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Pre-Marriage Preparation – A Necessity or A Luxury?

Location: Lagos

Tola and Peju came into marriage with two different backgrounds and teachings about marriage. Peju grew up in a family where women simply yielded to the men whenever there was a difference of opinion. Seeing the impact this way of doing things had on her mum and aunties, she resolved that in her own marriage she wouldn’t allow her husband to “oppress” her. According to her, marriage wasn’t a do or die affair. For Tola, her husband grew up in a family where marriages were kept intact even if the husband wife were unhappy. It was a taboo to even consider separation. But the men in his family dominated their women. The women in his family did what their husbands told them to do. They’ve now been married for five years. Their two “backgrounds” are clashing and there’s fire on the mountain. They love each other and want a happy marriage, but things aren’t working out.

Tola wasn’t listening to her opinions and perspectives on issues. After all, he was her husband and she should do as he said! Peju was struggling under the pressure of Tola’s domineering ways. She was getting close to breaking point. There was no way she was going to remain in this marriage if things didn’t change.

In his book Resolving Conflicts in Marriage, Darrell L. Hints pointed out that at the heart of conflict is “disagreement” – a failure to agree. According to him, a marriage that will be successful should have six basic foundation stones of agreement in place. These foundation stones are:

An agreement to build the marriage on the same paradigms and principles.

An agreement to leave the past behind.

An ONGOING agreement to “work” on the marriage.

An agreement that both husband and wife need to “change”.

An agreement to disagree.

An agreement to give 100 percent.

Tola and Peju don’t have the same paradigms and principles about marriage. Without exploring their different perspectives and coming to a mutually agreed and beneficial position, their home will continue to be a hotbed of conflict. Relationships that lead to marriage frequently start with physical attraction between a man and woman. The period of dating and courtship that follows is a time when your partner can do no wrong. It’s a time when all you see is what you love and admire in them. Participation in a Pre-Marriage preparation program like the SYMBIS (Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts) Assessment would have awakened Tola and Peju to their differences. In such a program, their expectations of one another and of their marriage would have been uncovered. They would have become aware of their individual potential to act out roles they form from a blend of their personal dispositions, family backgrounds and marital expectations.They would have been shown how to work through their differences and seek help with possible marital problems before they arise.

All hope isn’t lost for Tola and Peju. Thankfully, Post-Wedding programs are also available. The challenges they are facing in their life together can be overcome with proper guidance from a Family Life Practitioner.

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