My mum was introduced to my dad by a mutual friend and a couple of months later, they were married. My mum had no insight into my dad’s character only that he had a calm demeanour. My dad liked that she was a nice gal, light skinned and hailed from a good home. With nothing else to go by, they took a leap of faith. They have been happily married for over 20 years and counting.

A couple courted for about 6 years, after which they decided walk down the aisle. But within after 2 years of marital bliss, problems set in – they divorced

What can you say about a situation where people court for 6-10 years and above only for one party to discover that they are no longer compatible and that becomes the end of the relationship. For Christ sake, it doesn’t have to take a decade before you know that he/she is not good enough for you. You know, I call that madness.

Back then, there was no point dragging out a relationship, whatever needed to be known about the couple was discovered in the marriage itself. In this generation, there is a growing need to get to know one’s partner before committing completely. The ‘not-so-rosy’ marriages of the old have made this very necessary.

Does the length of a courtship play any tangible role in the success of a marriage?

COURTSHIP. The traditional dating period that precedes engagement/marriage. It is a period for both man and woman to get to know each other for a period of time, making use of the opportunity to figure out if it’s going to work between them (if they are compatible). Usually, courtship is a ‘public affair’. They date in public and mostly with family approval. One benefit is that it helps couple identify potential problems in their relationship and see if they are worth taking on.

I guess the burning question becomes: what is the ideal length of a courtship before it starts looking like a bondage situation? 

I have no clear idea…

Often time, we see courtship extending for a period of 4, 5, 6 years and above and at the end of it all, there was no joining of hands in marriage. It may be fair on either party especially the male folks; the disadvantages of it outweigh its merits.  It doesn’t have to take a decade before you can know that he/she is not compatible or good enough for you. Even 4 months is enough for you to start seeing signs of a bad relationship if you are very observant. At that point you should have defined what you really want and if it’s not there, back out at that point.
To the ladies, don’t let a man waste the most charming period of your life. If you can’t sense any form of seriousness from your man, it’s a sign to re-evaluate your presence in his life. If convinced, cut your losses and take a walk….the earlier the better. Most ladies in courtship that cannot guarantee them marriage have an idea, but are too scared/afraid to cut loose; if you don’t end an unfavourable relationship while time is still on your side, you are liable to end up a lonely touchy old maid. 

I don’t think is wise to be in courtship for too long. It doesn’t have to be unnecessarily long. A hasty courtship is not advisable either. A year or two should be enough because at this time, there is nothing your would be spouse want you to know that you would not have known. Some characters come out only after marriage but are hidden throughout your courtship period; both parties are guilt of this attitude.

Successful marriage has no formulae. Whether the period of courtship is long or short doesn’t really matter, the most important thing is that you are able to know whom you want to spend the rest of your life with.