Every courtship is unique because each couple and their circumstances are unique. More significantly, God’s ways are unique, and He has creative, timely, and even miraculous ways of bringing a man and woman together for marriage. In every relationship, both the individuals and their parents should diligently seek God’s direction. The following methods can be helpful in that process:
- Gaining insights from the Word of God
- Praying fervently
- Obtaining the Godly counsel of others
- Wisely discerning circumstances
One way to discern God’s guidance in your unique situation is by asking insightful questions. As we read through the Gospels, we can observe the methods and strategies Jesus used as He taught, counseled, and interacted with others. Often He skillfully asked insightful questions.
The Lord Jesus Christ’s questions required His listeners to reason and make judgments in order to formulate their answers. As they expressed those answers, frequently their false reasoning or even the wickedness of their hearts was exposed, and the truth was revealed. Understanding God’s will and ways should always be our goal.
What follows are sample questions to consider, both before entering a courtship relationship and then during a relationship, should you sense the Lord leading you to continue in the direction of marriage. Seek the Lord’s wisdom and guidance throughout as you ask insightful questions, consider their implications, and seek to discern His direction for a courtship and future marriage.
Ask Questions before Entering a Courtship Relationship
The following questions have been helpful to others and may be considered individually by both the man and the woman in preparation for the decision to enter a courtship relationship. Consider asking yourself the following questions and also using them as discussion points during the course of a potential relationship.
General Questions about Marriage
- Am I committed to lifelong marriage? (See Matthew 19:4–6.)
- Have I ruled out the option of divorce? Am I committed to neither consider nor verbally threaten such a possibility?
- In recognizing that God can give direction and protection through the authorities He has placed in my life, am I willing to seek the blessing of both sets of parents before entering into marriage?
- Am I committed to reserving physical intimacy solely for the marriage union? (See Hebrews 13:4.)
Questions about Beginning a Courtship
- How do I know God is leading me toward this courtship?
- Does God’s Spirit bring peace in my spirit that these indications are valid, or am I merely responding to the promptings of my feelings, thoughts, and desires? “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26). Do I have peace about moving forward with this relationship?
- Has God given me specific Scripture verses or principles that confirm this direction? If so, has that direction been confirmed by two or three additional Scriptures, principles, or other Godly counsel? This affirmation follows the principle of II Corinthians 13:1: “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”
- Are there reasons why I should not pursue courtship and marriage to this person? For example, if the man or woman is an unbeliever, marriage to that person would violate Scripture (see II Corinthians 6:14). Likewise, if either person has been married and is now divorced, and the previous partner is still living, it would not be God’s will for the divorced individual to marry someone else. “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery” (Luke 16:18). (See also Romans 7:1–3, I Corinthians 7:1–40, Mark 10:1–12, Matthew 5:27–32, and Matthew 19:1–12.)
- Do I understand that good communication skills are essential for a successful relationship, and I am learning to clearly articulate my concerns and opinions?
- Am I willing to seek help from God and others in areas in which I am unprepared to be a Godly husband or wife?
For the Man: Questions Related to His Unique Role
When God leads a man to pursue a courtship, there are questions that he should carefully consider. His answers will provide valuable insight as he seeks to judge his own heart and follow God’s will.
- Do I have an active devotional life? Am I regularly hearing from the Lord to acquire daily guidance? Am I willing to grow in humility and the fear of the Lord, so that I can be the spiritual leader of the home as He wants me to be?
- Am I willing to make my role as husband, father, and spiritual leader of the home my top priority, even above career advancement, financial gain, church responsibilities, and personal interests or hobbies?
- Am I ready, able, and eager to be a provider for a wife and children?
- Am I willing to honor this woman with my thoughts, attitudes, words, and actions throughout courtship and, as God leads, a future marriage?
- Has this woman carefully considered how she will meet the basic needs of our family, such as nutrition, clothing, homemaking, and mothering?
As God confirms His direction through the man’s authorities (which should include his parents, and in some situations, Godly mentors such as his pastor), through specific Scriptures from the Lord, through prayer, and through circumstances, then, if possible, he should consider contacting the woman’s father (or another father figure if her father is not living) to seek his blessing to begin a relationship with his daughter. Then, if the woman and her parents agree that moving forward with the relationship is how God is leading, the courtship is initiated, and the couple should begin the process of getting to know one another. Activities that involve each other’s families can be valuable times of learning more about each other as the families interact with one another.
For the Woman: Questions Related to Her Unique Role
To help the woman discern if it is the Lord’s will for her to enter into a marriage covenant with the man who is courting her, she could gain wisdom by asking the following questions, in addition to any other questions that the Lord or her parents may prompt her to ask.
