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ARE YOU READY FOR MARRIAGE?

Posted By:  Mkpoikanke Otu on Aug 06, 2020  

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I believe that marriage readiness should precede the choice of a life partner. I’m not referring to being ready to marry, but being ready for marriage. Being ready to marry means being ready to perform marital rites or do a wedding. Whereas, being ready for marriage means being capable to handle all the responsibilities that come with marriage.  

The choice of a life-partner that is made at the state of un-readiness may be disastrous in the sense that the individual (who made the choice) may not be appropriately informed about the choice. He may be unaware of certain realities that surround his choice, and he may also lack the capacities required to build a successful relationship and marriage. This is why it is necessary to get ready for marriage before one should choose whom to marry or get into marriage. 

Unfortunately, I have seen many situations where people don't bother to check whether they are ready for marriage or not. They jump into marriage decisions that collapse at the relationship level or proceed chaotically into a regrettable marriage. I have also found out that one of the reasons this is rampant in our society today is because young adults do not want to be single until they get married. They like to be identified with a relationship, a marriage proposal, or a wedding. They like testing or trying out different people that request for a relationship with them, instead of preparing themselves for marriage. It seems they have forgotten that jumping from one relationship to another has degrading and deteriorating effects in their psychological, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.

It is sad to say that some 'smart' guys and ladies like to 'secure' a woman or a man, respectively, and keep her or him in an undefined or falsely defined relationship first before they are ready for marriage. Most times, when they are ready for marriage, they find fault in the choice they had made earlier, and that may result in disaster, heart-breaking, regret, and forceful marriage.

To prevent this, I’m advocating that the right thing to do is to get ready for marriage first before choosing whom to marry, and going into other relationships and marriage processes. This does not imply that one cannot have opposite-sex friends. But we should define our friendships and keep them in context. That means a friend should remain a friend until a time appointed (if necessary) for a friend to change to a spouse. To make this point clear, a marriage proposal should be made by someone ready for marriage, and should equally be accepted by someone ready for marriage. Hence, if someone ready is proposing to someone who is not ready, the proposal may be kept pending or rejected. Likewise, if someone who is not ready is mistakenly proposing to someone ready, the proposal should still be kept pending or turn down.

In the remaining part of this article, I have explained different areas of readiness and how someone can know when he or she is ready for marriage. I encourage you to read carefully to the end!

1.      SPIRITUALITY

The first area to be ready for marriage should be spirituality because marriage is spiritual more than it is physical, even though it has more physical manifestations. Moreover, for Christians, marriage is used as an illustration, a symbol, or a demonstration of the relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33). Therefore, it is of a great necessity that someone who intends to marry would first become spiritual.  The following indices show whether one is spiritual or not:

·         Having a continuous faith in Jesus Christ.

·         Having evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit, and working towards intimacy with Him.

·         Having the habit of reading and studying the word of God every day (at least morning and night) to discover the truth.

·         Praying in the Spirit always.

·         Having a lifestyle of obedience to the word of God in all areas.

·         Being faithful to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to others.

·         Having frequent fellowship with other believers of Christ.

·         Listening to good messages from different men of God constantly.

·         Reading good spiritual books from different servants of God constantly.

·         Having Godly friends that can sharpen, exhort, or encourage one daily.

·         Trusting in God with all your heart, leaning not to your understanding, but acknowledging Him in all your ways.

You are not spiritual if you are trusting in your abilities, strengths, or capacities to do things well. The spiritual man recognizes that his strengths come from God and that he can fail if God is not with him. So he does everything possible to keep a sound and unbroken relationship with God. Also, he ensures that all his decisions, choices, desires, and actions are pleasing to God. Thus, a spiritual man will not make a marriage decision without getting approval from God. He would have to seek the face of God and get a conviction from the Holy Spirit to approach a marriage matter. That is, he wouldn’t give or accept a marriage proposal when he has not gotten approval from God to do so. He would first pray about the marriage decision he is planning to make, and wait patiently for God to answer him. He would not go ahead with the decision if God says no! Before he prays, a spiritual man will first remove wrong motives, special considerations, favouritisms, biases, and other idols from his heart so that God can answer him.  

Another sign of spirituality is not being conformed to the standard of this world. That means, making decisions that are not based on self wills, selfish desires, popular opinions, or opinions of men, but the word of God. That means a spiritual person will have the habit of always being in alignment with the word of God. This is achieved by regularly checking whether intentions, thoughts, feelings, decisions, opinions, ideas, behaviours or actions are supported by the word of God. This will help one to know the will of God concerning how to live as a single, whom to marry, when to marry, and how to marry. Accordingly, the real spirituality is shown in following the will of God in all respects, walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him in all respect, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

I recommend that you pray the following prayers for transformation often to increase your spirituality:

“I ask the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give me the Spirit, who will make me wise and reveal God to me so that I will know him. I ask that my mind may be opened to see His light so that I will know what is the hope to which He has called me, how rich are the wonderful blessings He promised His people,  and how very great is His power at work in us who believe. Amen!” (Ephesians 1:17-19).

