Courtship is the time to love intelligently; marriage is the time to love blindly.
I consider this the most important advice I can give any dating couple. There is a reason why you are not married yet. It is so that you can know each other and discover whether or not you are cut out for a life-long partnership. So, what does loving intelligently entail?
From the very beginning…
Loving intelligently starts with choosing intelligently. Don’t just love with your emotions. Let your spirit lead, followed by your brain and then your emotions can follow. Let your criteria for choosing match up with the requirements of the job. Don’t pick a guy just because he has six packs. What do muscles have to do with being a good husband? Don’t let your major criteria for choosing a wife be how she looks. Do you want to build a home or a modelling agency?
Forgiveness with sense
It was Pst. Nike Adeyemi who said that love is best spelled as forgiveness. I couldn’t agree more. Forgiveness with sense in no way implies that some things are unforgivable. Not at all. A Christian always forgives. However, in a dating relationship, I believe that there is a certain kind of wisdom that should guide your actions and decision, post-forgiveness. If your spouse cheats on you, you can’t just pack your bags and end your marriage. It becomes a prayer point. But if it happens in a dating relationship, it requires an action point. Some ladies will stay in a dating relationship with a guy who beats them, and somehow assume that he will change in marriage. News flash: He will most likely become worse. Marriage doesn’t change people; it only amplifies who they really are. So, by all means, forgive, but be sure you take wise corresponding action when necessary.
One hundred percent commitment, one hundred percent sincerity
By loving intelligently, I do not mean that you should have one leg in and one leg out, waiting for the next big mistake so that you can withdraw your commitment. Not at all. I’m one of those old school folks who strongly believes that Christians should go into relationships with marriage in mind. So if you’re in a relationship, give it all your commitment. If you’re looking for a reason to break up, you definitely will find one. You only need to look into the mirror and realize that no one is perfect. And because relationships comprise of imperfect people, they aren’t perfect as well. So, if you’re dating a Christian, give it your best shot.
However, you must also be very sincere with yourself and the other person. Until you’re married, you’re not yet married. You still have a choice. Objectively look at the state of things with your beloved. ‘If this person never changes, can I do forever with him or her?’ Love with your eyes wide open. Ask the tough questions.
Loving intelligently also implies that you structure your dates to meet up with the goal of courtship. Except your goal is to have a baby out of wedlock, I see no reason why your dates should be spent touching each other and making out. You will have more than enough time for that in marriage. Get your priorities right, not just on paper but in action. You don’t need to tell anyone what your priorities are when you spend 95 percent of your date looking into each other’s eyes and five percent praying while looking into each other’s eyes. Do trainings together. Have topics of discussion planned out before your date begins. Pray together. Go to church together. Romantic gestures have their place, but don’t make them the focus of your dating relationship.
Most couples fight about the same issues all their lives. Loving intelligently requires that you learn to take correction. You already know by now the things you do or say that get on your partner’s nerves. Learn to grow in the areas that you need to grow.
Know whether to say goodbye
Sometimes, the smartest thing you can do is to walk out of that relationship. Recognize if and when that time comes. It just may be time to say goodbye if you notice any of the following: Crisis of faith, Physical abuse, Unfaithfulness, Incompatibility, Bad character traits, and lack of direction. Learn more about these in my post, ”Break up blues“.