You might be thinking, "With so many people - 830 couples, to be exact - tying the knot on 10 October 2010 (ie. 10.10.10) why not me?"
That was exactly what a good buddy of mine asked me earlier tonight, "Should I get married?"
You will hear the gist of my conversation with him, and may use my counsel as reference for your own future. Jokingly, I called it the "marriage package". (Team Leaders in my LOS will know what I mean!)
To begin with, there are three parts to the big picture - Before, During and After.
Let us start with the During, which is the EASIEST of all.
That is, if you are married, Leaders, STAY MARRIED. No matter what may come. Whether you are still "in love" or not. Despite the differences, quarrels and frustrations you might be going through as a couple. By hook or by crook. ESPECIALLY SO IF YOU HAVE KIDS.
This last point was impressed upon me by someone very dear to me. His wife related to me how her parents' divorce scarred her and injured her little soul for life. She had initially believed all the reassuring words her parents said to her - how they (daddy and mommy) loved her, will be there for her and she is part of a brand new family - only to find out, to her horror of horrors, that her parents went their separate ways. She could no longer be part of a "family", wondered if SHE was the "cause" of her parents' divorce and how her dreams of growing up with pride and honour in her parents were dashed.
Then, my friend inquired sincerely, "Do you want me to STAY MARRIED even if we don't love each other anymore?" To his surprise, I said, "Yes."
"Why?" he implored curiously.
I said, "Because it is the RIGHT thing to do. You don't take marriage lightly, as if it is nothing more than just a ceremony. You will be blessed by God if you honour your marriage. It is a COVENANT - a contract, a word, a promise - that you will stay together through thick and thin, rain or shine, rich or poor, in health and sickness. The motivation for staying married is the same as to why we don't rob old women on the streets, take drugs or kidnap kids for sale. Simply because these things, including divorce, are WRONG. Morally, ethically wrong.
"The source of your stand to stay married will come from none other than God Himself, who said before, 'Unless your spouse commits adultery, there is NO rationale for divorce.' That is, everything is an excuse."
Does that mean that you go around "condemning" the people who are divorced?
You will be cursed by mankind if you do so. Obviously you do NOT judge others! All you should do is to live and follow the principle of Staying Married in your OWN life, and NOT meddle with others who might want to do otherwise. As an upline Counselor, you may only advise, but not dictate the final outcome of a relationship that is going through the most difficult times.
Staying Married is a CHOICE. Just as Love is a Choice, Faith is a Choice and Community Building is a Choice.
As for after marriage, you need to ask this very pertinent question, "What kind of LEGACY as parents do we want our kids to inherit when we are gone?"
Now, granted, only 5% of the population dreams and will do what it takes to raise kids in an environment which they will feel proud of later in life. So, the key is to determine if YOU are in the 5%-ter of society, or will you live your life one day at a time like the rest of the 95% outsiders?
You will choose to leave a GOOD NAME for yourself and your wife, I am sure, because you are TEAM Leaders.
Now we come to the mother of all beginnings. How do you select the right person to spend the rest of your life with? And why?
You will find it useful to break down the things you will need to do before settling down into FOUR (4) "homework assignments".
- Determine if you want an economic "Shortcut";
- Verify the past and stories;
- Spend quality time with his/her surrounding people; and
- Observe personal habits, preferences and behaviour.
I will go through each of the above in a concise and short manner.
DETERMINE IF YOU WANT AN ECONOMIC "SHORTCUT"
Simply put, marrying a financially stable, economically strong person with a dose of social and academic standing can make a world of difference in your life!
While money is not everything, most things CAN be solved with money. Since we are all going to have troubles rich or poor, I have gladly chosen to go through problems in life with riches in my pocket. That frees up your time to solve those challenges which money indeed cannot resolve.
There are historical examples of man and woman whose life took a turn for the better upon marrying a social giant. In fact, a certain prophet of a major world religion married a businesswoman and benefited greatly from her wealthy support - and she was at least fifteen years older than him!
While those of you who are already married CANNOT and should NOT drool over this shortcut, the singles among you still stand this chance. The future is wide open for you to make a different choice, should you so desire.
VERIFY THE PAST AND STORIES
Many a times, if you find yourself rapidly falling in love AND the other party requesting for marriage before you knew it, then you need to check out his/her past and if the stories he/she told you is true. Obviously, being humans, we tend to remember things imperfectly, so the details of his/her stories might be a bit different when heard on separate occasions, but if the discrepancy be so great and the facts so contradictory, that they should become your RED FLAGS.
Do NOT get married to a person whose "congruency" is not there. That is, the narration do not seem to tally from one time to another. The integrity of the past must be there and cannot be compromised.
SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH HIS/HER SURROUNDING PEOPLE
You are a child of your environment, and surely by "environment" I mean more of the PEOPLE who influenced you rather than the physical circumstances of your life. Of course, that plays a part too, but is minor in comparison to the relationships you grew up with and value.
Only by indulging in the lives of your potential partner's parents, siblings, friends, ex-boyfriends/girlfriends and maybe even enemies, will you then know who your spouse will turn out to be tomorrow or ten years down the road. Ask yourself if you like the type of people he/she is surrounded by.
OBSERVE PERSONAL PREFERENCES, HABITS AND BEHAVIOUR
Now that I have learnt and use Amway personal care products, I cannot imagine myself living with someone who can just buy a cheap-brand shampoo or body gel and start scrubbing away with it for life. That is, your standard of living, your expectation of product quality and your level of hygiene should ideally be close to your future husband/wife's.
Little things accumulate to become major issues of conflict. An example is: Your wife is a "clear desk policy" lady - that is, she MUST have the tables and countertops cleared of items before retiring for the night; however, you grew up in a family where plates, books and food can be left around the house past midnight without concern, and suddenly you find your wife trying to argue with you on why you simply cannot be bothered to be more "tidy".
Well it is late here in Singapore and I have to stop this writing. You should do well following the above guidelines for "Before, During and After" Marriage.
Remember, it is more than just about feelings and mutual affection (crushes), it is about living an exemplary, extraordinary life as Leaders of man.
By the way, breaking up a dating relationship before marriage is NOT wrong. It is NOT a divorce. You date so that you can discern. You only have ONE chance at Getting Married and Staying Married, so use it WISELY.