible says: God saw it and rated it as very good (Genesis 1:31). However, the natural man with his rules and ideologies corrupted it and this led to the “bitter pill” experience in marriage and family life.
The Bible says: Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled (Hebrews 13:4). As believers in Christ Jesus, God has not left you alone to be confronted with the bitter experiences some have in marriage, through the defilement of the marriage bed in courtship. The Lord Jesus has provided in His Word, guidelines that will help you triumph in any area of your life, including courtship and marriage. If you will just follow them, you will reap the blessings they carry.
The subject of marriage begins when two individuals, man and woman, make a decision to marry each other. That is the beginning of a real relationship; a relationship where you love that person enough to be honest about who you are, what you plan to do and be, and how you feel about him or her. At this point, what does God’s Word say to the believer? It says: Prove all things (2 Thessalonians 5:21).
To prove means to examine. You prove by getting to know the person better. Your would-be spouse needs to be proved. You too need to be proved, in order to know if you can cope and be a help to the other party. This period of waiting and watching before the actual wedding is called courtship. Others call it, “going steady”. Whatever the case, this is the period where you determine if you have made the right choice or not. At such a time, you need to be very alert and not be blinded by romantic feelings, because marriage is not a fantasy, it is reality.
Next to love, the most important ingredients in relationships are openness and honest communication. If you are preparing for marriage and you are not at the point where you can communicate with transparency and vulnerability, then you need to work on these areas! Communication is a crucial foundation to every marriage, and open communication is necessary in order to understand what is truly motivating each other when you have differing points of view.
Courtship is a period you get more acquainted with your would-be spouse. Despite the fact that you are getting closer and knowing each other better, courtship period should not be equated to marriage. What you do with this period determines how your marriage will turn out to be. This is actually the foundational stage of marriage. The Word of God says: If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalms 11:3).
At this stage, you can’t move in or sleep with your would-be partner in the bid to get to know each other better. It is ungodly, unhealthy and doesn’t allow you establish a good foundation for your marriage. To maintain purity in courtship, you ought to know what to do during courtship. When you know what to do, your courtship will be fulfilling. Below are some of the activities to engage in, in courtship:
As believers in Christ, you need to take time out to pray and share God’s Word together. This is how to ascertain your partner’s spiritual depth and genuine love for God. Pray together with the purpose of ascertaining his or her spiritual maturity.
Discuss your visions and goals together
In other not to engage in the works of the flesh, this is the time to discuss about your visions and goals together. This is a very important point to note. Goals and plans for the future ought to be made clear to each other. Marriage is for help, not hurt. It is a decision made by you to help the other party fulfill his or her goals and vision in life and vice versa.
Before I married my husband, I had known what direction he wanted to take. I had known his level of love for God, his character and his integrity. Ours was quite a long courtship but I have no regrets. It has really helped me in being able to understand the kind of person he is and because of that, we have enjoyed every bit of our marriage. Just a word of caution: A broken courtship is better than a broken marriage. When you discover differences that boarder on incompatibility, it is wiser to dissolve the relationship instead of being another number on the divorce list or another broken marriage amongst many.
Check for maturity
Since the period of courtship is a time of proving all things, it is wisdom to prove his or her maturity. In God’s concept, marriage is for men and women, not for boys and girls. The Bible says: The rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man (Genesis 2:22). The Word of God also says: Therefore shall a man…cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Take particular note of these words ‘man’ and ‘woman’ in the above passages. Maturity is required before marriage. One need’s to mature spiritually, physically and emotionally and this must be addressed in courtship.
However, maturity can be determined from two viewpoints: age and ability to handle life situations. These two put together, help in determining how mature an individual is. One that is mature for marriage should be able to assume responsibility for his or her actions, and take up the welfare of his or her spouse and children. If you are not mature enough to be a parent, then you are not mature enough for marriage.
When you are spiritually, emotionally and physically mature for marriage, you will be in control of your emotions and other aspects of your life. Wild emotions or impure emotions can lead to defilement of the marriage bed in courtship.
From the foregoing, wisdom is needed to be able to really discern the kind of man or woman you want to live the rest of your life with. To obtain wisdom, you need to accept Jesus who is the Wisdom of God as your Lord and personal Saviour by saying this prayer: “Dear Lord Jesus, I come to You today as a sinner. Forgive me of my sins. I believe You died and rose on the third day for my sins. I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Make me a child of God today. Thank You for accepting me into Your Kingdom.”
Congratulations, you are now born again! I believe that you will begin to experience the reality of the price that Jesus paid for your sins at Calvary. All-round rest and peace are guaranteed you in Jesus’ Name! Call or write, and share your testimonies with me through firstname.lastname@example.org; OR 07026385437 and 08141320204.
For more insight, these books authored by me are available at the Dominion Bookstores in all Living Faith Churches and other leading Christian bookstores: Marriage Covenant, Single with a Difference, A Living Witness and Make Your Life Count.