I have always loved weddings, and the excitement that surrounds these events. From seeing everyone decked out in their best clothes, to the Décor and carefully selected menus; people dancing everywhere and of course seeing the bride in her dress. I think most girls develop a fascination with the poufy, white dress from childhood and dream of the day they will wear one of their own. Weddings are indeed a big deal and no effort or expense is spared – whether or not these can be afforded. But with the number of unhappily wed young people in today’s society on the rise, infidelity, Gender-Based Violence, and folks heading for the divorce court, I wish there was more fascination with the actual marriage, than the 1 day-event which is the wedding.
The global statistics say around 50% end in divorce, though I’m sure the stigma and fear of what people will think are what keep some people married, though suffering in silent misery, in these parts. We can certainly speculate on the reasons for this state of affairs, because the reasons truly are wide and varied. But the two on which I believe most problems hinge on are marrying in immaturity and marrying for the wrong reasons.
By marrying in immaturity I don’t mean marrying young because some individuals are quite mature even though their chronological age indicates otherwise, while others, despite being ‘advanced’ in age still lack maturity. Marrying in immaturity in this case means marrying before one has grown out of their selfish ways and is ready to put the needs of another ahead of their own. It is marrying when one is still at the stage, like a child, where its all about them and what they want, with little or no consideration for the other person. Even children have to be helped to grow out of their selfishness as parents teach them about sharing, consideration for others and such. Until one has grown out of their selfishness and the incessant desire to pursue whatever and whoever they want, without care or awareness of the consequences thereof on themselves and others, then they are not ready to marry/be married.
Second on the list is marrying for the wrong reasons, which is my key focal point because I know first-hand the pressures that single people face which drive them to making these decisions. The ‘Single-status’ in most societies is hardly celebrated or viewed as a time to build character, discover purpose and pursue all the other things for which one was created, other than getting married. Singlehood is almost seen as an illness of which one must be cured at the earliest opportunity. And parents, extended family and society as a whole all conspire to make sure one does not become too comfortable in that state. Be the unfortunate one to be above 28 and single, attending a family event. See how all the aunties (and uncles) crowd around to ask you if there’s something wrong or what ‘challenges’ you’re facing in finding yourself ‘a friend.’ A steady and consistent diet of this and the individual begins to feel that truly there is something wrong and they start looking for a cure immediately.
I strongly believe there is a time and a season for everything. Meaning that what may be a good thing, at the wrong time, can prove toxic. Just as a bad decision at the right time still remains a bad decision. And so some critical thinking, honest soul searching and due diligence is required. Otherwise you may find yourself joining the statistics of those who ‘Marry in haste and Repent in leisure.’I am of the view that marriage ought to be a union between the best of friends, two people who can talk, laugh, cry, think and do life together while being their complete selves, and inseparably in love. So much that their marrying is simply an extension of that friendship and a commitment to carrying it forward into the next life.
Best friends talk for example, and if you are in a relationship with someone you can’t talk to…why would you want to commit to spending the rest of your life with them – in silence? With all the wonderful thoughts and ideas you have remaining bottled up inside you because your spouse is not someone you can share them with. I wish more parents would ask their daughters when they present a suitor, ‘Is he your best friend?’ before asking, ‘Where does he work and what car does he drive?’ Granted you want your child to be taken care of, but life and happiness in particular is a bit more than just about being well fed, and having a Harveytile roof over your head.
If you are single, don’t succumb to the external pressure, or indeed the internal pressure to start on a course that could lead you in a direction you were not prepared or intending to go. Love yourself, and embrace this phase of life as a time of purpose, growth and personal development. A time to find out who you are and what you were put on earth for, other than getting married and having children, even though those too are important. What a waste of life, and the resources within you if your life has come to standstill because you are living everyday just waiting to be married. If every time a stranger winks at you as you walk by, your first thought is, ‘Could he/she be the one?’ There is a time and place for everything, but in the waiting – Live!
When the pressure gets overwhelming, get with people who are on the same path as you. People who are living and pursuing life on purpose. You can travel, develop your gifts and talents and put them to good use, volunteer somewhere or visit an orphanage from time to time, go out to eat with friends and laugh a lot!! You are complete and can live a ‘Whole’ life, even while you are single. Your life will be richer, it will bless others, and you’ll certainly have some ‘richer’ conversations the next time you’re on a date, because you’ll always have something fresh to talk about and bring to the table. Which, in my opinion , is very attractive.
But -If you are on the verge of marriage or you are thinking seriously about ‘taking the plunge’, do search your heart and make sure it is under the right circumstances and for the right reasons. This is too critical a decision whose consequences are too far reaching to take lightly.
Stay tuned for ‘Marriage Part II – The wrong reasons for taking the plunge‘ to see some of the wrong reasons why many people are entering marriages that are hitting the rocks even before the ink on their certificate dries. If any of these apply to you, it may be time to put on the brakes…