In a romantic candlelight dinner setting, knees on the ground and camera light flashing, he popped the question, “Will you marry me?” I said YES!
Falling and being in love and all the niceties that come along with it can sometimes make us drift and forget the things that really matter.
Today’s post is for our single readers, we share some helpful tips on finding the one and being found by the one. If you are married, enjoy the read, reflect and reset!
Here is our list of things that matter –
1. Character matters
There will always be silent cues to help you open a conversation to get to know each other more. If these cues give you concern, talk about them and deal with them early. Be watchful about how your partner treats others because how you both treat others will eventually show up in the way you treat yourself?
Your attitude to work, money and other relationships in your life are pointers to your character. What is the strength of your character, are you both able to handle conversation maturely without fear of judgement or breach of confidence?
As great as looks and possessions are, you cannot go wrong with God-fearing, responsible and grounded.
2. Reputation matters
If you ask, you will find out what people think or say about you. In other words, there is a word on the street about every individual – good, bad, lies or truth.
You may categorise some of it as noise but even behind what we call noise, you can determine the substance of a thing if you pay close attention. After all, there is no smoke without a fire, even if it is just smoke, it is worth looking at before you leap. Marriage is for life so do not feel it is a waste of time to cross all ‘Ts’ and dot all ‘I’s.
Think of it like when you shop online, the first thing you do when you see a product you like is to check the ratings, how many stars pop up and how many people bother to give stars. In addition, you seek out actual comments to weigh the reviews. If we spend this much time researching on products, hotels, sites etc that give you short term satisfaction, should we not spend more time finding reviews for a decision that has a lifetime tenure attached to it.
Pay attention to what people are saying and not saying; sift out the noise and search for the common denominator. Even the faintest of rumours can bring light to a dark side. Remember, out of a multitude of counsellors, there is safety. We are not asking you to go on a hunt for gist just for the fun of it, what you are looking out for is context, perspective, and insight. The more pieces you put together, the more informed you are as you embark on this journey of a lifetime.
3. The Wishlist and Real list matter
It is ok to have a wishlist of qualities that you desire in a spouse but it is more important to have a real list. Know when to draw the line and know when to declare ‘check’ like when you play a game of cards. You cannot have it all, but you can also have it all depending on what you have on your list. Keep your list reasonable and if it passes the reasonableness test, do not bend over too much, so, you do not feel like you settled. The feeling of settling leaves a bitter taste in your mouth because you will always wonder if they were better out there in the great unknown if you waited just a little more.
My wishlist was quite short, I wanted the “Mr” dark and tall – I am tall, and I love my heels
(she laughs). We are physical beings and it is important that we are physically attracted to our spouse, in other words, Spec matters.
More importantly, I had my real list, a list of things that I was not willing to compromise on. Think of it as my “must have’ list. Three things made that list – Faith in God, Nurture and Ambition
[ ] Faith matters – A growing relationship with God is important. If you find someone who takes their relationship with God serious enough to go where God will lead, you are in good company. For a marriage to work, your fundamentals must align, your core values must be in sync because that is the voice of reason that you will both leverage on when storms come. You must both be heading in the same direction in life. If one person wants to go to Hell and the other person wants to go to Heaven and you decide to go in the same car, guess what, as long as you stay in the same car, you can only go in one of two directions because Hell and Heaven are two destinations in different directions. If you start on the same right foundation, you minimize the list of things that you do not agree on. Marriage already has a lot of figuring out on its own for you to deal with, do not use your hands to elongate your list of worries and prayer points. If you do not like abusive words used on you and you are with someone with a mouthful of them, you are headed for a lot of emotional abuse. Since you can’t see into the future to gain assurance that the person will change, if I was in your shoe, I will only proceed on two conditions – can I live with a lifetime of verbal abuse if he doesn’t change? or God will have to speak to me in a clear audible voice to assure me that ‘this too shall pass’.
[ ] Nurture matters – There is a saying that ‘the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree’, the saying is true some of the time but could also be false. Most of the time, people become who they were raised to be, relying on their default mode, they act out the only pattern they know. A few may stumble on a better way and choose it. It is important to know how you were both raised so that you are aware of each other’s perspectives on life.
If you find someone who comes from a good family, consider it a blessing to your marriage. By virtue of their nurture, you are likely going to start your marriage from a place of advantage. Think of it like this, if 10 is the final destination, a good family background gives you a good head start at say 5, while someone from a challenging family background will be starting the race at zero and require more effort to get to 10. Not to say you will not get to 10 but you will require a lot more effort.
Take time to share stories and ask questions, develop a healthy interest in everything that pertains to the other person. Spend time with those close to them, you learn a lot by observing interactions, asking questions and hearing stories about their growing years. Parents and siblings should be the closest allies in your quest to know so do not cut them off unnecessarily, they are your window to each other’s world.
[ ] Ambition – Do you see potential or a drive to accomplish something. Is this person going somewhere and doing what is required to get there. You may be wondering how to assess potential; getting a degree or acquiring relevant skills for trade are good signs of potential; having a vision of tomorrow and putting in place a plan to accomplish it; showing seriousness about a current endeavour, looking for and willing to accept help when required are a few ways to gauge ambition.
Always have a wish list (nice to have) and a real list (must have) as you decide to settle in any area of your life especially marriage. Look out for good content in a good container with greater emphasis on the content because you can work on the container but only God can work on the content.
4. Relationships matter
Who is in your future spouse immediate circle? Do they constitute good or bad company? How much influence do they have on your FS? Does this person act differently around them? As you watch your FS friendships, remember to look at yours too. Surround yourself with the right friends, who keep you accountable for your choices and call you out if required to get you back on track. The right friends keep your blind spot in view and call your attention to them at the right time.
5. We sum up to one person
It is worth reminding yourself as you choose a partner that I become him or her. That realization should make you shine your eyes some more. Are you ready for this person to become you and vice versa? When we get married, we become the sum total of each other? Are they gaps, can I live with the gaps, can I pull this person up, and if they pull me down, am I comfortable falling to where they are? Can I trust this person to make decisions on my behalf? Do I see myself respecting this person no matter the season of life that we go through? All of these questions should provide some food for thought. In marriage, these four possibilities will likely manifest:
a. You become like your spouse
b. Your spouse becomes like you
c. You blend so perfectly and become better or worst versions of yourselves
d. You remain individuals
Marriage is a lifetime commitment, finding someone to go on that journey should be an intentional and well-planned action. Take your time to observe, build a friendship, focus on the things that matter, then as you both grow, you can prayerfully make the move.
We love to hear from you so please share your thoughts on the post with us and tell a friend.