Monday, July 01, 2002

Ten Suggestions for Godly Courting-Ben seems to have a special lady in his life and wanted a post on my "perspective on relationships (proposal/marriage, something like that)". Here goes nothing. I'll be talking from a male perspective, but most everything will apply to ladies looking for Mr. Right as well. (1) Don't pursue a relationship with someone who doesn't share your faith. God needs to be the third strand in any working marriage, and marrying someone who isn't on the same page with you spiritually is a recipe for disaster, especially if you plan to share your faith with your kids-"Dad, why doesn't Mom go to church with us?" An unbelieving spouse can be a drain on a spiritual life; few people are able to be truly fruitful with a spouse that doesn't share their passion for the Lord. (2) Ask yourself-"Is this someone I want to be best friends with for the rest of my life?" You will be spending the majority of your time with this person if you wind up marrying them, and that person better be someone you get along will very well. (3) The goal in a good courtship is to get to know each other spiritual, emotionally and intellectually, seeing if the two of you will be good helpmates for each other. I use courtship even though it sounds quaint as all-get-out because you are looking at choosing a wife rather than finding someone to go to the movie with tomorrow night. It is "dating with purpose," as one of my church people put it. (4) Keep the physical stuff to a minimum. Even if you are saying "We will wait until we are married to have sex," passions can get out of control in a hurry, so don't even thing of getting past "first base" with your intended. Better yet, lay off the kissing altogether to avoid the temptation of taking a wide turn at first. (5) Pray with her daily, or at least every time you talk to her. This will help to build up spiritual bonds between you and to better open your souls to one another. (6) When it becomes time to "pop the question," rephrase #2 above as "Do I want to be stuck being best friends with her for the rest of my life?" To borrow from the old Huey Lewis song, you'd better be happy to be stuck with her, or else you're making a mistake marrying her. If we're doing this biblically, divorce isn't an option we want to use The unstated factor in this is that you should be comfortable with her flaws and quirks and not count on changing them. She's not likely to change much, so if there are things about her that you don't like, make sure you can live with them. (7) You should talk about marriage and engagement between the two of you, making a slow, mutual decision, rather than the storybook ring-in-hand, on-one-knee "Susie, will you marry me" thing. Be like the good trial lawyer and not ask the question if you don't know the answer. (8) Don't be speedy in getting married. Give at least a year between meeting someone and getting married. You need to see your intended in a variety of circumstances, in the up and down times. My sister was engaged to a nice guy from church, but early in the engagement, her fiance manifested some psychological problems that Kathy wasn't willing to live with, and she broke off the engagement. Too fast of a marriage will result in seeing some of these problem areas after getting married. (9) Have a second and third opinion on your lady from friends and family before getting hitched. You may very well have blind spots you haven't seen, and godly advice from trusted friends might avoid some pitfalls. "What about _____?" can be helpful to clarify problems areas that you may have neglected in your mutual admiration for each other. (10) Finally, can you serve the Lord better with her than without her? Can she serve the Lord better with you than without you? Having a wife is time consuming, but if the support you get from one another make your walk with God better, then it is worth getting married. Give 1 Corinthians 7 a read over.

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