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Christian Courtship: Meaning and Challenges
There is a thinking that we are made Christians by adoption and grace in baptism, but that we spend our lives in the eternal possibility of becoming Christians. In another context, we note that a Christian is a follower of Christ; one who strives to be like Christ who himself was perfect. So, we cannot be perfect, but we make the effort (Matthew 5: 48). We cannot as Catholic Christians show the light and lead the way if we do not influence others positively through our actions.
Vocation for the Married State:
As soon as a child makes this choice, elders, parents and guardians should assist him/her in effective preparation (Christian courtship). Such a candidate should live like a good catholic; unceasing prayer (1Thessalonians 5: 17; Luke 18:1), regular reception of the sacraments of penenace and Holy Communion, self denial should be practiced.
The True Assessment:
The married life is a life of love. Mutual respect, longsuffering, endurance and acceptance of disappointments constitute the badge of those who love. Moreover, people cannot expect from marriage what they did not bring into it. They cannot sow discord and disharmony and expect to reap young men and women courteous and decent. Marriage has a veritable dynamic aspect by which it must grow and develop and attain full maturity, but this cannot be achieved without proportionate effort.
Since courtship is a step away from marriage, the courting ones invariably face the same challenges as the married ones do. In my opinion, it is even more challenging in courtship because the decisions made remain binding for years—on till death.The decisions made can make or mar one’s marriage. Foremost among the challenges facing today’s courting couplesinclude:
i. Pre-marital sex while dating which eventually leads to unwanted pregnancy, then forced marriage or else abortion.
ii. Lack or downplay of love : most courting couples are often engaged for all the wrong purposes running from acquiring wealth to lust.
iii. Materialism: some courting couples are after what they stand to gain from the engagement such as money, clothing, shelter, or other material needs
iv. Pressure from family: Parents, guardians and relatives sometimes directly pressure their children into marriage. This pressure may come indirectly as peer pressure. Consequently, one may get into marriage without having any knowledge of the necessary details.
v. Other hindrances include: infidelity, ethnic rivalry, cultural dichotomy, religious ideology, wrong value system, family background, political or social affiliations, social security, age barrier, blood covenants, early bethrotal etc.