Marriage is Overrated?

I wrote this 3 years ago on Facebook.
Is marriage overrated?

I read and hear a lot of comments these days about how
overrated marriage is. A lot of single people dread falling
into a loveless and emotionally draining marriage. “I’d
rather remain single and happy than married and unhappy
is the popular refrain”. Why is this so? If all the married
people you know keep complaining about how boring and
dull their marriages are you may conclude that this whole
marriage thing is a scam perpetrated by those already in it.
They are unhappy in their marriages you opine, so they
must be trying to share the misery! Tales of extra-marital
affairs and young people getting divorced make you cringe
at the thought of touching a wedding ring.

At the same time, there is a lot of pressure on single
people to drop the Miss title for Mrs, and for Mr. so so and
so to become a real man. The most popular occupations
these days have to do with weddings; wedding planners,
drinks specialists, wedding photographers, bakers, dessert
makers and purveyors of other such accoutrements that
accompany weddings. Couples are quick to post their
wedding pictures on Facebook soon after the big day,
everyone sends congratulatory messages and you float
lightly like a fluffy butterfly going from one delectable
flower to another. This is Heaven you say to yourself. A few
hours, days, weeks, months or years into it, the things that
used to seem cute now seem irritating, things that were
standing are now flat and things that were smooth now
stretch (you catch my drift).

Hubby wants to hang out with the boys rather than with you
(usually after he gets a phone call he has to take outside).
The children drive you up the wall with their bickering and
whining. And why is iyawo always tired, not in the mood or
experiencing that time of the month? You ask yourself if
marriage truly is overrated. If this is what everyone has
been undergoing, why would they recommend it to others?
Wicked people!

Everyday I interact and meet with couples from both ends
of the spectrum. I see couples with great marriages and I
see couples with failed marriages. I’ve come to realise that
the difference between these two extremes is quite simply
love. I attended a marriage retreat some years ago and learnt a
few things that have helped me since then. The facilitator,
Dr. Okey Onuzo described three kinds of love. Eros, Phileo
and Agape (three big sounding Greek words). Eros means
physical attraction or sexual love. Phileo is based on
companionship and friendship while Agape means
sacrificial love. Eros gets you going in the first few years of
marriage while the passion is still hot and there may be no
children. Phileo helps to keep you glued together and be
able to share your time, a home, aspirations, dreams, etc.
However, the most difficult kind of love to experience let
alone exhibit is Agape.

Agape requires humility, patience, forgiveness and
selflessness. Agape is to put others first and think of their
own wellbeing rather than yours. It takes humility to
subvert your own wishes and instead focus on making
someone else happy. You are not always at your best so
why do you expect your partner to be at their best at all
times? You need patience to cope with the other person
when this happens. Understand that it is not always
personal. This is not the time to judge and be critical. This
is the time to be patient and prayerful. God needs someone
to work through to make things better and that person just
might be you. It is foolhardy to think that you will never
have arguments or quarrels. It is Agape that helps you put
aside your differences even when you are hurt. Whenever
you want to throw in the towel and quit on your partner ask
yourself what life would be like if God quit on you. What if
He decided to count all your infractions and pronounce
your case over and done with? If you are reading this note
then you are most likely alive and that means there is still
hope for you.

Marriage in my humble opinion is just like any relationship.
Your relationship with God requires nurturing on a daily
basis by constant prayer, Bible study, fellowship etc. Your
relationship with people requires calling, visiting, texting
and keeping in touch. Your marriage too requires watering
on a daily basis. It needs work to work.

At the end of the day it’s not whether tough times come or
not that is the issue because every marriage will face those
tough times. It’s how you handle those times that matters.
Just like a well watered and nourished plant will withstand
famine and drought, a well watered marriage will also
withstand tough times.

So go ahead and tell your spouse you love him/her right
away. Forgive what he/she said or did yesterday night.
Today is another day to get it right. Make up your mind that
it will work. Send the children to Grandma’s place and get
away this weekend.

You have only one life to live so
let your marriage be enjoyed rather than endured.

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