Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
The question of who should initiate courtship has become a huge one especially among matured singles even in Christendom today.
To INITIATE means to cause a process or action to begin and COURTSHIP is the period between when two people of opposite sex who are fully convinced, agree to get married to each other and when they actually get married.
Biblically and from time in history, the process of courtship begins when a man or his family approaches the woman he decides to be married to with the intent of marriage and consent is given. Even in some cultures where matchmaking is practiced, the intending groom still has to visit the proposed bride's family and consent or agreement must be reached before courtship can begin.
Let's do a little bit of Bible research right here and today, we are going to be doing a bit of reading of several verses of Scripture. The Bible uses the term such as find, give, take etc., to describe the man getting a wife. For instance, in Proverbs 18:22, it says "whoso FINDETH a wife…", Proverbs 31:10 says, "who can FIND a virtuous woman?…" What can we deduce from these two scriptures? Very clear, the man is to FIND and the woman is to BE FOUND. Clear! Simple!
1 Corinthians 7:38 So then he that GIVETH her in marriage doeth well….
What do we deduce from the above scripture?
The woman is GIVEN in marriage
See, even normal wedding proceedings also validate this fact when it is asked "who GIVETH this woman in marriage?"
There are also several instances in the Bible where the man is said to TAKE a wife.
(Genesis 24:4) - Abraham sent his servant to take a wife for his son Isaac
(Judges 12:9) - Ibzan of Bethelehem TOOK thirty daughters in for his thirty sons
(Hosea 1:2) - God told Hosea to TAKE a wife
Now, let us take a look at some other instances in the Bible:
- Adam spoke out the first words to Eve and not the other way round
Genesis 2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
- Jacob approached Laban with a proposal to marry Rachael and even waited fourteen years for this request to be fulfilled.
Genesis 29:18 (KJV) And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
The man is therefore supposed to initiate courtship by making clear marriage intentions while the woman responds. Let me state clearly here that parents can also be instrumental to finding a wife for their son or husband for their daughter. Recommendations or suggestions may also come through trusted third party. Even in all these, the man is still supposed to take responsibility in the marriage process. Isaac, in the Bible, took responsibility over Rebekah even though Abraham his father was instrumental in finding him a wife.
Genesis 24:67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her…
How about BOAZ?
He took responsibility in ensuring the marriage rites between himself and Ruth was formalized.
Ruth 4:13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife…
Clearly, from the above Biblical references, God designed that the man takes the leadership role especially in marital responsibility. It is the man's God-given role to INITIATE while it is the woman's God-given role to RESPOND.
Single men, listen very carefully, you must learn how to LEAD!
Single ladies, listen to me very carefully, you need to learn what it takes for a man to assume spiritual responsibility in a romantic relationship. This is very crucial!
My answer: Maybe not. In actual fact, some situations might even warrant it.
If a woman proposes to a man and initiates courtship, there are three possibilities:
1) The man may feel he is being pressured and quickly backs up and before you know it, he rejects the proposal and then the woman faces the consequences.
2) The man may accept the proposal, however, because the woman took the initiative, he may be happy to let her take the lead in that relationship and of course later in marriage, she may end up regretting why her husband does not take the initiative or demonstrate leadership in the home.
Again, she has to face the reality of the consequences.
3) The man may appreciate and accept the initiation from the woman of the courtship, he may immediately or over time, take up the leadership role in the relationship and everything may eventually work out fine.
However, research also shows that somehow, most men discover their manhood as they rise to meet challenges of life. When a woman initiates courtship, the man has no challenge to overcome and women on the other hand, are generally more relational than men are. You must be open to and discern God's plan for your life.
A man who fails to take responsibility in courtship may also likely fail to take leadership in marriage while a woman who initiates courtship may eventually undermine the headship of her husband.
LADIES! Listen to me very well, even when you are convinced of a particular person as it relates to marriage, it is wisdom to allow him to also be convinced. Marriage, you must understand, is not by force, it is by agreement. It is not wisdom to force a romantic relationship, so you don't end up regretting.
I pray for you today that your relationship and marital destiny will not end up in regret in Jesus name!
My Personal Example:
Before my husband approached me with the intent of marriage, God had already revealed that to me! However, I didn't tell anyone, neither did I tell him. I waited for him to make his intentions known. And when he did, I made sure that I waited for the right time before a response was given. Today, almost forty years after, my testimony, to the glory of God, is that I married someone who makes me fall in love with God every single day of my life. I can't be more grateful to God than that.
My sincere advice is that, before you initiate courtship, think deeply! Please, matured men and women, LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP! Especially you ladies. Remember, just because society is confused about the role of man and woman does not mean that Christians should be. You must understand that courtship is a commitment with a promise not to play games with another person's heart. Don't rush to accept a proposal, spend some time to think, to pray and to seek godly counsel before giving your response if need be.
In conclusion, as you lay your bed, so you would lie on it. Therefore, I pray for you today, especially those of you who are not into any relationship yet, that the wisdom of God that guided my steps will be available to you and that your own testimony shall be stronger in Jesus name!
As you take steps towards initiating courtship, I pray that your steps shall not falter and you will enjoy a glorious marriage!