Essays / Generic / The Pontifical Papers

NOW THAT YOU WANT TO MARRY | A FEW POINTERS by Ayo Sogunro

The Proposal

Getting married, as someone has pointed out, is easier than getting a driver’s license. Consequently, a whole lot of people “get married” without much thought. However, the consequences of an accidental marriage are far reaching to the individual than unsteady driving. When we say, “accidental marriage”, as used in this paragraph, we mean, that you have not sat down and thought out the factors we’ll discuss below. You are probably only interested in marriage as the last stage of a romantic relationship—like a degree certificate. But marriage is more than just a destination, it is hard work. This article is not intended to scare or alarm you, but hopefully, to serve as a practical guide. Of course, life as a couple is better than being single, but a single person is far better than an unhappy couple. This guide is meant to help you become a happy couple or at worst, a happy single.

The Marriage

By itself, and even in the best of situations, a marriage is a problematic contract. It features the difficulties of having a business partner, an employee, and a boss all combined together in one transaction—often without any pay.  Even worse, you cannot terminate an unfruitful partnership at will, sack the irresponsible employee on the spot or leave the cruel boss at a moment’s notice—without risking severe social, religious, and legal censure.

Naturally, marriage involves these social, religious and legal commitments not just to another individual, but also to that other person’s lifestyle and life choices. It reduces your  own individuality and it also limits your personal growth. You will become forced on numerous occasions to choose between investing in the marriage or investing in yourself. Whichever decision you make in such circumstances, something will definitely suffer.

All these considered as a whole, marriage is generally best avoided.

The Individual

Assuming, of course, that you have the will and inclination to enter into a marital contract, irrespective of the preceding cautionary paragraphs, then you have to be very particular about the person you intend to get married to. Ordinarily, without any marital involvement, this person should be someone you would eagerly hire, theoretically to fill the following positions in your life: business partner, consultant, guidance and counseling officer, career advisor, best friend, house help, handyperson, confidante, emergency number, loan agent, personal physician–an endless list of practical requirements.

This individual you plan to marry will be someone whose presence you can tolerate at all times. The person is going to be in your face—night and day. Your personal space will be taken up by this person when you are not at work or outside. This other individual has to be a person with whom you are naturally in sync with. You do not have to agree on every point, but you should understand each other well enough to resolve issues easily. Remember, you plan to make a lot of little and major decisions with this person for several decades. You will have to make decisions such as your wedding venue, names for the babies, a school for the children, the location of your apartment or house, the colour of your curtains, the style of your sofa, the décor of your bedroom, how you spend your income, your attendance of extended family events, your sexual habits and routine, your attendance at religious events, your level of interaction with the opposite sex, and a million other tiny little things.

Now pause and ask yourself: as a single person, are you currently comfortable making these decisions with this other individual? Are there current examples of such decisions that you have both made—that do not relate to getting married? Do you currently enjoy, and welcome, the invasion of your space by the person? Do you two “get” each other? Do you understand each other’s psyche and motivations? Does this person know you well—or will the person be caught unawares by some facts about you after marriage? Can you vouch for the other person’s actions or omissions without hesitation? Do you both agree on fundamental philosophies of life and spirituality? Do you give each other inner peace?

If you cannot give firm and positive answers to the questions above, then you have no business marrying this person. If there are still aspects of the person’s character that irks or irritates you, then you should not marry the person. If you still intend to change that person’s nature, then you are not ready to marry that person. Going ahead to marry the person under any of these uncertain circumstances is unfair to both you and the other individual. Just one issue out of sync can be the cause of a lot of future grief.

You love the person, you may say. But the fact that you love the person is not enough—a lot of girls love Justin Bieber too. And no, your love is not special. Everybody loves someone at one point or another. Do not confuse love with marriage—they are different things. It is possible to have a working marriage without the kind of romantic “love” you have in mind, and it is possible to be in awesome love and have a bad marriage. A good marriage is not grounded in emotions alone. Of course, it is good to have both features combined; in fact, it is best. But when it comes to a marriage contract, a practical and comfortable friendship with the person is much more important than an emotionally charged but uncertain relationship.

The Circumstances

But what if you have met (and fallen in love with) the best person for you, are you really ready to marry the person? It is possible that you may be ready for the wedding, but totally unready for the marriage. The circumstances under which you undertake a contract of marriage are very important. You should be financially and materially prepared for the responsibilities involved in a marriage. You should have a fair idea of your income and that of your potential spouse as well as a potential idea of your household expenses. Marriage is not just an emotional commitment; it is also a financial commitment. Here is a handy article listing all the circumstances under which you should not venture into marriage.

If the primary circumstances under which you have decided on a marriage are age or social factors, or from family or peer pressure, then you are doing it wrong. You should not allow pressure to force you into hasty decisions. You have to sit down and count the costs of life beyond the wedding. Remember, you are no longer earning and spending for yourself alone. You have to factor in the possibility of having a child within the next nine to ten months of the wedding. Are you able to handle all of the responsibilities involved? Is your potential spouse able to handle all of the required responsibilities? Only if you and the other person are practically ready, with measurable evidence of your readiness, should you venture into a marriage.

You can get more unsolicited marital tips when you follow @ayosogunro on Twitter.

