A Few Lessons from My Failed Courtship…

Hello Dear Readers,

Unfortunately, I’ll have to start today’s post with the cliché long and emotionally heavy post alert… it’s only fair seeing as ‘tis the season to be merry’ so I would not want to dampen anyone’s mood…

I checked and the last time I posted a blog was in August. Yikes… I didn’t even have the guts to check the YouTube channel… Suffice to say, I have really struggled with motivation, discipline and consistency this year. One of the major reasons why I stopped creating content is my failed courtship.

Credit: Google Images

Failure tends to have that effect… in as much as I had not truly broadcasted my courtship online, I still shared a few pictures and posts. And I didn’t want to shy away from sharing/facing my failure; first because I don’t want to portray any falsehoods and second because it’s part of the process…

I have to be completely transparent and admit that I never thought that this failure would knock me down as hard as it did but it did. I have never been punched or knocked out but I can say that my failed courtship gave me first-hand experience of what it would be like. In the beginning stages I actually felt literal physical pain… it was very rough to say the least but with time I can honestly declare that I’ve adjusted to this new normal and I’m slowly but surely picking up the pieces and learning to thrive.

I need to clarify that I’m not sharing this to gain sympathy or to “spill the tea”.  Time truly is a great healer. I’ve had time to reflect, look back and heal and I’d like to share a few painful lessons that I hope you will be able to avoid if you’re courting or considering courtship/dating.

Please note that these are lessons from my own personal experience. The information I’m sharing is in no way indicative of what may happen to you in the future. And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m sharing this post to help anyone who’s already courting/dating or anyone considering to date or enter courtship.

Credit: Google Images

Now onto the last disclaimer… I’ve decided not to get into the nitty gritty details of what happened, the whys, the how’s and who’s to blame… I’ve made this choice out of respect for everyone involved and because I am well aware that this story is not completely mine alone to tell.

So, without much ado…here it is…

# 1 Consult with God

I know that not everyone is a Christian and that many do not even believe that God exists. And I also know that there are many successful courtships and marriages between people who don’t believe in God. So, I understand that to some of you this may be very irrelevant but to me it’s the most important lesson. Let me explain why… This courtship was my first serious relationship… I had dabbled into the dating scene before but not seriously… back then I was very young, impressionable and more concerned with the titles “girlfriend” and “boyfriend” than an actual relationship. This one was serious, I wasn’t just dating, playing around or having fun. It was a courtship – dating with intention towards marriage and family… I’m talking big leagues people world cup, grand slam final manenoz…

Credit: Google Images

So where does God feature in all this and why am I suggesting that you consult Him? Well to make the long short let’s just say that during my courtship I was primarily governed by my emotions. What do I mean? With hindsight, I can openly admit that more often than not my actions were often made from impulse and feelings. Even though I did pray over the relationship and committed it to God, I didn’t take the time to seriously and honestly seek and consult God about my courtship. I was under some absurd notion that I could somehow handle this on my own. That was a huge mistake! Humongous mistake!

Credit: Quickmeme.com

Instead of take the wheel Jesus I was like I got this one, you can scoot on over to the back seat and chill. Because of free will He did scoot on over to the back seat and the result was multiple crashes. I got tired of being governed by my emotions… it was like a rollercoaster ride that would not end. I literally felt like I didn’t have any control or choice… Today you’ll be happy, tomorrow sad, the next day all loved up, the one after that snappy… And here’s the catch guys you’re in control of your thoughts and emotions! You really are!

God is truly interested in every single detail of my life and that if you’re open to it, You can actually hear His voice. I don’t know whether consulting God would have resulted in marriage for me but I can definitely say that it would have made a huge difference in my decision making.

So, to sum it all up, do not let your feelings override God’s input in your courtship.

 

# 2 Guard Your Heart

Don’t and I repeat DO NOT give your heart away… King Solomon said it best, “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life”. In Christian circles, there is a strong emphasis on the physical/sexual boundaries that should be maintained during courtship/dating. Unfortunately, not much emphasis is placed on emotional or spiritual boundaries.

Credit: Harvesters International Christian Centre

Giving your heart to someone i.e. sharing your deepest desires, past struggles, fears and opening up to someone is an intimate thing. Yes, people intimacy doesn’t solely refer to sex/physical boundaries. Every time you open up emotionally you are being intimate with the person you’re opening up to…

So, is sharing/opening up a no-go zone when courting? Isn’t that like the whole point of dating/courting? Well, from my experience I’d say both yes and no… Yes, because when courting you should both be collecting data on each other to see whether you’re compatible for marriage and family. No because you need to be careful not to give too much of yourself emotionally until the time is right… what is the right time? I’d say engagement/marriage.

