Just as a friend recently invited me to his pre-marriage ceremony he sentenced me into a lot of thinking. The relationship has come a long way, I was there when it all started and I have lots of stories to tell; it’s been fun all the way. I guess he’ll read this and smile too. I’m talking about getting into a relationship and enjoying, growing and being better for it…and finally being lovers for life. I also believe it is possible to have experienced a single relationship that led to marriage, and I have examples. But a lot of relationships shipwreck. This happens leaving a trail of broken hearts, crying eyes, destroyed friendship and a commitment to pass the aggression to the next guy/lady that may ever come into their lives…though it was not their fault.
Especially as pertains to the youths of today, marital relationship is one crucial avenue where the devil plans to steal our dignity, shatter our dreams and finally truncate our destinies. The person you get into a relationship with is as important as the destiny you are called to fufill. She will either be a help meet to achieving your God-given purpose, or a distraction you have to cope with all your life. People say a broken courtship is better than a broken marriage, in as much as that is true; it is no excuse to go on a serial relationship spree. Every relationship you get into never leaves you the same; we’re either bitter or better. I’ve seen people shattered by wrong relationships; I’ve seen relationships last 3 weeks, 6 months and studied ones that went as far as seven years of loving and building a strong foundation for marriage. I’ve come across ladies and men who settle for “situations” that looked like relationships to them. I have also come to discover that the pains of one relationship becomes the burden for the next one; all these issues, the pain, the trial and triumphs all begins in our decision to get into any relationship at all.
Having to deal with my own challenges has taught me a lot, and has tremendously benefited my present relationship (still short though-2nd yr) and other ones that God has given me the privilege to have been part of. I want to warn though- much of what I’ve learnt and written here is driven by a passion to present all I have, including my relationship as a representation of what is true, standard, and will meet the desire of God and men. If this is not your desire, this may roughly challenge your personal psychology.
They are just questions; they do not answer all questions but fundamentally will address the salient ones. They generally will address your sincerity and expose your reality. If you really want to have a stress-free relationship, you both need to read this. I do not need you to answer yes or no, but search within for which part answers your name and let the light of truth shine upon your heart.
However, feel free to comment on this article.
§ What are your standards/values?
Values are like compasses, they give direction to where we have chosen to be our destination. A ship with two captains, two compasses, two agendas and two destinations is destined for a shipwreck. Two of the major factors that shape our values are our religion and our experiences. What exactly are you looking for? What are the most important things to you in life? A lady who values honour yokes herself with a guy whose primary preoccupation is fun. Where do you hope the relationship will end? Some people get into relationship because parents say it is time; for some it is because their friends are doing it. I once asked someone what projected day he hopes to marry his lady and he told me he never thought of marrying her. Is your relationship to satisfy your emotional desire or to form a strong union that guarantees a good reward for your labours? I once knew a Christian woman who insisted on getting into a relationship with this Muslim brother which she eventually married, I heard not too long ago she has been forced to pack out after 9 years of marriage and two kids while the man went on to marry a new Muslim wife….Today she lives as a single parent knowing she should have made the right choice years ago. Examples of this abound, as I can continue to give examples of this case scenario. Conflict of values is one of the reasons why I am totally against inter-religious marriage. People should not see your relationship and doubt if they are sure they know the direction in which your life is going. Before you agree to a relationship what end do you see? Most campus and school relationships end at the school gate because their actual innate desire was to get someone to spend campus life with. Where does your conviction lie? Are you motivated by what you see or what is within? It is God who brings our partners across our way. Another school of thought believe man must find, guys must bend over backwards orchestrate schemes while “he that findeth” as reference. Many people have used their eyes to pick up all kinds of baggage in the name of finding. I once had a discussion with someone and told him….a prudent wife is from the Lord. Friend it is only God who gives without adding sorrows. Patient choice is key.
§ Are you a + or a -?
According to the principle of synergy, 1 + 1 should not be 2. It should probably be 20,000. The actual question should have begun by asking if you are 1 or ½. Only 1 will chase a thousand, not ½. The awesome truth is that we bring who we are and our baggage (immaturity, weaknesses, pains, strengths) into the relationship. Therefore, before approaching the lady or before accepting a proposal, are you a + or you will soon become someone else’s project? It becomes an easy ride if that person becomes an addition to your life. A synergic relationship translates to the alignment of strengths between partners. It means the complementing of strengths and weaknesses. One partner makes up in character for what is lacking in another. That is why the spiritual dimension of this is too important, for only God knows what complementary traits you need to accomplish your purpose. It is too important to know that before a partnership there is a building up of strength and character within. It is for your own good that you do not become a liability to your partner. How faithful are you first to yourself? How faithful and dutiful will you be? Faithfulness and honour are words that may not be at the center-pint of your decision, but they are the most defining attributes of the relationship Pro 31:10’ a worthy woman who can find? For her price is far above rubies…”; Pro 20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own kindness; But a faithful man who can find? True to those words they are scarce attributes we must search for. The truth here is that a faithful man will always find a faithful woman…water ill find its level or every seed will produce after its kind. A deceptive lady will encounter many a deceitful bros. one simple advice…be a gift!
