WHAT IS A RELATIONSHIP?

A relationship is just a common bond, connection, association or involvement that people share between each other. Anybody can be in a relationship. And in this life, we have many relationships.

Relationships can be formed by blood, marriage, friendship, companionship, association, or any form of organization including workforce and religion. Husbands and wives have a relationship by law. Parents and children have a relationship by blood. Employers have a relationship by organization. Religious people have a relationship through their common beliefs and morals.

WHAT IS A DATE?

A date can simply be defined as an orderly appointment between 2 or more persons, regardless of gender.

A date occurs when there are specific people, at a specific place, at a specific time. Period.

You can go on a date with your friends, your family, your classmates, your co-workers, your client, your spouse or anyone else.

If a male and a female agrees to go out to dinner together at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, that was a date. If three women agree to go to the movies together at 9 p.m. on Saturday, that was a date. If two men agree to go to a football game together at 8 p.m. on Sunday, that was a date, and there is nothing gay about it.

A date can range from anywhere between a few hours to an entire day, depending on what type of date it is.

Dates are arrangements, and can occur as often as desired. But genuine dates always end. No date or event is forever. It is uncommon for a date to last more than 24 hours, being that there are only 24 hours in a day.

Synonyms for going out on a date are participating in: a fellowship, a rendezvous, a meeting, an appointment, an assembly, an affair, an engagement or a session.

WHAT IS COURTSHIP?

Courting, on the other hand, has some other implications. When people are courting, it’s usually done solely between one couple — male and female. When people are courting, their fellowship with one another becomes consistent and elongated, and it is usually for the purpose of developing a deeper relationship between the two persons. Unlike a date, which is more about the time spent at an event, courting is usually more focused on the intimacy gained between the couple: Learning about each other’s passions and interests, hobbies and pet peeves, family backgrounds, education and work, spiritual life, and etc. To keep the relationship private and exclusive from the intrusion of others, the two usually call themselves boyfriend and girlfriend.

Courting is often used as a way to determine whether or not the couple wants to spend the rest of their lives together. In other words, courting is like a preview or prototype of marriage. And because there are no strings attached, if courting each other doesn’t work out and the couple feels as if they are incompatible for one another, then they can feel free to break up and start courting someone else.

UNFORTUNATE REALITY:

Nowadays, the world’s standards for dating/courting have become more sensualized, and instead of being in a relationship to gain more knowledge of one another, the relationship is focused on gratifying selfish desires and sexual urges through one another. Some use dating/courting for the wrong reason: to avoid the embarrassment of being the only single person in the social circle or to cover up his or her secret same-sex lifestyle. Dating/courting has also been used as a way for one to search for love, acceptance, validation, or approval from another person instead of finding self-worth and value. Some people use dating/courting, not to find their potential spouse, but to fulfill a void in their lives, such as a missing father. Some people are lost and confused and don’t know what they’re looking for in a partner, so they use dating/courting, subconsciously, as a way to find their own identity in someone else.

Courting can be dangerous because if a couple decides to break-up after having such an emotional connection with one another — especially if the couple breaks up on a bad note — they can get heart-broken and develop signs of depression, distrust, hurt, rejection, and in some cases, even suicidal thoughts. If one person in the relationship starts to court someone else, then jealousy, hatred and covetousness can form in the heart of the other person. When a couple who has been courting breaks up and starts courting new people, residue from their previous relationship — if undealt with — can hinder the success of the new one. If sex was involved during the courting process, soul-ties can form, which are strong spiritual strongholds that can be very hard to break. That’s why it’s a wise idea not to awaken love before its time.

Many people don’t mind courting, and some go on courting for years at a time. But instead of courting with the intentions of possibly getting married, many couples settle in the stage of courting because they are afraid it might not work out in the long run. They have a fear of being in a financial struggle and not being able to provide for their spouse and future children. They don’t want the responsibility of being committed to each other because they’re not sure if the one they are with is the one they want to spend the rest of their lives with. Many couples settle in the courting stage instead of following through with marriage, because they aren’t ready to give up their singlehood. They don’t want to take the next step because they are more interested in playing house than building a family.

There is no legal covenant or binding contract when simply courting. But when it becomes more serious, and the couple can see themselves together “til-death-do-we-part,” then they may think about entering into engagement.

WHAT IS ENGAGEMENT?

Engagement is a period in a couple’s relationship which precedes their marriage.

During engagement, the couple begins to set the standards, values and requirements they are willing to stand on, and the sacrifices they will be willing to make for each other. The couple should share what they can bring to the table, and they should discuss things they will need to focus on when they become one in marriage, such as: religious beliefs, financial issues, living arrangements, children, likes and dislikes, future ambitions and goals, responsibilities and duties, freedoms and restrictions. The couple should share their strengths and weaknesses and any other involvements or secrets they may have that could possibly affect their marriage, such as: children acquired from previous relationships, HIV/AIDS status, background records with the law, and etc.

WHAT IS MARRIAGE?

Marriage, by law, and by God’s divine decree, is a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. Marriage between persons of the same sex is void and prohibited.

(Proverbs 18:22) He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.

(Genesis 2:24) For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

(Malachi 2:15) Has not [the LORD] made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.

Marriage, especially religious marriages should not be taken lightly. When getting married, you are taking a vow before God and are entering into a holy matrimony:

Groom: I, ____, take thee, _____, to my lawful wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.

Bride: I, _____, take thee, _____, to be my lawful wedded Husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.

Make sure you understand and are willingly able to dedicate yourself to obey the oath before you make it. Once you say, “I DO,” and are declared husband and wife, there is no turning back.

(Deuteronomy 23:21) “When you make a vow to the LORD your God, be prompt in fulfilling whatever you promised him. For the LORD your God demands that you promptly fulfill all your vows, or you will be guilty of sin.

(Numbers 30:2) When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.

(Ecclesiastes 5:4-6) When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. Don’t let your mouth make you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved.

Marriage, again, should not be used for selfish reasons such as sex, to attain legal residency, or for financial prosperity. Marriage is a direct blessing from God and should be used to bring him glory. Marriage is ministry, or servanthood. The purpose of marriage is to represent and symbolize Christ’s relationship to his church: Jesus Christ as the groom, the church as his bride, in holy covenant. Nothing can separate the love of the groom from his bride. The groom loves his bride and will sacrifice his life for her. He will forgive her if she backslides because he is married to the backslider. Divorce is not an option from the groom because his love never fails; it is easy to forgive and holds no records of wrong. The bride will submit to the authority of the groom because he is the head. She will serve him faithfully because he is her first love.

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