A revered mentor once said: “you maintain a marriage with friendship and a sense of responsibility.” A relationship that will culminate to a successful marriage, therefore, must be founded on true friendship. I will focus on this friendship component today.
A solid friendship is a product of shared values (cultural, moral, spiritual), shared interests, shared love objects. If you check those who are your best friends of the same sex, this is what made you best friends. You share worldviews. You view issues from similar perspectives. You have common passions. So you enjoy having discussions, want to spend time with each other. There are fewer arguments on subjects. My second closest friend back in the university, for instance, was so because of our common love object- Barcelona. Found other qualities later. As inane as you may think this is, it’s an object of strong emotional attachment. As I got to the buttery that day and I saw someone playing this video game P.S using Barcelona, was wearing a Barcelona jersey also, I fell in love with him automatically. That was where a strong friendship that has lasted to date and extended to our individual families started.
The need for commonalities as a strong foundation for a successful marriage is even more critical than for mere friendship. No matter how close you are to a friend, their lives don’t alter the trajectory of your destiny fundamentally. So there are missing links that you may ignore in a friend that you can’t ignore in a prospective life partner. The contexts are just not the same.
The operating system designed by God to deliver the dividends of marriage to anyone is “oneness.” In that man is spirit soul and body, oneness must be sought at these three levels but in this order, Spirit-Soul-Body. If you miss this progression, you won’t have a successful marriage. Oneness from the forgoing will mean a merger or maybe I should use the word “synchrony” of your spirit, soul, and body with that of your partner so that there will no more be two spirits, two souls or two bodies but one essentially. Isn’t that a daunting project? As daunting as it seems, it is the only foundation of real lasting marital friendship.
Can you remember that concept of grafting in Second School Agricultural Science where the tissues of two genetically related plants are brought together and bound together to grow into each other to produce a product that neither plants A totally or plant B totally? What you get is plant AB. It’s usually done when you want to combine the strength of two breeds to get a giant product. In case you have caught the picture I’m trying to paint, that’s what marriage is supposed to be. It’s a loss of yourself into another person so that at the end of the process what we get is neither you nor him but “youim”
Grafting together two people of the opposite sex, who were born in different families, interacted with different instruments of indoctrination, have a different set of influences can be a very daunting task. This is what makes marriage a tough project really. Many are married who jumped this process of course. It’s why marriage has become a thorn in their flesh. They are married but not married. Their lives are not married together. It’s why they can’t even stay in the same room. They really can’t stand each other for too long. Every one pursues his own goals separately, no shared purse of course- hold your money, I hold mine. Even the sex is merely dutiful, it is devoid of real emotional connection. It is not the loving giving of one’s body to serve the other until s/he has her fill. It’s why there is usually a time table. Any request for sex outside the agreed timetable is a no-no. So though married, they are lonely. Together but alone. There is a constant unending fight that reduces the quality of the relationship each time. After a few years of constant fight, love is totally lost. What remains is a mere carcass- partners occupying different valleys connected by an island of dutiful obligations and some occasional wearing of same clothes to wade of possible negative PR (Public Relation) backlashes. Of course, this is what most marriages are. They missed the point. They didn’t pay the subscription cost for the proper operating system- oneness. It’s like installing iOS on an android-supported device. You won’t get the result intended by the manufacturer. I wish you won’t have this kind of marriage.
If you want to have a sweet marriage, you need to prepare yourself to pay the OS subscription fee. You want to invest in the synchrony of spirit, soul, and body of yourself and your partner. If you were Peniela and she was Iyebiye, you want to produce a hybrid product “Penibiye”. Do you get it? It is when you’ve achieved “Penibiye” considerably that you can consider making marriage plans with anyone. You’ll be foolish otherwise.
At the spirit level, you want to reconcile core doctrinal persuasions. This is no mean work. They are often deep issues. Often involves long hours and many times years of walking through materials together in an atmosphere of mutual humility. Sorry, the first work is to convince your partner to agree to work through the materials with you, to begin with. Some of the post-material discussions end in very sharp arguments; a somewhat irreconcilable point of views yet those views must be reconciled. If you don’t, there will be no oneness of spirit. In the future, you may have to attend different churches. In their church, they teach them about the need for constant deliverance from demon spirits. In your own church, you’re taught that you’ve been delivered from the power of darkness at salvation and so you need no other deliverance. Soon, your husband’s pastor will tell him of the need for a family deliverance and the need for his wife and all the children to be present because the devil is about to attack the family. The wife refuses and soon there will be a vision labeling the wife as a co-conspirator with the marine powers destroying the husband’s business efforts. Welcome to ACRIMONY! You can supply the rest of the story.
At the spirit level, you also want to synchronize your life visions and purposes. Marriage wasn’t meant to be two people pursuing different purposes. Divisions come in when there are divided visions. Without a singular vision direction, there will be endless arguments for instance on the appropriation of family income. Daddy wants the family to manage moderate provisions so that he can put some money into his ministry works. Mum won’t take that from him. She just cannot understand why he is so “irresponsible”. There are endless fights and resentment which is a nice way of saying hatred.
