Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you would know if you can complete it? – Luke 14:28MSG
Courtship is the relationship between a man and a woman intending to get married with the consent and under the supervision of their parents and spiritual or Church leaders. It is a period prior to marriage when the intending couple get to actively pray, plan their new home, familiarize with each other, share each other’s views about marriage and set standards for their future home. Courtship is very important because the manner in which the courtship is handled will greatly impact the marriage. What happens during the courtship can be a direct reflection of what a marriage will look like. If a courtship is marred by immorality and recurring disagreements or conflicts it is already a clear pointer to a weak and faulty marriage.
In order to make the most of your courtship, planning every detail of it is inevitable. Planning your courtship helps you avert time wasting, clarify priorities, enhance focus, minimize risks and uncertainties, and facilitate successful achievement of your goals. Failure to plan your courtship may confirm the adage, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail”.
Vital areas to plan for in your courtship include venue and time of discussion, your spiritual development, finance, family size, wedding ceremony, relationship with friends and family members, place of worship (Church), kingdom service, personal development, child upbringing, mission and vision of your marriage, etc. Your ability to properly plan the aforementioned will largely determine the success of your marriage.
The goal of courtship is marriage, and the betterment of each partner. This implies that courtship should make each partner more informed and better prepared for the marriage institution than prior to the relationship. As a matter of priority, your spiritual development plan should be clearly drawn out at the onset of your courtship. What does the courtship seek to achieve as regards your relationship with God? Your answer to this question is a clear pointer to where your relationship is heading. In your spiritual development plan, give attention to the following:
- Regular Bible study – sharing with and sharpening each other with the Word of God.
- Regular fasting and prayer – seeking the face of God concerning your lives, home, children, etc.
- Reading Christian literature and sharing what was learnt with each other.
- Listening to messages, and submitting to the same spiritual authority.
- Agreeing on place of worship when married.
- Commitment to Kingdom service.
Other areas such as child upbringing, wedding ceremony, financial matters, relationship with friends and family members, and so forth should be prayerfully planned during your courtship. It is the period for charting the course for your future home; therefore, there is the need to maintain focus and discipline.
In order to ensure the success of your courtship, and eventual marriage, take note of the following basic principles of planning your courtship:
- Clearly define the goal of the courtship.
- Write down your courtship goal.
- Be accountable to God, your discipler or spiritual head, parents and your partner in executing the courtship goal.
- Have value for time in the planning and execution of your goal.
- Break your courtship goal into bits for successful execution.
- Always pray and plan for each session, never meet for ‘no reason’.
- Avoid meeting in odd places and at odd times, e.g. at night, in a private room, etc.
- Never impose your opinion on the other partner while planning, but respect each other’s opinion.
In conclusion, the goal of courtship is not just fun but to lay a solid foundation for your marriage. Everything you do during the courtship counts in the making or the marring of your future home. Planning every bit of it is key to achieving your courtship goal – marriage. May God grant you grace to make your courtship worthwhile.