Courtship can be the most exciting season in a single woman’s life. It can also be the most confusing.
Tommy and I were friends for two years and by the time he was thinking of taking our friendship to another level, I was sorting out feelings from another “potential” relationship that ended up on a bad note.
My dad passed away around the same time.
I did not feel ready for a relationship (You can read our story in my book). The mush and butterflies, probably. The adjustments and stretching, not at all.
When most singles think about finding the right one or falling in love, the dominant expectation (or the most preferred route) is comfortable and carefree.
Girl sees boy, boy notices girl; boy asks girl out, girl says yes; boy and girl hit it off, boy and girl get married; boy and girl live happily ever after.
However, finding “the one” and falling in love is rarely like that. At least not for most people. It can be confusing and complicated, even gut-wrenching. It can be totally inconvenient and frustrating.
But we don’t expect it to be that way. So we struggle and throw away perfectly good (potential) relationships because they failed to live up to the simplistic expectations in our heads.
We give up because we don’t have quick answers to questions like “If he likes me, why isn’t he saying anything?” “If he is the right one, why do we disagree so much?” “Why isn’t everyone happy for us?”
Today, allow me to share a few thoughts to help you understand this beautiful season that comes before marriage.
For all marrieds, I hope you chime in and add your courtship thoughts in the Comments! And share the post with the singles you know.
3 things you might not know about Christian courtship
1. He might like you but say nothing at all.
And it doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy. Or you should jump him to get things going.
Some girls don’t mind taking the lead, but I think guys ought to take the lead; is good for a girls heart and sets a good precedent (Ephesians 5: 22- 33)
Not that you can’t let him know you like him, but don’t get tangled up trying to make the major moves.
So why would a guy like you but not make a move? There are many reasons, but my husband has only one; a guy is not ready.
When a man decides she’s the one or could be the one, he goes for it. No two ways about it. When a man makes up his mind about something, he goes for it. If he stalls, it means his mind is not made up.
There are other reasons a guy stalls, and I’ll provide further reading below. But if you are doing your part but he’s still acting coy, showing all the signs of liking but not doing anything about it, he just isn’t ready.
It doesn’t mean he’s a bad person; mainly it means you don’t have time for that! Hopefully, you haven’t put him on a timer, but you probably can tell when reasonable waiting time has come and gone.
What does this have to do with courtship?
Maybe not much but I am addressing it because many single girls have been hurt by these “non-starters” and carried the disappointment to future relationships.
So it’s important to remember that just because a guy likes you does not mean he’s ready to take the relationship to the next level. Some like the warmth of a fire but aren’t ready or willing to supply the wood (invest and commit) to keep the fire going.
That is okay. It is his life. Don’t carry the angst into your future. Don’t allow yourself to be led on and then be angry about it.
No matter how awesome, wonderful and godly a man is if he’s not the one for you, hanging around won’t change that. It is hard to walk away, but the pain of staying will be much worse.
2. Not everyone will fall in love with your courtship
You love him (or are starting to) and hope everyone else will see how wonderful he is. Especially your family and friends.
My husband is from a different tribe (there are 42 tribes in Kenya, with many more sub-tribes!) and my mom did not fancy him much. My friends and part of my family were more cautious than thrilled.
When it comes to relationship and courtship choices, we long to be accepted and affirmed by those closest to us.
However, I discovered that just as I have my own set of dreams, other people have ideas for my life too. Silent expectations they hope you’ll live up to.
If you are going to start a relationship, which will hopefully lead to courtship, expect to crush someone’s unhealthy expectation.
If your family or friends are fighting your choice because they think he’s not good looking enough or rich enough or up to your spiritual level, let it (their opinion) go.
Some battles aren’t yours to fight! When my mom wasn’t too thrilled with my choice because Tommy was from a different tribe, and even though I secretly cried my eyes out, I knew I could not change her mind.
So I asked God to talk to her. And He did.
In the same way, if your spirit is at peace, your mentor/pastor, and two or three close friends are at peace, don’t feel like you have to please your family first.
Don’t feel like you have to please your entire church! So many potential relationships have ended because a girl or guy put family opinions above trusted spiritual counsel and personal confirmation from God.
Again so we are clear – family is important. Their advice is valuable. But remember God speaks to you about your life. He might not tell them first.
And sometimes their push-back helps us clarify our desires. So take the push-back for what it is; an opportunity to prove if you are meant to be together after all.
3. Even when he is the one, you’ll have opportunities to part ways
Just because he’s the right guy does not mean you’ll never disagree to the point of wanting to call it quits. Remember you are two people. Difference genders, different life experiences, different upbringing.
Your boyfriend is not your brother..you did not grow up in the same house! So you’ll see things differently. And it will stretch you.
In fact the more potential there is for a thriving, successful marriage, the more curve-balls you will navigate! The enemy does not want to see happy marriages, and one of the ways he sobatages future marriages is through breaking up good courtships!
Disagreements reveal you are human and present opportunities for growth and how you navigate them says a lot about your preparedness for a life-long union.
If you can’t have adult conversation about his choice of shirts or your tendency to be late for dates, then maybe you need more problems to solve..not less. So that you can grow up.
Just because you want to call it quits does not mean all is lost; don’t let go of your courtship because you see things differently. You are supposed to see things differently. The question is, can you agree?
(Please note I am not talking about values or spirituality and all these important things. I am speaking of individuality and the way we see things differently as men and women)
The bottom line; courtship is not just a time of sweetness and butterflies, but also a season of getting to know each other and that will present opportunities for growth.
– Courtship is wondrous but also filled with stretching seasons which can prepare you for marriage. If you can’t hack a courtship, then maybe you need to rethink your readiness for marriage.
Ultimately, we are never fully ready for marriage, but we should take all the opportunities we can to learn and grow.
– Marriage is a huge decision. It is not something we (should) enter into lightly or speedily. But love is silly. It is a beautiful mingling of tenderness and romanticism, and it is easy to fall in love with the idea, not a person.
In the course of courtship, or even before it begins, God will supply opportunities for soberness. And we should embrace them, not as an inconvenience, but as a chance to clarify our desires.
Here are a few more articles to help with courtship
- 9 signs he might be the right guy
- 30 signs you are not ready for marriage
- 7 tips for single women who want to get married
- Intentional courtship
Questions: What can you add? For the marrieds, what relationship lessons did you learn in courtship? For the single, what areas of courtship and relationship present the most challenges?
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