There is a point in our lives where the transition from single hood to marriage comes to play. The bond or link to get from the former to the latter is termed “COURTSHIP.”
What is Courtship?
This is an intentional period of relationship between two individuals before marriage. This period entails an in depth study of the prospective spouse’s personality, values and beliefs, general compatibility, work/business, lifestyle, Outlook to life, purpose, perception, health, family relationship etc. This helps to increase bond, build unity, build up emotional strength, point out and address various areas of weaknesses and most importantly, realizing the truth of you and readiness to spend your life with the intending partner. This period is encouraged to be a time of learning, you learning and relearning prayerfully, mentally and a willing heart. Sentimental feelings aren’t allowed. It’s not a recreational period to go all out, gang out and have all the fun in the world; it’s an intentional period! Being Intentional is the right key to a beautiful Courtship that sets the rhythmic flow for/in marriage.
What I need to know during Courtship :
1. Purpose : This might be surprising but everything in life, for me, revolves around purpose. It is established that Courtship proceeds marriage which automatically makes the focus- marriage. However, it is important to identify with your life purpose as well as your partner’s purpose and find out if there is a room for collaboration and compatibility. This is very important because a ship can’t sail towards different directions at the same time. As funny as it sounds, this causes a lot of friction in marriages. What’s the purpose for you coming together as one? Do you have a clear cut definition without one party feeling an imposture, non relatable and well misunderstood definition? Having found that, it’s necessary to map out systems and measures that keeps that running. This brings focus and oneness. One do not have to be cheated in order to build the other, but it’s two walking in agreement in fulfilling God’s divine mandate in marriage.
2. Preparation : This is a period of baring your mind and opening your minds to real study and learning. During Courtship, having an accountability partner or mentor is strongly advised. Everything that happens around you from moments if little tears, loud laughter, visit, anger, etc, gives an opportunity to learn the true nature of your intending spouse. That aside, attending conferences, reading books, asking questions from beautiful marriages and being practical prepares you all round. Prayers is under tale. These helps in preparation. Remember the keyword: Intentional and Intentionality comes with Unlearning , Learning and Relearning!
3. Communication : This is very important. This is not the time to hoard things or act like you don’t care. So many of us rush into marriage believing that marriage would change an individual, I’m sorry to say, marriage does not change anybody, except the person takes a bold decision to change and with the help of the Holy Spirit! Spell it Out! Make it clear. Communicate about anything and everything, from the number of children to have, to who handles what in the family, the family member role to play, finance, sexual intimacy, the need for a help or not, and so many others. This is the Key!
4. Draw up a family vision: This is what you intend to achieve as a family. What roles would you play as either the Father or mother in the house?. What are the children
Roles? What need(s) do you need to meet as a family? Mode of children upbringing, family goals, creeds and values. A family vision map is essential, just like the map leads you to your destination, a good family map in Courtship leads to a beautiful home.
5.Understanding:Learn your partner’s love language, apology language, body language etc. People enjoys it when love is shown or given to them in the way they have perceived or suits them. Show sincere love and care in a way that’s best appreciated by your partner. Understand their mistakes and weaknesses (the ones you can forever deal with even in marriage). There’s this rush of confidence and love that takes the lead when understanding of yourself and your partner is in full gear.
6. Set boundaries :Respect is key! Whatever agreement you have with your partner, stick to it! Run with it and if it must be broken or taken deeper than your agreement, take permission. My husband would never pick my calls or even read through my chat/text messages except I allow him or specifically give him the phone to go through, the same with me. This does not mean we are hiding things but because we both understand this as mistrust. So, whatever agreement is in group, run with it. Set boundaries. Know your place and don’t push more than the necessary.
7.Intimacy : Keeping it real. Reveal your vulnerabilities, your pains, your past story leaving no stone unturned. It’s safer when your partner hears from you. It bonds, shows respect and sincerity. Keep it real. You don’t want to fake for so long, bearing in mind that it’s impossible to fake forever. Take heed.
8.Conflict resolution : Learn the best way to resolve conflict. It’s totally unavoidable and you wouldn’t want your misunderstanding leave you worse than you were. Learn the best way to resolve your conflicts and disagreement. Also learn the power of silence. It’s crucial.
9.The power of gratitude : Always appreciate your partner even for the slightest of things done. It could be an improved lifestyle, a well communicated plan, quality time, phone call, a gift item, show of care, listening ears and so on. Acknowledge and appreciate, no matter how tiny it is. It helps your partner want to do much more.
10.Prayer and Wisdom: It’s good to pray all the times during courtship and marriage. Above all else, pray for wisdom to grow with your partner.
Courtship is a very sensitive period that should not be toiled with or joked around with. It’s not the time to wait for someone to manage your mistake, but a time to work on them as much as possible. You don’t need distractions and unnecessary baggage, all you need is God, a discerning spirit, wisdom and knowledge. For you to have a successful Courtship, you need to be whole in the spirit, soul and body coz you can’t give what you don’t have! Live on your terms and don’t use another as template because no two relationship can ever be alike! Courtship for me was for breaking, fixing and building! Find yours and run with it. It might not be very easy but it’s totally worth it. Be watchful, a broken courtship is better than a broken marriage. God hates divorce, so do the needful! Wishing you a beautiful journeying into oneness.
Chiamaka Ewuzie ©