By Mitchell Munyaradzi Gumbo
Finding a life partner is arguably the second most important decision one will ever make the first of course being choosing Jesus to be your Lord and Saviour.
Its glorious to be in love particularly the first days. As hormones rage through our bodies, life seems to be all about wine, roses and chocolate. The lady sees her wedding dress and the decor while the dude sees himself driving his queen into the sunset.
Time moves, the relationship becomes serious and the talk of marriage becomes daily bread yet even those madly in love like the proverbial Solo and Mutsai can’t help but wonder,”Are we really ready for marriage?”
Nagging doubts about marriage are normal even for those in love. With unhappy marriages everywhere and divorce rates astronomical, its understandable that one would want to proceed with caution as they contemplate this life-altering step called marriage. Particularly for us Christians, marriage is for life!
Its like a disco, no matter how the music changes, you keep dancing! As you stand on the threshold of such a great decision, there are pertinent questions you need to ask yourself. Love blinds us unfortunately to glaring red flags.
A lot of divorce would not occur if we did thorough pre-marital investigations but sadly for most of us when our heart beats and we hear Michael Bolton singing so softly everytime our partner calls, we throw all caution and reason to the wind.
The first thing before you find a right mate is for you to be the right mate! People waste time and resources looking for the ethereal and utopian Mr or Mrs Right without making themselves right. You don’t demand change from people, you inspire it by how you relate and deal with them. I am because you are!
Take a look at the World’s Most Perfect Husband , Jesus Christ who is married to the Church (Ephesians 5 v 25), before He married the Church (by dying for her and being raised from the dead), the Bible records that “….He grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with GOD and men” (Luke 2 v 52).
Dear reader, before you get married, make sure you are grown. Marriage is for men and women not boys and girls! Using Luke 2 v 52 as a template, we see four vital areas in which Jesus grew before He said I do…
He grew in wisdom –
Proverbs 24 v 3 says “A house is built by wisdom….”. Having money, fame or curves that can break a man into two will not sustain neither will it build a home. Before you say I do, grow in wisdom, develop mental aptitude, acquire skills.
You will be shocked at the number of people who get married without having studied anything about marriage or listened to any advice or sermon pertaining to marriage. Someone defined wisdom as that ability to know what to do, when to do it, where to do it and how to do it. Marriage will call such traits to action very oftenly.
Marriage will require you to know when to talk, where to talk and how to do so among other things that require wisdom to avoid conflict. A dear lady called complaining about how her husband didn’t listen to her.
I asked when, where and how she spoke to him to which she replied,” Well ,I usually try to talk to him when he is watching soccer with his friends”. While soccer can never replace our women, very few men will give you undivided attention when you try to talk to them as Man United beats Bayern Munich.
Wisdom brother, will stop you from commenting about how fine the waitress is yet you have complimented your wife’s new hairstyle. Thankfully the Bible admonishes all of us to ask GOD for wisdom and the promise is He will grant it to us freely and without reproach (James 1 v 5). In all you getting, before you even get the lobola or the colour of the wedding gown, get wisdom! Its a principal thing…
He grew in stature –
We can’t obviously have 12 year olds getting married. There is need for literal physical growth before you commit. However, growth in stature also means a growth in personal quality and recognition borne of your personal achievements.
Especially for us men, growth in financial stature is imperative. Apostle Paul doesn’t mince his words “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 v 8.
Before you say I do, do you now have the financial muscle to tackle marriage’s basic financial needs? Food, rentals, clothing, tuition fees? While I am a romantic, I am also pragmatic enough to realize that love will neither pay the bills neither will it feed my family. Like all men, I am called to ask GOD to bless the works of my hands (Deuteronomy 28 v 12) so that I be able to adequately provide for my family.
There is nothing really romantic about poverty. Infact poverty creates a vicious cycle such that it perpetuates itself by killing cognitive development in the family till successive generations can’t reason their way out of lack.
He grew in favor with GOD-
The state of your relationship with GOD will inadvertently determine the state of all your other relationships. If someone can’t love Jesus who died for them what will you, as a mere human being do, that will drive them to truly love you?
Its pivotal to have a thriving relationship with GOD before you say I do. GOD designed the institution of marriage and whenever problems arise therein, its advisable that you go back to Him! For those who are very single, a close relationship with GOD enables you to hear His Spirit with clarity and that will enable you to make a better choice.
Not all that glitters is gold. You don’t fall for someone just because they are hot, hell also is hot. You need GOD’s GPS in locating your mate. However, just for the record ,don’t be spiritually manipulative. Just cause you felt in your spirit that so and so is your mate, does not mean you approach them armed with,”Thus saith the LORD you are my spouse”.
Have some class please. The other myth I want to debunk is “I got my partner after days of prayer and fasting so my relationship will be heavenly”. The reality is even a God-given mate will at one time rub you the wrong way.
He grew in favor with men-
Jesus also honed his relational and social skills. I know of creepy people who claim that they can relate with GOD alone and not fellow human beings yet Jesus was close to His Father and His fellow human beings. Before you say I do, you need to sharpen you communication skills because research says marriage is 85% communication.
Great communication usually birthes great marriages. Before you say I do, check how your partner relates with others not just you. The true test of a person’s character is seen by how he treats those he has no relations too. Them shouting at waiters, at till operators maybe a hint to you that one day when they get angry, they will shout obscenities at you too. How does your partner handle conflict?
Do they give the silent treatment or they get downright violent? Do they have any other friends except you. It may seem cute that they say you are their only friend but probe yourself why they can’t relate with anyone else. No matter how fine you are, being naggy, rude and temperamental is a no no.
Pertinent questions to self before you say I do
1. Can my partner handle conflict? – Avoid those who shun from talking things over but resort to stone silence or violence.
2. Do you share the same faith? – A common faith holds a family together
3. Will they kiss divorce goodbye? – Divorce happens because people make it an option.
4. Will they be good parents? – You are not just choosing your own future wife or husband, that person will also become your kids’ future mum or dad.
5. Do they forgive? – James 3 v 2 says “We all stumble in many ways…” that includes you. In marriage you will inevitably err so you need a forgiving someone.Will they forgive you when you burn the new Gucci shirt as you iron it?
6. Do they communicate? -Its hard to love someone you don’t know, someone who is a closed book.
7. Are they humble? – Do they serve others or its all about them? Marriage is a win win scenario…
8. Giver or taker? – After spending time with them,do you feel invigorated or drained?Do they give love or they just take love?
9. Are they faithful -A ring doesn’t change someone’s character that much.If they cheat while you are in a relationship know for sure that they may cheat when you marry.
10. How deep is their love? – Is there love all weather or its just for the sunny days? Will they love you in the bus or they just love you in the limousine?
You can reach Mitchell Munyaradzi Gumbo on [email protected], Facebook – Mitchell Munyaradzi Gumbo or Twitter – @mitchelgumbo