One of the most important decisions and choices that a person makes in their lifetime is who to marry. Whether or not you are happily married will dictate the entire course of your life. It will measure the flow of your days, how well it will be with your children and even how you see life in general. Truthfully, you will carry your marriage with you everywhere you go. It is commonly said that marriage will either “MAKE” or “MAR” you.
The Following Are Also Included in This Section:
a.) Pre-Marital Sex
b.) Important Things to Consider
c.) Ways of Getting Married
One of the problems that plaque couples who indulged in pre-marital sex is that of trust. In order to avoid all the complications that may arise out of this issue, it is important to detest any form of fornication. It is always great to set boundaries during this period. “HOW FAR IS TOO FAR?”
HERE ARE SOME HELPFUL HINTS
- Avoid hugging, holding and kissing.
- Don’t sit on his lap.
- Don’t stay indoors alone with your beloved for long periods.
- Don’t be alone in isolated places at odd hours.
- Don’t put your hands under the skirt or through the flap.
- Don’t sleep/lie on the same bed with your beloved.
- Don’t undress in the presence of your beloved.
- Don’t fondle the breasts, vagina and penis.
- Don’t have sex with your beloved (that is fornication)!
Important Things to Consider When Choosing a Marriage Partner
- The fact that the parents are good does not mean the child will also be a good spouse. Is he/she committed to God?
- Don’t marry just because your parents say so. Is your intended partner your friend?
- If you marry too early you will miss out on certain things in life (e.g. your youth, your time of being single and free).
- Consider the fact that people do not really change and so anything that you do not like about your beloved and therefore spouse is also not likely to change.
- Will you be in a position to manage financially?
- Will you have a place to stay when you marry?
- Cultural differences are going to affect your marriage.
- Disparity in levels of education will also affect your marriage.
- Before beginning pre-marital counseling it is always helpful for the relationship to be official recognized by the Church.
Facts that can be discovered through the Official Recognition of the Relationship
- Name and age of both the man and woman.
- Date the relationship began.
- How long they have known each other.
- Sickle cell status of both the man and woman. (Amongst Africans)
- H.I.V. status of both the man and woman.
- Any other medical condition e.g. Epilepsy, blood pressure, etc.
- Educational background of both the man and woman.
- Working experience of both the man and woman.
- Parental knowledge and consent.
- Tentative wedding date.
Trust is the bridge on which love rides. One of the things you will like to avoid in a marriage is what is known as “MARITAL SURPRISES”
Being open, naked or transparent is one of the key ways to avoid surprises, mistrust and suspicions.
There are 3 areas that one needs to be naked or transparent to each other before marriage:
- Historically e.g. past relationships, children
- Financially e.g. debts, income, assets, obligations.
- Spiritually e.g. aspirations in future, personal sins
Marriage is an institution ordained and ordered by God. It is the only institution that was established before sin came into the world.
Three Ways of Getting Married
1. Civil Marriage
(This is in accordance to the civil laws of the land.)
In most countries, the Marriage Ordinance prescribes that a certificate must be acquired from the local or municipal authority, granting a 3-month period during which a couple must be married after their names have been published at the Municipal/City Council or the church for three weeks. If no one opposes the marriage within these three weeks, the marriage may take place. It is a crime to marry again while still married under the Marriage Ordinance.
2. Customary Marriage
(This is for the involvement of the families.)
Families get together and traditionally hand over their daughter after customary rites are performed. The church does not recognize customary marriage as marriage unless it is blessed by the pastors. Customary marriage is a polygamous arrangement. The church believes that it is important for its members to marry under the Marriage Ordinance because legal marriage under the Ordinance does not permit polygamy.
3. Spiritual Marriage
(This is so that the couples vow to obey God’s law in relation to marriage and also to have the marriage sealed by God.) The church conducts the vows and blesses the couple. As far as the church is concerned, you are not married unless this is done. It is highly recommended that couples fulfill all 3 forms of marriage to avoid confusion and dispute later on, as to whether they were or have indeed been married.
Extract from Model Marriage (best book on marriage counseling)