To achieve synchrony of visions, you want to spend your courtship communicating your life purposes with one another as often as possible. Repetition breeds lasting impression. You want to discuss it over and over together. You want to put it in writing reflecting the visions of the two of you. Make it one document. Discuss the execution strategy and the likely order of execution. You want to get to a point when your partner is as passionate about your own contribution to the joint vision as you are yourself. But beyond this, you want to devote yourself to prayers. It takes time and God at work for another to catch a vision that is deeply embedded in your spirit. It takes a revelation and an impartation to imprint your vision on your wife’s spirit. Did you hear what I just said?
At the soul level, you are looking at mindsets, temperaments, passions, love objects. You want to synchronize yours with your partner’s. When you see people argue endlessly, it’s because of different mindsets. Our mindsets are a product of the environment we grew in, the norms and value systems of our immediate society, the association we maintain, our peer group, all the books we’ve read, the philosophies we’ve studied and the entire educational system (formal and informal) we went through. All these worked to form our minds on several issues. A person’s mind is also set by those he admires, his mentors, heroes, fans all set his mind and place a firm conception therein. Now you need to reset all these to the same frequency with your partner’s. I’m sure you know how easy it is to achieve this.
It is through constant communication with your partner that you stumble on these mindsets here and there. I advise you to talk about everything and anything. Talk talk and talk. Your success at this level will depend on other issues of character and temperaments though. A prideful person, for instance, cannot achieve synchrony of mind with anyone. A prideful person always wants to impose his own views at all times. He never accepts that he’s wrong. He also never says sorry. If he will say sorry at all, he would have whittled the sorry down to the point the sorry is worthless by the time it is finally offered. You can never achieve oneness of mind if you bring that kind of attitude into a relationship. Your partner cannot be convenient if you’re always trying to impose your own views on her. You never listen to her own point of view. If you listen at all, you only listen to respond not to understand. She will at some point feel choked. Manipulated. And then she revolts.
Temperamental folks are also disqualified. They don’t know how to sustain a debate without their anger getting in the way. You can iron out a disagreement with your partner for two solid hours without raising your voice at each other. It is a lack of maturity and anger management that makes you shout down the other person or descend to using abusive words. It shows how childish you are. If you will not mind that I should be plain with you, I will say you are not matured enough to be in a relationship. Matured people disagree and the tone is still conversational with all usual respects intact, yet there is strong disagreement. They both know how to rotate submissions without a moderator. Not that one person is making a point, the other person cuts in and the first person cuts in back and the discussion become a shouting match.
Anyway, in the coming weeks, we will still discuss this issue of the three-dimensional synchrony and how to achieve it in greater details. All I’m trying to show you today is that what it takes to lay a solid foundation for oneness is humongous. It requires deliberateness, time and much yielding. The time to do it is during courtship (dating). Courtship is therefore not a time to have sex. That’s putting the cart before the horse!
Sex (oneness of the body) was designed by God to be the outward demonstration of the oneness you have achieved with your partner at those deeper levels of spirit and soul. So sex by nature breeds a sense of oneness. Only that where you haven’t first labored on oneness of spirit and soul, the sense of oneness sex brings between you and your partner is false. You’re practically being fed a lie. You will assume you know him but you don’t.
Sex is a big distraction to any relationship that hopes to achieve a successful grafting at the two-deep levels I have described above. The tendency is always that every time you come together, you’re sexing. Your relationship is fixated on sensualities and the consummation of lust. All the real issues that make for a successful marriage will not appear important. You won’t have time for them. You will actually feel they are already cemented. Sex will make you have a false sense of cementation.
The question you need to ask yourself is this, “if your current partner were to be of the same sex with you, will you be best friends?” Let me put it another way, “if sex were to be removed from your relationship with your partner for the next three years, can you sustain a solid friendship through the period?” Will you really still look forward to spending time together? Will you miss each other?
When you introduce sex into a premarital relationship, the chances of making a rational decision as to whether the person is right for you or not in marriage reduces by half. Your hormones certainly get in the way. They will block your brain. You won’t see the red signs that ought to scare you- your widening differences, your inability to communicate seamlessly, those terrible character traits, those toxic temperaments, the willfulness, the selfishness, the manipulative spirit, the lack of drive for success. You will only be fixated on the sex. That’s the nature of sex. It unleashes wild untameable emotions. So you’ll be on auto-pilot to the altar to marry a stranger. Sex is your pilot. By the time you’re married, your destiny is sealed. We can only support you in prayers.
I hope you will take these issues seriously and edit your relationship as necessary. Don’t be fooled by this false impression you have about your relationship.
Let me close you with advise from Paul. You know Paul now. He was using building terminologies, however. Told us how some people build their houses with dry hay and stubble. Some use wood. Some use metals. Some gold and precious jewel. The only problem is whatever you build with, be sure a day is coming when what you’ve built will be tested with fire. The whole world will be the spectator on that day. He warned that many will suffer total loss because of the kind of material they had used. You can imagine what will happen to the building of dry hay when a fire comes on it. (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)
Please let me have your feedback.
All my love.