Lately, for strange reasons, I have been saturated with information from blog posts, articles and Scriptures on life after the wedding day. This, as expected, has poured some chill on my lovey-dovey heart as regards the requirements for staying in the marriage.
You see, I have had what I term a head-knowledge about these nuggets but never had they carried such weight of importance as they do now. A probable reason is that I am slowly approaching that season of life where this information might quickly be put to good use.
Permit me to share a bit about myself.
I am a twenty-something female; commencing post- graduate studies, single and yet-to-be-found. I am deeply in love with God, youths, and writing. I was taught by Scriptures and parents that marriage is a life-long commitment to another imperfect person (This is one lesson, by the way) and I do not make that commitment until I am convinced I will stand by it.
Coming from this background, it is little wonder I take issues of marriage and purpose (another topic dear to my heart) with such grave caution. I am fully aware that no amount of knowledge garnered can effectively replace the experiences in marriage but I believe it will prepare you by creating shock absorbers in your mind before you experience it.
That said, here are top five lessons for my fellow singles and perhaps, newly-weds.
DISCLAIMER: I do not count myself to have apprehended yet the intricacies of marriage. This post is not written from knowledge based on experience. I am still a 'rookie' in matters such as this. However, I do not believe that these should prevent me from sharing a couple of life-changing nuggets, especially as some may never have heard it said this way. So here I am writing from the standpoint of a student.
1. MARRIAGE IS NOT ABOUT THE FEELINGS OF ECSTASY; IT IS A COMMITMENT
"Love is not a feeling that you feel when you feel a feeling you have not felt before."
I stumbled on this quote about 5 years back and it has stayed with me even though I must admit it is difficult to recall this when there are butterflies in your tummy. It bears no trouble repeating that love is the action carried out after the words have been spoken.
When you can't stay for more than five (5) minutes without thinking about him or her; when controlling your imagination, memories and ecstasies is an uphill task; when your paths naturally migrate towards each other in quick spans of time; when you get so engrossed with the intricacies of planning for the big day; when you finally stare into her eyes and all your hopes and dreams are wrapped up into a perfect female standing before you and saying "I do", remember that love is all that and more.
A blogger says everything listed above is one long emotional high that God arranges to get us into the real deal where our commitment to our words is tested for a lifetime. God says love suffers long and will never fail.
2. THE FEELINGS WILL GO AWAY
This is closely related to the first. We singles, sometimes erroneously believe that those heady feelings will last forever. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We could learn from long-term relationships - if you have been in any - that the mushy feelings eventually develop wings and fly away when the realities of the other's weaknesses and low points set in. In marriage, however, this is intended by God to be replaced with the stronger force of committed love to the other half.
When your stay in the marriage is no longer guaranteed by the fickle feelings that brought you together but a deep commitment to God and your spouse, you know you are in for a jolly ride. This truth acquired and practiced before marriage helps prepare for the eventualities. So right there, ask yourself "Will I be committed to this man 5, 10, 20 years from now?"
3. YOUR SPOUSE IS NOT GOD
It is trite that when you get married, your spouse does not automatically assume the role of God in your life. I know as singles, we think otherwise. We, ladies, begin to see him as lord, saviour, comforter, provider, etc.
The fact is he can only be mini-God (if there is anything like that); providing these repertoires of services in the maximum quality as only a human can. God still remains God and is not about to trade places with a human over your life.
Don't you reckon that there are certain things which can never be done by anyone else save God in your life? He is that smart. If he wasn't, we would saunter off with our lovely sweethearts and never need him again.
So when you badly need someone to understand your emotional highs and lows without questioning and sweet, charming hubby cannot get a hang of it, remember that your spouse is not God. If he helped you through it as a single, he is more than reliable as a married.
4. GET RID OF UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Once while chatting with a senior friend about having definite expectations of people, he quipped "Keep that lesson in mind. You'll need it especially in marriage".
I have, like most ladies, tons of 'should-be, must-have, cannot-do' lists for my to-be husband. A lot of them are generated from observations on my parents' marriage, other model couples, and relationships in general.
Now, I am slowly coming to the realization that most of them are unrealistic and will lead me to depression, if not fulfilled by my prince charming. Hence, yours truly is adjusting to this by mentally undoing the settings.
This is not to say that the basic expectations of a good man should not be in place; the aim is to make us do a mental check-up of those externalities that do not make for a pressure-free marriage.
A quick one is “He must help out in the kitchen as my Dad did.” Perish the thought, honey.
5. MARRIAGE IS WORK
This one has probably given me more chills than the others. I do not fancy the oxymoron of love and work in the same sentence. I reckon that if it is love, it should be easy and self-actualized. However, this has been proven wrong on all counts.
Dear single, get ready to dig in and get dirty if making it work long-term is your goal. This is because it would seem the entire elements are contrived to make your love life difficult but viewed from a higher perspective, the same elements join forces to make the sail an easy one when your heart and actions tally.
We must prepare to work at effective communication, mutual understanding, raising children, running a home, great sex life, purpose, and ministry, among other things.
There are much more lessons to be shared and learnt as knowledge hasn’t ceased. It is my prayer and desire that as singles, we will keep these close to our hearts as we fulfill our happily-ever-after.
And as newlyweds, the daily experiences will afford you the opportunities to bring to life the knowledge gained and indeed be a sweetheart to your spouse. Shalom.
DianaAbasi Okop is a lawyer, creative writer, and speaker with a passion for inspiring others through lessons drawn from life’s experiences. She reads, sings and creates fancy ideas about what purpose life could offer aside the practice of law. A lover of God with a heart for impacting youths, she is simply on the pursuit of destiny. You can connect with her on facebook or via email.