If marriage is the end goal, then get as focused as you can be as soon as you make that decision to date or go into courtship.
Your dating/courting phase is as important as your marital phase if not more important as it is the foundation of all right and wrong decisions you need to make to have a successful marriage.
We tend to not really pay much attention to this period of our lives as we sometimes focus more on the end goal (marriage) than the structure. If marriage is the end goal, then get as focused as you can be as soon as you make that decision to date or go into courtship.
Don’t get carried away by the sugar coated sweetness people tend to enjoy during this stage as in reality, this does not define what the marriage would look like.
If you take the bull by the horn now, it might become a smooth sail for you in marriage but if you ignore the tips, signs and alerts that are visible enough, you might end up in shock when you finally say I do.
Observe your partner
Yes as this is key! Pay close attention to the way they talk to you both in private and in public, their body language, their likes and dislikes; the way they act towards you when in the midst of their family and friends, things that they say is important to them (even when casually expressed), how they act and react to people and the list goes on and on.
The reason is because a lot of pain, fear, struggles, stresses and strains some people experience in their marriages could have been avoided or tackled if handled properly when they were dating. Most things people start to notice about their spouses that are not too pleasant have always been there during courtship or dating and just become magnified once married.
The signs would always be there if you pay much attention and they might look insignificant now but will be on zoom lens when you are in marriage. It is very important that you observe your future partner to identify these “little foxes that spoil the vine”.
Tackle these observations
You have observed and identified certain impending issues; it is now time to tackle them or do away with them for good. For example; if your man slaps or beats you during courtship and feels deeply sorry afterwards and apologises with a ‘sincere heart’ that it is the devil; you have a decision to make at this point.
Never sweep it under the carpet as any man who is capable of lifting his hands on a woman while dating would almost definitely do it again while married (in many cases).
You have the option of forgiving him and going into marriage with him hoping that marriage would neutralise that but don’t act shocked if it happens over and over again in your marriage and you also have the option of opting out of that relationship if you feel it’s not one of the lapses you can tolerate in your relationship and this is ‘vice versa’…men should also be observant. Identify those red flags and make a decision on them.
You can’t fix your partner
This has become the obvious. Your marriage to your partner will not neutralise those obvious flaws and it will not change them. People change because they want to change and not because you are on a mission to change or fix them.
Nobody is perfect but if you cannot deal with those obvious flaws then terminate the relationship for good instead of willingly going into it with the hope of bombarding heaven for intervention.
Why spend your years in marriage praying for God to fix your partner when you can do the needful and spend your years in marriage thanking God for your spouse. It is hard enough to change oneself and consider how hard it is to change another person.
Build on your relationship during courtship
This phase is a good time to lay the foundation of the type of marriage you want and structure it. If you want to be best friends with your partner in marriage, then lay that foundation at this stage. How easy you scale through marriage is dependent on how solid you build this foundation.
They say love is blind but those eyes should be wide open at this stage because you need to see what you are dealing with now and can intentionally go blind in marriage as it pays you more to leave those eyes closed once you say ‘I do’.
Make your dating period count, make it solid, decide on what you can handle and what you would never be able to handle so that when you say I do, you would only be building a beautiful and blissful marital life.
Written by Laurel Ake.
Laurel is a wife, mum, motivational speaker, writer, relationship & life adviser, inspiring and motivating people to bring out the best in them. She believes you can and that you should.
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