“I ask God to fill me with the knowledge of His will, with all the wisdom and understanding that His Spirit gives. Then I will be able to live as the Lord wants and will always do what pleases Him. My life will produce all kinds of good deeds, and I will grow in my knowledge of God.  May I be made strong with all the strength which comes from His glorious power, so that I may be able to endure everything with patience. And with joy give thanks to the Father, who has made me fit to have my share of what God has reserved for His people in the kingdom of light. Amen!” (Colossians 1:9-12).

“I pray that my love will keep on growing more and more, together with true knowledge and perfect judgment, so that I will be able to choose what is best. Then I will be free from all impurity and blame on the Day of Christ. My life will be filled with the truly good qualities which only Jesus Christ can produce, for the glory and praise of God. Amen!” (Philippians 1:9-11).

2.      PHYSICAL BODY

This has to do with the readiness of the physical body to accept the stress and the demands of marriage. Bearing in mind that procreation is one of the purposes of marriage, one's physical body should be developed for childbirth. This is probably one of the reasons why an under-aged child shouldn't get married. Also, people that are of age but still have underdeveloped muscles or bones and other physical structures may have to get medical advice before they marry. Also, people that have physical ailments, malfunctioning of some parts of the body organs, and other physical defects should get medical advice to know how they can adjust to a marriage situation.

More importantly, people with the malfunctioning sexual and reproductive organs should get advice to know if it would be possible for them to have sexual intercourse and/or give birth so that they won't disappoint their partners after the wedding. Those that are born eunuchs, those that are made eunuchs by men and those that made or intend to make themselves eunuchs should, please, note that their body will not be ready for marriage. Therefore, they may consider not being in a relationship or married. 

Also, one should get treatment for some skin infections like rashes, dermatitis, blistering disorders, among others; keep hair in minimally good shape; deal with body odor, mouth odor, and snoring; maintain personal hygiene; have the habit of always wearing only clean underwear and outer-wears; learn to look good from the inside to the outside (this doesn't call for wearing of expensive clothes, but wearing what one can afford -clean and iron them).

Besides, one should bear in mind that there will be a change in physical look and body shape because of marriage, especially for women. So much change should not cause anxiety when it occurs. It is good to also bear in mind that one’s hairstyle, dress, nails, and other physical things might change because of marriage. One’s spouse may demand that one should look in a certain way and one may have to comply. For instance, one may start or stop wearing or using trousers, necklace, face making-up, eye-lashes, artificial nails, and artificial hairs, because of marriage. Hence, part of being ready in the physical body is the ability to make adjustments and adapt to the physical changes that will occur in marriage.

3.      HOME CHORES

This has to do with learning how to cook different kinds of meals, do farm work, manage home, take care of children, and do other domestic chores. Anybody that is not comfortable with house chores doesn't seem to be ready for marriage. This is because marriage leads to the establishment of a home and family. Anyone ready for marriage will be comfortable doing home chores without complaints.

Also, it is important to bear in mind that one’s meal pattern may change because of marriage. Therefore, one ought to be ready to make certain adjustments in one’s domestic life. This requires having a mindset that one can change to meet up with any demands. For example, someone that likes eating noddles, snacks, and drinks, may need to consider eating solid food. Other qualities of a good home manager are found in the following passages:

“Who can find a capable wife? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will not lack anything good. She rewards him with good, not evil, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with willing hands. She is like the merchant ships bringing her food from far away. She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and portions for her female servants. She evaluates a field and buys it; she plants a vineyard with her earnings. She draws on her strength and reveals that her arms are strong. She sees that her profits are good, and her lamp never goes out at night. She extends her hands to the spinning staff, and her hands hold the spindle. Her hands reach out to the poor, and she extends her hands to the needy. She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all in her household are doubly clothed. She makes her bed coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known at the city gates, where he sits among the elders of the land. She makes and sells linen garments; she delivers belts to the merchants. Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle. Her sons rise and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her: "Many women are capable, but you surpass them all!" Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised. Give her the reward of her labor, and let her works praise her at the city gates” (Proverbs 31:10-31).

“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).