I don’t know how else to put it but when courting, there is no true guarantee of success. And trust me, I’m not being bitter or resentful. Truth be told, even if both parties are intent on getting married, things can go array. I can openly admit that I deeply regret opening up and sharing my deepest desires, past struggles etc… with someone who is not going to be my husband. I regret building an intimate emotional bond with someone who is now no longer in my life. This emotional bond clouded my judgement many a times and quite frankly it has been the hardest to break and move past from… This is where the many unwanted walks down memory lane, and what ifs stem from.

So, what should or shouldn’t you share? I think this is an individual thing… I don’t want to share my list and add to legalism in the Christian community. I think to come up with that list you need to have a meeting with yourself and consult God. Save yourself the heartache and heartbreak. Be wise and guard your heart.

# 3 Know Your Purpose

Why was I created? What have I been put on this earth to do? I’ve learnt that knowing and working towards achieving your purpose is a prerequisite to courtship/dating and even marriage. It helps you make an informed decision of who your life partner should be. It helps with determining compatibility and destiny alignment. So, I’d highly advice to keep off courting/dating and even marriage if you’re not clear on what your life purpose is.

Credit: Google Images

It may seem harsh but trust me you do not want to invest time and effort in courtship with someone who does not know their purpose or have a life vision. And you should not court/date someone when you don’t know your why and when you don’t have a clear vision for your life. It’ll be a complete waste of time if you end up discovering that your visions do not align. And depending on the length of the courtship you can end up with a lot of heartache and ‘emotional baggage’.

I would highly recommend the following books to help you discover your purpose: The Bible, In Pursuit of Purpose by Myles Munroe, Understanding Your Potential by Myles Munroe and Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.

# 4 Stick to Your Boundaries

I’ve already touched on the importance of physical and emotional boundaries when courting/dating. There’s no other way to put it… don’t compromise. Just don’t compromise! Compromising the standards/boundaries that you put in place prior to courting/dating someone is essentially breaking promises that you made to yourself and God (if you’re a Christian). It’s breaking trust and it’s a really bad foundation to build a marriage on. I’ve also noted that compromising boundaries affects motivation, discipline, faithfulness and consistency.

I’m not trying to be legalistic or condemn anyone. I’m simply trying to emphasize the importance of upholding and maintaining Godly standards when courting/dating. So, it’s not about the don’ts and it’s not about pointing fingers. It’s about trusting God and surrendering your desires completely because He has plans for you! Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future!

So, if you’re currently dating/courting and have compromised physical or emotional boundaries I am not condemning you. I’m simply asking you to stop, take a step back, ask for forgiveness and ask God to help you and your partner maintain those boundaries. Be intentional about it and find accountability partners that can help you keep your promises to yourselves and God.

 # 5 Do Away with Falsehoods About Love

“And they lived happily ever after…” I bought into the happily ever after lie. I also bought into the life doesn’t begin until your courting or married lie and drumroll please I bought into the “my happiness will come from my relationship” lie.

Credit: Google Images

Silly I know…but that’s what I went into courtship with… that’s what I had been cultivating for almost seven years as a single lady eagerly awaiting my betrothed. Instead of preparing for the ‘role of a lifetime’ i.e. girlfriend and eventually wife, I was busy indulging in pop culture, 90’s RnB jams from artists like: Mario, TLC, R. Kelly, Boys II Men, Destiny’s child etc.… Oh and don’t even get me started with the romantic comedies: You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, Bridget Jones Diary, Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, Pretty Woman, Notting Hill etc.… I know that it’s entertainment but for some reason I began to strongly desire the way these movies and songs depicted ‘romantic love’. The more I watched and listened the stronger the desire grew and the more fantasies I created…

This eventually became a recipe for disaster because when I was faced with the realities of courtship, my fantasies were completely dispelled…much like a bubble being popped. I had a lot of resentment because of how long I had fostered those fantasy thoughts and emotions of how courtship would be. I use the word ‘fantasy’ and not ‘expectations’ because expectations are realistic (most of the time) however fantasies are not. I’m sharing this because I know that deep down we all have these fantasies- yes, fantasies of how courtship/dating/marriage or life in general should be like.

The root cause of these fantasies varies for everyone. I would strongly recommend cutting the roots of these fantasies. Instead focus and work towards having realistic expectations that align with your life purpose and desires. Why? It’s a sure bet to safeguard against failures… because fantasies can never coincide with the realities of life. Eventually the bubble always pops. Will there be hardships and disappointments with expectations? Oh yes! However, that’s part of life. James said it best “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

So, there you have it folks my big five. If you’ve made it until here asante sana. If there’s anything you’d like to add from your own experience be sure to leave a comment down below and if you have found this helpful share it with as many people as you can!

Happy New Year in advance!

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