Indeed there is something funny about the talk for this week. I’m writing with so much doubt that you’ll accept the preachment in the talk because I myself didn’t many years ago. They told us to stay clear of boyfriend/girlfriend relationship at a time we were clearly not ready for marriage but we found every argument imaginable to counter the idea. Our response was that if we weren’t doing anything wrong or sinful in the physical, is anything still wrong with it? What of if all we focused on was the emotional companionship. Is anything wrong with that? They told us there was nothing in it, we retorted, “let’s find out for ourselves.”
Recently, I was with my mentor and we were talking certain marital issues and the discussion drifted towards the subject of sex. I remember him saying “there is nothing there.” That was a demystification of something singles want to kill themselves for. But believe me, my response in my mind was, “Man of God Sir, even though there is nothing there, I will like to find out for myself.” It’s like Solomon who had enjoyed all the enjoyment of this life: wealth, fame, influence, women, pleasure at its peak and then turns at the end of all the enjoyment to preach to some us who haven’t tasted anything saying, “Vanity upon vanity, all is vanity.” Can you imagine?
So today as I’m about to begin my preachment, I’m well aware of how challenging it will be for you to accept the message. I can relate. Nevertheless, I will give it a try. There are a few things that the benefit of age and experience opens you up to that those who are younger in experience will not be able to appreciate. The summary of this week’s talk is to charge everyone who is not ready for marriage to stay away from romantic relationships, to be content with platonic friendships with brothers and sisters in Christ.
And maybe I should tell you that in my own opinion, you’re ready for marriage if marriage is a strong likelihood within 3-4 years maximum from the point you’re considering entering a relationship. If you’re in secondary school, you’re so not ready for marriage. Are you serious at all? Go and carry your book joor. If you’re in 100 or 200 level, most likely you’re not ready for marriage except your partner is well ahead of you so that by the time you’re in final year, he’s established enough to consider taking you to the altar and your parents are not those masters-before-marriage-freak type. If you’re a guy and you’re in 200 or 300 level, I’m too sure you’re not ready for marriage. It takes an average of five to six years after graduation for most guys in Nigeria to be ready for marriage except the guy inherited wealth from his parents and just about 2% of people are in this category if not less. There are no hard rules here. All I’m just saying is be sincere with yourself.
Now, the first major obstacle to your acceptance of this message is the fact you don’t want to miss out on a charming young man or woman who catches your fancy in 200 level. You feel like, though we aren’t ready, I can’t afford to lose this person because in your mind, this is the best you can get. I once used to think like that. Not anymore. The truth is the higher you grow in life the more you meet upgraded versions of certain specs you were going to die for back in school. Certain people we wanted to kill ourselves for weren’t worth it after all. We considered them a great choice because we ourselves were mentally simple at the time. We didn’t know what we actually needed. We didn’t have exposure so our judgment was influenced by the limited paradigm of our outlook to life. This is one of the reasons why many campus couples don’t end up marrying. After school, you meet people. People who are doing great stuffs with their lives at a very young age and in a moment, you begin to see why your current boyfriend is no longer suitable for the kind of future you wanted. Do you think your partner is beautiful, you’ll still meet more beautiful people you will almost beat up yourself for shedding tears for some people in the past. It would have been wasted tears. All I’m saying is that there is no need to be in haste. Correct people cannot finish.
And if it’s still this young man or woman, if it is meant to be you’ll meet again when you’re ready. My fear is that if you start a relationship prematurely with him, it will likely be derailed- likely drift towards “physicalness” which will bring guilt, hurt, lack of trust that will ultimately end the relationship. So at the end you won’t get the guy neither would you get all that you could have used the time you wasted on the relationship to achieve plus you won’t be whole again post this relationship. There will already be scars. So why take the risk?
Relationship takes so much from us that it’s not meant to be gambled with. The damage that one wrong relationship can do to your life can be unimaginable. Some just wanted to have a feeling of relationship by all means and said yes to just anyone available. They thought, “I’ll simply come out of it when I’m done.” They don’t know the potency of relationships. It can inflict permanent scars on your life and unfortunately you may not be able to come out of the relationship. People have been known to get stuck in a relationship.
If you enter into a romantic relationship prematurely, you’ll rob yourself of time meant to lay solid foundations for a successful future including marital future. My finding is that marriage doesn’t intrinsically add anything to a couple. The quality of the individual lives of a couple is what determines the quality of their coming together in marriage. So purposeful singleness is very critical for a successful marriage. Allow yourself the opportunity to build yourselves individually before coming together. Brother, allow that sister an opportunity to invest in herself first before snatching her away. You’ll only have snatched a half baked product that will bring you trouble all your life.
Some of you who are currently in relationSHIPs actually ought to be in concentrated discipleSHIP at this stage of your life. I’m sure you don’t see the relationship between discipleship and a successful marriage. Discipleship is the process of formation of the life of Christ in you often through the hand of a more experienced brother or sister. Now, a couple stands a greater chance to live happily ever after if their lives have been built to resemble that of Christ. Selfishness, pride, lack of self control, lack of sacrificial unconditional love are some of the issues that cripple marriages but which proper discipleship could have taken care of.
At this stage of your life, you also need to focus on building a successful career life. And that’s important for marriage. First there is a kind of healthy vibe that success can bring into a marriage. It’s like a cloud. Everyone loves to marry an achiever. If you’re a man especially, you ought to be highly motivated to succeed. Those ladies like to be wives to men of influence.
Secondly, a successful career life often leads to financial success which plays serious roles in a successful marriage. Ironically, outside the lack of christlikeness, the other issue that seems to have driven most couples apart is the issue of finance. You don’t want to learn from experience. Perpetual systemic lack can radically alter the operating system of a marriage. There are arguments rich people never have with their spouses. Ask your parents if you want to be sure.
Your question will be can’t I be in a relationship and still achieve all these? I’m afraid no. Relationship is demanding. It requires a lot of time and attention. It has its own native distractions. You must have built your life to a certain minimum before it is advisable you give relationship a chance. I hope you will take this advise and not put the cart before the horse or else the marriage self that you’re currently fixated on, you’ll end up not enjoying it?
For now platonic friendships is sufficient for you. In the coming weeks I will share with you how to keep a friendship platonic. And maybe how to indefinitely suspend that your current relationship that won’t allow you to focus on building correct foundations for a successful future.
Until I come your way again next week, I remain your irresistible platonic brother, Penny Bobo.
Please you can send in your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be breaking series of talks from time to time to address urgent real life issue you’re going through. We are here just for you.