Can I start courtship/a relationship when I reach 18?
I’m answering your question assuming you are a Christian. You need to know first of all why you want to begin a courtship. I hope it is not because you want to escape from home, or you are anxious because everybody else has a partner and you don’t, or you feel lonely and have the need for love. What, then is the objective of courtship? It is to prepare for a possible God-honouring life-time partnership in marriage. If you are doing it to kill boredom or cure your loneliness or to make sure you are not unattached then you are not mature enough to start courtship. However if you believe that you are entering courtship for the right reason, here are some points to note:
1. Courtship should not be entered into lightly or when both parties are unsure of the will of God. Your part is to walk close to Him and continue to pray and commit the relationship to Him. He will direct both circumstantially and also through your heart. If you are sure of the relationship and the other party is not, then pray. Have patience, this is a test of your faith and also increases your experience in discerning the will of God. But if the other party continues to be unresponsive, it could be God’s way of closing the door.
2. You need time to know the best and the worst of each other and to be sure that you can serve the Lord, and love and shape one another in the long years ahead. Do not ignore circumstantial guidance (e.g. parental objection, financial readiness, etc.) of God. It could be that God is closing the door for you if the problems faced are not solved although you prayed earnestly.
3. Be open to counsel. Both must be willing to listen to counsel, particularly of that from parents, especially if they are believers. Sometimes those in the relationship cannot see what went wrong and only those outside can see better.
4. Courtship is a time to discern if the other party is ready for the role they are to play as husband/wife. If the roles are not played before marriage, don’t hope that they will be in marriage. It is also unfair to go into a relationship and expect the other party to change after marriage.
At age 18 you should be thinking of developing yourself. You are still growing and maturing as a person. Be assured of God’s love for you. Grow in the knowledge of God, yourself and others. He will lead you to the right person.