Choosing A Life Partner-The Decision-Making Process

One of the most common mistakes people make in courtship is to assume that courtship is successful only when it ends in marriage. It is erroneous to think that the necessary end to courtship is marriage. As much as we desire to graduate into marriage from courtship,a courtship that does not end in marriage is not a failed one.

No matter how perfectly-matched a couple may appear,courtship is meant to address the question of affinity and the suitability of one for the other. It is a time to seek an answer to the question Are we meant to be together? If along the way,you discover that you are really not meant to be together,and decide to go your separate ways,rather than viewing the situation as a failed courtship,I would have you see it as An answer to your prayers. The courtship was a huge success. You are not meant to be husband and wife. God in his own way had saved you from the costly mistake that living together would have been. That it may not be the situation you prefer,does not change the fact that the courtship was successful,for it achieved its purpose.

Marriage is not a necessary end to courtship. In a good marriage,courtship continues. Your main goal during courtship should be to study each other,learn to know each other,grow with each other,and protect each other.

This should continue after marriage.

If you focus on marriage rather than understanding and getting to know your partner with an open mind,the chances are that you are going to overlook or ignore tiny gaps in your relationship that have the potential of becoming big gulfs in marriage.

Staying Together

If you feel you are compatible with your intended spouse,if you feel this is God’s will for your life,or have parental and pastoral approval,if you have taken at least two years to knowing each other,you may now proceed carefully into marriage. You need to be careful because you need time to prove or disprove certain things,for there are questions to which you cannot readily find cut and dried answers. If you notice some areas that you are in disagreement with,but are not considered as major issues,try and examine them. If you understand these issues better,or work on them, they could help to create the desired result in your courtship,which is to solve the conflict you are facing right now.

Anthony Robbins puts it this way, “Your life changes the moment you make a new congruent,and committed decision.”

Perhaps,you need to understand your partner’s background,beliefs,attitudes,values,expectations,priorities, anxieties,and fears. The knowledge could make you more tolerant, patient,and appreciative of the personality of your spouse-to-be.

Looking into the following areas could help you understand your differences better,and if,frankly discussed,may lead to a greater understanding which could make you both decide to continue into marriage instead if breaking up.

  • Background Differences

Ask yourself if the problems you are facing right now are just the result of your background differences,instead of a major incompatibility.Does your disagreement,for example, stem from small differences you can both work on,like table manners,mode of dressing,or choice of words? These could trigger disagreements.Something like how birthdays should be celebrated if at all,could pose a major challenge in your marriage. It may depend on how it was done in your family when you were growing up.

Courtship is the time to straighten things up. You need to take time to look into your intended spouse’s background while you are courting. How does he/she coexist with his/her family? How does the father treat the mother? These may be the reasons why you are having problems you can’t seem to place a finger on.

Your family background will not necessarily dictate what your marriage will be like. With a lot of information of what your backgrounds have been like. Many compromises will have to be made.We look at our families and decide either to repeat the pattern,if our experiences were positive, or we try to create the opposite situation.

Work out adjustment plans by deciding what will work for both of you. If there is agreement between you on these major issues,allow time to test it while still courting.

  • Mode of Communication

A vital issue in communication is understanding. A message should be sent in such a way that it can be understood.

Experts tell us that words comprise only about 7% of communication (messages sent),55% body language, while tone of voice is 38%.How we communicate even when we refuse to say anything at all,conveys a message which has a particular meaning to the perceive or receiver.

Communication is not complete until the other person perceives and understands the message. It is not enough to pass on a message verbally or otherwise,it is important that you get feedback. This will show you how much the other person has understood.

How does your intended spouse communicate? It is important that you study his/her mode of communication. This may sound strange, but silence is also a form of communication.

When people decide not to speak to each other,they are not communicating verbally. Nonetheless,they are speaking volumes non-verbally.

Just as not speaking at all is a form of non-verbak communication, some of which amplify verbal messages and others that are complete messages on their own. These include: body positions,facial expressions, gestures,and dress.

The danger in non-verbal communication is that the meaning we intend to convey may be distorted by any of the above indices,and the wrong messages may be picked up. The interpretation and understanding of non-verbal messages are entirely dependent on our partners’ perception and judgement. Moreover,most non-verbal messages are instinctive,and mostly uncontrollable.

You need to speak up. Make your real opinion known. Do not leave your partner wondering what you mean or what is going on in your mind. Even though we are communicating when we aren’t talking,we should rather choose to talk because we don’t want to be misunderstood.

This is,however,not to suggest that when communication is verbal,there’s always a perfect understanding. In some cases,non-verbal cues interferes with the message we receive. This could either amplify or adulterate the message. What we finally pick up may be at variance to what was actually intended. This is why communication is said to be incomplete until there is feedback. The feedback conveys to us what our partners’ have received,interpreted, and have made of what we communicated.

We can achieve a healthy relationship with our partner only if we understand that communication is a process and rarely an open and shut case.

  • Conflict resolution

Handling conflict the wrong way may also be responsible for your wanting to break up a promising relationship. If everything is always right in your relationship,then,most definitely,something is wrong somewhere. One or both of you are pretending,suppressing emotions,and bottling up anger. This is dangerous and I suggest that you take time to study this partner.

Disagreements are essential ingredients for growth in relationships,and where there’s no pretence,there must be disagreements. Compatibility is,of course,a fundamental building block in any successful relationship. It brings comfory,sagety,and understanding.

Every growing relationship needs a little incompatibility,a little conflict to give it some life.However,a relationship that is constantly in conflict definitely does not afford growth opportunities. If you have a partner that picks a quarrel with almost everything you do and never sees things your way,or is always compromising his viewpoint,I think you need to walk out of the relationship. The altar can wait. You aren’t going to spend your life resolving conflicts,even though they are a natural phenomenon.

Disagreements should occur at appreciable intervals and not every minute of everyday. When they do come,they should be seen as opportunities to solve one or more difference or one more affinity problem. This will only be the case if both of you are ready to make compromises and accept a middle course gracefully on issues where you hold differing opinions.

Sometimes,the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.