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Dealing Effectively with Societal Pressures of Marriage
Charity they say begins at home, so in that light let me start this page by addressing an issue I consider vexing in our contemporary African society. The issue of our society's undue and unfair pressure on the unmarried. We Africa love marriage, and I don't think loving marriage is a bad thing but like the old saying goes, "too much of everything is bad" we have given marriage a ridiculous importance in the scheme of things and that is causing problems.
The hardest place to live as a single is perhaps Africa; people won't let be, family friends and foes alike. Indeed there is a certain stigma that comes with singleness here in our culture. singleness is seen and treated as a disease or a problem, when you are presumed rip for marriage and unmarried it is assumed you need help. That attitude and mindset in our contemporary African society is an error and one that must be corrected, because it is putting singles under undue pressure.
Even the church here is guilty of this same thing too, from the way marriage is preached; it is as if until a person is married he or she isn't matured or is irresponsible or needs help. Owing to this mindset about singleness and how the society treat single individuals, many singles feel bad about their single state or like Dr Myles Munroe said it " they mourn their singleness."
Singles Under Pressure
When a girl enters her late twenties and isn't taken storms begin to gather, here in Africa it is the time family members, friends and even foes alike will begin to poke nose into her matter. If she hits thirty without a husband, people will begin to insinuate as to why she is unmarried, as if it is their business. Her family members will be worried, People will say all sort of things, some will say it because she has a bad character, and therefore not a wife material others will say her family has issues, that why nobody wants to marry her. or that she has a spiritual problem.
With all these talks and gossiping going on over her, great pressure is being mounted her. For an unmarried lady in her thirties if she is not mentally and emotionally balanced worries will get to her, she will begin to feel pressured. One of the things I pray God deliver we Africans from is the spirit of gossiping; carrying other people's load about as if we care or it concerns us.
MEN TOO UNDER PRESSURE.
Men too are not immuned to this societal pressure I'm talking about, in the part Africa where I live an adult male that is not married is called an "ofeke" in committee of his mates, ofeke means worthless, it is believed that a real man is one that can fulfill the demand of a family and marriage. but the pressure is more on the ladies, because in Africa a man can still marry anytime he chooses to do so, so long as he has the money to but a woman's time passes.
if a man reaches the age of picking a wife and he is not forthcoming, it is believed that he too needs help, people will also insinuate as to why he still single. Top reasons they'll deduce will be that he is either not financially buoyant or that he has again a physical or a spiritual problem. Indeed there is enormous pressure all round on singles, that is wrong and counter productive.
where there is pressure there is panic and mistakes abounds. Marriage is an institution that demands wisdom and patience: a single mistake can prove deadly in it. It is an institution that people ought to enter into with clear mind and heart, and not pressured into. This page is not about the horrors of a bad marriage, if not I would have gone on to site some examples of what people suffer in marriage. Indeed marriage is deep and has far reaching consequences, when things go wrong in it hearts usually are broken. When I want to drum home the importance marriage to my audience, I usually tell them "marriage can end you literally, your life in a wrong marriage is like a candle in the wind"
Here are some basic truths of marriage and life in general you should know : they'll help you understand better the meaning and place of marriage in your life and why you shouldn't let anyone Bully You Into Marriage.
First thing first.
There are things that should be known and done before marriage. Preparation remains the key to success in any endeavor. The man that has not prepared adequately has prepared to fail. The reason why many marriages crash these days is because couples spend a lot of time with their wedding preparations at the expense of their marriage. They spend a whole lot of money on the wedding without sparing much thought for the marriage that comes immediately after the wedding. A good wedding does not make a good marriage neither does preparing for a marriage after the wedding.
A good marriage is only possible when both parties have understood what the demands of marriage are when they were still singles and made provision for them before stepping into the ring of marriage. John wooden said "when opportunity comes it is too late to prepare" it is true even of marriage, the things you need to do before marriage are more important than anything else you plan to do in marriage, because they are the foundation upon which you'll build anything else in marriage. Before you enter into marriage it is important you know and do three things.
first be close to your maker and know what you were meant to be and do. Achieve success on you own first because marriage can slow you down or even change the course of your life. Secondly know what marriage is all about; you can do that studying the scriptures, indeed all you need to know about marriage is in there. Going to Christian marriage seminars will equally help you. In a nut shell all I'm saying is equip yourself with the right information and knowledge on marriage. Thirdly be ready to pay the price that will be required of you for a happy marriage. Don't be deceived everything in life is at price.
