Marriage Takes More Than Being In Love

black-couple“Why do you want to marry him?”

The counselor asked me when my fiance and I started our marriage counseling class in the church we were to get married.

“I love him. I am really in love with him.” I said very confidently expecting the counselor to nod in approval. Rather, he let out a chuckle and said:

“Marriage is more than being in love because sometimes along the way you are really going to feel you are no longer in love or that you fell in love with the wrong person.” He said very calmly.

“Sir, are you trying to discourage me? This guy is really a good person and one I am sure I could spend the rest of my life with.” I said still confident that I was in love enough to marry him.

“No, I will never discourage anyone from getting married to whoever they desire but I like to tell new couples that while dating and courting are like shadows, marriage is the real image. You have to be sure that that guy is THE PERSON you want to spend the rest of your life with. After the wedding, there will be some changes about and in him that you may not like. I hope you know that then you CANNOT fall out of love with him? Marriage is like entering a room with the lock on the other side; where neither the husband nor the wife can open the door except God. You are stuck in that room with the choice you make.”

I thought about the much he said and still knew I was making a decision of faith! That was how I saw and still see it. Since I could not go into the future to see what ten or twenty years will be like being married to him, I concluded that marriage has to be by faith. You CANNOT know ALL of the other person except as God allows.

“Yes, I still want to marry him in spite of what tomorrow may bring but I know God will not allow me suffer in marriage if He intends it is for good.”

I did not know if I convinced him enough or if he was just doing his job but I knew I wanted to get married at that time though fully aware of the fact challenges would come. For that I was already equipping myself.

One of the lessons I learnt from one of my mentors – Pastor Bimbo Odukoya is that marriage is a ministry – it takes more than just falling in love. It is a responsibility we are accountable for. Unfortunately, most people get married because they are in love and end the marriage when they ‘fall out of love’. Not until I got married and having my own experiences did I understand what my counselor meant when he said, “you CANNOT fall out of love with him.” I discovered that as we grow together and get to understand each other better love grows and flow naturally. We never fall out of love; we only needed to grow more in love!

Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love. Proverbs 5:18-19 ESV

The unfortunate truth is, romantic love like other emotions changes with time. As you get used to one another the feeling is no longer the same like when you were dating but does not mean less of what you felt before you got married. The initial excitement and adrenalin of the first few years fades away with the passage of time; especially when the children starts coming and one spouse needs to take a more time consuming job to increase income. It will take each of the spouse deliberate efforts to maintain the thrill and romance so that one is not tempted to seek it outside the home.

Sometimes people find it difficult to deal with this problem as they believe they need the excitement, passion and love rekindled.

A man was flirting with one of the young girls at work and when his friend cautioned him he said, “My wife is old.” It was meant to be a joke but I felt it was a very expensive one when I overheard and wanted to know if he did not know she would grow old before he married her. The issue was they have been married for over fifteen years with three children and he does not find her as attractive as when he married her. He was simply being selfish! Was he was expecting her shape to still be the same with age and after giving birth to three children.

I understand that because of negligence on the part of some women it may make their husband find them unattractive and be tempted by some other woman they find more attractive. A husband should not give the excuse because he wants another woman’s body that is yet to have as much children as his wife or has not seen tolls of years as his wife.

I am not trying to sound hard on men here. It rarely happens to them because our society considers it more shameful for a married woman to see another man. So how come it is almost normal for a married man to be seen with another woman? It is no big deal if a man is CAUGHT having extramarital affairs, but the woman can be banished if she finds herself in same position. It happens even in the church!

It is better to fall in love and remain that way or walk into love and grow than to fall in and fall out. You will eventually fall in love with as many you may not be able to remember.

I wish your union plenty of bliss!

Do You Wish Your Spouse is Someone Else?

black-man-thinking-e1331272149682Four years after Tunji and Sheila got married he felt their marriage was a total blunder. Although there were no major challenges with the marriage but he felt he would have been happier if he had married Nkechi, the girl he dated in the University. He had proposed to Nkechi just before graduation and she didn’t accept his proposal because her parents will not consent to inter-tribal marriage. Two years later, he met and married Sheila but kept a distant and platonic relationship with Nkechi and later her husband. Once in a while Nkechi and her husband would invite Tunji and Sheila for dinner just to keep the friendship. At each visit, Tunji would wonder what a wife Nkechi would have been, he saw it in her husband’s face, he was a very happy man. Tunji wished he was in Nkechi’s husband’s position. Six years after breaking up with his University love, Tunji still felt Nkechi would have being the best for him.

Have you ever being in a situation where you start picturing yourself with another person? Maybe an ex or someone you feel if you would have been better off with if you had married him or her. Nobody knows it but you just wish you were married to someone else you think is better than your spouse. Again, it might not even be an ex, it maybe someone you consider more beautiful or handsome, more intelligent, wealthier, more influential than your spouse. Sometimes, it could even be someone you think is more caring; little things that your spouse remembers or forgets, makes you laugh or respond to your jokes, encourages you to open up, ignore your witnesses or help you improve on them, etc.

While my husband and I were courting, I had a married friend I thought was having the best times in her marriage. She told me of all the wonderful things her husband did for her while they were dating and still do for her, which even included shopping for her. She told me many things that I wished my fiance then, should do for me. I started to consider her luckier than me that I told my fiance I wanted him to do those things for me too. How unfair I was! But I am glad that I didn’t push him too far because I quickly discovered that it was just an unfair and unreasonable comparison that didn’t worth giving a thought to.

Let everyone be sure to do his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work done well and won’t need to compare himself with someone else. Galatians 6:4 (LB)

When you find yourself comparing your spouse qualities with the qualities you admire in another person you are likely going to think you married the wrong person. The truth is, we easily forget the little things we saw in our spouse that made us agree to marry and spend our lives with them.

A young married man was having a struggle with lust. It started with comparing  a colleague’s physique with his wife’s and wishing that his wife was as ‘shapey’. This colleague had all her statistics well pronounced! He confided in another colleague Steve that he most times fantasizes his female colleague nude and imagines her when he is with his wife. Although he had tried to date one other lady just to fulfil this fantasies but there were more than one woman he had imagined sleeping with. Do you know it is same as having an affair with any of these female colleagues?

The Bible says in Matt 5:28 “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Steve had same problem when he started working with the organization. How did he overcome this struggle and the temptation to be unfaithful to his wife? First, Steve talked to his wife about his struggle and they sincerely committed it to God to help him deal with it.

While talking to one’s spouse about a sexual struggle one may be having about someone else may work for one, it may not work for another. It may even breed bigger misunderstanding; you have to identify what works for you based on the way you have been relating with your spouse. If you know revealing such truths will hurt the marriage then get a counselor to help you handle the situation.

As harmless as admiring someone who is not your spouse maybe could also lead you to thinking that they could in some ways be better than your spouse. Admiration itself is not bad, but you must watch the motive for such admiration. If a woman gets certain compliments continuously from a man, it may expose them to a situation where the man could be free to say what he is not supposed to say to her. The truth is what you conceive in your heart is what comes out of your mouth. One day what you truly admire will be expressed in action.

Ironically, when one falls into the sin of adultery many tend to think it as something that was not planned for. No! It had all the while being in the heart of the person without realizing that it will soon manifest. Even when no one knows what you are thinking, as you continue to feast your mind on it, it will come to pass.

When you get to a point where you are comparing your spouse to someone else, you have to commit it to God to help you see the good you saw when you decided to marry him or her and deliberately make efforts to improve on your relationship with your spouse to guard against predators.

You will succeed!