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Courtship should be family affair

By Francis Ewherido (09/10/2017)

Recently, I visited an old friend. We had not seen for a while, but we kept in touch, via phone. In the course of the discussion, I asked about her husband. She told me that he has left her and moved in with his other “wife” (mother). I was not surprised because Tom (not his real name) was always very close to the mother. In addition, the marriage is dead in intent and purpose and now exists only on the marriage certificate. Then I threw the bombshell; I told her I knew from day one that the marriage was not going to last. She was stunned. “Why didn’t you tell me,” she asked. lovers “Would you have listened? Moreover, you were in love (lust) and everybody in love (lust) is a fool and at that point, you were the biggest fool of them all,” I responded. In truth, everybody around her was getting married and she was anxious to get married, and then Tom came along and events took a dizzying pace. It is not as if I had any special knowledge or divine message to know that the marriage would not work; the red flags were all over. Christianity, specifically, denomination, was a core value to my friend, but Tom was not into church.

Tom was financially unstable, while financial stability was core to my friend. How much of friends they really were was not certain; everything was so sudden, I could not really determine. Their backgrounds are different. She came from a family that granted children individual freedom, while Tom was, still is, firmly tied to the mother’s apron strings and has sisters who see him as their private property: he is the only brother in the midst of four sisters. There were other trouble spots.  As I reviewed my friend’s marriage  and other marriages that collapsed due to issues that could have been sorted out during courtship, it got me thinking.

I am a firm believer that once people are married, they should be given their space to build their marriage; no intrusion as long as there is no threat to life. But should family and close friends also give their children and friends their space during courtship? No, I do not think so, not anymore; family should get involved, as long as there are no ulterior motives.  These people dating need help. Many of them have blurred vision; they are too much in lust. Many focus on the immediate pleasures and gloss over fundamentals or postpone the “evil” day.

Some of them need to be told the truth, no matter how bitter. My mother always told us while growing up that it is only family or somebody close who can tell you that you have a bad breath. A stranger will not tell you. Courtship is like preparing for an examination. We have every right to help our children prepare adequately. But they only will write the exam (marriage). It is better to help them to get it right during courtship, than be settling quarrels or be embroiled in divorces later. With this firm resolve, I have decided to have a meeting with all my children, including my six-year-old daughter. After all, she knows about husband, wife and children; boyfriend, girlfriend, kissing and probably a lot more.

These so called children’s cartoon programmes on television, hmmm! Thankfully, the sex education both at home and in school is bearing positive fruits. I have already told my children some “don’ts” for any of them who wants me to be part of his/her marriage ceremony. Now, I want them to know that I will be actively involved in their courtships, when the time comes, beyond just knowing the potential spouse. I am going to go beyond the thorough background checks parents of old did. My future sons-in-law or daughters-in-law, just like my children, will also be my friends, on and off Facebook and other social media platforms. A son-in-law or daughter-in-law is after all a son/daughter you never knew.

Now that you have found each other, should you not bond and catch up on lost time? You should be friends and rub minds.  I will also engage on at least one trip  each with my daughters’ prospective husbands; a strictly boys’ affair. We shall be all alone eating, sleeping, waking up, sight-seeing and engaging in intellectual stimulation and other activities. I will also like to travel with my future daughters-in-law, but this time with my wife very much with us. We shall spend time together without my sons, bonding and knowing each other better. Such trips can be quite revealing.

I pray for my children; I will continue to give them advice and guidance where necessary. If they reject my advice, so be it. But I will NEVER be part of any marriage, if I have cause within my human limitations, to believe that the marriage will fail. Like Pontius Pilate, I will wash my hands off the ceremony. I deeply regret any marriage I have been part of, where I had my doubts, but kept quiet, and it ultimately failed. Henceforth, I will speak up and make enemies or keep quiet, if the situation does not permit, and stay away from the ceremony.

I will no longer grieve my conscience for anybody. Angels are not only in heaven; sometimes God makes a sinful person an angel to save someone else from disaster, marital disaster, in this case. May God give us the spirit of discernment at such times and the courage to carry out the difficult task of telling those concerned the bitter truth. My resolve is totally for the benefit of those getting married. I just want to know within my painfully limited human reasoning that they are good to go till death do them part, no more no less. I sincerely want my children and everybody getting into matrimony to be happily married and enjoy not endure their marriages.

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