4.      SOCIAL WELLBEING

This has more to do with associating with people without fear and lust. The following social characteristics indicate social wellbeing:

·         The freedom to meet with acquaintances,

·         The ability to build lasting relationships,

·         Ability to honour others,

·         Ability to make new friends and sustain the old ones,

·         Ability to apologize when you are wrong,

·         Ability to communicate your options to others,

·         Ability to exercise your rights without impinging on the right of others,

·         The ability to run without crossing the path of others,

·         Ability to tolerate people's weaknesses,

·         Ability to make excuses for people, 

·         Ability to forgive easily when someone wrongs you,

·         Ability to love your enemies as yourself,

·         Ability to ask for help when necessary,

·         Ability to value the opinions of other people,

·         Ability to love other people like yourself,

·         Ability to share what you have with others,

·         Ability to do things without expecting reward from people,

·         Ability to appreciate people around you,

·         Ability to open up a conversation with people without fear,

·         Ability to withdraw from toxic relationships without hurting yourself and others.

·         Ability to move on when hurt in a relationship,

·         Ability to talk freely with seniors and elders without insulting, or disrespecting them or taking them for granted.

On the whole, one’s mind should be prepared to accept other people without a sense of resentment, rigour, and jealousy.

Social wellbeing may give an individual opportunity to have good friends, and one of them may later become his spouse. However, people should keep proper rules and boundaries with friends to avoid maladaptive behaviours. Much more, the fear of God should be kept in front of every friendship to prevent malpractices.

Another important way to build social wellbeing is this: “Do not quench the Spirit.  Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.  Abstain from every form of evil” (1Thessalonians 5:19-22).

So before you get serious with people, both male and female, test their intentions with the word of God in the power of His Spirit. Also, check their actions.

"A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions"(Matthew 7:17-20).

People's actions are very important, and must not be taken for granted. For instance, a lady or a girl may wish not to smile with someone that touched her breast or private part deliberately. Likewise, she may wish not to smile with someone that sent her nude pictures. She shouldn't even smile with someone that is calling her suggestive names like "Sweetheart", "My love", "Sugar baby", "Sugar Cain", "Stainless", "My wife", "baby" and the like. She should care to find out why the person is calling her such names. Also, she shouldn't be smiling when romantic messages and chats are coming from someone she has not agreed to marry. Actions like that are signs of evil that one must flee from. She may avoid such a person by blocking his phone number on her phone and social media platforms; also make efforts to avoid his physical presence. Such a person doesn't worth her time, and she shouldn't be his friend.

5.      EMOTIONAL WELLBEING 

Emotional wellbeing speaks of emotional stability or ability to maintain emotional balance. That means, being able to control feelings even when one loves someone.

Emotional wellbeing also means, being able to give out positive emotions when necessary. Some people are so stiff emotionally to the point that they cannot give out positive emotions. Their lives are so mechanical that they don't care how others are feeling. So having a feeling of genuine love for people is recommended.

Also, emotional wellbeing includes being able to detach from parents emotionally. Marriage demands living parents to hold fast to a spouse and become one flesh. But people that might still be attached to parents emotionally would find it difficult to become one with a spouse. So part of how someone knows that she is emotionally ready for marriage is that she can be comfortable to stay away from her parents for long. Even if this doesn't happen physically yet, but one’s mind should be made up to stay away from parents when the time comes.

Emotional wellbeing also involves being able to overcome emotional baggage like fear, shyness, anger, rejection, depression, pride, envy, strife, inferiority complex, and other negative emotions. These emotions would prevent the flow of positive emotions that are needed for a successful marriage. Thus, going into marriage with emotional baggage is dangerous. It's important to get rid of the baggage before choosing a marriage partner. I have previously explained the influence of emotional baggage and ways to overcome: https://www.otusumconsult.com/blog/read?post-id=12; https://www.otusumconsult.com/blog/read?postid=13https://www.otusumconsult.com/blog/read?post-id=15

Another way to look at emotional wellbeing is having the ability to control sexual feelings. Adults do indeed have sexual feelings. But it's also true that such feelings can be controlled. Being able to control the sexual feeling is very important to keep consummation until the wedding night. The inability to control such an important feeling may result in premarital sex, which is unacceptable and punishable by God.

 So emotional wellbeing helps someone to talk with the opposite sex without being aroused sexually. It may be embarrassing if one is always aroused while talking with, or being around the opposite sex. It may be more embarrassing if one gets aroused each time one hangs out with a friend or an admirer. If that keeps happening, it may lead to sexual sin. Therefore, it's important to overcome it and have self-control.

On the other way round, emotional wellbeing makes someone ready to express sexual feelings to his or her spouse, starting from the wedding night. There are several reports of couples who were not able to have successful sexual intercourse during the early period of their marriage because of a lack of emotional readiness. I have personally heard of a couple who could not have sex for some weeks after the wedding until a sexual orientation was given to them. But that could have been prevented if the couple was emotionally ready for marriage.

