1. Avoid co-habiting. Living together before the wedding does not only spoils the fun of the relationship but it is an offense against God because it encourages living in sin.
2. Build a healthy communication. This will help form a solid foundation for your marriage. Marriage is about communicating love, affection, security, needs etc. Communication is not only with words but gestures.
3. Give. It is said that you can give without loving but you can’t love without giving. Give time, gifts, and anything that is in your power that can strengthen your courtship and prepare a ground for a good marital friendship.
4. Be focus. Once you become committed to that person with marriage in view cut off other people that may be interested in romantic relationship with you. It does not only provide security for your partner but it proves that you can be a faithful husband or wife and helps you maintain your sanity.
5. Encourage each other. Everyone needs encourage to thrive. Whatever is your partner’s calling or profession, deliberately take time to give encouragement. It even has a way of cementing your relationship. An encouraging partner is one who would do anything to see that the other succeeds.
6. Plan. Courtship is a planning stage. Yes the bible says that we make plans and God determines the execution. This does not mean that we should live without a direction for the future. Decide a family path way and begin work at it while you are waiting to wed.
7. Don’t be carried away by extravagant weddings and receptions. It’s amazing how much people save for their wedding that does not commensurate the lifestyle they live afterwards. When spending for your wedding remember that there would be financial responsibility after the beautiful music and guests.
8. Discuss alternative sources of income. Except you have a job that would sustain the family till you start having grand children or a bank account for that purpose, your family is going to need more money as it expands. A child is enough to add significant financial pressure on your income. You can make that plan now and factor the possibility of it even if you are not putting it in motion immediately.
9. Get a counselor. You do not know everything even if you are well read. Counselor also helps you to plan and prepare you for the reality of marriage. A counselor also prays with you and encourages you from the word of God.
10. Avoid pretense. You don’t expect to get the best in marriage if you pretend about the courtship, except you want to live in pretense the rest of your life. Being transparent and truthful is going to help you give and receive sincere love. Don’t give your partner the impression of something you are not, don’t give them the opportunity to disbelief you for the rest of your relationship.
11. Befriend his or her people. Although you are marrying an individual, you must remember that he or she has family and friends. Your association should not make him or her cut off from their love ones before you came into the picture. Become friends to your intending partner family and friends. This does not mean you allowing them have influence in your relationship but you would not like your partner to be caught between you and these other people.
12. Talk about money and sex. These are the two big issues in marriage and there is possibility and when you win in these areas you win most battles in marriage. It is believe that a man wants more sex than woman, be prepared to give it. A woman maybe better in managing home finance. It is time to discuss your views so you will not become over taken by surprises later that will negatively affect your marriage.
13. Accountability. Be accountable to your intending partner and your counselor. If you say you are at the mall when you were with a friend then your partner finds out you give him or her the chance to doubt you. Doubt injures trust that can affect your relationship.
14. To kiss or not to kiss. Kissing is an expression of affection. It is not a sin itself but when it can lead you intense hugging and to fornicate then you should stay away from it. Flee sexual sin.
15. Attend events and ceremonies together. Maintaining a healthy social life in marriage is important because for most couple once the children starts arriving they can drift apart, social activities can help put back the spark and that can start building from the courtship
16. Seek knowledge. Read books or listen to messages that relates to all the issues on marriage; money, sex, children, in-laws. You can never learn too much or be over prepared.
17. Be romantic. Romance does not start on the wedding day but at the moment when you accepted to be husband and wife. That look, that affectionate hug, that unexpected gift or visit, that simple but remarkable lunch date. There are endless romantic ideas during courtship.
18. Stay committed to the faith. If you were faithfully serving God before your commitment, now is the time to even be more committed and fervently serving the Lord. Marriage is not a destination of happiness. You will need God to succeed in marriage.
19. Stay away from sin. Sin has a way of destroying so many things within us. It puts an obstruction between us and God; reduces our stance with God and makes the devil mocks us. Avoid pre-marital sex.
20. Pray together. Don’t be carried away by the electric feelings you get when the two of you are alone together. Marriage requires much more than that. Begin to commit that future into the hand of God through prayer and asking God for the wisdom to be a godly spouse.
21. Not all courtship MUST lead to marriage. If there are indications that there are issues you both think would cause unhappiness in your marriage. Brace up, pray and talk to your counselor about it. Don’t remain in a relationship that is capable of causing you pain. It is better to hurt now than suffer later in marriage.
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Emike Oyemade – Author, speaker, and Christian counselor is passionate about her assignment of bringing people closer to God. Her life’s experience has been of tremendous help to many through her counseling. She currently provides counsel and teaching under the platform of Christ Strength Ministries. She is married with children.
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