It's a time to get to know your partner better before making a commitment to marriage.

Sarlaksha Ganesh. : Courtship is one of the most important and exciting phases that a person goes through. Most youngsters look forward to meeting their potential partners (whether they are already committed or exploring a possible relationship). Feelings of time going twice as slow before meeting the person and twice as fast while with the person, are very common. Many of today's youngsters prefer to interact with their partners and discuss their future before proceeding with the big step, which is a good thing. Getting to know the person before marriage is beneficial in many ways. It helps us get information about the person firsthand in terms of their:

Personality, strengths and weaknesses: Are both of you comfortable in the relationship and do you complement each other well? Can you accept each other as you are? How would the person react when there's a disagreement, when he's angry beyond control or when he's excited?

Interests, likes and dislikes: Do you share at least a few interests, so that it would be exciting to spend time together? Are there any intolerable likes, dislikes or habits which the other person has?

Views on relationships (in general) and marriage (in particular): What are his/her views on long-term commitment? What are his/her expectations from you/your relationship?

Family: Who are the people in your potential partner's family, what they do, and a little more about their personalities and expectations from you as well (after all you're getting wedded into a family).

Last but not the least, looks: physical attraction is definitely an added advantage for such a relationship!

Considering that one would be making a lifetime decision based on such information, it is necessary not to hurry through the process of courtship. Remember to take it slow: don't judge whether the other person is right for you within the first few days. Give your relationship some time (at least a month or two). Also, be sure of your own and the other person's intent to go ahead, before you reveal any sensitive issues of your past. Make a well informed decision. Be ready to marry the other person with all their good and bad points, complexities and imperfections. After all, courtship is not just to check whether your potential partner is someone you can live with; it is to check if the other person is someone you can't live without!

Sarlaksha has completed her M.Sc. in Psychology from Women's Christian College.