The Marrying process affects outcome of marriage

Credit: ghanaweb

Credit: ghanaweb

In my last semester at the University, I bought my first car because I needed a car to get to the job I will be doing after graduation. However, I did not know how to drive.

So, a schoolmate drove the car from the seller to the dorm. It took about three months before I could drive the car by myself. If I was foolish enough to drive the car immediately after purchasing it I could have caused accidents, violated traffic laws, and violated driving courtesies. So, to be a successful car owner you need to learn how to drive, learn traffic regulations, obtain a license, learn driving courtesies, and learn directions to common places.

Marriage is like owning a car. You need to prepare and follow a proper process before entering into marriage if you want to increase your chances of a successful marriage. If you don’t follow the proper process you could cause an accident in the marriage, violate basic marital principles, and violate divine laws on marriage.After years of premarital and marriage counseling, I have observed that dysfunctional marriages always start out with the wrong marrying process or no process at all. So, if you slide into marriage you are likely to slide out of marriage or suffer dysfunctional difficulties.

Below I have outlined the steps in a marrying process that integrates the Ghanaian traditional marrying process with the Christian marrying process. In each step I describe the possible consequences for omitting the step. The consequence increases the probability for failure in the marriage. As probabilities go, one could omit all the steps and have a “successful” marriage. On the other hand one could follow all the steps and fail in marriage. This is because there are other factors that come to play during the actual marriage. So, in this article I am describing one of the many factors that affect the probability of success in the marriage.

Couple meet face-to-face: If this does not happen as when the man is abroad it is likely to lead to mismatched expectation on chemistry and aura interaction. There’re a few situations of a woman going abroad to a husband she never met only to run into dysfunctional relationship due to mismatched chemistry.

Couple pray about possible marriage: If you fail to do this then you’re likely to be insincere about prayer during the marriage for the marriage.

Man declares intention to woman: If the woman pursues the man, he may take her for granted and feel that she has to pursue him for the success of the marriage.If the man overly pursues the woman she may be snobbish to the man during the marriage.

Man declares intention to woman’s family: This shows that the man has honorable intentions about the woman. If this is missing, the man may often ignore accountability to the woman’s family.

Notification to Church Leaders: If this step is omitted then it signals that the couple do not want to receive Godly counsel from the church leaders. It also may mean they don’t want accountability to the church during the marrying process.

Man’s Family’s Proposal – Knocking on the door: Marriage in the African context is not just between two people but it is contract between two families. The man’s family has to propose to the woman’s family. If this step is omitted it signals that the man is not accountable to his own family and may not feel accountable to the woman’s family.

Background Checks: This shows lack of understanding that marriage is a covenant that requires the other party to be researched in order to ensure their ability to honor and perform successfully the terms of the covenant. In one case a background search discovered that a pastor who had expressed interest in one of our members was actually married with children in his hometown!

Pre-marital Counseling: This is the step where you learn how to do marriage! If you omit this step then each party in the marriage becomes poorly equipped to deal with marriage responsibilities, marriage management, financial management, conflict resolution, and several of the things that cause divorce.

Traditional Marriage Ceremony: This step is called my man as the engagement. This term engagement is a western term introduced to fit into the western process of marriage. In this step the families of the couple enter into a covenant of marriage with the couple as the objects of the covenant. If this step is missing then it declares lack of accountability of the couple to their families concerning proper conduct of the marriage covenant. It means the man does not value the woman as a covenant wife. It also means the woman does not value herself as deserving to be a covenant wife.

No Sexual Relations before Marriage blessing: This is not a step but more a principle that will promote better relations in marriage. In our modern world this principle has trivialized. Here are some consequences for violating this principle:

It shows disobedience to God. (7th command)

The wedding night sex will not be as special.

It shows lack of self-control and an indication you will not control yourself in other areas of the marriage.

It will maximize the emotional entanglement that will jeopardize objective assessment of the rightness of the person for you.

Waiting is a test of true love. Not waiting shows that the proposed marriage is all about having sex.

For a woman, it shows the man that you may be a loose woman.

A man pressuring you for sex because you are about to get married shows he is not considerate of the shame and trouble you may go through for getting pregnant before marriage. It may, therefore, signal lack of consideration by the man in other areas of the marriage.

Spiritual Preparation – Prayer and Fasting: Two weeks before a wedding I usually prescribe a one-week prayer and fasting for the couple. If they omit this step it means the couple is not aware of the spiritual nature of marriage and, therefore, the need for serious prayer to prevent Satanic attacks and to foster peace.

Church Marriage Ceremony (Blessing or Wedding): I’m using the term “Marriage Blessing” to mean a marriage ceremony that is low-key and/or low cost. The ceremony can be held in the church, the pastor’s office, or a house with or without any reception. They key is to provide the couple the opportunity to enter the spiritual covenant of marriage through vows and ministerial prayer and blessings upon the marriage. I strongly suggest couples should not put this step off due to financial difficulties. They should do the low-cost version and then later in their marriage they can celebrate the marriage with a wedding. Here are the consequences for omitting this step:

This shows that you do not acknowledge the sovereign role of God in the marriage.

This could mean that one or both of them don’t acknowledge the importance of God in the upcoming marriage and they are not as committed.

Affects willingness to surrender the marriage to God.

Affects willingness to seek counseling from the church when problems arise.

It signals that the marriage is not subject to the church’s accountability.

Do you have any additions, subtractions, or modifications to these marrying steps?

May God give you self-control and disciple to follow these steps to increase probability of success in your marriage!

Source: Apostle Dr. Kwabena D. Akufo

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