Marriage is for the matured
Those pressuring singles into marriage all they see are physical maturity "oh you are of age, what is your problem" but physical maturity is not all there is to being due for marriage. There are such things as emotional spiritual and financial maturity too and, you must attain them to effectively deal with issues in a relationship. maturity has little to do with stature and a lot more to do with abilities and mentality.
A person's capacity to handle realities is what measures his or her maturity not just getting married, any idiot can marry and suffer a great deal in marriage but it takes a really matured person to make a marriage work. There are abilities and mentality that are required for marriage, to be matured for marriage is to first know them and to possess them. Someone said before you get married read at least twenty books on marriage, that's a whole lot you might say but the truth is marriage is a whole lot too and the adviser is just trying to preparing you for the realities of marriage. It always better to be over prepared for marriage than to be under prepared or to start preparing in it.
many who have throw caution to the winds just to be in people's good books, have been tossed and even torn the the wind. Don't throw caution to the winds because the repercussions are mostly personal and bad. Regrets are like grandchildren, and like the say they come after a deed had been done. It also better to be single praying to be married, than to be married praying to be single. The important things first thing first : be prepared, Abraham Lincoln said "If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my axe." that wisdom;learn it.
Marriage is overrated
MARRIAGE IS OVERRATED. It is my honest believe that marriage is overrated, the way and the place society has placed marriage is wrong. Marriage is not one of the commandments of God and therefore God isn't going to condemn anyone because he or she did not marry or be lenient on those who were married. contrary to what society will make you believe marriage is not a sign of maturity rather mature people make the most of marriage. A person's maturity can be measured by how he or she handles relationships.
Marriage will not fix you or make you better, but you need to fix yourself and make yourself better to make your marriage work. you mustn't marry my friend, you must not. I have a friend who told me he wants to get married because of his business, he said people find it difficult to give big jobs to unmarried men because they believe they are either untrustworthy or irresponsible, so to prove himself responsible and worthy and responsible he wants to get married. Wow what a wrong reason to marry! have you ever wondered why so many people are misbehaving in marriage? Well there you have it, It because so many people that are neither prepared nor understand marriage, have been pressured into it by our society.
The church too is guilty
Even the church is a culprit too in mounting this unnecessary pressure on the unmarried, in most churches today marriage has been so elevated that it is second to salvation on the table of the priority needs of a Christian as been preached. The way marriage is preached in churches today makes it look as if marriage completes a person, it as if without marriage you are failure, no that's not true with or without marriage you can fulfill your life purpose. And even without marriage the fulfillment will come faster because they'll be no distraction as apostle Paul noted.
someone sent me a whatsapp messages saying after salvation the next most important thing in the life of a believer is marriage and and I'm like seriously? What of service? After you are saved God requires one more thing of you before marriage and that is for you to serve. To Serve God through people in the place of your purpose and destiny in life. Being useful in the place of one's calling When society mounts pressure on you, just remember, God is not angry with you in your current state.
The truth is marriage is challenging, it requires wisdom sacrifice and patience to make it work. It is a bed of thongs just like Paul puts it " those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this" because they want to sell marriage to you, you won't hear this Bible preached deep and often in church. They are being economical with the truth.
Marriage Is Not for Everyone.
It is for the knowledgeable prepared, and willing. marriage is not a matter of rice and beans, it is a matter of rice and bones and to make it work requires more than a just a wedding. You need wisdom and other things, that if you don't have yet you must wait and acquire them first. Like I said before marriage is full of troubles, so if you don't like troubles marriage is not for you, stay on your own. When you are single you have only yourself to concern yourself with but when you enter into marriage and starts a family then your responsibilities adds on. you don't prepare in marriage, you prepare for marriage.
And again there is such a thing as a dedicated life, you don't have to marriage if you don't want to. There are people that have consecrated themselves to God and have denounced marriage for the service of their God, and it a noble to do, if it is what you want to do, don't let anyone deceive you or make you believe marriage is nobler. don't let anyone make feel bad, whether marriage or celibacy both sure does have their own set of challenges, none is without one
A bad marriage is fatal.
Marriage has ended many in our world like I said before and a bad marriage has all the potentials to end you too. I don't mean to scare you but the truth is a lot of people dead today had no business being dead if not for the husbands and wives they married. The saying that if you marry the right person you'll live twice your years and if not you'll die before your time is true. If a wrong partner doesn't kill you physically, he or she will do it psychological and even spiritually too as is the case in Africa here. All it takes to make life damaging mistakes are panic and pressure; both deprives a person of the sound judgment needed for right decisions making and taking. A marriage that didn't end well or is full of abuse leaves lifetime scares. wounds that are unforgettable. That is why before you enter into it is important to know what you are doing.