- Am I willing to become the lifelong helpmeet of this man? Can I support his God-given goals and direction for our family, even if it means indefinitely setting aside goals I may have had for my future?
- Is this man ready to care for a family’s spiritual needs? Do I believe that with God’s grace, I can follow his leadership?
- Am I ready and able to care for the home and the needs of my husband? Do I eagerly look forward to nurturing any children the Lord chooses to give us?
- Has this man carefully considered how he will provide for the basic needs of our family, such as food, clothing, shelter, and transportation?
- Am I willing to honor this man in my thoughts, attitudes, words, and actions, both throughout the courtship and in marriage, if God leads us to marry?
Ask Questions during a Courtship Relationship
Marriage partners are to function as a team whose primary goal is to serve God. As the couple’s relationship progresses through courtship, both of them—as objectively as possible—should continue to ask and answer insightful questions to determine their compatibility.
General Questions for the Couple to Discuss
True fulfillment in marriage does not come from the physical relationship but from the spiritual intimacy that both share with God Who created them. Here are some examples of questions that may be asked to help discern compatibility in life and faith. These questions can be asked of both the man and woman and also can be used as discussion points with the goal of developing a successful, long-term relationship.
- What was your background growing up regarding God and religion?
- Please share with me how you came to know Jesus Christ as your Savior.
- What spiritual disciplines do you practice to help you grow in your relationship with God?
- What do you believe about the veracity of God’s Word? Do you have a translation that you prefer?
- What do you understand your responsibilities are to be in our marriage? What do you believe my responsibilities are to be?
- What do you believe about the role of authorities in your life? Who do you see as your God-given authorities? Do you have any difficult situations in honoring their requests and decisions? Why or why not?
- What is your relationship with your parents? Your siblings?
- How would you rate your prayer life? What would you like to change or improve? What specific answers to your prayers have you seen?
- What Bible reading plan do you use? Where are you now in your Bible reading plan? What are some special verses that God has given you recently?
- What activities, music, and entertainment are acceptable for you and which ones do you avoid?
- What areas of self-control in our marriage should we discuss? Are we in agreement in those areas?
- What are your thoughts regarding having children? When do you expect us to start having children?
- What are your thoughts regarding methods of child discipline? How did your parents discipline you?
- What do you consider a major purchase? Will we agree to consult each other before making major purchases?
- Do you feel truly ready to be married? Do you have any personal hurts or fears from your past that may prevent us from having a successful marriage? Could you share those with me so I can better understand and pray for you?
- How do you go about making decisions? Do you seek out counsel from others? Who? What hindrances do you think we may face in agreeing on future decisions?
- How do you manage your finances? May I ask how you decide when, how, and to whom you give charitably? Do you have a specific plan for saving, spending, and giving? How do you see us managing our finances as a couple?
- What is your life purpose? How do you see my life purpose as being compatible with yours?
- What is your church background and what is your current church denomination? What style of worship do you prefer? In what ways do you participate in your local church?
This list is by no means exhaustive, and these questions should not be used as a checklist to find “the perfect person.” However, a variety of these questions should help you to take a realistic look at who you both are and to discern if you are compatible for the lifelong commitment of marriage. Answers to the topics in these questions can provide critical insights into the character of both parties. Discussions like these also give purpose to times together.
As strengths and weaknesses are revealed, the couple should discuss their answers and encourage one another in the Lord. This time will provide the couple with opportunities to humble themselves before the Lord and each other (see James 4:6–10). God can use these questions and answers as a channel of His blessing by drawing the couple to Himself and motivating them to ask for more grace. As the man and woman consider their own hearts, humble themselves, and seek the Lord, He will build them up and conform them to the image of Jesus Christ (see Romans 8:29).
Using insightful questions to wisely gain discernment is one practical application of Christ’s instruction to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Choosing a spouse is one of the most important decisions of life, and the marriage relationship should not be entered into apart from God’s leading. Even the strongest marriages will inevitably go through hardship, loss, conflict, doubt, and discouragement. The surest way to persevere through such adversity is to be able to reflect on a Godly courtship and have the assurance from God’s Word and other factors that the marriage was entered into with the guidance and blessing of the Lord.
As the courtship progresses, however, one or both parties may realize that marriage is not God’s will and the courtship must end. Even then, the courtship can still be regarded as successful, since God did give clear direction about the couple’s potential marriage, which was the purpose of the courtship. The Lord’s will was discerned, and both parties can rejoice and thank the Lord for His guidance and protection, even if the relationship does not lead to marriage.