Dating or courtship is a phase during which both parties get to know each other with the purpose of maturing their relationship and fulfilling God’s plan for their lives. This is when they decide if they will take an important step and say the words that will change their lives forever: “I do.”
Christian writer, Ellen White, tells us:
Man was not made to dwell in solitude; he was to be a social being. Without companionship the beautiful scenes and delightful employments of Eden would have failed to yield perfect happiness. Even communion with angels could not have satisfied his desire for sympathy and companionship. There was none of the same nature to love and to be loved.Letters to Young Lovers 11.1
Since creation, it has been God’s desire that humans should be in each other’s company. Despite the love of God and the angels present in Adam’s life, the Father wanted him to have someone to love as his companion.
Now, how does one prepare for marriage? Is there anything the couple needs to do, or is making it to the altar enough?
Undoubtedly, there are certain steps that will help us make this important decision. Some steps should be taken together as a couple and others alone as individuals.
1. Pray together
Prayer is of paramount importance within a marriage, however, when contemplating a decision such as marriage, prayer is even more crucial.
If men and women are in the habit of praying twice a day before they contemplate marriage, they should pray four times a day when such a step is anticipated. Marriage is something that will influence and affect your life, both in this world and in the world to come. A sincere Christian will not advance his plans in this direction without the knowledge that God approves his course.Letters to Young Lovers 39.3
There is nothing wiser in a relationship than to seek guidance from the One who created the first couple on Earth. Make time! If possible, set up a time when both of you will pray during the day. Pray regarding the future of your relationship.
2. Grow your spiritual life
If you cannot or don’t know how to seek God on your own, it will be even harder to help your spouse grow spiritually when they need your support. Taking care of our spiritual life helps us make wise choices. Without divine wisdom, it will be hard to overcome the difficulties that come with life and marriage.
3. Seek advice from parents
We should value our parents’ blessing on our relationship.
If you are blessed with God-fearing parents, seek counsel of them. Open to them your hopes and plans; learn the lessons which their life experiences have taught.LYL 45.1
God sends counselors who can help us with this important decision. God-fearing parents understand that their children must dedicate their lives to the Creator, and when we are about to join our lives to another, our parents can offer insight on whether we should go ahead with our decision.
4. Woman, be wise
Before saying “Yes!“ to a marriage proposal, it’s crucial that you are prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. It’s essential that you understand your role as counselor, support, and above all, friend.
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.Proverbs 14:1
Will you know how to advise your husband during difficult times? Will you be by his side when his job is gone or the money disappears? When your spouse is discouraged, are you willing to guide the morning and evening worship? Will you be willing to compromise or even let things go even when you know you are right? Will you fight for your marriage if your husband gives up?
Dear friend, if you have answered all these questions by doubting yourself, I pray that God will show you the steps that you must follow and that, above all, you are willing to hear His voice. Remember, what He has in store for you is greater than you can imagine. God desires that your marriage, despite the difficulties that will come, be a prosperous one. Never stop praying to be the woman after God’s heart and the wife after His will.
5. Man, be the priest
In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.Ephesians 5:28
Husband, it is God’s desire that you love your wife just as Christ loves His church. Just as you want a supportive and caring wife, she also wants you to love her, respect her, and stay by her side. Understand that though your future wife is strong, she will also need shelter in the storm.
Are you willing to be the pillar of your home? Will you care for your household’s spiritual life? Are you willing to take on your responsibility in the education of your future children? Will you fight for your marriage when your wife has given up?
Friend, if these questions filled your heart with doubt, pray and place everything into the hands of God. Let Him guide you to the best course of action. Ask God to give you wisdom as you walk the path that you and your spouse are about to take.
It’s essential that you develop your communication skills during your courtship and engagement. It’s at this stage that we get to know our spouse’s world. Communication creates intimacy, the kind that comes from deep companionship, confidentiality, and familiarity. If this is something you lack in your relationship, some steps must be taken. If you don’t work on this before arriving at the marriage altar, you will begin your married life with obstacles already in place. Enjoy quality time now. Be willing to relate your biggest fears, reveal your flaws, share your qualities, express your biggest dreams and your main goals.
I leave you with one last reminder:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.1 Corinthians 13:4-7
My wish is that you understand what God has planned for your life. May you and your boyfriend, or spouse, be ready to give your relationship to God. Remember that loving is a choice that we make day after day. May that choice never falter and may you both be willing to fight for it. Together, make the choice that will invite Jesus to live in your hearts and into the home you will form.
The divine love emanating from Christ never destroys human love, but includes it. By it human love is refined and purified, elevated and ennobled. Human love can never bear its precious fruit until it is united with the divine nature and trained to grow heavenward. Jesus wants to see happy marriages, happy firesides.Adventist Home 99.4
May Christ be the foundation of your love.