Happy Spring, everyone! It’s finally that time of year! The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and the weather is getting warmer without feeling unbearable. Spring is a season that brings forth a refreshing ambiance while displaying the artistic hand of our heavenly Father. While on the topic of entering a new season, I thought it was fitting to write about my season of courtship today.
For those who do not know, courting is when you are solely dating one person with the intention of marriage. I’d like to believe that courtship is exclusive and purposeful. It is not open, casual, or without direction.
When I started Flourish in 2020, I was very much single and created this platform to celebrate the beauty and wisdom of that particular season in my life while encouraging others who were probably in the same season as I was to do the same. Now that I am no longer single, I feel as though it is only appropriate to fill you guys in on what I’ve learned and what I am still learning in this new season. Courting has definitely been the most refreshing season of my life thus far. It has taught me so much about myself, my boyfriend, and relationships as a whole. I could be here all day talking about the lessons I've learned but to keep this short and sweet, I’ll only highlight four of them today. Before I begin, I want to remind you all that I am NOT a relationship expert but I am allowing God to use me as His vessel to reach out to His children in a personable and refreshing way. Let’s get to it!
#1: You are NOT in a relationship with yourself anymore. There is another person to consider.
When I was single, I only had to worry about myself. I didn't have to worry about how my decisions could impact another person. I didn’t have to actively work on my communication skills, see if schedules aligned, or pencil in date nights. It was simply me, myself, and I. A party of one at all times. Once I got into my relationship, a lot of that changed because it was no longer just me anymore. It was me and another person that I love and desire to be with for the rest of my life. With that being said, I now have to take his emotions, beliefs, concerns, personality, and ultimately life into consideration. Now it’s a party of two and if I am being honest, it is not always going to be easy because this mindset requires selflessness. You cannot be in a relationship and have selfish motives or practice uncompromising behaviors. In my opinion, the relationship just won't work. I don’t believe that you should lose your individuality in a relationship but it is important to be mindful that as you plan to become one with this person, your mindset should shift from “How can or will this benefit me?” to “How can or will this benefit us?”
#2: Communication is key. Cliche, I know.
Although this statement is beyond overused, it is very much true. I personally believe that one's communication style has the power to make or break a relationship. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 18:21 that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (NKJV). This verse teaches me that the way I choose to communicate with my boyfriend and others has the power to make an impact, whether it’s good or bad. I’ve learned that when communicating with my significant other, it is extremely important for me to communicate clearly, honestly, respectfully, and without pointing the finger.
From personal experience, I would also advise staying away from blanket statements/words such as “You always…” or “You never…” in a negative connotation. Those kinds of statements are bound to cause friction in a relationship. I will be the first to tell you that I struggle in this area but I have definitely grown from where I once was. Be patient with yourself and allow your significant other to give you constructive criticism on how you communicate. Feedback about your strengths and weaknesses can only help you become a better person, partner, and communicator. If you struggle in this area, God’s word has just the solution. Pray that your words would reflect Proverbs 16:24, “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” (NLT).
#3: Discuss goals, expectations, dealbreakers, etc. EARLY.
As I stated in lesson #1, the transition from singleness to courtship comes with a lot of changes that one may or may not expect. Again, there is another person to consider in your life now as you pursue marriage. Very early on in our relationship, my boyfriend and I valued transparency. We have set a standard for our relationship where we do not tolerate secrets or dishonesty no matter how uncomfortable the conversation might be. Because marriage is the goal, premarital discussions are necessary and should be discussed as early as possible. You want to get the best idea of who you’re going to be attaching yourself to for the rest of your life.
There are a multitude of topics or questions you should consider discussing. Your goals, finances, faith, children, and even gender roles. Do you lean more towards a traditional or a modern/progressive way of thinking? There’s also mental and physical health, employment, education, and the list goes on. Although there is much to discuss, don't feel the need to discuss everything in one sitting. Believe it or not, one topic can be as short as 10 minutes and another can take as long as one month or longer to reach common ground. The length of a discussion is situational and depends on what each person is willing to give and take to make the relationship work. As I stated before, some of your conversations might be uncomfortable at first, but they are absolutely worth having. You’ll have a better idea of who you're courting and whether or not you're willing to continue pursuing oneness with this person.
The last thing you want to do is assume that you know everything about the person you’re courting, because the reality is, you don't.
#4: Pray, pray, and pray some more.
I personally could not and would not be in my relationship if it wasn’t for God. Because God gave me such a beautiful gift, it is important for me to invite Him into my relationship every day. In order for me to be the best girlfriend that I could possibly be for my boyfriend, I need God to lead me and teach me what submission looks like in my life today before marriage. Not only do I pray for myself but I also make it a priority to pray for my boyfriend as well. As my boyfriend prepares himself to be the head of our marriage, it is critical that I pray that he submits to the Lord first. In 1 Corinthians 11: 3, the bible tells us that “The head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God”(NLT). In my relationship, it is important that we reflect God’s order. We want nothing more than for God to be the center and to be pleased with our courtship.
Whether you’re in a relationship or not, it is never too early to start praying for your significant other. I would advise you to pray for patience, direction, wisdom, favor, grace, and so much more because God’s presence matters. John 15: 5 tells us that apart from God we can do nothing, which is why staying connected to the Lord is extremely vital in one’s life.
There it is guys! My top four lessons that I’ve learned and am still learning in courtship. I pray that this blog entry was a blessing for you and that you are able to learn from my experiences. There is so much more that I wanted to say but I didn’t want this to be too much of a read for you. If you guys have any questions or would like to discuss some of these points further, please feel free to comment down below, DM me on Instagram, or send an email! If you would like to sow a seed into this ministry so that it could continue to flourish (pun intended lol), there is a donation section on the homepage. Again, thank you for being a loyal supporter, reader, and friend. May God bless you and cater to your current season that allows you to witness His glory in a new way!