Suitability in Marriage by Tobi Jude

Marriage, be as it may, is a blessing and not a curse, and it can never be a curse, unless, you turn it so. It is the best institution to enter, and once entered into, the blessings that are attached to it pours on it.
This article will outline the various ways at which suitability in marriage occurs and the pragmatic nature to marriage.

My reason to write this piece should not be overemphasized but seen as a means of correcting some of the abnormalities by which some people do get married.
I write in order for you to pursue love before getting married and not any other thing. Your happiness is all that matters, not any other's happiness. You alone can decide whom to be happy with and whom not to. There are many broken homes today because most couples get married, not by love, but what is suitable (not mostly suitable) for them at that time, forgetting that suitability isn't love and does not guarantee true love. Owing to suitability in marriage: broken homes, maltreatment in the home, child endangerment, and disrespect from either couple suffice, getting married because of suitability can come in different ways, such as:
-          PREGNANCY
Pregnancy here means a situation by which a girl is put in the family way by someone (especially by a boy) before she says "I do". Because of this unexpected occurrence (pregnancy), couples do see it as an ideal way of getting married, in order, to prevent their child be born out of wedlock, not minding the aftermath of the pregnancy.
Pregnancy shouldn't be an option to get married; the only alternative for you is to ask yourself before you say  "I do":  Do I really love him/her; will I be happy with him in the marriage; can we raise a good family.? If you know your answers are not in the affirmative, please do not   say "I Do" to him/her.
Instead of allowing pregnancy to tie you down and marry the one you do not love, you can go for numerous choices such as abortion. However, the Christendom will not agree to this as it is seen as an act against the Lord. Also, it is an illegal act today in Nigeria. Thus, it amounts to both morally and legally wrong. Against the backdrop of the illegality of it, I am of the opinion that it should be made legal, only by the consent of parents, doctors, and experts. Children are blessings from God, and as such, we do not have the right to prevent them into this world. Abortion may not actually be the last resort to solving this. There can be a consensus from both parents that the child's well-being will be taken care of by them. This consensus does not in any way bind both partners to get married. With this consensus, both parents can get married to their individual love partner.
-          PARENTS' CHOICE
Most people get married because it is what their parents/guardianship want.
This is one of the marriages entered into by mistake. You cannot force everlasting love in marriage --- everlasting love grows in the heart overtime before marriage. Your parents' choice for you may not be the choice for a happy home for you. Do not allow your parent(s) to determine the man/woman, or place, or family to get married. When the consequences will come,  your parent(s) will not be there to suffer for it. Marriages should not come by parents' choice but by the man's or woman's choice of heart. If your marriage fails today, your parent(s) will not be held accountable, but you; because you failed to do the needful at the wrong time.
-          ETHNICITY/TRIBAL DIFFERENCES
This is one of the banes in marriages today in Nigeria. Owning to my research in marriages in Nigeria, I have come to find out that approximately 80-85%(still counting) of marriages entered into are influenced by either tribal or ethnic determination. Most people do not want to get married outside their ethnic or tribal circle. I do ask myself if this can ever be erased in Nigeria. Some people do go as far as to hide in affectation, in order, not to fall for the one that is not within their tribal or ethnic circle. There was a day when a friend of mine posted this on facebook "I will not get married to a person that can't speak the Yoruba language" Another once told me that he couldn't just marry to a person that isn't Igbo. He went further to say "I want to be in the home...my wife and I speak same language." Similarly, most tribal friends of mine in Urhobo, Isoko, Hausa,and among others, have said so. This is how Nigerians have taken tribal and ethnic affinity to the extreme, and as a determinant of getting married and falling in love. Falling in love or getting married just because he/she has a/an Urhobo,Yoruba, Calabar, Igbo, Ijaw,etc. name. This is seen in one of my best comedy dramas "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde. Gwendolen was seen to love Jack Worthing who she thought has the name Earnest.
One father I have come to show estimable respect for is Sir Chief Dr Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion. He has encouraged inter-marriages among his children. This ethnic and tribal circle has gone deep in Nigerians' vain. It is now like something inherent in us. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in Section 15 charges the government of Nigeria with the full responsibility of encouraging social, cultural, and tribal mobility, also, inter-marriages among Nigerians. Despite it be a constitutional responsibility of the government as enshrined in the section cited(supra), it is also a mindset responsibility among Nigerians.
I once had this myopic mindset in me when I was in junior class (Ugborikoko Secondary School in Delta State, Nigeria). There was this Ijaw girl called, Glory, she was so in to me then that she even told my friends in school. I harden my heart towards her, not because she wasn't beautiful(she was one of the prettiest in my class then--- a class of over two hundred students), not because she wasn't caring(she was one of the best I have ever seen), the reason was just that she was an Ijaw girl. I refused to accept her and came close(despite me knowing, I was just a little boy then, and shouldn't have been talking about a girl), or getting serious with her,  not because my mum had warned her children of certain tribes, but because I was afraid of crossing the river with my family if the unintended happens. I said to myself, "taking my family on a boat and cross the river..." That I can tell you was then, and it was a myopic reasoning of me then, not now, because time has changed and I know much better now. Ethnic and tribal affinity does not determine true marriage and real love. Some persons forget that they aren't getting married to tribes but the person they love. Marry a person due to tribe, a broken home is imminent.
-          RELIGIOUS DIFFERENCES
This aspect of suitability in marriage is so rampant that people have even seen it to be both morally and justifiably right. Today in my country(and others), it is very hard for one to see a Muslim girl getting married to a Christian boy, or even a Witness getting married to a non-witness. Marriage or relationship in this circle is unrealistic and a waste of time for both the boy and the girl( If one is already dating the other). Either the Christians or Muslims or Witnesses are ready to succumb to this idea. Some even go as far as telling the other "If you love me and want us to get married, convert to my religion circle."
When writing this aspect of suitability in marriage, I came to find out that marriage in Islam is endogamous, that is to say, marriage to a non-Muslim or a non-believer is considered void. Furthermore, if a Muslim spouse converts to another religion after marriage, the marriage is again void. This suffices so that, the children born into the family can maintain and observe the family religious circle (Samad Y. Media and Muslim identity: intersections of generation and gender innovations ; Roald A. "Women in Islam" London: Routledge, 2001.) Some religion sees marriage to their own circle of religion as a religious act and be sanctioned by God.
When you marry because you see him/her to be in your circle of religion(irrespective of him/her be in the act of pretense), one thing can be certain tomorrow "broken home".
-          In Conclusion
Marry him/her because you love him/her (not I think I love him/her); marry him because of the passion (not passion for what can be regarded to be suitability) you have for him.
Marriage isn't an ideal but an institution that is entered into due to maturity of the couple.
Marriage isn't a familial affair but which has to do with love for both couple.
Love him, and don't love his religion. Love him, and not love his name. Love him, and not love his tribe.
Written by Tobi Jude
Contacts: 07064809512; tobi.jude@yahoo.com; tobi.jude.tj@gmail.com

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