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Dating, courtship, and marriage are three different levels of a relationship. One level leads to another and the extent to which you should be committed is different for the three levels. It is a lack of understanding for you to think that the three levels are the same. You will eventually get into troubles if you don’t seek for advice and heed to it.
There is a need for you to know the difference between the three levels of a relationship:
Dating - is driven by feelings and impulse. It Lives in the moment mentality and it is a short term relationship.
Courtship - is an affection a man has towards a woman with the hope of marriage. It has trust has the foundation and it is driven by rational thinking and study.
Marriage - is the legal state of being a married couple voluntarily joined for life and witnessed by the couple’s parents.
Moreover, it is morally unacceptable if you treat your boyfriend as your husband. He must satisfy certain conditions for him to be your husband. However, that doesn’t mean you should not be committed to a certain extent in a relationship. But there must be a caution at every level. A broken date is better than a broken courtship while a broken courtship is better than a broken marriage. However, I don’t advocate for break-up at any stage of a relationship but there are boundaries that one shouldn’t cross. It doesn’t take much to get over a broken date or courtship if you have not gotten unnecessarily involved.
For you not to think that your boyfriend as your husband, you have to note the following four reasons:
He hasn’t paid your bride price
Before bride price is being accepted by your parents, you parents must have approved of him as your potential husband. In Nigeria, the bride price signifies that your husband honors your parents and is capable of becoming your husband. If this price hasn’t being paid by your partner then he isn’t yet your husband. This is always done during the traditional wedding.
He hasn’t taken legal action
A man is not yet your husband legally until there is a legal seal on the relationship. There is no way you can take him up legally if the decides to break up with you.
He hasn’t publicly affirmed his love for you
This is when you have a gathering of people in whose presence he publicly takes the wedding vows. It can be in the church or mosque depending on the faith you belong to. Moreover, it is a way of saying he wants to be responsible and committed to you in the presence of many witnesses.
The above reasons point to the fact that there must be a limit in a relationship. This is why I do advocate abstinence before marriage. You may lose out in a date and courtship, and no legal or religion action can be taken against your partner.