Gender Gender

Are we too early?

Can we help? with PASTOR & MRS BANDA
Dear Raphael and Namukolo,
WE have been courting for the past one year and we still have a minimum of three years before we can settle down in marriage. This is because we still have school issues to attend to. I have noticed that we seem to be running out of ideas of what we are supposed to be doing in our relationship and I can’t imagine how we are supposed to fill up the remainder of the time ahead. I am 17 and he is 21 years old. Can it be that we started our relationship too early?
Dear Jewel,
There is indeed such a thing as premature relationships. The Bible refers to such in Song of Solomon 2:7 CEV; Young women of Jerusalem, promise me by the power of deer and gazelles never to awaken love before it is ready.
Courtship is a period meant for serious preparations for marriage. It can be compared to what you go through when you prepare for exams. As with preparing for exams, the following things must be attended to in courtship:
• Knowing the syllabus: A lot of young people squander the period of courtship away because they do not know how to utilise this period. They are like a student who tries to study for exams but who has no idea what is in the syllabus! Since you have never been married before, take time to find out the contents of marriage. God created marriage to have various ingredients like:
a. Providing companionship – In Genesis 2:18, God says; “It is not good that man should be alone…” Life partners are given to take away our loneliness.
b. Providing a helper – The same Genesis 2:18 goes on to say, “I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
c. Procreation – Genesis 1:28; God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”
d. Sex – 1 Corinthians 7:4; the wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. God created sex as a component of the marriage relationship. Any sexual relationships outside marriage are sinful.
e. Parenting – Ephesians 6:4; Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Children born to human beings need to be parented to adulthood. Marriage is the God-appointed place for such parenting.
f. Worship – Deuteronomy 6:1-9; God wants the human race to worship Him. And the starting place for true worship is not the church but the home.
• Engaging tutors: Just as you do not keep to yourself during exam preparation but you make use of lecturers, tutors, literature and good friends, so the period of courtship should be a time for maximum consultation. Many courting couples run out of ideas and also do wrong things because they do not involve tutors. The best tutors are married couples. The tutors will assist you on how best you can prepare for the different roles which you will be required to play in marriage. They will also help you to know the various challenges which you might encounter in marriage and how to overcome them. They will help you to identify your weaknesses and how to address them.
• Timing: You do not start to prepare for exams too early. For example, if you are in your first year of study, you do not start preparing for the third year exam now. Neither do you leave it for too late. With respect to courtship, as a general guideline, one to three years is a good time frame. Beyond three years, the courtship might start becoming aimless. Obviously, the period is dependent on a number of factors like how often you see each other and what you are currently doing in life.
In your case Jewel, you have made it very clear that both of you are still pursuing your studies and are not very near the finishing line of your careers. Your courtship really does sound premature and we would not hesitate to advise you to first concentrate on your studies. By mutual agreement, you can put your relationship on hold for now. Instead of dividing your energies between your studies and the courtship, agree to wait until you will be ready to engage in serious preparations for marriage. As with everything else in life, courtship, if entered into prematurely, can prove troublesome. Courtship is very serious business.
So here you are Jewel, attend to first things first and when you are finally ready for courtship, make sure you do it right.
Preparing for your marriage is not the same as preparing for your wedding.
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