One of the most memorable days of my life was the day I asked Jumoke ‘Do you believe we are meant for each other?’, and she nodded in affirmation. My formal proposal followed not long after but the diplomat in me had to find a way to extract her positive affirmation to avoid the shame of facing her after the failure of securing her love. My ego, my reputation and my esteem would have been in complete tatters as an egoistical and emotional young man. I heaved a massive sigh of relief after she nodded in affirmation for which she has teased me many times over the years. I left her Auntie’s house where she stayed with a million butterflies in my belly and my mum could not understand her food loving son’s loss of appetite that night when she served me dinner. The world had changed, and she did not know it (smiles). The goose pimples I was feeling would not subside for a good while and I kept late hours before sleep finally overpowered my intoxicated soul.
The next morning was different as prayer time was made up mostly of gratitude than petition. God had answered the grandmother of all prayers and there was nothing more to pray for but to thank Him for securing the future. I felt so loved by the heavens and couldn’t but notice the sky had turned more blue than ever. Suddenly, the world was a better place to live and Jumoke in her blue blouse and flowery skirt more beautiful than I ever saw her the day after she affirmed that she shared my conviction that we were meant to live together in the service of God whose calling upon my life had consumed my entire soul with room to love only those who will be a part of it. So intoxicated was I with Jummy’s love that my youthful mind could not comprehend ever hurting her on purpose. The Bible says to love the wife as Christ loves the church and I couldn’t imagine Christ hurting the church. Both of us were believers whose ultimate goal was to grow into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ who is an embodiment of love. I told her to imagine I was a male Jesus and she a female Jesus; would we ever hurt each other and she replied no! I was determined we would both focus on Jesus so much there will be no room for the flesh in our marriage, but rather, we would live happily ever after (laughter). Feeling giddy, my infatuation had overwhelmed all logic and reason. I was full of so much euphoria that my dreams and expectations of marriage were almost hallucinating.
The above flurry of romantic feelings and infantile judgement is typical of young people at the start of romantic relationships. Such feelings described in romantic novels, fairy tale story books, acted in movies and soap operas are programmed into the human mind as definitions of love. Their voices would often be loud when choices of life partners are made. Signs of looming dangers, serious conflict, violence, unfaithfulness, contempt and other warning signals are often ignored where they exist for fear of waking up from the dream of infatuation. This kind of love assumes the other person will automatically change or be subdued by willpower in marriage. It assumes God will intervene or some sort of epiphany will occur to turn things around or by a stroke of luck, negative behaviors will just disappear. Such unrealistic posture my Pastor warned us about again and again. Rev George would say ‘Love is blind but marriage will open your eyes’; to which we would always roar in laughter. What else would our eyes open to, if not our prayer warrior girlfriends bringing heaven down into our homes, submitting to us as unto the Lord Himself, plundering hell to populate heaven through evangelism, raising firebrand Christian children, cooking meals that will make even angels regular visitors to our homes and taking excellent care of ‘daddy’s conjugal fantasies’ (more laughter).
However, let me leave La La land and bring my readers to reality. The unmarried young people should realize a decision for a life partner is best made ‘intelligently’ and not emotionally. It’s important to feel attracted and sense chemistry with your prospective spouse but such ephemerals will soon become inconsequential when you get married if you both do not share the same faith, values, complimentary personalities, shared vision and mutual respect. Set aside the goose pimples and ask serious questions about your prospective spouse that will provide answers to the aforementioned. If you are able to answer in the affirmative to them, then find out how your closest family members and friends feel about your choice. They love you and are not as sentimental as you are in the matter. Their judgement may not always be right but they love you and care about you and so will be sincere about a serious life impacting decision as this. Ask in your heart if you will like him or her to be the father or mother of your future children. Would you want your children to be like him her? Finally, do you have God’s peace in your heart about him or her?
Most newly married people think they made a mistake in the choice of a partner within the first year of marriage. There is often a chasm between the fantasies of dating and courting and the realities of blending two imperfect lives together in a true marriage. As differences in personality, family background, gender, priorities, values and perspectives begin to clash more often as they begin to live as one; the tension, hurts and frustrations bring thoughts and feelings of disappointment, anger, regret and at times utter disillusionment to young couples. These negative emotions tend to put out the flames of romance that initially characterize love affairs. Some pack it all up at this stage, others trudge on in the hope it will get better some day and others just hang in there not knowing what to do. The eyes that were blinded by love have been opened by marriage(sigh).
For a few, they will realize it was a complete mistake. Where life is threatened, it is truly a mistake, where God given vision cannot be accomplished with the person, it is certainly a mistake too and where there the foundation is based on deception, it was a mistake. Outside of the above, it is either not a mistake or a mistake that can turn to a miracle. Over 99% of marriages are not mistakes, they only feel like it. As the initial unrealistic euphoria is deceptive, so are the negative feelings resulting from the differences between our fantasies and realities. The truth is that no matter how realistic you view marriage, it will always be somewhat different from what you thought. For few people it is better than they earlier thought but for the majority it is otherwise. Truth be told , t is an institution that is intended to be an opportunity for the two people to become more like Christ Jesus and only making Him the purpose and passion of it will ever give meaning to the challenges within it and the victory that will turn it into a long lasting, fulfilling and rewarding experience as God intended. If marriage were a necessary evil as the world posits, God would have had nothing to do with it. Everything He made in the beginning was very good and so was marriage. When understood in essence and purpose, it is approached realistically, it’s challenges embraced with peace and patience and its fruits reaped with with joy and prosperity.
If you are prospecting for it, do so thoughtfully and prayerfully. If you’re tired of it, don’t throw in the towel, help is on the way. If you already threw in the towel, God is a God of a second chance and He can either put it back together or give you another chance that will turn yesterday’s pain into today’s gain. Keep faith with me for two more weeks.