Open Letter To An Engaged Couple

Dear Engaged Couple,

Congratulations on your engagement! I am so glad to be able to write this letter to you and I’m happy to be a part of journey. You see, I have had the opportunity to counsel many of you over the years. It is great to see young people starting on this journey called marriage. I love being married to my husband Dozie. We have been married for ten years and our love for each other is stronger than the day we said I do. We have weathered many storms, survived a long distance relationship, financial problems; busy careers; relatives; changing ideologies and mindsets.  I know that right now, you think that your spouse will never hurt you, do you wrong, and that you will always be in sync with each other. That is not the case. Good marriages are NOT made in heaven, they are built on earth, through blood, sweat and tears.

Today I just want to bust a few myths that many people do not realize are just that: myths.

1. “Love is everything”: Well yes and no. Most people when they talk about love, they are really talking about romantic feelings and sexual desire. This is not a strong enough foundation upon which to build a relationship like marriage. Feelings are as fickle as the weather. The thrill of sex is not as strong later as it is in the beginning. True love is a verb, not a feeling. True love is sacrificial and committed. True love, is loving towards the undeserving (sometimes your spouse will act in ways that will make you believe that they are undeserving of your love). If you feel that your feelings are waning, it does not mean that you do not love your spouse. It happens to everyone….

2. Your spouse will never change: They will. Roll with the punches. You need to discuss these changes as they occur so that they do not cause a rift in your marriage. Expect your spouse to change, because people grow as they learn new things and you have to grow with your spouse or you may grow apart. This is the time that you need to have the discussions about where you see yourselves in x years. Sometimes spouses do not change for the better, and you may have to face that battle.

3. You will always agree: Dear brother and sister, you probably know that you will not always agree, but it is worth mentioning. Why do spouses behave as though a disagreement is the end of the world? It is not. You are two different people, male and female, with two different backgrounds; and different perspective on a lot of things. If you were the same, you would not have married each other! Let your differences unite you and not drive a wedge between you.

4. Your marriage will be perfect: Your marriage will be perfect when both of you become perfect. That is not likely to happen in your lifetime. Please learn to make peace with your spouse’s imperfections as your spouse makes peace with yours. When people divorce because of “irreconcilable differences”, I feel like crying. You will always have some irreconcilable differences. At some level you have to make peace with an imperfect life.

5. You will never face temptation: Of course you will. Temptations to cheat are all over, from internet porn, to people who will throw themselves at you knowing that you are married; urging you to damn the consequences. To think that you will not face temptation is an exercise in folly. “It cannot happen to me”, are famous last words. Guard your heart and affair-proof your marriage.

6. Marriage will make you happy: Marriage in and as of itself will not make you happy because marriage is not a destination, like six flags. My husband and I are happy in our marriage because we work at it everyday. We make sure that we do things to lift each other up person up, all the time. Marriage is only as happy as the happiness each person brings to it. Remember that.

As you prepare for your wedding, pick out your outfits; order the cake; look at venues; choose colors; go to marriage counselling; remember that the wedding is one day; the marriage is the journey of life.

Happy Married Life

Love in Christ

Dr. Shola

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