I was having a very candid conversation with my elder brother who got married when I was out of the country. He made a profound statement that made me think deep. He said marriage is not all about love, its about so many other things. I thought about it and this article is a compilation of what we discussed and other things I believe marriage entails:
1. Understanding: I wrote an article on how marriages from the days of our grand parents differ from modern day marriages. I discovered that couples back then understood themselves more than we do now. What the modern day couple cares about is love, love, love. I love this person so much that I can do anything for the person. I can go extra miles for this person. Do you even understand your partner? Do you know when he/she is happy? Do you know when he/she is troubled? Do you know what makes your spouse smile? Do you know what gets them offended? How well do you really understand each other.
2. Sacrifice: Some people enter marriage and are not willing to sacrifice for their families. There are lots of career women who enter marriage and are not willing to at least take a break from work to establish their homes and take care of their children. In some cases, the woman earns far more than the man but he is not willing to sacrifice for the good of the family. Are you willing to give up your job? Are you willing to give up your car? Are you willing to leave your father’s house in Lekki to move in with your husband in Okoko Maiko?
3. Forgiveness: I once saw an advert for a company or so that said “marriage is a union of two forgivers living together”. In marriage, your partner will step on your toe, your partner will annoy you, your partner will say things or do things that will hurt you but are you always willing to forgive? Are you willing to look past the act and focus on the person? Marriage is like forgiving someone for their past, present and future sins.
4. Tolerance: According to Merriam-Webster, tolerance can be defined as the willingness to accept habits or beliefs that are different from one’s own. I had this flatmate while in school who snores. The snores were so loud that when I was up to study even though his room was upstairs, I could still hear it from my room downstairs. I always thought to myself that no one could possibly sleep in the same room with this guy. To my utmost surprise, his girlfriend came over and stayed with him for over a month. His snores never ceased but I am sure his snores were music to her ears, she could tolerate his snores if not she couldn’t have left her own house and stayed at his for so long. Are you willing to tolerate him?
5. Trust: A friend once told told me about her fiance now husband who loves her very much but doesn’t trust men around her (doesn’t trust her kpata kpata). He doesn’t want her to work, he doesn’t want men to call her, he doesn’t want her to have keep male friends. How much do you trust your spouse? Are you the type that goes through your spouse’s phones, the type that checks their Facebook pages occasionally. There is nothing like 80% trust or 25% trust, you either trust someone or you don’t.
6. Decision for life: The biggest question you should answer before marriage is not “do I love this person?”, its “can I live with this person for the rest of my life?” The rest of your life not a part of your life. Abroad, you hear couples signing prenuptial agreements, so just in case they divorce they all know what they can get. They have already put divorce as one of the conditions even before the commencement of marriage, no wonder the divorce rate is always on the increase in that part of the World. Are you sure you can live with your partner for the rest of your life. Whether she gains weight, or she gets darker, or he gets pot belly, or he becomes bald, or he gets sacked from work.
7. Communication: Communication is one of the most vital aspects of human life. Without a form of communication, we might never exist. If human life is so dependent on communication, then what about the most important establishment in human life called marriage. Questions like how many children should we have? Do we use family planning in spacing our kids? Which schools do they attend? What roles should our parents play in our marriage? How often do we have sex? should be asked and answered before and during marriage.
8. Selflessness: Marriage is not about you. Its about the person you are married to and about your future family. People enter marriage with the “give me give me” mentality. They have the “what can I get from this marriage?” mindset and not how can I add to this person? How can I make this person better than he/she is already? How can I make him grow spiritually? Some women enter marriage and think sex is something they should have only when they feel like it. In marriage, your body is no longer yours but your spouses’ (1 Corinthians 7:1-40). Are you willing to have sex even when you don’t feel like it just to satisfy your spouse?
Without the above, love is a mere feeling and it can NEVER sustain a relationship not to talk of a marriage.