Sunday, November 8, 2020 was according to the Catholic Church
calendar, the 32nd Sunday in ordinary time. I have been staying in Accra for a couple of months but I still didn’t have a parish I could say I belonged to. Don’t get me wrong, I still go to church on Sundays but where I go to church at is usually decided on that Sunday; where is most convenient to me is the criterion on which I decide the location of my place of worship. Why don’t I have a permanent place of worship? Well, it may have to do with me not wanting to accept that Accra is my new home. On that fateful Sunday, I found myself at the 9am mass at St John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Adenta. It was a nice service, and aside the COVID-19 safety protocols, things seemed normal. In keeping with Catholic tradition, the whole affair was brief and before we knew it, we were going through the final Catholic mass rituals.
After mass, came the announcements and I breathed a silent Alleluia, inwardly gleeful that it was finally over. If there is one thing I hate about church services, it is the period allocated for announcements. I reached for my bag waiting for Father to say the final blessings when he took the mic but to my uttermost disappointment, he said something about having a 10 minutes lecture on the teachings of the Catholic Church since a lot of people did not know that. In my head I was like, not another sermon! He asked the mass servers to mention the 7 sacraments in the Church and they did, then he said the focus was going to be on guess what? MARRIAGE! Of course marriage is one interesting topic everyone loves talking about. Father gave an interesting lecture on the topic, so informative and fun that I almost felt bad for being against a post-announcements lecture. I learnt a few things which I want to share with you in this post.
Everyone has a purpose on earth. I am sure a lot of us have heard this saying before, maybe it wasn’t even addressed to us but it is a common saying we hear a lot. According to Father, no one’s birth is a mistake, even if they lived for a day, they have fulfilled the purpose of their birth (I don’t know what that purpose is here). He explained that it is the same with marriage, not everyone is created for the purpose of marriage. That does not mean she or he will become a priest, a nun or anything that requires celibacy. God did not create them to marry, so if you force them or put pressure on such a person to marry, they are very likely not to have a successful marriage. And then we will complain that “it is their character”. It’s not their character; Marriage is not for them. Always keep in mind that people are unique, and that they have different purposes.
Never force anyone to marry. Sometimes we put unnecessary pressure
on people to get married. It is very common to hear family and friends pass comments like “all your mates are getting married”, “you are not getting any younger”, you are always attending people’s weddings, when is yours?” Such comments will only push one to settle for less. In Father’s words, “when they go out and any housefly passes by them, they think that is who they should settle for”. However, that should not be the case, let people marry when they are fully prepared and they are ready. The Bible has not given any specific age for anyone to get married, some people in biblical times married early and enjoyed their married lives, others married late and enjoyed their married lives too, be guided in your decision.
Be prepared before getting married. Don’t rush into marriage when you
are not prepared especially financially. In marriage, there are bills to pay, there are mouths to be fed and many others. He said “once you marry, your salary is no longer for you alone, so split it by two and that will be what you are earning”. He also advised against having just a salary. It’s not just enough, make investments as well, so that in the event that your partner is sick and needs to go through a surgery, you don’t start running from one family member to another, one friend to another “begging” for money to save their lives. If after doing this calculation you think there is no room for worry, then you can comfortably say you are ready to marry. What got me was when he mentioned that if you are a student, forget about getting married because you don’t even have a salary, your parents decide whether or not to give you money and how much to give you.
Parents should not stop their children from marrying whom they want. Unless matters of faith are involved, parents should not stop their children from marrying who they choose. Age, color, height, ethnic group, and many others are some of the reasons some parents cite when their wards want to marry. These are however very superficial, but reasons about faith are understandable. Also if your child does not exhibit a sense of responsibility, you can advise them to work on some of these before marrying so that they do not become a “burden” on someone’s child. Some parents know very well their children have very bad attitudes yet they push them into marriage as if to get rid of them. If you who gave birth to them cannot cope with their character, how do you expect someone to live with them for the rest of their lives?
Do not force couples to have children. Procreation is just one of the many reasons why people marry, and it is God who gives children. When you get married, plan for your children; how many children you
want to have, when you want to have them, how you want to space them and so on. When you fail to plan, people will easily push you to do what they think. If you have one child from your marriage, be content with that, if two, that is fine, if ten, then that is yours too. Do not question why God gave someone six and gave you one or why God gave you five and gave someone two. Remember from the beginning we said everything has a purpose, yes so your one child or ten children is no accident, there is a purpose to that.
Never think that the relationship will always be rosy. Even children who
are born of the same parents and come from the same womb fight, how much more you two people who come from different backgrounds and parents, and have different upbringing and sometimes even different regions, countries and continents? Misunderstanding is part of human life, so do not expect to have a relationship that will never have any misunderstanding. The problem is not with the misunderstanding, it is with how these misunderstandings are handled. As a couple, the success of your marriage depends largely on how you handle misunderstandings. Every relationship has its ups and downs, enjoy the ups and do not let the downs wear down the relationship.
He said quite a lot of things, but these were my take home, I agreed with him on most of the things he said. Personally I think that marriage
is not a joke and there are a lot of things most of us take for granted when it comes to marriage, thus the marriage does not last. In as much as it is important to marry someone you love, it is far more important to take some other things other than love into consideration and do a lot of analysis before you commit yourself into a marriage that gives you more sorrow than joy. Often the reason people divorce is because they thought things will get better or because they thought they will change. What this means is that the problems or reasons for which they seek divorce are OFTEN visible before they agree to marry, maybe they are blinded by love.
Issues about relationships and marriage require a certain level of nuance when they are being tackled. This is the reason why I have not written on relationships and marriage before. What works for one
couple and their relationship might not necessarily work for you. That is why you need to first of all accept yourself, know yourself and love yourself. Don’t let anyone’s pressure push you into what is going to last a lifetime. In all that you see and hear, remember that you will be the victim of the consequences; if it is sweet, you will enjoy, if it is bitter, you will endure it alone. CHEERS!!!