Gender Gender

Are we in courtship?

Can we help? with PASTOR & MRS BANDA
DEAR Raphael and Namukolo,
I am getting frustrated with the situation I find myself in. I am 19 years old and my boyfriend is 23. We have been good friends for the past one year and we behave like boyfriend and girlfriend, but the problem is that he has never proposed to me. When I ask him to define the relationship, he tells me to just be patient, yet he reacts very jealously when I start relating with other young men. Should I conclude that we are in courtship or not?
Dear GBG,

No you are not in a courtship. You are in an undefined but highly risky relationship. And unless it is defined soon, you risk losing out.

Genuine courtship is a preparatory relationship between two adult persons, a male and a female, who have expressed love for one another and desire to get married.
Courtship starts with a proposal. The proposal is a serious request, presented by the man to the woman, asking for her hand in marriage.
The following are some features which should characterise a proposal. Let us start with the man. In making the proposal, the man must:
• Be absolutely certain of his love for the girl and be sure that he has done all the background work, which should include seeking mature counsel and earnestly praying about the matter over a period of time.
• Be sure friends or parents are not pushing him into doing it. Is this a well-thought through decision on his part?
• Be sure there are no lingering uncertainties in his mind. Making a proposal whilst harbouring doubts betrays a lack of seriousness.
• Not send the proposal through a friend, by letter or by phone. The issue at hand is so serious that he must make an appointment and talk to her face-to-face.
• Not beat about the bush when talking to the girl. He should tell her of his love for her, and how that he is convinced that she is the right partner for him. He must make it plain that he is inviting her to start a serious relationship with him, which will culminate in marriage. He must assure her that whilst he is looking forward to a positive response, yet he will fully respect her final decision.
• Respect the woman’s decision, especially if it is not favourable to him. He should avoid putting pressure on the girl during or after the presentation of his proposal. A negative response could mean she is not the right person for him or it could mean the time is not right.
• Lay off and give her more time and chance to think if she asks for it.
• Quickly seek to relate normally with her and not malign her behind her back in the event of a negative answer.
On the other side of the fence, in receiving and processing the proposal, the girl must:
• Be absolutely truthful and let her yes be yes and no be no. She should tell it as it is. If the answer is a no, she should never say that she needs to be given time to think about it. If the answer is yes, she should never say ‘no’; ‘just to make him suffer a bit’. If genuinely more time is needed to make the decision, then she should ask for it.
• Not feel intimidated to make a hasty decision if she is confused and does not know what to do.
• Always seek mature counsel before committing herself to such a big decision.
• Communicate her thoughts clearly and not resort to just avoiding the man without communicating anything. If she wants the man to keep away from her to give her a chance to think about it, she needs to tell the man and not play hide and seek with him.
• Thank him for showing interest and wish him the best in his future endeavours if the outcome is a regret. She must not scandalise him in any way.
• Revert to him to communicate her new position if after saying no, there is a change of heart.
• Relate with the man in a mature manner whatever the final outcome.
Starting a courtship in this way will ensure that there are no assumptions and that you are on the same page.
In the absence of the proposal as is your case GBG, your boyfriend can walk out of your life and claim you were just friends. This might happen a number of years down the line and can be a huge waste of time and an emotional drain.
What must you do then? Bring your current relationship to a close and demand that you only move forward with the assistance of counsellors, who will help the two of you define your friendship.
Forgiving your partner means you commit never again to bring up their offence in future.
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