1. Is there a specific person for me?
To me this question is more like the “doctrine of election”, from God’s side of eternity, He knows who each one of us would marry but from this side of the equation we have no clue. However, when we follow His rules (e.g. do not be unequally yoked etc) and trust Him, I believe He’ll lead us in choosing a spouse.
2. How long is a good courtship?
I do not believe in dating as defined by our world today, which is going out with someone without the intention of marriage. I’ve seen many folks go out for years, living together (82% of those who cohabit before marriage divorce), having sex only to break up later.
My opinion is that you get into a relationship when you are ready to marry, personally a two year courtship seem ideal to me. This gives enough time for a thorough pre-marriage program and enough time to know the other person enough to marry him/her, you can never know anyone the way you want before you marry him/her. Years into marriage people are still discovering new things about each other.
3. What do you think about long distance courtship?
Absolutely nothing, when I hear people complain about having a long distance relationship my initial instinct is to ask if they are doing more than just going to the movies together. I understand emotional needs (I courted for two years across the ocean) but that need could also be met with phone calls and occasional visits. The other issue I hear on long distant relationship is lack of trust! So why choose a person as a spouse if you don’t trust him or her?
4. Is church the best place to meet my future husband/wife?
It should be, but not necessarily. Many people who are not believers think the same way and they come to church with the express purpose of meeting someone. A serious/mature Christian is able to detect an impostor through discernment (the fruit the person bear – flesh or spirit). Most of the time two impostors meet each other thinking they are both good for each other because they met in church, once they get home they both reveal their true colors.
5. What do you think about meeting someone on-line?
As in evangelism, the message never changes but the delivery can change with new science and new technology. A hundred years ago people were introduced to each other and there was no direct contact, then we had telephone, then airplanes and now we have the internet, these technologies have made the world a smaller place.
The problem is not meeting someone on-line but the motive and the school of thought of the web developer. The only on-line service that I recommend is “e-harmony” because it matches more than just a pretty face with a hunk, but it uses scientifically tested personality procedures for it matches with Biblical principles as its base, they (e-harmony) just need to add “African” in their category rather than assume than every black person is “African-American”. The message we need to keep in mind is that a believer cannot be unequally yoked with an unbeliever regardless of how they meet.
6. Should I tell my pastor about my courtship?
It depends on the motives for telling your pastor, if by telling him/her you want someone to pray along with you, plan your wedding or you want an extra pair of eyes to see want you can’t because of your emotion running crazy then go ahead and tell him/her.
In the church I attend, we encourage two young people thinking of marriage to go through the pre-marriage mentoring program, which usually last 6-8 weeks before proposing to each other. We use materials such as FOCCUS, Family History Analysis and T-JTA (Taylor Johnson Temperament Analysis). We then match the young couple to a matured couple in the church and they go through a workbook together.
7. Can I approach a guy if I like him?
In my opinion NO, and for two reasons, the Bible says “he that finds a wife, find a good thing and obtains favor” also, the man is supposed to lead the institution he might as well start from the beginning. Having said the above, the woman can smile more or hang around him more, it is a matter of time before the guy knows the woman wants more than just hanging around. Friends can help here as well, calling attention of the clueless guy to noticing the lady and if he is not interested the let down is subtle.
8. There are not too many Christian brothers/sisters that I like around, and age is not helping me at all, can I marry a good brother/sister who is not born-again?
The issue here is trust, God already said not to be unequally yoked, because what you want is not happening at the time you want it, does not mean you bend His rules to satisfy yourself, the consequences of disobedience is usually grave and I know many homes in serious trouble years after because the believer compromised and married an unbeliever.
It is important for a Christian whose friends are getting married and feeling lonely to keep his/her focus on God. Make yourself available, dress well, look nice and attend singles conferences.
9. Is marriage for everybody?
No, In Matthew 18 Jesus answered that question and Apostle Paul did in 1 Corinthians 7, in both cases Jesus and Apostle Paul said remaining single is to further the purpose of the Kingdom of heaven. Jesus went further and said not getting married is a calling for few people and Paul said, if you are going to “burn” (have sexual fantasies) then go ahead and get married.
10. My parents do not like the person I want to marry, and I want their approval before I marry, what do I do?
Parental approval of your potential soul- mate is a good thing before marriage, the blessings of a parent is strongly desired. However some parents, believer or not have a different agenda and they base their choice of a spouse for their son/daughter on the current economic or social status of the boy/girl about to marry their child.
If your parents reasoning for refusing you to marry is based on the fact that you are marrying an idiot and everyone but yourself can see it, then listen to them. If their reasoning is based on materials things without biblical basis, then I’ll suggest you give them time (limited) to come around and be part of the whole thing and if they refuse, as long as you know that this is God, then go ahead.
11. Can I have things I want or desire in my future spouse?
Absolutely, the more I’m involved with singles of marriageable age, the more I’m convinced that each person has an attraction in the opposite sex, it could be physical (height, weight, beauty etc), it could be intellectual (physician, engineer, professor etc), it could be how good someone dresses or some things some of us consider mundane.
These attractions are usually embedded in us either in our nature or from our growing up environment. It is interesting to note that in general, what an American considers as a beautiful woman is different from what an African considers beautiful. In the same way a beautiful woman in Guatemala is physically different from a beautiful woman from Sweden.