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45 thoughts on “NOW THAT YOU WANT TO MARRY | A FEW POINTERS by Ayo Sogunro

  1. Marriage is the toughest job on earth and no university degree prepares you . . . oh shoot this is where I say ‘brilliant’, ‘excellent’ and all that jazz rather than start taking the shine off you innit? Well done Ayo. Good on you

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  2. I still believe that staying together for a little while; 6-8months before wedding is good for both parties, though many will bring religion into it that it is wrong but divorce is worse, so by staying together both parties will be able to study each other very well before deciding whether to commit or walk

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    • Solid advice, still no guarantee. My hubby and I lived together for 2 years before we got married so we had definitely seen the good, bad and ugly plus we were best friends. Looks good right? Sadly, 7 years and 2 kids later doesn’t look so good. We almost always fighting and currently in counselling to solve our issues… Not saying this will always be the outcome just saying there are no guarantees in this thing called marriage *sigh*

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  3. Eh…well, I think it’s blindness that makes people think marriage is all sunshine and rainbows. Didn’t you see your parents’ marriage? It’s hard work. It’s. Hard. Work. I am under no illusions, especially as I’m a woman and I have the added burden of bearing children.

    Someone once said, A marriage is living and waking up to someone you sometimes want to kill…but don’t because you’ll miss them too much. Lol. I think that describes it.

    Another of my friends says we should stop marrying for love. We should marry for respect, trust, decent conversation and a minimum of physical attraction (optional). Oh well… 🙂

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  4. Nice article dude. Really on point. I’d better die a happy single that be in a bad marriage. Truth is that ladies have alot of options. What happens to adopting a baby or having a baby to keep you company before you hit your menopause

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  5. Ayo, I have always followed your write ups and I dare say this one ranks way up there. U nailed it bruv! Consider sharing this to more people on fcb, twitter et al. Well done!

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  7. Wow, it’s just like i thnk every1 should luk at it in my own perspective way, coz i just kip on asking myself d question dat should i be single or i should get married, coz no mata hw u try 2 make ur marriage work, smthing or sm1 will make u want 2 step beyond ur boundry, but if 1 should kip 2 d commitment and vows den remember dat everything is impossible without God.

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  8. Great work Ayo, but I will love to add this, that marriage is not a computerise device. That you programme a certain code and it always yield I desired result. Even computer programmes sometimes have virus. Humans are different they are dynamic in nature, unlike computer programmes, humans have the ability to change base on the circumstance that present itself at the moment. Marriage is work like you said, but even when all the checklist have been met it could change drastically without prior notice. What do you do then, quit!? No! Marriage is all about purpose, not love (you LOVE who you marry, not just marry who you love), not money not comfort, PURPOSE! Is much like going to school, you don’t go to school because you love chemistry, physics or maths…you go through all the hardship in school because you want to be a renowned doctor, Engineer etc and to make the world better than you met it. Marriage is the same. It is not a SELFISH UNION between two people for their own benefits. But a coming together of two individual with the same VISION for the greater good of mankind. I said that to say this, even if you don’t have the checklist requirements fully met and both of you are willing to bring to bear a common goal for the good of all, you will fight together against all odds and be the best couples. On the other hand, I have seen couples who made A+ on the checklist and broke up on the slightest provocation. Because they were only there for personal reasons. Having said all these, to me, marriage is about two people coming together to walk with God in the closest union ever, in order to make the world better than they met it and in doing that enriching themselves by discovering the hidden abilities locked inside of them.

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    • Olumeseeeeeeeeeeeee!!! well said. Now i’ll have to ask are you a marriage counsellor? Would not be a bad idea to have a chit chat with you as i need to learn more on this issue of marraige.

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  9. Marriage is even way beyond everything you’ve likened it to. it’s all about determination to keep going on. it’s just like life itself. many ppl say life sucks but they still live it anyway.

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  12. This is a ” must read”….I always tell people that not everyone is meant to get married… Most ppl marry due to social and family pressure… And then end up regretting it for the rest of their lives…this article has a 5 star rating…

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  13. Hello ayo,
    For the first time I don’t think you qualify to write on this issue…you are good with others but on this occasion way out of your league IMO and the reason is simple. Your description of marriage isn’t anywhere near what marriage is or is not because having being married for 11yrs I can categorically tell you that you have it all wrongly described. No one is ever ready for marriage. Having a 10yrs courtship doesn’t mean you know the person the moment you say I do. Neither does dating for 6month and getting married makes you unprepared. Even marrying your friend isn’t a guarantee of happiness. Two completely different adults making taking that step to remain as man and wife forever, even if it doesn’t last, is a great thing. The longevity of a union doesn’t mean they were happy or sad during the period.

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  14. MARRIAGE WOULD BE EASIER IF BOTH PARTNERS BREAK FREE FROM BAD HABITS BEFORE THEY GET MARRIED.. BREAK OUT FROM WHATEVER THING YOU NEED TO BREAK OFF FROM BEFORE GETTING MARRIED.. IF YOU ARE PROUD, KILL IT, IF YOU ARE HOT TEMPERED, KILL IT.. IF YOU WOMANIZE, STOP IT, IF YOU ARE AN ALCOHOLIC, BREAK THAT CHAIN,…. IN FACT STOP YOUR BAD HABITS WHILE SINGLE.. DON’T CARRY IT INTO MARRIAGE.. START LIVING A LIFE OF LOVE, SERVICE AND SACRIFICE AS A SINGLE. … KNOW GOD AS A SINGLE YOUTH.. WITH PRAYERS AND GOD’S MERCY, YOUR MARRIAGE WILL BE EASIER TO WORK ON.. THANK YOU…

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