Marriage is a lifetime commitment. And for it to be successful, it requires hard work, sacrifice but most importantly choosing the right partner for this journey.
How to make this choice is a delicate and intricate process, but it all starts with understanding what to look for in a life partner.
Whereas there are a number of factors one needs to consider when choosing a marriage partner, what’s most important is for one to consider aspects that are essential to them.
Coming from a place of faith, Hassan Kibirango, a Pastor at Christian Life Assembly Nyarutarama says an important factor to consider is compatibility of values.
He says it’s important to take time and study the core values of the person you are entering this lifelong covenant with. Do they share your values? Or they are completely different? If your values are incompatible, chances are you will not make it through marriage.
A couple needs to be ready for marriage and the responsibility that comes with it. Net photos.
The best compatibility happens when the couple shares a common faith or belief. Being a Christian myself, the belief and followership to Christ is very vital. Not just a Christian but someone who has a meaningful and growing relationship with Christ, he says.
“I have come to realise that people who are grounded by faith are much more able to be not only faithful but also patient in their marriage, because nothing tests their patience, courage and anger, holistically like marriage does,” the pastor says.
What to take note of during courtship?
Kibirango explains that courtship is a very essential stage building towards marriage—this is when as a couple you are establishing a friendship and a relationship with each other. It is when you learn to work with someone; their likes and dislikes find common grounds with yours. For example, are they interested in the relationship genuinely? are they investing in the relationship? Do they go out of their way to serve you in the relationship—doing nice things for you? This is not one sided.
There has to be mutual service, respect and honour for each other. It’s also important to know how the person you are dating represents you among friends and family. Do they defend you? Or they are the kind who will speak ill about you in your absence, he adds.
The father-of-four also stressed that if the person you are dating is not willing to defend you, it’s quite obvious they won’t defend you in marriage.
He also pointed out that as a Christian, you should ask yourself if this person is willing to be faithful with you by waiting to engage in sexual activities until you have entered the marriage covenant. Courtship is not a ticket to engage in sexual activities, it is legal, healthy and safe in the context of marriage. The capability of one’s partner to wait to have sex before marriage shows how they will be faithful with you in marriage.
Innocent Kabera, a family counsellor at Ayina Think Tank Company in Kimironko notes that when choosing a marriage partner, at times people are influenced by society.
For instance, people rely on social standards while thinking of their future partners or they rely on advice from their parents, relatives, friends, colleagues or even social media blogs, he says.
He adds that some of this advice, though may not come with negative intentions, may be wrong.
When considering who you want to marry, Kabera advises that you should marry your best friend who understands you and knows all your strengths and weaknesses.
“A best friend knows your values and in most cases, you are more likely to share such values,” he stresses.
The counsellor notes that a successful relationship invokes commitment, loyalty, and sincerity, “Always keep your expectations low and avoid finding faults in each other just to prove that you are right. How about the ability to forgive? Will your partner be able to get along with each other’s family members? Are you able to accept them the way they are and not change them? Are you willing to study their bad habits and find solutions before moving forward?”
He explains that it is necessary to check if your partner is able to manage stress, because all will not always go smoothly but how one reacts when angry communicates an important message. You are only ready for marriage if both of you can manage stress and anger, he states.
Preparing yourself for marriage
Kabera notes that there are three stages in life, that is; dependence, Independence and interdependence. Before getting married one should be in the second stage of being independent and start an interdependent life with their partner.
Once someone turns 21 years of age in Rwanda, they are legally viable for marriage. But you need to have a sense of maturity that is way beyond just age.
For a man, Kibirango says to consider this: Are you willing to secure a financial future for the woman you are planning to marry?
“The financial future may include a home and a livelihood for them. You don’t need to have all of these things or enough money to get married as long as you are working towards securing a future for you and your partner,” he says.
Kibirango shares his story narrating that he got married at the age of 24 and his wife was 22 at the time.
He says he was running a small business by then but his wife was unemployed. They were renting a small house but he knew he had a big enough vision to sustain and take care of his wife. He promised to never let her go to bed hungry and that he was to work hard to sustain her. He fulfilled his promise.
With this, he says for one to be ready for marriage, there has to be a level of responsibility on their part to be responsible for someone else.
“But also, you are ready to get married if you have a sense of confidence and the testimony of the people around you that see a certain level of maturity in you depending on how you act. The question to ponder on is what do your friends say? Those that know you closely and intimately, can they honestly say that you are ready for marriage and the responsibility that comes with it?”Follow mbabazijoan11