MARRIAGE IS FOR MEN, NOT BOYS. IT’S NO MONKEY BUSINESS

When it comes to marriage, the difference between a man and a boy is not about age but maturity of the mind, emotions, intellect, actions, etc. Maturity does matter; but not necessarily in terms of age. As John Grier is believed to have said, “You are only young once, but you can be immature for a lifetime”. See the difference?

A marriage between a 20 year old man and a 19 year old woman will be a rare occurrence in many parts of the world, where it appears the very first and sometimes most important determinant of the success of a marriage is the physical age of the people involved. In many such cultures and places the “a young man married is a man that’s marred” Shakespearean ideology rules.

Surprisingly though, the legal adult and marriageable age of 18 or lower is recognized for almost all purposes in this same places. It is well known that about 82% of the world’s countries and 67% of countries in Africa prescribe 18 years as the marriageable age. So what is the problem? Why hold strongly that marriage between 20 year olds will not succeed then?

Irrespective of all the benefits of marrying “young”, I always maintain that marriage is huge; very huge! Anybody entering that institution must thus “study to show himself approved” and anyone irrespective of the age (18 and above) who has done his or her homework well and has prepared adequately for it must be permitted to go in without raising of eyebrows simply because they are “young”. As the age old adage goes, “a child who learns to wash his hands well can eat with the elders”. Similarly, anybody no matter the age, who learns well the rudiments of marriage, can succeed in the institution. Or can we easily say as a fact that it is only at a particular age that people will be fully prepared for marriage and to succeed thereof?

Nonetheless, for a man, I think he should also make sure that aside every other thing, he is financially sound to run his family and if he can at 20, then glory hallelujah! And for a woman, if at the age of 19 she is well informed about marriage, motherhood and all wifely roles and is ready for it, glory hallelujah!

By 20 years however, most men and women in Africa and some parts of the world by the nature or structure of their educational and support systems would still be in school anyways. Funny enough, most will still be in high school anyways…and why think about marriage, sex, starting a family and all that when you are in school, probably still under your parents care and most definitely without any job anyways?

men-not-boys

“Marriage is no child’s play” does not mean a man/woman should be above 30/40 before marrying. There are no rules. It just means marriage is no monkey business; it’s not a frivolous venture, but is serious in content, attitude and behavior (and the list goes on). It’s a maturity issue and we do know that in many cases maturity is not commensurate with age. Proof is that we’ve seen so many old folks behaving so immature!

I do believe in marrying “young” but not rushing into marriage when one is not well prepared mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually…and all the “llys” one can think of.

Marriage is an exciting journey…so good luck to everyone considering it, irrespective of age. Just know it’s no monkey business.

Cheers!

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author

 

 

Marrying late

Oh yeah, almost everybody dreams of marrying young I believe, at least in their twenties. But someway somehow, life happened and you feel like you are on a time bomb. For some it was their own choice; maybe focusing on their career in those early years and assuming love will just find them. For others, it’s a chain of disappointments and broken hearts; wasted years on the wrong person and then as the years go by the right people seem hard to come by. Perhaps the longer the wait, the more potential partners get taken off the marriage market and the shallower the pool of potential singles become?

You’ll find so many reasons why people’s marriages have delayed but what’s kind of true is that only a few such people are able to still carry on in life with their self esteem still intact, especially when it wasn’t by choice. It’s such a frustrating feeling not being successful in love and having to wait for so long to find that happiness and fulfillment when it’s not by choice. Unfortunately for some, when that ideal time is past, they are left with a feeling that can best be described as having to settle with a less than ideal partner.

It’s hard, I know. I didn’t have to go through that but I think we could still pause and try to see the blessing in marrying late too. Marriage is hard work and so much responsibility; sometimes crippling your personal development in some areas of life where being unmarried would have ensured faster results. Plus, younger couples, perhaps just starting out in life are often battling financial problems (from the huge demands on married life) that can put a lot of stress on a marriage.

One woman shared her story:

“Getting married at barely 20 meant my husband and I literally started with nothing and we were broke much of the time especially by the time the kids started coming in”

I believe for many young couples, the testimony above is just like a drop in an ocean. For indeed, many young couples have had the challenge of building their life from nothing, right from scratch!

Perhaps for those who married late, though having been denied the early bliss of companionship and perhaps the opportunity of having a child early, they would have used the period to set stronger financial and material foundations. It is expected that most couples who marry late would be more financially sustainable and would have more essential material possessions (say their own house, car, etc) compared to younger couples and this could be a blessing in disguise. To say the least, paying high rents for an apartment with little to save for one’s own house (a great necessity) is a growing challenge for young couples. Reminds me of a friend who told me recently that if he had not married early (which he appreciates though) he would have had his own house by now and I told him people have houses but are not married and are not happy and wishing the opposite has happened.

It is often reported that as a result of financial security alone (which most young couples take a big risk on), those who married significantly later in life report less work-related stress, less marital conflict and more couple interaction and satisfaction.

There’s a blessing in everything o. Count your blessings where you find yourself. Delay is not denial and maybe you just have to reposition yourself better; maybe you have to try doing things differently and relating with people differently; maybe you just need a new outlook on life and not let such disappointments knock out your self-worth.

But whatever the situation, if you are Christian, you can trust that every life circumstance eventually works for your good. After all, the most important factor shouldn’t be time but who; time is of essence but who you marry tops it all. That’s because depending on the character of the person you marry, your life can either be one of perpetual bliss or hell on earth, whether you married early or not. Also because Christians don’t believe in divorce merely on the grounds of some little “irreconcilable differences” nor do they treat marriage as merely a contract between two parties that can be terminated at any time and on any grounds as they so wish, makes who you marry an important factor than time.

Nonetheless, even if there is a perfect time to get married, then it’s only God’s time. And God’s time for everybody is different. Your time will come and don’t let our self esteem deteriorate as if the only way of measuring success and fulfillment in life is whether or not one is married.

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

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