Youth is that stage of one’s life from childhood to adolescent. It could also be defined as the period within the life span when most of a person’s biological, cognitive, psychological and social characteristics are changing from what is typically considered child-like to a more matured one. The young people at this period are facing a challenge, requiring adjustment to changes in oneself and in the people around especially his peer. ‘
It is a time of excitement and of anxiety, of happiness and of troubles of discovering and of bewilderment. It is a transition from being a child to growing up and having a link with the future. It is therefore a confusing, uncertain time for anyone who is experiencing this phase of life.
In the course of growing up and interacting, the male youths begin to enjoy the company of their female counterparts and vice versa, and gradually there is the tendency of choosing a close friend from the opposite sex, whom he/she feels attracted to, more than others. As time goes on, with the beautiful and exhilarating emotions which they regard as ‘being in love’ the youth feels that his heart has already chosen a destined mate and this relationship gradually, if continues, might snowball into courtship.
Courtship most times is in view of preparation to marriage. You court, in order to see the reasons why you should marry that person or if there is any reason why you should not. It is an open and honest exploration of each other’s lives and families leading up to engagement and marriage. During courtship, one cultivates each other as a special friend, believing that they are in love, sharing the same passion and commitment.
Although love, as the saying goes is blind to a large extent, but you should know that it is good to bring your brain along during this period. However to effectively-express love as a Christian, you must practically practice it in line drawn from (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) which says “Love is patient and kind never beautiful or proud never glad about injustice “It is also advisable to note that love especially at this stage of courting should be differentiated from Lust”. Young people in this global era see courtship as “great fun”, thrilling and adventurous as well as a harvest of sex jamboree, forgetting that it is not a period of sexual or genital union. Instead, (1 Corinthians 6:19) laments that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and so you should preserve and honour God with your bodies not to destroy God’s temple because God’s temple is holy. Hence, you should not be carried away or do unimaginable things in order to please your partner, as the consequences might be disastrous.
This write up therefore examines what ought to be the nature of courtship especially from a Christian perspective and the prevent practices as at today. Note that courtship is a critical time in your life, as you are about making/marring your destiny, a choice of your happiness or misery. The choice you make at this stage will determine to a great extent whether the rest of your life is to be lived in the heaven of perpetual harmony “keeping in love” or may be in the hell of disharmony or perpetual friction. It requires a lot of prayers, careful and honest decision to make such a choice. However, you cannot choose without knowing fairly, intimately the one upon whom your preference has fallen. Thus the essence of COURTSHIP. Courtship is therefore good and necessary and certain principles should therefore be followed for the choice.
(a) CHOOSE A CHRISTIAN: – When ‘Christians’ are in love, they are expected and supposed to be Christ- like in behavior. They seek for happiness of one another, ready to give and help one another. Two people will not work together unless they agree, (Amos 3:3). In fact, this warning of “being unequally yoked” is an order to the Christian believer that cannot be ignored It will be deceitful for one to think that being in love is enough and that after marriage you can win your partner to discipleship. It may not be necessarily so. It is therefore very pertinent that one should embed in sincere prayers to God for the choice of a right partner.
(b) CHOOSE A PERSON OF SIMILAR IDEAS AND OPINIONS: – The fact that your partner is a Christian is not enough, more so it’s advisable that he should have similar ideas, understanding and opinions on issues that could help in working out common goals regardless of where he/she is physically located at any point in time, Be careful not to get tied up with someone who does not share your values and God- given goals. He/She should have a personality that harmonizes with your own.
However, it may pay off better, to weigh each other in times of ease at home or elsewhere, attitude to one’s task. There should be special relationship between you which makes room for possible private talks and sharing interest together and activities, attending occasions together and visiting each other. It is therefore important at this stage of a young person’s life that he/she should be guided aright by wise, careful and powerful advice from parents and elders.
(c) CHARACTER OF THE PERSON: – At this stage, one cannot choose a partner without knowing fairly intimately the one upon whom his preference has fallen. You need to be careful and watchful to note whether you partner is an honest person with a forgiving Spirit, tolerant, accommodating and impartial. There is also the need for a hardworking and economically balanced partner, who is patient, humble, generous and ready to communicate, faithful, educated or has learnt a good trade and most importantly, one who has the fear of the Lord.
(d) LOOK OUT FOR AN ACCOMPLISHED PERSON:- In this sense, accomplished person means one who is good at particular things, having a lot of skills or special ability in doing things. It could be in academics or in a trade/profession. For the female youth, a wise mother/Aunties/Elder Sisters must have taught her the household chores with emphasis on the ability to cook well in a clean environment; and other aspects of home-making that will lead to a successful marriage.
The young male should be taught to aspire to be a good leader since he would soon be the head of his family and also a good shepherd. He should be hardworking, avoid being lazy as preparing himself to have a comfortable job/trade, so that he can tackle the economic needs of his intending home. He must work hard to possess the capacity to be resourceful and not to be an extra-burden to his parents/in-laws and the intending partner. Youths are therefore advised to seek their parents advice in making choice of a life partner. (Sirach 7:27) says “Honour your father with all your heart and never forget how your mother suffers when you were born “. While (Tobit 7 & 8) opined that one should wisely seek advice of one’s parents and elders. It is therefore most advisable for the young to consult their parents/elders in the choice of partner and seek their guidance and advice bearing in mind that they have varied experiences that will enhance the chances of your being married to a sensible man or virtuous woman.
Youths are therefore admonished to remain faithful in prayers (Jesus Christ makes it known to us that without me you can do nothing (John 15:5), and also seek wise counsel from parents and elders in order to make the right choice of a life partner.
May God bless you all!!!
Thank you for listening!!!!
(MRS.) A.U. MBAKWE-OBI
St. Mark’s Catholic Church New Owerri