Couple holding hands

Are you ready for a relationship? Do you think you can afford it? I am not talking about financial cost. Below are some costs to consider before you go out shopping for a relationship. See if you can afford it.

For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it  lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?  Luke 14:28 – 30

Cost of Maturity

One of the traits of maturity is the ability to delay gratification. Immaturity has caused so many relationships unnecessary heart aches and in other cases being the cause of many break ups because couples lack the maturity to delay gratification. We live in a generation that wants everything now at the push of a bottom. Some call it the entitlement age. The maturity of the individuals involved in a relationship will ultimately determine the success of that relationship. One thing is certain; your level of maturity will be tested as life throws challenges at you and your relationship. Your character, your decision making pattern, how you handle your emotions, how you handle pressure and particularly how you think all point to the level of your maturity; and any married couple will tell you that how you handle the above qualities will determine the state of your relationship or marriage. The bible puts it this way

When I was a child, I spoke like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.    1 Corinthians 13:11

Reality is that courtship or marriage is for grown men and not boys or children. Also understand that age is not necessarily the sole indicator of maturity. For example, any boy can sleep around, but it takes a man to stay faithful to his wife.

Before you get into a relationship evaluate the maturity of the individual you plan to get into a relationship with. A good way to do this is to evaluate their history as character is like smoke that cannot be hidden.

Cost of Emotional Stability

Many couples in courtship have set unrealistic expectations because they have allowed their emotions get the best of them. In other words, decisions are made primarily based on the feeling and the excitement that comes with a new relationship. They allow the euphoric feeling that comes when experiencing something new to be the driving voice in their decision making process. The reality is that this feeling is short lived. For example, remember how you felt when you got a new car, new job or a new pair of shoe. Also remember how you felt about those items 2 years later. My point is that feelings change and feelings alone cannot be a very good indicator if you should get into a relationship or not. Emotional instability has rubbed many relationships of peace and joy; resulting in various forms of abuse (physical, verbal, sexual, etc.) because couples allow their emotions get the best of them.

One area couples in courtship fall short when it comes to controlling their emotions is premarital sex. A lot of times people fall short because they feel they can handle the pressure and not comprise especially Christians who believe in abstinence. They expose themselves to compromising situations with the hope that they are still in control of their emotions. When it comes to premarital sex, the best way to attack it is to avoid compromising situations.

Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.    1 Corinthians 6:18

Emotional instability has also rubbed many couples of making sound decision as they solve long term problems with short term solutions based on the emotional high. I firmly believe that this is a major contributor to the high divorce rate we face today. Many people walk down the marriage aisle based on emotional high, however once their emotions change they lack the commitment to follow through with their marital vows. Any successful married couple will tell you that how you handle emotional volatility determines the success of your marriage. Your emotions are subject to change based on the information you perceive, nonetheless, you need to deal with that emotional instability to be successful in marriage.

Cost of Attention

Little John was in 9th grade, he sees little Matthew’s test grade and says ‘You are so broke you can’t even pay attention”. The class turns around and starts laughing. A lot of relationships have ended prematurely because the parties involved are not willing to invest their attention in it. What you feed will grow and what you stave will die. Attention is important for the success of any relationship. It requires taking time to understand each other. You have to be intentional about channeling your attention towards each other because there are too many things vying for your attention in the world we live in today. Don’t leave your relationship to chance, be intentional about it. Paying enough attention to each other during your courtship phase will help eliminate surprise in marriage. Often time the warning signs are highlighted before people get married, however most people ignore the signs because they didn’t pay enough attention to each other.

Cost of Spiritual Maturity

Spiritual maturity is the life line of any Christian and its development is vital in the success of any couple in courtship. I often find singles fervent and engaging in their Christian walk, however once they get into a relationship, that fervency reduces due to the demands of a relationship. Often times, this is because they try to build emotional connection at the expense of the spiritual maturity. The bible puts it this way,

Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the fleshGalatians 3:3

It is important for you to continue to build your spiritual maturity and not relent once you get into a relationship. Spiritual immaturity continues to rub many marriages of marital bliss as couples shift their attention to either consciously or unconsciously at the expense of their relationship with God. This limits their relationship to rules, dos and don’ts instead of a transformational relationship the presence of God provides.

Cost of Time

For any meaningful relationship to grow, sufficient time has to be invested in it by the parties involved. This principle is vital to the success of any marriage. The quality and quantity of time invested goes a long way in building a sustainable marriage. When couples deliberately take time to invest in each other, there is less friction as more opportunity to communicate and resolve conflict is created. Understand that your time is no longer just yours; you need to be accountable with your time to your spouse.

Cost of Sacrifice

This is committing to someone when they least deserve it. It also requires you dying to self. It sometimes requires you saying sorry even when you are right. It sometimes requires you holding back even when you don’t have to. It sometimes requires not saying everything you see every time. In some cases, you may have to take one for the team. It requires you to deliberately and consistently say no to pride and arrogance. It requires you taking your mind of your own needs and trying to fulfill your spouses need joyfully. It may also require you to save more financially than you would like; to spend it all on a project for your spouse. In other words, just because you can afford it doesn’t mean you should buy it. Yes you may have to take permission from your spouse for you to go on that golfing trip. In other words, you are willing to put the needs of your spouse first every time, willingly and joyfully. The bible puts it this way

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain~  John 12:24

This is the ultimate principle to build any relationship particularly marital relationship. Jesus died for us to be saved; demonstrating His love and commitment towards us. This is the type of sacrificial love that must exist between couples to have a wonderful relationship.

Are you still looking to shop for a relationship? As always, marriage is a journey and not a destination ~ TE

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