Moreover, the sex act begins in the mind as a thought and gets to the body as feelings before the action is carried out. So couples that are married can think about it and adjust their body to it. Likewise, someone that is not married yet can think about it in terms of what will be done in the future (on the wedding night). It's a matter of knowing that such a thing will happen shortly after the wedding and that one needs to get ready for it. Marriage candidates should be looking forward to their marriage consummation on the wedding night.

6.      FINANCIAL STRENGTH

Financial strength doesn't refer to having so much money in one's bank account, building houses, and buying cars. It is all about being able to meet the needs and settle the financial demands that would arise in the marriage.

For a man, financial strength is the ability to meet his financial demands and have the extra ability to meet someone else's financial demands. It may not necessarily mean having a monthly salary. But it's important to have a legitimate channel of income through which the family would feed on.  But a woman should equally have a channel through which she can meet her financial demands. But that channel could be her parents, and later her husband (though it can be her job and/or her business). But a man who is having parents as the only channel of income is not ready for marriage. He has to stop depending on parents for finances before he can be said to be ready for marriage. So a female child can depend on her parents until she is married and start depending on her husband. But a male child needs to have a source of income, other than parents.

I do not support a woman to postpone marriage until she gets a job or starts a business. But I support a man to do so because the responsibility of financing the marriage and the family lies more on the man. Nevertheless, I recommend that both men and women should learn hard and soft skills which they can use to raise money to support themselves and their families. They should equally get a job and/or start a business as channels for finances.

Are students financially ready for marriage? Some students that have jobs and/or businesses might be financially ready for marriage. But female students that have neither job nor business may also be financially ready for marriage if their would-be husband has good financial strength. But male students, who are only depending on parents for their upkeep, are not ready for marriage.

7.      INTELLECTUALITY

This doesn't refer to the acquisition of certificates. It has more to do with being able to think and act appropriately. It may involve the ability to read and write. It also involves having intellectual skills such as good memory, comprehension, reasoning, analyzing, problem-solving, strength, stamina, coordination, psychomotor, and sensory skills. These skills are needed for physical work and social work. The skills are needed for building a successful marriage, home, and family. Thus, it is recommended that marriage candidates should learn these skills and master them.

I also recommend that marriage candidates should acquire formal education, even up to a higher level because the intellectual skills listed above might be acquired through the higher education process and training. But the marriage must not be based on educational qualifications. However, the ones that cannot afford higher education can still marry.

Should a woman marry a man with a lower education qualification? The answer is simple. A woman that has a degree can still marry a man that has SSCE or FSLC, or no certificate at all if she chooses to. There is no law, to the best of my knowledge that suggests the qualification differences between husband and wife. But the question is, would the woman still submit to the man, or respect him as her husband? If the answer is "yes", then there's no problem. But if the answer is "no", then there's a problem. God's Devine order is that the husband should be the head of the wife. No level of education should interfere with that divine plan. If a woman’s high certificates or qualifications will make her puffed up, then she may consider marrying only a man who has the same qualification with her, or even a man that has higher qualifications and experiences than her. 

Should a man marry a woman with a lower education qualification? The answer is the same as above. If that will not make the man look down on the woman, or treat her as a home assistant, he can marry. But it should be settled in their hearts that the qualification differences do not matter. Therefore, no one should feel inferior or superior to the other.

However, due to the ever-changing world we are in, everyone must attain a reasonable level of intellectuality. Besides acquiring formal education, people should attend training, seminars, conference, and workshops to build their intellectuality. It's also important to read good books, newspapers, and magazines to be properly informed about the trends in society.

Lastly, on this point, it is not ideal to marry for the present. It is necessary to marry for the future. That means someone should consider where he or she would like to be tomorrow while choosing a life partner today. That implies that someone’s spouse should fit into his or her destiny.

8.      PURPOSE DISCOVERY

Purpose is God’s plan and calling for someone’s life. Someone mustn't be ignorant about God’s purpose for his or her life before the choice of a marriage partner. That is, purpose discovery should precede the choice of spouse. Someone that has not discovered his or her purpose on earth does not seem to be ready for marriage. This is because purpose discovery gives one sense of direction in life and also helps one to know the kind of person to marry. Most times why people feel they married a wrong person is because they married someone that does not match their purpose. The right (or suitable) spouse is someone that matches one’s purpose. But anyone that doesn’t know his or her purpose may marry a wrong or unsuitable person. Therefore, it is important to live a purpose-driven life while getting ready for marriage. This life begins with answering God’s two major callings: 1) calling (invitation) to salvation and 2) calling (invitation) to service. More information on this are revealed in articles on purpose discovery. You can get them by request or check my blog page; https://www.otusumconsult.com/blog/.

© OTUSUM COUNSELLING CLINIC, A SUBSIDIARY OF OTUSUM CONSULT, TRAINING & SERVICES


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