The period of courtship spans between the time a Christian brother and sister agree to marry eachother and till their wedding day.

It is similar to the Jewish custom of betrothal or being espoused. Proper foundation must be laid in order to have a happy married life{ LK 6:47-49}. Preparations and planning towards the actual wedding and the future are made as the man and the woman aspire to come together to build a peaceful and joyful home.

There is personal and collective stock taking ,genuine and sincere assessment of each other,and complete mutual understanding in order to have a successful courtship period. Couples should be very sincere with each other before God and should not act hypocritically.

Moreover,God's involvement in the relationship should be evaluated again and confirmed. Infedility must not be tolerated at all{ROM 13:14}. Unfortunately,most Christians are very ignorant of events and dangers during courtship.
 1. PURPOSE OF CHRISTIAN COURTSHIP
A. It is a period of acquaintanceship during which you:
  - know eachother as much as possible
  - exchange ideas and information
  - discuss with eachother on various topics,such as doctrinal issues
  - meet your in-laws,relations, friends and co-workers
  - arrange for your parents {on both sides} to meet
B. It is a period of togetherness during which you:
  - do things together and learn new things together
  - travel together and worship together
  - pray and fellowship together
  - spend and decide together
C. It is a period to seek knowledge {Hosea 4:6} from
  - The BIBLE, Christian literatures on marriage, Christian marriage counselors/pastors

  WHAT TYPE OF KNOWLEDGE IS REQUIRED?

  - details of marriage and family life
  - God's counsel and principles on marriage. Marital roles and responsibilities
  - Christian warfare in marriage
 D. It is a period of effective communication in which:
  - you engage in active discussion
  - you observe eachother closely
  - you listen attentively to your partner
  - you take note of information from friends , parents, brethren and pastors
  - you visit eachother at home,work and in the church.



 THINGS TO DISCOVER ABOUT EACH OTHER

* Personal profile and family background
* Social tastes/friends and life history
* Future ambition/Christian calling
* Temperament and leadership ability
* Sense of humour and use of tongue
* Reaction to good and bad news
* General comportment during unguarded moments i.e at play
*Attitude to the following;
  money,jewelries, respect, instructions/obedience,correction/disagreement, discipline.
E. It is a period to reach agreement on certain issues( Amos 3:3)such as:
  - The type of wedding you want 
  - where to live after wedding
  - which church to attend
  - Nature of work and where to work
  - size of a family etc
F. It is a period to develop your companionship ability. You assess how compatible you are, try to adjust or adapt appropriately: socially, academically, family status, emotionally, professionally, identifying with each other
G. It is a period to give and receive through:
  - sharing together
  - buying gifts for each other, parents,relatives and friends.
H. It is a period to plan for your introduction, engagement and wedding ceremonies.
 1. It is a period to prepare for your future home;
  * Prayerfully
  * Building each other up in the word of God
  * Sharing God's vision that would be fulfilled together
  * Number of children and spacing

