Before you say I do

How much do you know of your intended? (1)

One of the most important aspect of marriage is the time of courtship. There is no gainsaying the fact that most religious beliefs and cultures respect this part of marriage. Even some religious beliefs with room for “easy divorce” still consider the period of courtship very necessary despite the fact that in some of these cases, the parents do the actual process of courtship for the would-be spouses!
The foundation of everything is the most important part of that thing. The beauty of a building is useless if the building is built on a wrong or shaky foundation. Such a building will collapse when the storms come. That is why the foundations of some structures cost much more that the superstructure. For such buildings, wisdom demands that much money be spent on the most relevant aspect of the building; the foundation. A child who is opportuned to have a good educational foundational at the primary school level will not have serious academic challenges even if he/she attends the much talked about “mush-room” secondary schools. This is because the basic tenets of education; a solid foundation which involves the ability to read, write, solve some simple mathematical problems and a good knowledge of verbal and quantitative reasoning, would have been taken care of at the primary school level so that what will need to be done at the secondary level, will be to build on it. If, however, things are not properly done at the primary stage and the child is allowed to move to the secondary level, the child will tend to have serious issues to handle secondary schhol level. This is because the secondary school syllabus has been designed with the premise that the primary aspect of the foundation for education has been properly handled. Many students have not been able to bring out their full potentials (with some experiencing serious failures that in some cases, is irredeemable) because of their primary school background.
The courtship period of marriage is the basic foundation of the marriage that every marriage needs. If the necessary things at that level are not done or properly handled, it might spell doom for the marriage because such issues will be re-visited in marriage; sometimes with daring consequences. This is what is responsible for the unnecessary frictions in marriage and sometimes divorce even among not just the laity but the clergy despite the covenants made before God and His people “to have and to hold…….for better or for worse…. Till death us do part.” God frowns at covenant breaking because He wants us to be like Him, a covenant-keeping God. In fact, His Word says, “If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.” (Num. 30:2). He further warns us in Ecclesiastes 5:4-5, ”When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” You can avoid this pit-fall of being a covenant-breaker before you say “I do” if you play the game of courtship according to the rule of the game. It is very possible for you to address the real issues; issues that will shape your life if you look beyond romance, infatuation and emotion and do the right things in courtship. By the way, courtship is that period of time that spans between when the young man and woman agree to marry and when they are actually joined together as husband and wife. It is the time for a true foundation for the marriage to be laid. It is here that marriages are made or marred. It is the time that the would-be couple discover whether they can continue to the altar to become husband and wife or call it quits.
My little experience of marriage counseling has shown that some marriages should not have been contracted in the first place. Ultimately, clear signs of danger were ignored. This could have been avoided if the courtship was used as a time for personal and collective stock-taking, genuine and sincere assessment of each other and complete mutual understanding of each other. Courtship should be the time you create avenues to know as much of your intended as possible (within the limits of God's Word and injunction), you exchange ideas and information, discuss with each other on various topics, meet your would-be in-laws, his/her relations, friends, each other's pastor (if not in the same church) and co-workers. It should be the time for togetherness during which you do things together, travel together (if possible), worship together, pray together, fellowship together, and learn to take some decisions together. It is a period that you seek knowledge (as a team) about marriage from the Bible, Christian literature on marriage, Christian counselors and your pastor(s). Type of knowledge to be sought includes details of marriage and family life, God's counsel and principles on marriage, marital rules and responsibilities and Christian warfare in marriage. During courtship, PLENTY of communication should be done in which you engage in active discussions, observe each other closely, listen attentively to your intended, take note of whatever things are said about him/her by parents, blood brothers and sisters, friends, pastor(s), colleagues and even supposed “enemies”!
Courtship should be spent discovering issues of your intended like personality profile, family background and history, social tastes and friends, life history and future ambition, Christian calling, temperament, leadership ability, sense of humour, use of tongue, reaction to good and bad news, general comportment during times of crises. Endeavour to discuss attitudes to money, jewelry, corrections/disagreement, instructions/obedience, respect and discipline. From the foregoing, you can clearly see that courtship is a whole lot of a massive project on its own so much so that if intending couples would do the right and correct thing and be just and sincere to themselves, there will be no time for idleness to bring about the issue of defilement of one another and consequent desecration of the marriage bed. How you go about making all these discoveries about your would-be spouse will be what we are going to discuss in part two of this serial. Don't miss it. See ya!
Pst. Lenham Dilli Lenhamhamdilli@yahoo.com 08059081407, 07039107034