I courted my wife for about four years, my younger brother courted his wife for about 6 years while my elder brother courted for 11 months. All of us are happily married today, doing well to the glory of God. What lesson am I bringing out of these? Courtship is not first in its duration, it is in the content of the experience. It is not how far but how well.
Friend, courtship is a course. It has contents. It has purpose. It has practises. It is not just to mark time. It is to prepare adequately for marriage. You can court for eight years and not be ready for marriage, and you can court for eight months and be ready (Proverbs 4:7). Courtship is not just about preparing for wedding but preparing for marriage.
Wedding is a day, marriage is a lifetime. If you are only preoccupied with wedding plans in what you call courtship, you would be blind to every other thing. How can you be courting a guy and the only things you are discussing are the “aso ebi”, the event hall, who will be the MC, where you will have your honeymoon etc.? Anyone can plan a wedding in a matter of days but planning marriage takes time.
Don’t rush your courtship (Isaiah 28:16). Take your time. Experts tell us that a proper courtship should take minimum of 6 months and maximum of 2-3 years, except for some exceptional cases. Even if it is just a year or few months, let it be thorough. A broken courtship is better than a broken marriage. If you court properly, you should have no major surprises (or any surprise at all) in marriage. Joseph took his time to court Mary well (Matthew 1:18-20).
The reason people wake up to reality in marriage is because they were probably sleeping in courtship or were blindly in love. Love is not blind, even if yours is blind, marriage will open your eyes (Philippians 1:9-11). Courtship period is a time to be factual. No assumption. No “God will help him.” No patching. No pretense. You don’t wave away warning signals. You don’t sweep issues under the carpets; you confront them.
Make sure you dot your I’s and cross your T’s very well before you get married (Luke 14:28). Some of the marital problems people have today could have been solved if they courted well. Take your time to ask relevant questions. Be yourself in the courtship; don’t be too packaged that you forget to truly live. Don’t form. Let the guy love you for who you are rather than trying to please him and injure yourself. Tell the lady what your life is about. Tell her what to expect. It further helps and prepares her for life with you.
Be objective. Be purposeful (Proverbs 29:18). No everlasting courtship. There is no point marking “Courtship Anniversary”; courtship is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Ladies, don’t let any guy put you in an endless relationship. Ask him; “Bro, what are you up to? Where are you going? When are we getting married?” Guys, be planned. Balance faith with facts (James 2:14-17). Balance vision with realities. Balance optimism with objectivity. Trust God, but make plans. Miracles happen best for the planned. God is not a party to irresponsibility.