You don’t qualify to marry me…
A friend invited me to church one evening to listen to a fire-spewing, grace-filled man of God.
Well, the topic was on CHOOSING A LIFE PARTNER.
Actually we were going to listen to a talk on HOW TO MAKE YOUR MARRIAGE SURVIVE.
My friend wanted me to listen to that talk, since both of us are married. However, he got the schedule interchanged, and we rather found ourselves in the seminar for singles. He wanted to leave the auditorium, but I told him we should stick around, you know, to pick a few pointers since our kids are also growing up and the issue of choosing a life partner would definitely crawl up along the line.
So we made our pens and note pads ready to jot down a few divine pointers…
And boy, was I stumped!
Wow! At a point in time I opened my mouth ‘toyooooo’ and I’m sure my jaw was almost hitting the ground!
To say I was disappointed will be to put it mildly!
Halfway through the talk I quietly put my pen inside my notepad and closed it.
My friend prodded me in the ribs and whispered:
“Ebe now you dey close your book? I shun am longest!”
I looked around sheepishly and watched the young men and women scribbling away furiously, and my heart sank.
Now you may be wondering why I was so disappointed.
Well, that man of God was giving them a checklist in ‘no-nonsense’ manner.
For the girls:
- The man should be financially-secure. He should have a rented house, and enough saved money to spend on you.
- If he has a car, the better
- He should be physically appealing; if he loves physical activities, the better
- He should be independent, not relying too much on his mother
- He should be financially-minded; the more he spends on social activities the better
- He should command your respect; fear him a little
- He should have few friends; the fewer the better.
- He should know how to dress for occasions
- He should be a gentleman; not an uncouth ‘villager’
- He should come from a responsible home, preferably be raised up by his own parents
- Ensure that he does not have a family background of madness or other terrible diseases
- Make sure that there’s no incidence of childlessness in his family tree
- Above all, make sure that he is not impotent
For the boys:
- The girl should be working and earning income; don’t even think of marrying an unemployed girl
- She should be physically appealing. If she is plump now know that she will ‘bloat’ after giving birth
- She should be chaste; if she’s a virgin, the better
- She should be sensible; sensible girls don’t cheat on their husbands
- She should love to exercise
- Check up on her family background for barrenness, madness, and other diseases
- Ensure she knows how to keep house; cooking, washing, tidying, ironing
- Make sure she has not dated more than one guy
- Etc, etc
Now, don’t get me wrong.
Some of his points are acceptable, but the way he explained them was nothing short of appalling.
For one thing, I never heard him speak of LOVE, and he made no reference to the Bible.
It was his own no-nonsense practical approach to choosing a life partner.
The horrifying aspect of the whole caboodle was that the young ones LOVED it!
They cheered, and they pumped the air with clenched fists, and jotted away…scribble, scribble, scribble!
Points ‘nie’, checklist ‘nie’!
They were so elated!
Now, after the lengthy sermon, the time left for questioning was all but used up, so we couldn’t really ask questions.
He received a massive standing ovation, more profound than Juventus fans applauding Cristiano Ronaldo’s amazing bicycle-kick goal.
However, much to my delight, a young man stood up and asked:
“But what about love, sir? Shouldn’t we fall in love first?”
The man of God glared at the youngster as if he were some alien from a newly-discovered planet.
“LOVE?” he thundered with a dark face. “Love you mean? That word you people don’t understand? That word you misuse? That feeling you fool around with to fornicate and commit abortions? Don’t be silly, young man! Love grows! Love is nurtured! You can marry without love, and the love will grow by itself! That is why our ancestors had such long-lasting marriages! They made sure the checklist was met, and then they allowed love to grow! That is why they had few divorces! You people follow love, love, love, silly love…and a few years later, divorce, divorce, divorce!”
The young man who had asked the question was shriveling by the second as the divine man was answering him, and he sank back dejectedly into his seat amidst shouts of approval from the gathering as they applauded the learned man’s answer.
I am pretty sure that many young people who listened to that lecture cancelled LOVE from their checklists that very night!
Now, what about you?
You’re a young man, or a beautiful young lady…
You’re in the prime stage of life, and you’re looking for a life partner…
But what have you got on your checklist?
