Apologies for the long post; I have been harbouring this for a long time 🙂
Marriage has never been my preferable topic of conversation; I am more inclined to discuss the race to the White House, Jeremy Hunt’s viewpoint on abortion or my love for Supermalt (it’s an unhealthy obsession). My standing point on marriage has often been met with blank stares, a few gasps and just sheer utter disbelief as beautiful 20 something women struggle to understand why I am not racing to the altar or indeed concerned about it. Make no mistake, marriage is a beautiful institution; I honour and respect the sacredness of it, value the long-suffering and selflessness that is required to ensure its longevity and marvel at the way in which both parties stay committed to the cause. I do want to get married someday but I refuse to be consumed by it.
As women we tend to lean more towards the preparation for the wedding day itself as opposed to the journey. Most of us know the colour scheme we want to adopt, the friends and family that will constitute the bridal train, the wedding dress we will wear and whether we will have a traditional engagement or just the fairytale white wedding. The list is endless! I have met many women who have actively prepared for the day itself having never even met their spouse or would-be-husband but haven’t given the journey that we will ultimately embark upon after the wedding day so much as a second thought. I have come across one lady in particular who had a powerpoint presentation (I kid you not) of what the actual day itself would entail and as a result was beaming with pride at the fact that all the hard work for the day itself had been completed; the guy just now had to appear in her life but again, there were no slides on what it takes to be a valuable wife or how to stand by your spouse in the face of adversity.
And I hate to be the one that dampens the mood but the wedding day itself only signifies day one of what is set to be a long, meandering road to that place we call happiness. We have to internalise the fact that we are going to have to work at marriage and work hard at it. It will require tenacity and the ability to go through long suffering. Often time for the women that are like me, we will have to learn to just shut up sometimes plain and simple. We will have to learn how to let someone else step in and become the priest over our household. It is a serious commitment and I wish churches would emphasise more on the journey ahead as opposed to creating pressure on women to get married ‘before they are 30′ or ‘before your season passes you by.’ It would be so welcomed and so refreshing and maybe it would help to alleviate the statistics that show that 50% of all Christian first time marriages end in divorce. Deep.
Please read the next line I am about to relay and read it again: Marriage is not an achievement and it is not a prerequisite to enter the kingdom of heaven. Albeit, God does honour the institution of marriage and he has asked us to be ‘fruitful and multiply’ (Genesis 1:28) within the confinements of marriage but there is nowhere in the bible that says it’s absolutely mandatory.
I am getting tired of the unwelcomed advice telling me not to end up like the 55% of black women who at 30 are doing exceptionally well in their careers but are not married/have no spouse or even so much as a prospect. I know that this is a harsh reality but I need someone to tell me what virtues I need to acquire, how to deal with the unexpected storm or how to discover the purpose for my marriage. Every marriage has a purpose and it goes far beyond being the ‘power couple.’ I hunger for way more than that.
And this leads me swiftly onto my next point; I need to be bringing something to the table and I am talking way more than not being a liability, having your own car, money, career, house etc. I am referring to things that are truly lasting, the things that help to solidify a marriage and I only realised this when I did an internal appraisal on myself. With hindsight I can see I was way too proud believing that I would be an asset to any man because I have things firmly in place, I can contribute to a timely discussion etc etc…I developed a list of what my husband needed to have because I had all my ish all together…oh how young and naïve I was. I pleaded with God and developed a list back in 2009 which included that he had to be:
- Like Jacob in the Bible, someone that is willing to work hard to get me (Genesis 29:30)
- Like David in the Bible – a man after God’s own heart
- Driven/have ambition
- Not stingy
And this is only the shortened version! I had plenty more on this list besides. And I think that whilst there is nothing wrong with the above (Psalms 37:4) have I ever stopped to think if I myself am a reflection of what I want to see in a spouse??? Heck I am driven, I am intelligent and I can work hard, I told myself as I carried out my appraisal. No but Ola, this is a strong note to self: know that you don’t even have an ounce of patience; you cuss if you even have to wait so much as five minutes in the bank and yes you are willing to work tiresomely and very hard at your career but you are not prepared to work hard at your relationship. I am the first person to say ‘well I don’t need the extra added stress in my life so if you want to leave then just leave.’ (*Cue neck moving ferociously from side to side*)…How foolish of me!! And I am expecting my spouse to work for me like Jacob did when I needed to realise that it’s a two way street; I wasn’t even willing to put in the work myself!! Better yet, why hadn’t I ever developed a list of the type of wife I wanted to be???It was all about me me me and what I needed in a partner because I strongly believed in my warped mind that I was already an asset.
And now you can see that there is still a lot of work to do hence my nonchalant attitude. And I am not trying to say that you have to be perfect before you get married because marriage, I believe does ultimately make you better with time if it is done the right way and if we pattern after the blueprint of God. But I just think that we need to start acquiring knowledge and preparing for the journey after you utter those all important words ‘I do.’ We need to be bringing something to the table other than a career, money and a house. We need to be a boss lady in the traditional sense so that like Abigail in the Bible we know when to apply wisdom and be a covering for our husbands. Or like Esther, we know how to strategically fight the good fight of faith. Forget all this ride or die nonsense. As my mother always says, love is not enough to sustain a marriage so it is important you do the leg work for the journey ahead so that on rainy days where you don’t feel like you love your spouse so much, the long-suffering kicks in, the patience interjects, the strength to endure shows up. That’s what will ultimately stand the test of time so concentrate on preparing for the days to come and not just for the big day itself…Until the next time beautiful people…xxx