Valentine day is around the corner once again and so we are reflecting on love life and established relationships, spouses, marriages or in search of that someone special to call our own. We are already planning the best gifts to surprise them with during valentine day, the flowers to choose, the appropriate venue to dine, the clothes we want to impress our loved ones with so the list goes on and on. Perhaps one decided to ask them to marry you on a particular day so now secretly prepares the best means to use to propose to ensure it is kept a top-secret with the pressure not to ruin the occasion. But keeping it in is not easy for one does not want it to slip out before the special moment to see the look on their face. When it was successful everyone present rejoices with us as we pray, thank God, worship, bless the couple and then we all celebrate their engagement in style with congratulations, hugs, kisses if acceptable, and prayers of thanksgiving, cards and presents.Hardly has the engagement been announced when one is now constantly bombarded with when the wedding is taking place. We are asked whether we have selected a date for the big day since they need to know in advance to book that day in diaries to ensure attendance of the wedding. We now seem to talk always about nothing except the wedding, wedding, wedding and can’t wait to get married. Something new, something blue, something borrowed, an umbrella, limousine, transport and coaches to arrange while everyone has advice for you to listen to. So the pressure is on to choose the day and one begins to check out venues, the type of meals to be prepared and how it is to be served. Favourite hot food varieties, cold food, vegetarians, allergies to be remembered, who can’t eat what. How to keep right temperature for each food, deserts and types of drinks suitable and age appropriate, the list is endless.
And oh that special attire for the groom and the wedding dress of every girl’s dream to be a real princess for that day if one was not already born as one. How about the number of costume changes for the couple and what each family should wear. Then there is honeymoon to plan to get to a special destination where the two of you will make the most of it without any intrusions. The race begins to choose the fabrics, styles, the shapes, how many costumes to wear and how often to change clothing or details we desire to make a statement to impress on arrival for the bridal march. By the way one reminds everyone, it is your special moment to shin, so you want to be in control of all aspects of the details of the planning and preparations process. One wants to have the final say on everything so becomes fixated on the wedding details, the entertainment, on the day it will finally happen and be single no more in Jesus Name. The ring is talk of town worn proudly to prove you achieved dream vision as an engaged person.
One begins to write invitation cards upon invitation cards, colour coded to each family or those privileged to seat at the high table to ensure everyone who really matters is included. However much the list is shortened it goes on and on forever, yet the budget shows it is not possible for all who wish to attend to be invited. Phone calls upon phone calls made and letters posted, emails sent, Facebook, twitter, instagram and even people are despatched as messengers to relatives all over to prepare for the big day. Speeches to make, choosing dance routines for the first dance and group dances, selecting the best photographers, cameras, videos, picture list for the wedding albums to ensure the day is perfectly documented for future posterity. One finally agrees on group photos and who will stands next to the family members you were constantly told about had never met before or ones you did not know existed. Yes the wonderful and interesting in-laws, God bless them. They remind you often about how precious their child is to them, how they love and took great care of them and now you are made to feel like you are snatching their most precious treasure from them.
Yet they need not feel that way for they are gaining an anointed person and God’s blessing adding value to the family. You are fulfilling God’s commandment in Genesis 2:18, it is not good to be alone. However, instead of feeling elated one feels exhausted, tired, running up and down with so many changes in the budget already 3 times over the original one while trying to remember all the details so as not miss any particular aspect of the wedding. All seems to happen in getting everything well-organised by you, friends, family, and event planners. Eventually after a few unexpected hitches here and there everything seems to going well. The more focussed one is with intense prayers than ever before, one soon recognises fantasies about marriage dwindle each day as reality sets. It now dawns on you that wedding novels and TV dramas look so easy and not quite what you are experiencing. The partner may not quite be as passionate any more and you hope all things come together to make a great day to remember. Suddenly, the big day is here, gifts arrived and the wedding list honoured beyond your expectations. The church is beautifully decorated with your favourite colours, flowers, carpets, seats nicely covered, the reception is excellent and everyone is looking their best. Despite this glorious day still some give you looks and make faces to keep to alert they are not keen but compelled to go along with it.
