“But Jesus said, “Not everyone is MATURE enough to LIVE a married life. It requires a certain APTITUDE and GRACE. Marriage isn’t for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked – or accepted…. But if you are CAPABLE of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.” Matt.19:11-12 (MSG).
When I wrote Adire, there was an avalanche of requests for the CV: The almighty CV one of the characters, Ekene kept talking about. I couldn’t work it into the story, so I let it go. Yesterday, I saw this mind-boggling Scripture, quoted above. Can you imagine Jesus saying marriage is not for everyone? So, who and who should not get married? Is it your destiny to keep attending friends’ weddings and never invite them to yours? Will you ever get your nosy aunts off your back? How do you get the girls you would prefer to marry to be interested in being more than friends? How do you stop your daughter from making the mistakes you made in choosing a partner?
I must warn that I am no marriage expert. I have only been married for 6 years and my husband is the first and only man I had a relationship with. Someone once told me I am not qualified to give advice because my heart has never been broken, I have never been dumped and I have never been a real part of the dating pool. I hear it’s tough out there. So many wolves in sheep clothing. Never fear, I turn 35 in 3 weeks, so I am not unsympathetic to the men and women out there searching for answers.
The reason I didn’t dive into the dating pool is that I had a very interesting childhood encounter that changed the way I think. At 10 or 11years I was due to go to boarding school and my mom said I should cut my long hair since she believed I would not be able to find anyone to plait it for me. I cried because the school permitted us to wear our hair long but she insisted. My dad would not hear of me going to the new-fangled barbers who used electric barbers. He sent me to his barber, an old man who kept the cartons of hair from his customers’ heads under his rickety tables. I don’t know why this man decided to put his hands down my clothes. For whatever reason, I did not stop him. I just kept wishing he would cut my hair so I could leave.
“Should I have left with half a hair cut? Shouted? Fought?” I did not know what to do and I felt no one would believe me if I said an old man tried to have sex with me. Eventually, he asked if he could go all the way. I shook my head, praying furiously for someone to walk in on us. No one did. Thankfully, he did not try to rape me. He charged me N5. I pleaded for him to accept N4. He refused. Just before I left, he called me back and gave me N1; probably to buy my silence. I ran home, throwing the coin into a puddle of water by the market. No one was home, so I got in the shower and srcubbed myself clean. Then, I knelt by the tub and promised God that if he would forgive me, I would not let anyone but my husband sleep with me.
A few years later, I was on holiday at my Uncle’s. His son was my favourite cousin, the darling of the house and the toast of the campus. I learned that he was the crush of every girl in the university he attended and he milked it. When he returned from lectures, he would tell me of all his adventures.
“Girls have fish brain,” he would say.
“How can you say that? I don’t have fish brain and your sisters are very intelligent, ” I retorted, indignant.
“You and my sisters are the exception. Okay, how can a boy tell you he loves you and you will just believe?”
“Why would a girl not believe that?”
“Is she stupid? How can someone fall in love with you just like that?” He would shake his head at the absurbity of it all and chuckle loudly.
A group of friends and him had the habit of driving out in a car and chatting up any girl they saw along the road. They would tell her how pretty she was and how they longed to take her out and ask her to go get her bag or something. Once she turned to leave they would burst into laughter. Hurt and astonished, she would turn to ask why they were laughing.
“Come on get out of here! Ugly thing! Who told you we wanted anything to do with you? ”
They would speed off, screeching their tyres, while she either railed at them or burst into tears. Don’t judge, we have all done things in our youth which we now regret. The point is that, I determined that I would never be a ‘fish brain’. In fact, I remember the day we went on a stroll and a girl walked past. He immediately lifted me in his arms and swung me around, calling out endearments. I laughed, thinking he was being his usual playful self. Later, he told me that the show was staged for that girl. She was someone he wanted to show that she wasn’t that special. I pitied her but, it was too late. The damage was done. She believed I was competition.
I had seen and heard enough. 2 years later, I got into the university. I decided that I wanted a husband, not a boyfriend. Yes, it didn’t matter that I would miss out on having someone to show off, gifts, love letter, etc. I did not want to be a fish brain. Those “October rush” guys made me laugh. I did not even give them 5 minutes because I suspected they wanted to laugh at me. Mba! Not I! Before they shared their manifesto, I already disqualified them. I was brutal because I was 18. I did not need any distractions. My goal was to finish medical school and then marry the man who had proven to me that he deserved my loyalty.
I have always been honest with God. I decided that he is the giver of good husbands so I made my life an audition. Whenever the Holy Spirit pointed out a flaw or defect in my character I would do my utmost to fix it because, I did not want God to change his mind about the kind of man he would give me. I wanted a premium man, a MAN not a boy who would be a prayer project for the rest of our marriage. There were times I said something and then I would remember that I was being examined; so I would repent and promise to do better. I devoted a % of my pocket money to books and when I read them I tried to change.
Back in the day, girls used to audition for great husbands. They would fetch water, farm and even clean for potential fathers-in-law. It was up to him to ask his son to marry her or not. God is the giver of all good gifts. I could not afford to audition for man because woe to he who puts his trust in man. If I move into a man’s house and give him wifely priviledges, how am I sure he is not laughing at me behind my back? I could not take that risk.
This article may seem directed at ladies but not so. As a man, you should be very concerned about the spiritual maturity of the lady you marry. Did you know that a study has found that women cheat more than men but just don’t get caught? Are you aware that social media is full of chat sites where lonely women catch fun? Would you like to pay school fees for children that are not yours?
My humble submission is that we have to be business-like about marriage. I kept reminding God that I was making the choices I was because I wanted to please him and so, he was responsible for the faithfulness of any son of his who he chose to hook me up with. When I met my husband, he had to convince me he had been living his life as an audition for God and for me. It was not an over night affair. That scipture said not everyone is mature enough to LIVE the married life. So one of my fave bloggers (warning: she can be raunchy but I love her anyway), http://www.thelmathinks.com, wrote about married bachelors. These are men whose wives never know their wherabouts. They even call the man’s friends to ask, “Have you seen my husband? Please tell him to call me” . Can you imagine that? Also, some wives fly to Dubai without infoming their husbands. All because they can afford to.
So, how do you hear from God regards marriage? The same way you should have been getting feedback concerning your audition, that’s how. How do you know he/she is the one? Is he/she also part of the audition? Is he/she mature enough, not to marry but to LIVE the married life? Does he/she have the APTITUDE (skill and intellect) and GRACE (divine enablement) for marriage? For e.g, married people tell someone where they are going. Single people can just take off to the moon.
Why are some good singles yet to marry? They are not ready, that’s the honest truth. You may accept it or not but age is not maturity. When you are ready, you will become far more unselfish than you could have ever dreamed possible. It will amaze you that someone else could actually come first. I stand to be corrected.
Are you already married? Kindly teach your children the business of marriage. It is a contract not to be entered into lightly. Be careful before you sign. Ask you lawyer (The Holy Spirit) to read the fine print first.
Happy new year muses. It’s a leap year. May your blessings come in leaps and bounds.
Cheers, Dr. N
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