Very often the question of what qualities to look for in a prospective mate is asked, and answers range from as follows;
The person should be kind and loving to their family and yours
Friendly, good looking and can dress well, polite, honest and has a good reputation
For women; neat with excellent home-keeping qualities, respectful etc
For men; he must be able to provide, protect, is loving and so on
We also say that self-discovery will also help in deciding who to marry
The above is true, still critical in search of a life mate and I think you should consider them before accepting to marry anyone.
In my few years of marriage and haven studied broadly on the subject I would if asked the question of factors to consider I would add two other things that I think are very relevant in the day and age we live.
I was reading a post on Facebook from the wall of a renowned marriage and child sex (Praise Fowowe) educator in Nigeria, and he was reporting on a few of his finding of the significant reasons people divorce having researched 47 divorce cases. He plans to interview 100.
What was puzzling for me is that except for self-discovery, none of the usual advice of things to consider featured. Probably because people have been so sensitised that a vast majority of us readily avoid such mates or they are becoming less and less of a consideration of what we desire in marriage only time will tell which is true.
However, there is a need to look into how to mitigate the present challenges we are now facing.
Praise’s findings on discovery of purpose after marriage; ‘people married when both haven’t figured out their identity and life’s purpose and the moment one person started self-development the other party becomes threatened and the marital war broke out.’
In my own experience, even though I had a powerful sense of purpose before I got married, there have been significant changes to my initial self-image and mission. I can say that the present me is not the person my husband married. I also know a few people that only found themselves years after marriage and have eventually found balance.
So, my first recommendation is; become that person who can consider possibilities that may not fit into your present world model and marry someone that can do same. Simply put become open-minded, there is never a time we can know all that life holds if we do life will become boring.
A simple secret is once one partner changes the marriage is bound to change, the choice of whether the marriage changes for the better or worse is dependent on how flexible and open-minded the partners are.
My second recommendation, become and marry someone more committed to the marriage institution than you as a spouse. Myles Monroe in his book ‘the purpose and power of love and marriage’ said; sometimes what helps when couple stay together in the face of a challenge until they find a way, is not necessarily a commitment to the spouse but the marriage institution.
Our feeling about our spouse can be affected by challenges, especially when we do not see a way out immediately. We sometimes begin to question ourselves or how right we were in choosing our spouse; if this happens, it is a sign that we need to talk to a marriage counsellor or therapist.
My husband and I have a ‘no out’ agreement. We have agreed if we ever come against a brick wall in our relationship, we would listen to each other, look for couples that have overcome that challenge and learn what they did, pay and attend coaching or therapy, read, pray, etc. Many times it is the unwillingness to accept responsibility and change that kills a marriage.
I deliberately put prayer last because, as a people, we have so abused the place of prayer. As efficient and potent as seeking God is, it can never take the place of personal responsibility. Many escape responsibility in the name of turning everything to God.