They had no choice but to compromise for if one cannot beat them, one joins them and wears ones best clothes to grace the happy occasion. By the end of the big long day you felt everything went perfectly well as you intended. It was a great day as everything worked together for good as planned and you all rejoiced together. You thoroughly enjoyed yourself and had all the attention and congratulations you deserved. You left for honeymoon. You feel wonderful but tired and soon recovers from it all. The cost went up yet you miraculously made it with a bit to spare for the mortgage and the new car. You started married life with high hopes but each day becomes routine and back to normal with a new responsibility each day. Mum is no longer around to do things for you anymore. As a matter of fact, some things you never did before are now expected from you. You wonder what you let yourself in for. You remember the marriage counsellor’s sound advise on how to love, respect, and honour each other. Daddy’s little girl and mummies little boy have truly grown up and facing the music by yourselves. The first meal you tried to cook tasted nothing like your mother’s cooking. You followed the recipes accurately and even called mum to describe each stage of cooking to ensure everything was combined correctly.
Somehow yours tasted differently but the husband thinks it is a one-off so things will turn out better his mum’s food. Somehow little things never noticed before now irritates and the relation is not as deep as at the beginning. One wonders if one made a mistake or picked the wrong partner. The truth is 3 months marriage counselling session is never enough to last a lifetime of marriage. This is real the beginning of getting to know and understand one another to work towards changes experienced to adapt to each other. This is the time to pray more and seek God’s face and stay in a good church, in addition to family support so the marriage bed is not defiled because of vows made to forsake all others to have and to hold each other. This is a critical transition stage that couples do not anticipate due to focus on the wedding more than preparing for the next step beyond the wedding. The couple needs to avoid the temptation to badmouth partners to well-meaning family and friends especially unmarried ones who have no clue to married life. The same love from the beginning must be kept aflame by setting time aside to continue have time together to date, do things as a couple so not to drift apart. This is a crucial time to build a strong foundation between the couple before children enter the equation.
As soon as, pregnancy sets in changes happen in the woman’s body, the man is going to feel changes in the relationship depending on how the woman copes with pregnancy. The child introduces a new level of affection and attention and it is important to love the child but do REMEMBER YOUR MARRIAGE COMES FIRST BEFORE THE CHILD. THE CHILD IS A BLESSING FROM GOD BUT THEY GROW AND GO WHILE YOU WILL REMAIN TOGETHER FOREVER IF YOU BELIEVE SO. The maternal instinct must never be allowed to take over to ignore the husband and complain they are jealous needy ‘babies’ who refuse to grow up. The spouse must always honour the husband as an example to the children to follow. For marriage work to last long must put each other first without neglecting child to reflect to reconnect again. Some women at times feel not sexy any more by caring for child become tired and exhausted. The mother needs extra help from husband and family to keep house, do the laundry, shop, remove rubbish, cooking cleaning. If one above cleaning cooking and helping yourself ensure you maintain the home by getting help rather than insulting the wife of not doing her chores. It takes two to tango so the relationship must be developed by both because your wife is not your mother.
You need to step up to help father your child as a good role model of true manhood to the child. Picking on the beloved mother who means the world to the child is not going to endear you either. As much time and dedication that was invested into the wedding plans and preparation must be the same serious intensity put into the marriage to work because wedding is not the end destination. It is rather a new beginning to adjust and accept one another warts and all. So never ever try to change the partner because you can only change yourself. Commit the marriage into God’s hands to change your husband because the heart of every man is in God’s hands. Continue to give affirmation and focus on the positive things that attracted you to each other. With God’s help it will be well with you and you live see your children’s children to beyond the 5th generation. A good man out of the goodness of his heart leaves inheritance for his children’s children includes high moral standards, fidelity, purity, work ethics, property, honour, humility, faith in God. Make sure you discuss plans for the short and long-term beyond 20 years and work towards goals you set for the children’s education funds, business plans.
Do not live as two separate people in a bed and breakfast. The older women are requested by God to encourage and support the younger wives and couples. It is necessary to confide in a reliably experienced married couple whose life is a testimony to you, who does not talk carelessly. Create a meaningful relationship that gets better every day. Continue to forgive each other so not to defile others with your private personal and family life. Life is easy if you determine to commit your marriage permanently to God and not to allow outside influences to shake your trust, faith and confidence in God and each other. Remember a gentle answer quenches anger so do not react in the heat of the moment. Agree in advance on how to settle scores so as not to cross the line before it is too late to take back hurtful words that damage your relationship. Use wisdom and bridle your tongue to know when to speak and when to keep quiet. Apply the word of God to comfort, uplift, build you up to exalt and edify each other in Jesus Name through the fruits of the Holy Spirit. With God for you who can be against you in Jesus Name.