Do you look at potential suitors and tick them off your checklist?
That checklist has become your banner, your measuring tape, your ramming rod!
You tick it off, or cross it away, and arrive at the conclusion:
Well, she doesn’t qualify to marry me!
No, no, he doesn’t qualify to marry me!
OUR ‘LOVING’ ANCESTORS
Now I’m not saying what the man of God said and enumerated were wrong…no, far from that.
My problem, basically, was with the downright downplay of the ‘LOVE’ aspect, and the absolute separation of the Biblical point of view from his presentation.
He made many young ones think the right way is to ‘grow into love’.
The rationale is that if you get someone who is well-placed on your list, and you two get married, love will follow eventually, just like it did many years ago for our ancestors in arranged marriages.
Apparently, we still think that arranged marriages are the best, because they lasted when our forebears practiced them.
Now, I did a little study into arranged marriages, the ones that our forebears used to practice, and I have a few observations on them.
- The husband was usually the breadwinner. Even if the wife would embark on any vocation she usually needed permission and capital from the husband. As a result, the wife usually needed to be submissive and humble, accepting most infringes of her husband without complaint.
- Polygamy was rife. The man could always go for another wife, if he were rich enough, and the first wife would have to accept a rival since any complaints would mean she would be sent packing out, and her rival would take over.
- The woman had no other option than to commit to the marriage because to be divorced by a ‘good’ man was more or less a taboo. It sent clear indications that the woman lacked good ‘upbringing’ and she would be a shame to her family.
- Physical abuse was tolerated. A wife with a sharp or irresponsible tongue or behavior could be ‘corrected’ by her husband with a slap or two, and this was normal. It was the prerogative of the husband to decide what was a ‘beating’ offense, though…and of because of this most of the wives were beaten repeatedly according to the whims of husbands.
- Most of the wives were very unhappy in these ‘arranged’ or ‘forced’ marriages, but they had to accept it as their destiny, and they were very committed to it.
So, from the above, it is abundantly clear that the ‘successful’ marriages of our forebears where love was relegated to the backyard and allowed to ‘grow’ wasn’t at all as rosy as it is being made out.
Yes, there were some of them that were extremely happy marriages, and did not conform to any of the points enumerated above.
The couple in the marriage really fell in love and raised happy children and made a happy home, but those instances were the exceptions, rather than the norm.
One clear indication of how unhappy most of these marriages were is how the wives usually left their husbands’ homes and settled somewhere else.
On paper the marriage was still ongoing, but in reality it was virtually over.
The woman would settle with a daughter, or go and be with an ailing parent, or simply take on a vocation and leave her husband without ‘divorcing’ him.
Question is, why was this?
Most of the women interviewed admitted that after the children had grown, and there was no need to have more children, making love became uninteresting to them.
In other words, making love to their husbands was a ‘painful’ experience, and they usually didn’t want to go through with it.
Why was lovemaking painful?
Simple, really: the wife was usually close to menopause, or was in her menopause. Usually, at this stage in life, most women do not secret enough ‘wetness’ to lubricate the process of lovemaking. At that time there were no lubricants in stores, and even if there were, most women found it uncomfortable buying and using them.
The husbands who were supposed to be understanding and aware that the scene had changed, usually cared less, and still demanding the fast satiation of lust.
Why didn’t the husbands care?
Well, simply because ‘love’ hadn’t really been there for his wife form the onset. They just cohabited, and raised a family on commitment alone…but not love.
He could easily get satisfaction from another woman, and so empathy that came from really loving his wife was missing.
Most of these ‘loveless’ marriages survived simply because of total, and sometimes unwilling, commitment on the part of the women.
Needless to say, most of the husbands cheated blatantly…
And the women who eventually found other men whom they really loved, or who gave them a little attention, also cheated…but mostly in secret.
So that is it!
You can have your checklist and disqualify candidates who do not meet the fine gilt-edge requirement you’re seeking.
You would eventually meet someone who meets basically all the requirements, though:
Tall and dark…check
No madness in family…check.
And then you get married…and wait for love to grow!
Well, I have some news for you:
You better pray that your new husband has strong self-discipline, just like you, so that no matter what, you two would stay committed to each other!
