Hey everyone and welcome to another RELATIONSHIP Blog post from our Love Dating and Marriage, preached by Pastor Kingsley Okonkwo. This week promises to be super exciting as we discus A-Z OF COURTSHIP so jump right in…
Marriage is always a very sensitive issue and that is because in the natural plan of God, that is where the true forming of character and mentoring should take place. The first thing God made man was a father. If God believed education was the most important, he would have made Adam a Professor, but before education started, before men were trained in schools and colleges, there was marriage. If it were politics and government that will change the world, he would have made Adam a Prime minister but He didn’t. Changing the world is not a function of the position you occupy but how much of the right character is formed in you and your willingness to learn. God didn’t make Adam a pastor too. He made him a husband first because the family unit is so important.
The reason why we have a lot of wrongs going on in the church is because most pastors are doing the work most parents ought to have done. Most pastors are training character and then trying to groom people spiritually. We have a lot of boys in men’s bodies. They are physically mature but lack character. The decision you make today ESPECIALLY in marriage will not just affect only you, it affect others. The decision to get married also involves you indirectly picking a father for your child and a mother for your child. You cannot afford to pick carelessly. God brings a MAN and WOMAN together for a purpose. Malachi 2:15 “Yet ye say, wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. ” Marriage is work. You cannot be desperate to go into marriage if you know what it truly means. Don’t be pressured to get married for the wrong reasons. Don’t marry out of desperation, selfishness or ignorance. Understand and know God’s intent, God’s mind on what marriage is and entails. And that is why spiritual growth is so key. When God asks us to grow spiritually, it wasn’t because it will benefit Him, it is because an understanding of spiritual matters and who you are in Christ will make life less difficult for you. If you are a carnal person, you will make a carnal decision. Some people have married an international passport, some have married houses and others surnames. A lot of people miss true potential because they were looking out for the wrong things. Some missed out on potential because the person God presented to them didn’t look like it. You need to understand that God hides things not from you but for you. Matthew 1:18 “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary
was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” Some people have said that there is nothing like Courtship in the Bible. So we use terms like dating. We need to be careful with some terms because these terms carry meanings at times that are not scriptural. Terms such as ‘dating’, ‘boyfriend’ ‘girlfriend’ are loose words that have no definite meaning. They could mean so many things and usually these meanings are not scriptural. As a child of God, there are three basic levels of relationships.
2. Courtship /bethrothal/espousal ; it exists between two people of marriageable age who are committed to each other and have made up their mind to get married. The period before the wedding after the man and the woman have agreed to marry each other is the Courtship period. Courtship is scriptural
Some things to note when courting are:
1. Make sure the relationship is clearly defined. Don’t enter a relationship you cannot clearly say is leading to marriage. As a woman, make sure the man is speaking in clear terms. Don’t enter thinking he will marry you, enter the relationship because you know and he SAID he wants to marry you. Women generally, are intuitive and so at times tend to hear more than what is being said or were never said. While intuition is good, do not enter a relationship because you THINK he will marry you. Don’t read meanings into what he did not say clearly. For instance: “I like the way you pound yam” might mean he wants to sponsor you to own a restaurant, it has nothing to do with marriage.
2. It is not everyone that enters your life that is your spouse, some people are just meant to be your friend. Learn to enjoy friendship.
3. Ask WHEN If a man asks you to marry him, please ask him when. If you as a woman are 32 and the man is 35, it makes a lot of sense to ask him when. Knowing when you are getting married from the onset helps to give the relationship a sense of direction and purpose. You must know the end from the beginning. It is so important. Having a sense of direction and timing about the relationship will help you in comporting yourself and also helps you avoid a lot of things. Immorality will thrive in a relationship where anything goes, there are no clear goals and vision and both parties are just in the relationship to ‘see how it goes’.
4. Don’t start too early.
Take time to build friendship before courting. Don’t meet her on Monday and then get married on Friday. A relationship and courtship is BUILT.Don’t rush. Also, courtship is for matured people. Don’t start courtship, if you don’t know God’s plan for your life. Courtship leads to marriage. If you don’t know what God has asked you to do and his plans for your life, you don’t have any business with marriage. Find yourself and your purpose for living before finding a spouse.
5. Courtship is not for trial or error. Courtship is not for checking people out. You don’t go into courtship with the mind set of “if it doesn’t work, then I will leave” Friendship
usually should serve the purpose of getting to know people, not limited to marriage but includes marriage. During that period if what you have observed is what you like and in line with the word, you then proceed to courtship. The Courtship period is the period of planning, getting to know each other more intimately, aligning values and beliefs. The Courtship period is not for trial or error or for checking people out.
6. Don’t be afraid to step out if it is not working. You are not in the Courtship for trial or error but if you see signs that are bad or can cause problems later on, it is very okay to back down. A broken relationship is better than a broken marriage. “I have been having failed relationships, I have to hold on tight to this” “(S)he will change, I will change him/her” Reasons like these shouldn’t make you stay stuck in a relationship that is destructive to you.
7. There should be witnesses. There should be someone overseeing that relationship. Ecclesiastes 4:12 “A three fold cord is not easily broken” What this scripture means is that, the first cord is you, the second is your spouse to be and the third is God. God might not be physically present in that relationship but He is represented by people and established authorities. Ordained representatives like pastors and mentors are people you need to oversee that relationship. Don’t let anyone isolate you. Evil thrives in secrecy. Beware of people that are afraid of accountability. Usually it is either they have something to hide or they are rebellious.
8. Pray. Take time out to pray. It is so important you take time out to pray together. There is power in agreement.
9. There should be counseling. Counseling is so important. Strive for counsel. Don’t run away from counseling. If your church has a counseling program in place for couples to be, attend. Don’t dodge counseling. Counseling is put in place to help you. Usually when you are in a relationship, there are some things you cannot see and that is because sentiments are already involved. Counseling will help bring these areas out and give you directions on how to deal with it. Proverbs 11:14 “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”
10. Ask relevant questions. Courtship is for interview not for intercourse. Get to know the person, ask where they are coming from; background influences, their vision. Ask intelligent questions, don’t let romance make you not ask questions.
11. Make plans. Make concrete plans. Where to live? Expectations they have of you as a husband/wife, will your siblings stay with you? e.t.c. Make plans, strategize, don’t wait for marriage before you start making plans.
12. Set clear boundaries sexually. Live a life worthy of emulation. Until you say ‘I do’, don’t do. Don’t have sleep overs. No matter how genuine your intentions are, when you deliberately make room for compromise, things go wrong. Don’t bother compromising when it comes to sexual matters. Flee. 1 Corinthians 6:18 “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” The two of you must agree not to have sex before marriage and then set clear boundaries. Determine there are some places you will not be seen together alone.
13. Practice the marriage without the sex. Put principles of marriage into practice. Check out for submission and respect Check out for leadership, is he a mommy’s boy?
14. Be careful of unnecessary third party interference. It is not everything that happens in your relationship, you go telling everyone. Learn to keep core things core and when necessary, involve mature minds who can give you the right counsel. Usually, these mature minds can be your pastors/ mentors; people to whom the relationship is submitted.
15. Take time to educate yourselves. Being a man and a woman and especially because you both are coming from two diverse cultural backgrounds, there will be differences. Take time
to educate yourselves on your differences and work on how to harmonize those differences or in some cases, prepare to adjust.
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Mainland (Fatgbems Filling station bus stop, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos)
Sundays 7.30 and 9am
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We cannot wait to hear from you…
Till next time, please say this COVENANT we have out loud with us,
AS DAVID NEVER LOST A BATTLE, SO WILL GOD’S WALK WITH ME BE…