In the previous teachings, we learnt about spiritual compatibility, the help of God and the Four-Fold Purpose of Marriage. This time, l will be taking you through the purpose of Courtship.
Courtship is a period between when a man and a woman agree to marry and the time they are actually joined together in marriage. A typical example of this can be found in the life of Joseph and Mary in the Bible.
Concerning the birth of Jesus, the Scriptures say that Mary was espoused to Joseph. …A virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph… (Luke 1:27). Notice the word “virgin” in this passage. From Matthew 1:18 we also read: …Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together… It is clear from these passages that there was a marriage intention between Mary and Joseph, and that they had not come together physically.
This period of courtship is of great importance and should not be toyed with. This is the time when the foundation of the home in view is laid. How well this period is handled, determines to a very great extent, how the anticipated home will be. The success or failure of the future home depends largely on what the courtship is like, just as the foundation of a house is important to the home. There is every reason, therefore, to be spiritual about it; because if the foundation be faulty, there is nothing the righteous can do. Knowing who to marry is not the end to marriage; rather, it is just the beginning.
Duration of Courtship
How long this period lasts varies from couple to couple. There are two schools of thought on this issue. The first says that courtship should last between three and six months. Their main reason is, “So that the devil tempts ye not.” The second school of thought says that courtship must be necessarily long, a matter of many years, so that the intending couple can get to know each other properly.
But what does the Word of God say? There is no place in Scriptures that states exactly how long or short courtship should be. But the Word does say that in everything, wisdom is profitable to direct (Ecclesiastes 10:10). Since marriage is not a thing to be rushed into (because once you go into it, you would have to stay in it the rest of your days), it is important to be sure you know well enough who you are getting married to. Courtship should, therefore, be reasonably long enough, for the two individuals to get to know each other well enough, so they will be able to live together all the days of their lives. Some people have rushed into marriage, only to discover the true identity of the person they are living with when it is too late.
Courtship period is a period of getting to know each other better. It is a time of getting to know about each other’s family. There is no point hiding facts that will be useful to the other party, during this time. Any information that you know if discovered after marriage, may get the other party discouraged about continuing with you, should be made known prior to the wedding. The courtship period is a time of building a strong foundation for the home in view. The importance of this period, therefore, cannot be over-emphasized.
Every opportunity to attend Church meetings, fellowships and healthy social gatherings, should be exploited to enhance acquaintance for maximum benefits.
At this stage, if it is discovered that the person you are courting is not the type of person you can spend the rest of your days with, wisdom demands you call it quits. It is better to break a courtship than to end a marriage in divorce. After all, a broken courtship is not the same as a divorce!