Marriage Is Not All God Made You to Do.
The truth is marriage is important but there are so many other things more important than it and those things should come first before marriage, things like salvation and fulfilling ones purpose on earth. Marriage is not the only thing you are supposed or were created to do on planet earth. As a matter of fact marriage was not the original intention for God for creating you , how do I know this? It because the original intention of God for creating Adam (the first human) was for relationship and to show forth his glory for he said "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness......" I believe the reason God made man in his image was because he wanted someone that looks like him he could relate with, and show forth his glory through.
That is why God dignified man and in the garden God did commune with man, up until man fell from grace. And our good lord Said to his followers "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" You owe God a relationship first, and to bring glory to his name first before any man or woman or marriage. Someone might ask, can't I do all that in marriage too? Well the truth is you can but marriage will slow down your speed and give you divided attention the only time you can serve God exclusively is when you single.
GOD EXPECTS YOU TO BE USEFUL FIRST.
What have you done for God or for yourself that you are so desperate to get married? God expects you to do something for him and develop your self before marriage, that is why he gave Adam a job before he gave him Eve, and his intentions for eve was that she would be a relief and not a burden to Adam. Eve cannot be a help mate unless she has something positive and progressive to bring to the table. The way God planned the man woman relationship was that the man must have something doing and that the woman should support him, both are meant to be useful. the pressure coming from the church and the society at large is heavy I know that, but no one can shave your hairs without your permission, all I'm saying is if you know and believe in why you are here, you won't let external interest and pressure derail your purpose. until you have fulfilled the original intention of God creating you: ignore every other things you see or hear, it will help you. Indeed the things God tell us and even do to or allow us go through are for our own good, you are not qualify for marriage until you are useful to God and will be useful to your partner in marriage, until you have meet God set standards.
I have seen a lot of young people destroy their lives at the alter of marriage because of societal pressure, don't fall a victim, you must learn to say no to things you know won't help you.
Marriage is a cage
Like I just said before marriage puts a limitation on you, it not all the things you did while you are single that are permissible in marriage. It might surprise to know that marriage can even reduce or slow down your relationship with your God, apostle Paul said " The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your inconsistency" in other words, in marriage mutual permission is required even in spiritual matters.
What It mean is you can be a spiritual heavyweight ; always in the spirit, and your wife or husband has the right to pull you out of the spirit for canal gratification from you; that what Paul saying: That's limitation. There is a limit to what is permissible in marriage. You may ask isn't possible to be useful to God in marriage, yes it is possible but the the truth is marriage is cage it restricts a person, marriage is a limitation and a burden and it is quite capable of slowing a person down. It is only when you are single and without marital care that you can serve God the way you like. There are things that if left undone while you are still single you will never be able to do get them done in marriage, when you become a husband or a wife, a father or a mother those things begin to compete for attention and the things you should have done in your youth, you'll find out that they will become secondary because other things will then matter more.
Marriage is a personal decision, and a journey.
when you mess up in marriage those who pushed into it, will not suffer with you. many of them will be the ones to gossip you. He who wears the shoes should know where it pinches, he should also know when he needs a shoe and when ashoes doesn't size.
MARRIAGE IS A JOURNEY. there is a big wall of difference between marriage and a wedding, whereas a wedding is an event albeit a one day event, marriage on the other hand is a journey, a journey of a lifetime. A decision that has a lifetime effect is not one that should be taken in a haste or to please anybody, it is also not one to be taken emotionally but logically because forever is too long a time to live with regrets.
Take your time
I heard someone say a white man only says be careful to someone he cares about but in Africa here be careful is an insult, I don't know why we find those words insulting. The best advice a man can give to you is to tell you "be careful" take your time to study your options in life. It is always better to be be prepared for marriage than to start preparing in marriage, the best way to mess up a thing is to dive into it unequipped and unprepared. Don't let what others say to make you make life damaging mistakes. One of the surest way to avoid regrets in life is to be careful and deliberate, in other words never be in a haste and know what it is you really and you are doing. Never panic rather think your way out of tight corners, that's why God gave you a brain in the first place. My people have a saying that "Oji nwayo adighi emelu aru" that is in English "the person that tread softly doesn't injure his or herself". It takes time patience planning and faith to succeed in anything you embark on. Get them and hold on to them.