Monday, June 30, 2014

Courtship: Asking Questions (For Men & the Women Who Love Them)

If you have not already read my blog on courting versus dating, I would recommend reading it so you can have a foundational understanding of what I am writing about in this blog. I want you to know what I mean when I use the words “courting” and “courtship” as opposed to “dating.” Please know I am not against any form of righteous dating. My goal is to make a clear distinction between what the world has coined “dating” and what we know as courting. Some who talk about dating in our religious assemblies are really giving foundational truths as it relates to dating; they just use the word “dating.” I do not think there is anything wrong with it. Please do not take my play-on-words as a hatred for the word “dating.” It is interchangeable if properly used within the right context. For those who are familiar with the information, continue on as I lay out some things that I hope can help you on your journey.

Do you think you have found your spouse? Has God presented “Eve” to you? Is God leading you to begin a courtship with someone? Well, consider asking these questions as you continue to converse with one another. Do not feel ashamed or as if you are coming off too strong by asking purposeful questions in the beginning. When I sat down with my now-wife for the first time I asked her many of the purposeful questions I am giving to you in this blog. I wanted to make sure we were not going to waste each other’s time. I do by best to do things that are purposeful. My prayer is that you have the same practice.

It is important to remember the foundational material. You need to be led by God in this decision. You need to make sure you understand the seriousness of entering into a relationship with someone of the opposite sex for the purpose of marriage. You need to ask yourself if you are truly ready for marriage and a family. And yes, it is important to know if you are ready for a family. Procreation is always possible with sex, and I believe sex is honorable in marriage. You should also ask yourself if you are emotionally prepared for a relationship. Are you ready to fully commit yourself to the journey and the person you are courting? If you are ready to move forward, then let’s move forward. Here are fifteen questions I would encourage you to ask one another as you begin this journey. You are not limited to these fifteen questions. In fact, I have a lot more in my first book, So, You Want to be Married?. I encourage you to read it as well and use the questions in the back of the book to assist you on your journey. You do not have to make this an interview. Be conversational. Allow the questions to invoke needed conversation.

1.     Has she confessed Jesus as Savior and Lord? (Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do men say I am?” Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say I am?” Both questions are important. The second question is personal. You need to find out who Jesus is to her. Is He just her friend, or is He her Lord? Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.)
2.     Is she truly committed to loving and obeying God?
3.     Do you agree on major doctrinal truths?
4.     What local church do you attend? Could I possibly meet your pastor or hear some of the sermons? (This question is powerful. It lets you know what kind of teaching she is receiving. It is better to know in the beginning if her pastor is saying that it is fine for her to have multiple spouses. You may think something like that is far-fetched, but I have seen it happen. You will thank me later.)
5.     What do you do in your spare time? What is an average week like for you? (If she says she likes to go shopping six days out of the week, you may want to consider asking her about finances and priorities. Just be respectful in asking. Do not be too intrusive.)
6.     How do you handle adversity? (The answer is seen rather than heard; however, it never hurts to ask. I would recommend going on a group outing. Do something besides eating and going to the movies. Instead, go horseback riding, skating, rock climbing, etc. Active activities allow for you to see the person in a different light. I learned a lot about my now-wife and myself when we went horseback riding. It is a great lesson in submission and control. Try to stay away from activities that will cause you to stumble. I knew a couple who loved to go swimming together, but each time they saw one another half-naked they lessened their standards. Lust gripped their heart, and they had sex. That one encounter led to them conceiving a child. Their relationship never recovered. I am not saying that will happen to you; I just want you to be careful. I also encourage you to make sure you are accountable when you go out. I encourage you to travel around in groups, with your parents, or with trusted mentors. The goal is to make sure someone can guide and guard your conversation and physical contact. Trust me. You will thank me later.)
7.     What is your profession? What do you believe God has called you to do? (Do not confuse the two. Do not define her by what she is doing when you meet her. Her profession could just be the training ground for what she is called to do in her role of helping you. You want to pay attention to see if she hears clearly from God and to see how well she can articulate what she thinks she heard.)
8.     When was your last relationship? How did it end? (Just make sure you will not have a stalker ex-boyfriend following you around. She needs to tell you if she had to get a restraining order against her ex. You need to be prepared for the situation.)
9.     Do you have any children? Would you like to have children? Would you like to adopt? (If there is a child in the picture, it is important to ask about the other parent. You want to know what you are about to inherit.)
10. Have you been married before? Are you married? (These questions may sound far-fetched, but they are not. These are truly the last days.)
11. What is your family like? Were you adopted? Were you a foster child? (The answer to these questions could identify some internal issues in your potential mate. My wife is adopted, and she struggled with separation anxiety for years. It was difficult for her to let me go to the gym without feeling like something would happen to me. The “family dynamic” is a real one. How she grew up will tell a lot about her as a person. Again, do not be intrusive.)
12. What are your expectations in your future spouse? (The goal is not for you to compare yourself by her expectations. You should allow for the answer to reveal what is in her heart and reveal her maturity. If her expectations are all temporal, worldly things then that should indicate to you where she places her priorities. Her expectations will change. Just make sure her expectations are realistic and righteous.)
13. How close are you to your father? (There is much truth in this statement: She will respect and honor you as much as she respects and honors her father. Her father plays a very important role in her life. Do not despise this question.)
14. Have you contracted a sexually transmitted disease? If so, which one? When is the last time you got checked? (We live in some crazy times. It is important to ask this question. I am a firm believer in the healing power of God. I am in no way saying this has to be a deal breaker for you. You ask the question so you are made aware of the situation by the answer she gives. You also do not want to have any surprises on your wedding night. You may think it is crazy, but I have heard of it happening.)
15. Are you open to a purpose-driven relationship with me that is focused on marriage? (This is an important question because it helps both of you identify the direction of the relationship. It erases all confusion, and it makes it clear that the two of you are in a committed, monogamous relationship that is focused on marriage.)

I encourage you to purchase my book So, You Want to be Married? and So, You Want to be a Man? Both books are going to help you on your journey. You will learn how to develop the boundaries you need in the relationship, learn how to honor her as the Father’s daughter and learn how to mature in your relationship with the Lord. Brother, Christ enables you to have a relationship that honors Him. It can be done. If I can resist kissing my wife until marriage, which was a year and eight months, then I know you can do it too.

Stay focused.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very helpful checklist thank you for taking the time to do this, you are appreciated sir.