PREPARING FOR MARRIAGE

Good afternoon everyone. First I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to share with you today, my thoughts and experiences on marriage. I am Lady Jane Ndukwe, Founder, Genuine Womanhood Initiative, a social reform group that aims at promoting true humanity where there’s respect and consideration for one another. Today’s topic is PREPARING FOR MARRIAGE.

  • I want to start this discussion by asking; Is there a difference between Wedding and Marriage? If yes, what is it?
  • Another question I want to ask you is, Why have you chosen to be here today to listen to this talk?

May God help us to arrive at the point where your questions and longings will be met, Amen!

Just as you observed, many marriages are crumbling and the ones that are still hanging in there, more than half are not happy with their partners. They wish they were with someone else. Like the saying goes, ‘when two elephants fight, the grass suffers.’ The children suffer when their parents do not love and respect each other. The level of the children’s suffering is great. Some run away from their homes and are forced to live on the streets, which exposes them to dangers. Some join gangs to feel a sense of belonging and power. Some drop out of school and many face untold hardship including hunger and not having their basic needs met. This is why it is necessary to choose the right partner for you. This will not only bring you joy and peace of mind but will provide a safe and happy home for your future children to grow and thrive.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CONSIDERATIONS TO MAKE BEFORE CHOOSING A LIFE PARTNER?

  1. KNOW WHO YOU ARE – I want to ask you, who are you? The three people I asked told us their names, ages, where they live and where they come from. I now ask you again, how will what you have told me help you in choosing your life partner? You see, you were not able to give me an answer. This is because your answers are not really who you are. Who you are goes much deeper to telling the world about you.

When you know who you are:

  1. You can then know what you can do and
  2. What you must do.

This is very important to note. Knowing who you are involves knowing your values, strengths and weaknesses. Let’s take these one after the other.

VALUES – Your values are the principles you live by. They guide your actions. For example, if one of your core values is honesty this means you live by the truth and everything you do is honest. Even when you do your work, you do not cut corners. You put in your very best without cheating. When you’re asked about something, you will always tell the truth. If this is who you are and you want to marry a man or woman who does not believe in honesty, can you see that you will have a problem? If this person you’re considering as a future partner tells lies always and always finds ways of cheating people to get more money or have things done in his favour, can you see that you will struggle in that relationship? The only way that relationship may work is if you decide to throw away your value, which is honesty, and join him. Please note, it is easier for people to be pulled down into doing evil and bad things than it is for them to be pulled up towards what is good and noble. You can’t change someone who does not wish to change.

STRENGTHS – These include your talents and skills. They also point to who you are and what you can achieve successfully. If you are very out-spoken and can easily communicate with people and you meet someone who is also similar, what is likely to happen? Perhaps competition or distrust may arise except when both parties have the maturity to accommodate each other and build on their strengths.  A different requirement is needed here, which is to find that person who complements you. What this means is that the outspoken person may end up with one who is quiet and reserved. When the need to be outspoken arises, that partner will feature excellently and when a matter needs some reserve, patience and the ability to think things through carefully, the quiet partner will feature excellently. This way, the couple will complement each other. They will appreciate what each one is bringing to the marriage. There will be no comparison or competition but simply accepting that each one comes with a set of strengths.

WEAKNESSES – The same consideration applies to our weaknesses. What may be a weakness in your partner may be strength in you. This is where you help pull each other up to becoming the best version of each other.

  • WHAT ARE YOUR ASPIRATIONS (THINGS YOU WANT TO SEE HAPPEN IN YOUR LIFE)? – This is another important consideration to make when choosing a life partner. If I aspire to become a doctor or professor one day and my partner does not value education and believes we should trade together in Ogbete Market, can you see how this may become a problem in future? The one who aspires for higher academics will become resentful because her needs are not being met. She will feel unfilled and bitter towards her husband.

If your husband wants many children and you only want two, can you see an area of conflict? The same considerations are made over where to live after the wedding. My friend’s son just moved to Enugu because his wife, whom he married yesterday has a Federal Government job in Enugu and he was running his mother’s school in Aba. They discussed and felt that it was easier for him to move to Enugu and get into private practice.

Another friend’s son will be getting married in two weeks from today. His future wife works in a bank in Umuahia while her future husband lives in Enugu. She has worked her transfer to Enugu. If both parties do not agree as to where to settle, problem will ensure.

  • WHAT IS YOUR HEALTH STATUS? – This is very important. We have heard of Sickle cell anemia. This is a red blood cell disease that is inherited from one’s parents. It is important that we know our genotype before deciding to get married. This is a consideration that must be made early in the relationship to avoid unnecessary heartaches. If you are AS, you cannot marry a person with AS or worse still SS. This combination will bring you and your future children pain. You are bound to have children that are SS. These children have huge health challenges and often die before they become teenagers.
  • WHAT IS YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE? – This is an area that often causes problems in marriage. If your husband is a Catholic and the woman is a Pentecostal, can you see an area of conflict? When a couple have separate beliefs, they leave themselves open to others taking over their positions in the home. When you’re listening to different counsel each week, this is bound to bring distrust in the home. More so, where will the children go; with their father or mother? A home that is not standing together spiritually becomes a target for the devil to pull it down. Instead of joining forces to fortify their home they pull at different ends allowing the enemy to make their home a play ground.
  • WHAT IS YOUR SOURCE OF LIVELIHOOD? – Do you have a job? Can what you do sustain your marriage? If a man is still looking for a job, this will not be the best time to propose marriage to a girl. Go and get a job first. This will give the man self respect and the ability to foot his bills. Even for the woman, find something productive to do. Depending totally on a man will rub off your self esteem. There are basic things you need as a woman, for example, sanitary wear that you can’t keep going to your husband to provide. If you child needs a pencil or biscuit, you can’t be waiting for your husband to provide this.
  • LOVE – I deliberately left this point to last because what we often call love is far from love. When we make unnecessary demands on one another and say, ‘If you love me, you will do this or that’…that is not love but manipulation. When the words, ‘I love you’ only come out when the man buys you things or takes you to expensive places, again that is not love. When the only thing the man loves about you is the fact that you are beautiful or that you have money, again, that is not love. Love is not lust. Many people confuse fiery lust for love. You meet a man or woman for the first time and you want to have that person by all means; that is not love but lust. Lust only sees physical attraction but love awakens emotional connection. With emotional connection, you see beyond the person’s physical attributes to the quality of that person. There’s something that connects both of you that sometimes you may not even be able to articulate this but you know that he is the one or she is the one. An elderly man once said, ‘when you find that person who truly understands you, your mannerisms, when you’re quiet and is able to fill in the gaps where necessary, that person is meant for you.’ Sometimes, you find that person who completes your words and able to pick your thoughts and acts accordingly that you say, ‘how did you know that was what I was thinking or hoping?’ Such a person understands you and feels you more than surface level. Such a person will only want the best for you always and will never imagine not being without you.

I shall stop here and allow you to ask questions or make contributions. Thank you.

JANE NDUKWE