Dear Gaone • Please keep my identity anonymous. My fiancé just proposed and he wants us to get married before the end of the year. I am overjoyed and hesitant at the same time. Overjoyed that I have found a lifetime companion but hesitant about marriage as I fear divorce. So far our relationship is great but it’s possible that marriage may ruin it. In your view what are some of the marital beliefs and expectations that ought to be ironed out prior to holy matrimony? Marital beliefs and expectations that sometimes lead to the dissolution of a marriage?
Congrats. Marriage on its own is a risk. Like any other risk you may win or lose, so you have to be at peace with both results. There is a plethora of complexities that befall all marriages. Whether the union survives is mostly dependent on both parties’ efforts to make it work. Nonetheless sometimes divorce is a viable solution especially where trust has irretrievably broken down in the relationship.
It is, however, commendable that you are consciously taking initiative to inform yourself of some of the marital philosophies that may dissolve a marriage. Marital beliefs that may obstruct a union if not properly handled include but are not limited to; decision making, purpose, etc. Legally, the law vests equal decision-making powers on both parties in a holy matrimony. However, that is not always a true reality in some marriages. From my humble observation there are two types of decision-making styles in a marriage.
A marriage where the woman treats her husband as God and submits to him unreservedly. In this type of marriage whenever the parties have conflicting views the husband’s voice prevails. Men in this type of marriage usually feel very disrespected if their women choose to follow their hearts over their husband’s voice. Some women are perfectly happy with this marital set up. On the other hand, some grudgingly submit to their husbands and feel trapped or imprisoned by such a marriage.
The second type of decision-making style in holy matrimony is where the both parties submit to each other and treat each other as co-equals in the relationship. Both partners are free to follow their hearts whenever they disagree without it causing a storm in the marriage. Moreover, parties make room for compromises for each other in their decision making whenever necessary. Lovers in this type of relationship usually feel heard and valued mutually. Additionally, they do not take offense if their partners go against their advice.
They can embrace differences without feeling disrespected or unloved. They trust that their partners are adults of full legal capacity and therefore should assert the freedom to express their views and decisions even if they may err in judgement at times. It is therefore vital that you honestly analyse whether you are a type of woman that falls into the first or second type of decision-making style in a marriage. Moreover, it is paramount to establish whether your partner will be able to handle your fashion of decision making in marriage and whether you will be able to handle his. Conflicting decision-making styles will breed constant mayhem and dissolution of a union in some instances if parties can’t reach a consensus on how to handle differing views in a marriage. Purpose speaks of how mother universe predestined our natural constitution and talents to suit and be fulfilled by certain professions. Purpose speaks of what makes our hearts sing; areas of gifting that we naturally excel in and enjoy without much effort.
At the heart of purpose lies our deepest and grandest dreams. Nonetheless, not everyone believes in purpose and lives a purpose-oriented life and that is fine. Conversely some mortals are firm believers in their purpose and vision. Even if their job description may not match their life purpose, they usually identify small ways of living out their purpose until it fully matures. When their purpose fully matures, they are most likely to quit their jobs and pour themselves wholly into it. People who believe in purpose usually structure and centre everything in their lives around purpose. Do you believe in purpose? If so, what is your purpose? Does your partner believe in purpose?
If so, what is his purpose? Do you fit into each other’s purpose? Can you help to build a grand vision of each other’s individual and collective purpose? Are you equipped or willing to be equipped to handle the perils, storms and joys that come with each other’s purpose without losing yourselves?
If you both don’t believe in purpose, can you still fit into each other’s’ lives and vocations? Do you understand the pressure, challenges and victories that come with each other’s’ respective professions? Do you expect your spouse to add value to your profession or you can cope on your own? If you believe in purpose and your fiancé doesn’t or vice versa, can you still ride the bicycle of marriage together? Lack of clarity on what parties expect from each other in terms of their heartfelt dreams may birth discord in a marriage, the clearer the expectations on such the better.
• Gaone Monau is an attorney and Motivational speaker on the areas of confidence building, stress management, relationships, self-discovery and gender-based violence. For bookings, motivational talks, questions or comments on the aforesaid areas contact +26774542732 or [email protected] Her Facebook page is Be Motivated with Gaone.