2. DURATION OF COURTSHIP PERIOD
Scripturally,no time period is specified e.g Isaac and Rebecca courted for few minutes {Gen 24:62-67},while Jacob and Rachel courted for seven years plus {Gen 29:18-28}. A lot of times, circumstances usually dictate. However,we advise two years except where there is sickness or parental objection.
 3. POSSIBLE OBSTACLES DURING CHRISTIAN COURTSHIP
 a. Parental objections: this is when neither or both of your parents object to your choice of marriage partner. What should be your attitude in such a situation?
* The objection should not be ignored or rationalised 
* Do not be violent or stubborn.
* Do not be discouraged,confused or offended.
* Prayerfully discuss with them to resolve their fears {e.g, racial,ethnic or cultural discrimination}
 * Use the period to examine and reconfirm your Conviction or God's leading 
* Always be in agreement with each other {i.e. your spouse}
* Never marry without your parents consent
* If you are sure of God's leading,then ,be determined,resolute and be patient till the mountain is moved
b. distance:. This applies to couples living far from eachother. To overcome this obstacle:
- communicate often through various means such as letter,email, twitter, Facebook etc
- telephone often
- send recent photographs 
- send messages, through people you know and through phone such as SMS, MMS, Instagram
- send gifts to each other
 c. Past relationships:. Discuss with a marriage counselor or with your pastor
d. Terminal illness, accidents.
" In courtship it is mandatory for the intending couples to be to keep themselves pure and abstain from any forms of sexual sins"
Now let's discuss more on that....
     KEEP YOURSELF PURE
God is holy. Without Holiness no man shall see God.
1. Neither courtship not engagement is equivalent to marriage,you are considered married only when you have completed any of the marriage laws of the land,viz; 
- customary or traditional wedding 
- court/registry wedding
- church wedding
2. Sexual sin is a terrible cankerworm that destroys the foundation and entire structure of family life {1cor 6:13-20}.
3. Holding of hands ,touching carelessly, caressing, kissing, romancing and petting are all danger signs. Avoid them in order not to make a shipwreck of your Christan faith and your future home{1cor 3:16}
4. Abstain from all appearancof evil {1 thess 5:22} i.e,run,flee from sexual sin.
          HOW DO YOU ABSTAIN NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS
1. Determine to do and say things that you would do if God in heaven were physically present with you
2. Do not toy with each others emotion or passion
3. Always maintain a safe distance {your spouse is not an angel}
4. When you are together,find something to do. Idleness is a silent destroyer. Devil finds work for idle people. Never stay together in a lonely place doing nothing.
5. Do not be overconfident of your spiritual strength {ROM 8:10}. Where mighty anointed men have fallen,tread cautiously.
6. Sisters,in particular,should be very firm and should discourage any unhealthy overture from brothers. Males are moved easily by sight. A deliverance minister could suddenly be overwhelmed by lust and passion.
7. Be honest with eachother when under increasing emotional tension or pull towards each other. It is only human you are not angels.
8. Do not expose your body carelessly before your spouse. Do not wear tempting clothing. Be decent and moderate in your appearance.
9. Do not meet in lonely places where nobody can see you.
10. Never sleep together in the same room,no matter the circumstance.

During the cause of the COURTSHIP pls be very vigilant because there may be some warning signals and you have take cognisance of it and followings are the warning signals that u need to take note of
   WARNING SIGNALS DURING CHRISTIAN COURTSHIP
There is need to exercise extreme caution and pray very well if you experience any of the following in your relationship,or notice it in your partner:
A. Dear and loss of peace of mind. Never go into marriage with anybody in the midst of fear.
B. Lack of love and affection
C. When list is in control {always touching, kissing, petting, romancing or sexual sin}
D. Do not marry out of sheer respect. If you cannot freely express your thoughts during courtship,then you have no business coming together as husband and wife.
E. Never marry out of pity. Pity reduce one's personality. It torments with envy and kills in installments.
F. When your partner becomes indifferent or is spiritually cold, avoiding Christian fellowship and gatherings,you have to be careful.
G. When there is no give and take in the relationship,one needs to be more careful.
H. When couples are unable to build together i.e,always quarrelling, disagreeing and provoking each other
I. When there is sharp doctrinal differences e.g denomination. Which denomination to belong after marriage, cosmetic make up, restitution,Christian calling etc.
 Do not go ahead to marry without resolving the thing mentioned above.

6. CAUSES OF BROKEN ENGAGEMENT OR COURTSHIP
 Impatience and unforgiving spirit
 * Intolerance and misunderstanding
 * Disagreement and incompatibility
 * Lust and pride
* Undue familiarity and inconsistency
 * Immaturity and prayerlessness
 * Sexual sin and frequent disappointment
 * Parental objection and lengthy courtship
 * Lack of effective respect for each other,when with another of the opposite sex.
7. AT THE CROSSROADS: What do you do when you are not so sure about continuing relationship again?
 A. Do not just break your partner's heart anyhow even when you are fully persuaded that you made a wrong choice
B. Inform marriage counselor and the pastor about your new persuasion.
C. Prayerfully share your leading with your partner in genuine love and sincere acceptance of the mistake after proper counseling.
D. Determine to separate in true love and forgiveness
E. Note ,there is no marriage in heaven {Luke 20:34-36}
8. STAND BY YOUR WORDS
 a. The most desirable thing is for you to be able to keep your word
 b. It is better not to say "I will marry you" than to make the promise and fail
 c. Do everything to stand by word (Matt 5:37)

CONCLUSION:. Courtship should be explored mainly to understand eachother. Complete openness and sincerity in love coupled with tolerance, patience, agreement and faith in the word are the bedrock of a successful courtship. Keep yourself pure. Remember that secretly indulging in bodily, emotional and sexual pleasure at this stage with your partner is sin. It is a potential sign of marital failure
God bless you all.

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