By Francis Ewherido
Recently, I felt my marriage course participants were getting too comfortable and lethargic as they were preparing for marriage. I decided to jolt them by showing them the other side of marriage, starting from the lesser drawbacks. I had barely gone 30 percent when I started noticing anxiety in their faces. One of them, who could not take it anymore, blurted out: “Excuse me, sir, you are scaring us.” My intention was not to scare them from marriage, so I stopped.
I only wanted to give them a fuller picture of the institution of matrimony. You need to fully understand what you are getting yourself into so that you can be better prepared. The Bible records that when God finished creation, he saw that everything he created was good (Genesis 1). So how did marriage become hellish? Man (and by extension woman).
Nobody goes into marriage with an intention to fail. That is why we spend time to prepare for marriage. The process normally starts with courtship, a period when we date our potential spouse to determine his/her suitability as a lifetime partner. During this time you are supposed to study your spouse thoroughly to know his/her good, bad and ugly traits.
If all you see during courtship are his/her good qualities and you do not notice the bad and ugly, you are not in love but in lust and you need to put the relationship on hold and go for deliverance. You need deliverance from lust so that your head can be cleared to see clearly. You must know the bad and the ugly of your fiancé (e) so that you have a foretaste of the hell you are planning to get yourself into.
What makes marriages partly hellish is the person of your spouse and your inability to adjust to and cope with his/her person. Even when you are largely compatible, poor management of the few areas of divergence can make your marriage hellish. Added to these are those traits you never knew of before marriage. It is either they were hidden from you, or you were not observant enough, or they were dormant and only became active when new circumstances arose.
Those dormant traits that become active all of a sudden can be earth shaking and very unsettling. You cannot prepare for them because you do not know what they are. Even your spouse might not know they are there. Something just triggers them. But just know they are there and like a volcano will erupt someday. Added to the aforementioned are deliberate meanness, evils and wickedness from spouses: Welcome to the hell called marriage.
But marriage is good because it was creation by God and I still believe that the family unit remains the best setting for the perpetuation of mankind. But those going into it and those already in it must understand what marriage is: hell. Even marriages made in heaven (I strongly believe that some marriages are made in heaven) are hellish. So the challenge is how do you cool the hell called marriage to make it habitable? You install enough cooling systems.
One, I said earlier that your spouse is a combination of the good, the bad and the ugly. Learn not to dwell on the bad and ugly only. Look more at the good and learn how to manage the bad and the ugly. I pray the bad and ugly are manageable, if not, your case is desperate. Two, even if you feel your spouse has logs in his/her eyes impeding his/her vision, remove the speck from your eyes so that you can see clearly to remove the logs in spouse’s eyes.
Three, every person is full of sh*t, aka bad and ugly. So while your spouse is tolerating yours, you have to learn to tolerate his/hers. Four, I do not know of any other institution or situation that tests your patience like marriage. Marriage tests your patience beyond limit. So, if you are not patient, please enroll in the school of patience and do not think of graduation. You remain a student in the school of patience as long as you are married. Five, when it comes to marriage, forgiveness comes undiluted the way Jesus explained it (Matt. 21-22).
Anything short of that will make your marriage hellish. Six, remember how the Bible defined love? God is love (1 John 4:8). St. Paul now broke it down it down for us in 1Cor. 13: 4-8. Aim to love as God loves. You will certainly not get to God’s standards, but you will get to a level where love becomes a coolant in your hell, sorry marriage. Seven, you must learn how, when, what and where to talk.
Remember good listening accompanies compliant talking and do not ignore empathy. Still so much to add, but I will stop here today. Just to add that the real challenge is not the ignorance of these coolants, because many of us already know them. The application is where many fail and this failure makes marriages hellish.
Anyway, remember that no matter how cool (happy) your marriage is, marriage is still hell. You only installed enough quantity of quality cooling systems to make yours habitable. But what happens when the cooling systems malfunction or public power supply and your generator fail simultaneously? Marriage becomes hellish even if for a little while. You now see why there are no perfect marriages, including those made in heaven.