Because in the absence of love, self-discipline and commitment, men and women cheat on each other!
Yes, it is good to have all these in a life partner, but you must be concerned too of other things!
THE LOVE GAME
Compatibility is one.
Commitment is another.
But, most of all, LOVE!
A woman who doesn’t really love you will easily cheat on you when she later meets someone and really falls in love!
A man who doesn’t love you, but is waiting for the love to grow, will definitely cheat on you…no two ways about that, especially if he’s not a staunch Christian, and he lacks commitment and self-discipline!
So real love must definitely be a non-negotiable part of the deal when you’re choosing a life partner!
Real love, though, can’t be your sole reason for getting married.
There must be other factors and indicators.
We must also remember that sometimes strong feelings are mistaken for love, and this too we must guard against.
An example is a good Christian girl having a mighty crush on a drug abuser.
Well, in this instance it would be wise to hold marriage off until you’ve asked God to touch the heart of such a man, and turn his life around.
otherwise, disaster might ensue somewhere along the line with disastrous consequences.
It is quite evident that choosing a life partner is a dynamic process.
SEEKING GOD’S FACE
Now let us take a look at God’s checklist.
That is the only checklist you need, actually.
I can’t speak about other couples, but if you’re really a Christian who loves God with your whole being, heart and soul, then you know that if you follow God’s checklist first, MOST OF THE USEFUL sections of your personal checklist would be added to you.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all other things shall be added onto you…
So what does the Bible say about choosing a life partner?
As a Christian you must know that if the hand of God is in any aspect of your life, then that situation is a win-win foregone conclusion. Maybe that is why a form of ‘match-making’ is fast finding its way into our churches.
We have situations where men of God approach you with claims that God has directed them to marry you, or that you must leave your current courting relationship and marry that brother, or that sister.
In most cases it becomes extremely difficult to decipher the situation and know if indeed God is at the root of the equation!
A pastor I love very much once told me:
“God will give you a sign too, or a vision, if you’re close enough to him!”
In that situation, your only arsenal is prayer!
Listed below are some of the things you must consider then, as a Christian, in choosing a life partner.
If you want a good life partner, pray, above all else!
You have come to that slice of time when you feel you need to take that marital step.
So you tell God about it, from the bottom of your heart, in all sincerity, standing on that sweet promise in
That is why I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours!
Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a good partner is from the LORD!
God is there to lead, guide and ultimately help you make the right choice of a partner, so don’t expect too much of ‘visions’ and ‘incredible’ miracle moments’.
When you have applied your elements of communicating well with God, He will surely lead you to that safe harbour.
So speak earnestly to God through prayer and, if possible, sessions of fasting, and He will lead you to the best life partner.
Whoever finds a wife finds what is good, and receives favour from the LORD.
Later, the LORD GOD said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make him a partner.”
So believe…God will lead you to the right one!
He knows what kind of partner should be ‘added unto you’ to make your journey in the Lord divine…so ask Him.
Remember, God wants that union to last forever, so there is just no way you should take things for granted!
This marriage will last till death, yes, so you’re making a life-long union.
Your partner must be someone you respect and care for! You must be friends, so that you can lift each other up in those difficult times. You must be so into each other that you see all other people of the opposite sex as mere humans, and your partner as the only one that can arouse you sexually.
…God made them male and female, and that is why a man will leave his parents and be JOINED to his wife, and the two will become one. They will no longer be two, but one flesh…and so what God has joined together, let no man ever separate!
You’re going to be JOINED to your partner to become ONE FLESH, and that means you’re going to be inseparable!
In all conditions!
So remember, your partner should be your friend, sibling, lover, and sole property.
There will be no room for unfaithfulness, and no one should ever come between you.
So you’re not going to start ‘growing’ into love, or to start learning how to be ‘compatible’ and ‘committed.’
These are ingredients that should be ready from the onset, so don’t compromise on compatibility.
A PARTNER THAT LOVES GOD
This is key.
This is very important:
Choose a partner that loves the Lord.
I’ve heard stories about people marrying unbelievers in the hope that ‘they will be saved through me.’
Well, it happens, yes, because the Lord works in mysterious ways.
Sometimes too, it doesn’t happen, and then you’re left out on a limb out there.
