We live in an era where marriage is glorified (or is it wedding?). Marriage is a great institution and can only be survived when entered into for all the right reasons.
As a family member would say “Marriage is the only institution where you receive your certificate on admission.”
Marriage is not the 1-day or 2-day event where we wear our best clothes and make up, dance and look all shades of awesome. That is the wedding. The marriage starts right after the party.
A Marriage Will only Survive When;
GOD is the Head
A marriage without GOD will not survive the test of time. GOD is love and for you to love unconditionally, without expecting anything in return, you need GOD’s type of love dwelling in you.
The Foundation is Solid
Going into marriage with unresolved issues or without proper planning is not a good foundation.
We need to iron out and discuss any and everything that may become an issue in marriage and come to an agreement, ahead of time, as to how to respond to certain situations and challenges when they do arise. For example, How many children do we want to have? What church or mosque will we be attending? Money- who provides what? Chores-how do we share the responsibilities at home? Who goes to the market? Who mops the floors, washes the bathrooms, irons, does the laundry? Certainly, there may be a time when a help will be needed for some of these chores but early on in marriage when it is just the 2 of you, this conversation will be necessary.
Most of the above are not discussed. There is a silent code that says the man provides the money and the woman does the housework. This can lead to frustrations in marriage especially when each person is stressed out because of this ‘silent code’ but cannot ask for help.
The above is not fairy tale, it is the realistic thing to do. However, once it is not discussed before marriage, it may be hard to change once we get in.
We Treat each other with Respect and Recognize our Differences
We understand that we are from different backgrounds and our approach to situations and life may not be the same. This does not make them wrong but different from you.
The willingness to compromise for the greater good, and meet each other halfway will save you a lot of pain and stress. Therefore, disagreeing to agree is not a bad thing.
However, make sure that when you argue, it does not become war. You cannot have two stubborn people in a relationship. Also, you cannot afford to be the stubborn person all the time. We are human. One day, your partner may just see the ‘light’ and decide that they cannot handle being the only one making compromises.
We Understand that Marriage is Loving, Giving and Forgiving (John 3:16)
This applies to both partners and not just one person. It takes 3 not 1 to sustain a Marriage- GOD, you and your partner.
Do not count your partner’s sins and store them in a cooler, just as GOD does not store your sins in a cooler. Forgive and forgive, wholeheartedly. You may not forget immediately but once you have let it go in your heart, you will be at peace.
We are Patient and Humble
Patience and Humility are Important Virtues to possess in marriage. You will deal with situations that will test your patience and require you throwing away your ego. A lot of times you may have to say sorry for what you did not do. Being patient takes a lot of conscious effort.
Always remember that it is just the both of you, and it is not a competition. When you start to think that “I said sorry yesterday, why do I have to say sorry today again?”, you have started counting scores, which is unhealthy. It is just the both of you and your ego in between. Take away the ego and you realize that life is not that hard. You are happier and at peace when you both are in agreement and not hurting. Hurting people hurt people.
Also, be sure to iron out issues once they happen. Discussing certain issues and ensuring they do not reoccur helps you grow in your relationship. If the same issues keep happening and causing a rift between the two of you, you have not graduated from that class. You need to pass and move on to the next level.
It is like when we play games. If we do not cross a level, we cannot move on to the next level.
A Few Wrong Reasons for Getting Married
“I am getting old.”
As difficult as it is not to think this way, getting married is not a final destination. It is a new journey that can make or mar you. Re: couples killing each other, domestic abuse in marriage.
it will be better that you remain single than you get married and you become miserable or even worse, your lose your life.
“My mates are getting married”
Your mates will not be there if you become miserable because you married a stranger out of desperation. Marriage is not a competition. Life is not a competition. God’s timing for you is different and unique to you.
“We have dated for a long time.’, where will I start from?”, “the devil I know is better than…”
You know your partner is not your desired but because of sentiments and pity, the available becomes the desirable. This might be a mistake as marriage will not make him desirable, suddenly. Marriage is not a breakthrough. Whoever your partner was before marriage will not change automatically.
Change happens deliberately. If your partner does not see anything wrong with their actions, there is no reason to be better or do better.
“We are in Love.”
Love will start a relationship, forgiveness and patience will sustain it.
Open your eyes while in courtship, do not overlook “deal breakers” just because you are in love.
Most issues in marriages were not resolved at courtship. Your partner did not change, you overlooked those traits.
“The sex was good.”
Sex is a distraction in courtship. Courtship is when you get to know your partner and pay attention to what it is you can or cannot deal with.
It is advisable to always discuss and resolve issues as they happen so they do not rear their ugly heads in marriage.
Once your “courtship” is all about sex, you’ll have no choice than to deal with the real issues in marriage, where you are not “stealing” sex and you realize that marriage is more than having “legal sex”.
In conclusion, please note that the fact that a couple has not decided to live separately or get a divorce does not mean they are happy in their marriage. Most couples do so because of their children.
Never make comparisons of your relationship to those of friends or acquaintances, you have no idea what happens behind closed doors.
If you really need to discuss or receive advice relating to issues in marriage, please do so with a counselor, who is a professional and not with family, friends or family friends. There is bias when you talk to family or friends. Most people tend to take your side while for some others who do not really care, you just provided them with gist.
I hope I have been able to help a few people reconsider their choices, make better decisions, and think about how to move forward and become better spouses.
You have to be a better person to be looking for a better half. Both of you better each other. It is a mutually beneficial relationship, not a parasitic one.