Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On Your Marks, Get Set, Marry!



A few years ago, I participated in a marriage seminar where something happened that really struck me. After concluding a session titled ‘Like Father like Son, like Mother like Daughter’, the facilitator asked the audience to raise their hands if they wanted marriages that were (at most) as happy as their parents’. We were at least 350 young people in the audience, and only one lady raised her hand.

Today I pose that same question to you. Do you want a marriage that is (at most) as happy as your parents’?
 

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I am grateful for my parents, both of whom are Pastors. Among other things, I have learnt a lot from various marriage-counselling sessions they have ‘hosted’ over the years. I have seen marriages disintegrate, and worst of all – I have seen children suffer the effects of ‘failed’ marriages. Failed marriages are real, and they are a scary prospect!
 

I have seen husbands splurge on luxuries while their wives went without necessities! I have seen wives refuse to speak to their husbands for weeks!! I have seen husbands reduce their wives to the role of ‘cook and sex-slave’ – regardless of her level of education!!!
 

All these people were very much in love with their spouses at some point. They used phrases like “I love you tori torun”, called themselves “baby” and “bobo”, and shared plans for a ‘great future’!
 

So, what happened?
 

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The curse of youth is to assume that we are magically exempt from the problems of our parents. ‘Falling’ in love is magical, and we get the feeling that ‘this’ is meant to be and we are destined to live happily ever after. But then, time passes and the magic recedes. Even with the best intentions - the ‘feeling’ continues to die, problems creep in, resentments build and communication breaks down. The magic of love is lost.
 

Good intentions are never enough.
 

If we are to build happy marriages, different from many of those we see around – we need to learn, and work to do things differently. Teachers can teach what we need to know – but the responsibility to ‘do’ remains ours.
 

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In ‘On Your Marks, Get Set, Marry!’ Temitope Akinyemi attempts to teach what we need to know.
 

Across fifty-five chapters, she discusses themes as diverse as ‘cooking’, ‘arguments’ and conflict resolution, mentoring, ‘baggage’ and ‘emotional clutter’ from previous relationships, and ‘communication’. In the staccato style that is necessary to cut through the ‘noise’ that badgers us from all sides today – she uses phrases like “stop sulking, grow up!” “Guy, if you can’t handle the thought of a more successful wife, you’re yet to be ready for marriage” and “If your opinion doesn’t count in the relationship, then your presence doesn’t count either”.
 

She addresses men who believe women are only good for food and sex; women who have refused to marry because they await tall, dark, handsome (and rich) dudes; and couples that go into debt to run big wedding ceremonies – then cannot afford amenities like a refrigerator and cable-TV after the ceremony. She also addresses couples who confuse sex with love; the situation of “mama’s boys”; and high maintenance relationships.
 

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Are you single and ready to mingle? Read through the book, think over it, and allow your thoughts to influence your actions accordingly. Are you in a ‘maritally-intended relationship’? Study through the book with your partner, and strike issues at their roots even before they arise. Are you married already? Read through the book with your spouse, and discuss the themes in relationship to your marriage. Do you know someone who is getting married soon? Buy their aso-ebi, make plans to buy them that Haier Thermocool cooler, and yes – buy them a copy of the book before the wedding!
 

Remember, good intentions are never enough!
 

Godspeed!
 

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Call Koye on 08168930124 (MTN) or Busola on 08153100374 (Glo) to order copies.
A few paraphrases are taken from 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' by John Gray

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