Now, the most frightening aspect of not choosing a partner that fears and respects the LORD, is that they might end up drawing you out of your faith, and lead you astray into their life of sin.
2nd Corinthians 6:13
Do not be yoked with unbelievers! What partnership can righteousness have with lawlessness? What fellowship can light have with darkness?
Have you seen how cattle is yoked?
A yoke is a wooden crosspiece that is put across the neck of two cattle to pull a cart or a plough.
When two cattle are yoked together, they must work in tandem!
Their movements must be in fluid cohesive unity.
If one of the animals is sick, or weak, or slow, all the effort will be on the other one, and the work won’t get done. Worse, the healthier and stronger animal will be held back…and both of them would fail miserably!
That is why the Bible warns us!
In choosing a life partner, choose one that believes and is active in your faith. Anything else could be a setback!
And Abraham made his servant swear to him, witnessed by God, that his servant ‘won’t acquire a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac, from the Canaanite women’ but that the servant would go to Abraham’s country, to Abraham’s family, and find a wife for Isaac!
Abraham made the servant swear to this!
The Canaanites were idol worshippers, of loose morals and of uncouth behaviour!
They did not share Abraham’s faith and belief in the Lord!
Abraham wanted a woman who respected, believed in and worshipped the Lord for his son to marry!
If you can, do not marry a hardened sinner…he might make you backslide!
First, try to make him or her come under the grace of God!
A BREW OF LOVE
There must be love…great love!
There must be pure, unbridled love, the only kind you will get if you let God lead you!
The love that will make a husband see all other women as family, and gets only sexually drawn to his wife!
The love that makes a wife see all other men as brothers, and only craves the touch of her husband!
This love must bound and intoxicate you!
This love is pure and brewed by God.
It is not that kind of selfish love that makes you fornicate, and certainly not the kind of love that still makes you want to cheat on your wife or husband.
Without real sizzling love between a man and a woman, there is a high likelihood that one of them would be unfaithful in the future!
This love shuts your eyes to the world, and it makes you always seek your partner, never getting fed up with him or her!
It is the love that God brings, and perfects in your marriage, so that the two of your stick together no matter the odds.
Let your fountain be blessed and enjoy the wife of your youth!
Like a loving deer, a beautiful doe, let her breasts satisfy you ALL THE TIME, and be CONSTANTLY INTOXICATED by her love.
Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is appropriate for those who belong to the Lord!
Husbands, LOVE YOUR WIVES, and do not be harsh with them!
Now that’s what I’m talking about!
God expects you to love each other to the extent that you would SATISFY EACH OTHER ALL THE TIME, CONSTANTLY!
WRAPPING UP NOW
It means you must satisfy each other for as long as you remain man and wife!
So that silly cliché that says ‘a man with a farm must have a garden’ wouldn’t even come in!
That chauvinistic claim that ‘you must taste different soups’ wouldn’t mean jack!
As long as God brought you together, you would go thirty, forty, fifty years together and the fire of love will still burn…indefinitely!
You would not be bored with each other, but you would be INTOXICATED with your love for each other!
Intoxicated by love…wow!
It is possible if you let God in to guide you!
So that’s it!
I know you’re holding your checklist in high esteem, ticking suitors on and off, obviously confused because no one seems to fit your category one hundred percent!
Well pause, stop, rewind and rewrite that checklist!
Start with Godly guidance, and then add a more FLEXIBLE aspect of your checklist.
So if you have on your checklist:
Wife must be a working woman!
Approach it from a different perspective:
Sure, she might not be working now, but she has a certificate, and can secure employment if you can be patient!
He might not have a car now, but he’s working, and with you by his side, and God’s blessing in your lives, you can acquire any car you want in the future!
He may not have a house, but at least he has rented a chamber-and-hall, and with the two of you throwing in resources, you can build your own house in the not too distant future!
Stop disqualifying suitors…because you might be disqualifying who God wants you to be with!
An African proverb says:
Every woman is a marriage material…it depends on what kind of a tailor the man is!
It cuts both ways.
Apply biblical principles, a little flexible and visionary forecast…and then let God lead you to choose a partner!
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God bless you Sir! I’ve learned a lot.