§ Are you a growing adult or a child?
I am one unrepentant believer in the principle that as we mover closer to the end of time, age will fade out into oblivion. Age won’t matter, only the ability to deliver. An on-line consulting lawyer’s forum in 2003 awarded the best consultant to a user only to find out he’s just a nineteen year old high school student. Those who have defined the status ready for marriage are in for a redefinition. A book once said anyone who has a stable job, a car, a house, lives on his own house and not with his parents is ready for marriage. Any smart 18yr old American can do that! It takes more than physique to be ready. What about emotional, spiritual, and psychological maturity, it really does not matter what he has in the physical, with time what is within will produce the tangible. I will only give two striking insights about children.
One, children don’t know what they want, their needs are transient. You remember how you wanted everything in the supermarket? Just like me…at a time I loved cartoon books, later I switched over to shotguns, ninja turtles kit…then no I wanted a BMX bicycle! The ability to make decisions and stick with it is one of the traits of adulthood. Most people get into the supermarket and feel like buying everything, but it is discipline that conditions us not to withdraw all your money to buy it. Some guys change ladies like the shirt the put on. Most married guys will admit they met more than fifteen ladies finer than their wives since they met them. They have come to know that love is a choice rather than a mushy feeling. They have made the decision to build their life with another, come rain, come shine. Kids’ attachment to what they like is based on proximity. Proximity between individuals breeds intimacy- while not yet making a conscious decision about a relationship; proximity creates a false sense of belonging and intimacy. It takes only a sustained absence of the other subject to realize that Propinquity brought them together. Workmates, classmates, flat mates while transmutation to relationship is possible, it is not always true and may not always last-except for the maturity of the individuals.
Two, children are selfish, right from start. It begins when the baby discovers that when they cry, they catch everyone’s attention and get what they want. It does not matter if mom is sleeping and dad is working the baby wants food period! A difficult time await the self-centered individual who goes into a relationship for what they can get attention, gifts, money and everything at the detriment of your mate. We do not just get into relationships for what we can get; rather we enter into unions for what we can contribute. If we are contribution-driven and service-oriented we add value to our partner thus placing them in a position to honour us in the same or greater way. Are you still focused on what you can gain from relationships rather than what you can contribute? You might need to take your time before you become frustrated. Simply put, are you coming to serve or be served?
§ Are you a Colonizer or an immigrant?
This cliché was borrowed form Norman Wright’s book, relationships that work and those that don’t. Using this analogy will be fairly easy in a nation where the ability to travel out of the country depicts status. Supposing you arrive as a first timer in England, the way you associate with the people, places and environment will change. You step into the environment with a different mindset, like a learner; trying to become accustomed to the changed culture. You will be careful not to jump queues, litter the ground with paper, and cut corners while trying to cut corners- you will approach the country open to learn, open to change and willing to adapt.
This is far different from the way colonial masters approached Africa when they entered into the continent. For Nigeria, they turned and tried to change the region to fit their mindsets; forcefully amalgamating Nigeria, changed official languages, replacing the existing leadership structure with one which suits their needs and goals, all without regard for the people living within the region- they approached the country, with a determination to modify the environment and people to fit their own needs.
In a relationship that involves two people, two pedigrees, experiences and mindsets, it is more like entering into a new life to discover and learn how to relate and live with another person. It is not an avenue to change the other person to fit our ideas, it is walking together, planning together, working together, discussing and disagreeing to come into agreement- It is by this demanding process that intimacy is built. A relationship in which one person is the saviour and the other the disciple may not be well balanced as one day the disciple may make his/her mind up to also rise to the status of “oga” and the tussle for superiority begins. Life is giving a little, taking a little.
§ How stupid are the words “I’m sorry” and “please”?
They may look stupid especially in an era when we’ve been told to believe in ourselves than what any person or circumstance can tell us contrary. These two words can destroy any relationship. Take a few minutes to answer this question; how many states are in Ghana…take a guess. I bet most people won’t even try it, usually because we don’t want to be wrong. Really it takes nothing away from us. Our ability to honour and respect one another includes the ability to admit it when we are wrong and to even say it. It includes he humility to admit it when we need help. I once knew of a relationship that ended because they were both waiting for the first person to say “sorry”, what pride can do. These words are powerful deposit makers in our partner’s emotional accounts. They indirectly communicate to our partner that we value and respect their contribution and will not take them for granted. These words are the beginning of appreciating your partner’s contribution to your life. These words are free, though they only cost our sense of self pride and arrogance. Those who use them will always have their way. It requires an in-depth ability not to want to prove our self right so that we can win when it comes to issues. When we approach a relationship with the mindset of honouring our partner, putting them of greater value than our self interests, we are set for the top.
Watch out for the last part.