My topic for today is “15 Reasons You Shouldn’t Rush Into That Marriage. Red Flags“. When a man meets woman and they both fall in love, that is an amazing part of life. After this comes the wedding ceremony where friends and family members are invited to be part of this amazing day.
Weddings are the ultimate announcement for many on how successful they are in the love-matching game of life. Daily i get clients come with complaints during pre-marital sessions only for us to discover that the same thing they were complaining about was the same thing that was going to guarantee their success as a couple. I have also seen sweet-looking pairs come in arms all over each other only to sense 10-minutes into our session that theirs “might” be a beautiful disaster in the making. Over the past 5 years, I’ve spoken to over four hundred clients consisting of couples, individuals, addicts, the suicidal etc. and what this does is that after a while you start to establish patterns. These patterns are our topic for today.
Rather than being bitterly married, i always advice individuals that It’s better to be single & happy with the hope of finding the right partner. An in-house “10 question” research i conducted with 30 willing couples gave me amazing insights on the state of marriages. I discovered that;
*37% of the couples would NOT marry their current partners if they had another chance to say “I do”. (ouch!)
*24% of the couples were disappointed in themselves for their choices
*57% of the couples said they were willing to work on their marriage only if their partners would as well.(A happy development)
*42% said that during courtship, they noticed everything they currently don’t like about their partner but felt their partners would change.
The 42% above are the ones i want to speak with today. Not every relationship MUST end in marriage even if marriage ranks high on your list. Use some of them as opportunities to learn and by this i mean learning more about yourself and not an opportunity to have sex, climb the financial ladder or other personal gains.
– Temple Obike
MAJOR RED FLAGS BEFORE MARRIAGE
There is nothing worse than making a mistake you could have avoided. It’s regrets bite deeper and harder than those that hit you on the blind-side. I know the ring is already in place, the wedding attires all planned out and all you need to do is make the final move of being available for the big day. I am happy for the both of you and to ensure that this joy lasts the long run of forever, we will ask ourselves these honest questions. I understand that no one is perfect and we are all works in progress but let’s cut ourselves an honest deal. If you are only bothered by;
- 3 points from the list you can get married Yesterday GREEN
- 5 points from the list you can get married in 2 months from now after a bit more observation ORANGE
- 10 points from the list you should stop, get help and watch carefully RED
The gamification of this process is in no way supposed to water down the seriousness from which i’m writing this article but on the contrary supposed to give you a yardstick for assessing what your next steps are. Here are the things i’ve learnt.
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Your Gut Feeling
Having doubts before you walk down the aisle is normal but seasoned therapists have taught us that this feeling should diminish over a period until it’s replaced by some sort of positive conviction. However, if you keep having doubts about the step, then you should hold on and unpack those doubts. Your gut feeling is your inbuilt alarm system. I’ll give you an example. If you suddenly hear the alarms of your vehicle which you parked outside blaring, would you just search for the keys and turn it off? OR would you quickly check it to see what triggered the alarm? The choice is obvious (even if you live in your own compound). It’s the same with your gut feeling as it pertains to marriage.
How Well Do You Know Each Other
Emotions like sparks can fly all over the place but the sad thing about sparks is that they have a short life-span. If you are going to build your whole life on a spark, it doesn’t just sound healthy to me. A spark is good but beyond that look at the person who is causing all these butterflies and moths to move around your tum-tum. How well do you know this person? Do you know what he doesn’t like? Do you know her taste in music? Are there habits they may be struggling with? Do they tell little money lies? Are they emotionally involved with someone else while professing love to you (because it will happen again)? do you know her temperament level? Is she an open person or does he keep secrets? Does he have a strong bond with his family? Is her father absent or barely non-existent? Are they more interested in their siblings than they are in you? My dear ask all the questions and im not talking about how do you like your sex? or what is your favorite colour? kind of questions. These questions could be the difference between a happy and failed marriage.
Do They (or You) Have a Great Outlook for the Future
Marriage simply means both parties are interested in each others future. Your futures will become inextricably woven when both of you get married. So if your partner does not seem to be interested or excited by the “future you”, This could be a sign that they don’t see themselves in that future with you or they just don’t think it’s interesting. At this point please ask direct questions such as “Bae, you do not seem excited by my future outlook, so is there anything you’d like to suggest?”. These questions are the bedrock of a solid marriage because not asking each other these questions result in di(two)-Vision and two captains divided will sink a ship including it’s crew members (the children). Are both of you looking to be professionals or entrepreneurs. What level are you going to take it from? Who do we set up first and then whose business comes next? Knowing where you are headed before you set out on a journey makes that journey worthwhile and even if there are distractions or detours along the way, both parties know the end game.
Our Spiritual Goals Seem Unaligned
I know this may not be one of the most popular reasons but trust me, it will pose an issue. Unless two agree they definitely cannot walk together. Now it’s the both of you but tomorrow its both of you and some children who did not ask to be brought here. If you notice a partners spiritual values do not align with yours, it is good grounds to call off a marriage because getting married with the hopes that your partner would be converted to your faith is usually a recipe for disaster. Decisions on whose faith the children will tow or not tow are all discussions you cannot hope to have when you get there. Marrying an atheist and hoping they go to the mosque or church with you is not sustainable neither is getting married to someone who doesn’t believe in your spiritual values.
Notice that i have stayed away from terming this religious goals as i personally believe that religion is what you do on Sunday and Wednesday but spirituality is what you do on any other day. Do not sacrifice this aspect of your person on the alter of marriage because its the most important part of who you are.
Why Am I Really Getting Married
This is one of the most important questions you need to answer before marriage. Every answer to this question has to be 100% yours. The moment any of your answers starts skirting around other people, their ideologies etc., then you need to get a pen and list all those reasons down because that is dangerous grounds. At no point should your reason for getting married have anything to do with anyone else. Only an individual who has learnt to love and accept themselves wholly can love someone else. If you are getting into marriage because all your mates are already married, you need someone to help your social life, you need to get out of a rut or pressures are mounting on you, I have news for you. It’s better to be single and happy rather than married and frustrated. Check your motive for getting married and stay true to yourself.
My Partner is So Perfect for Me
There is no perfect marriage and the earlier you understood this, the earlier you would start being realistic on your marriage goals. When i see clients who sit across me with their partners before marriage and cannot tell me at least two things about their partner that annoys them, i get worried. Infact, the more things you can tell me about your partner which annoys you, that simply means you know them very well. Do not marry a mirage of perfection because it does not exist. If after courting for a while (4 months upwards) and you still can’t find a fault in your partner, You are either getting married to a humanoid 6.6.6 version or are in the presence of a great pretender.
Even a little squeeze of your lips (on the mouth) or grabbing your shirt to get your attention are a no no. If your partner is someone who gets touchy they need to be working on themselves to resolve this and not you trying to figure out ways to co-exist with the condition (because that’s what it is). If a partner does not give you a safe environment, how on earth would they become a spouse who is peaceful overnight. That’s called magic and there’s no room for magic in marriage. Everything should be intentional, deliberate and actively worked on. As obvious as this is, many individuals still walk into marriages knowing fully well that their partners were physical.🧙
I Think Getting Married Will Make Me Better
If you are struggling, Need to move your financial level, Have emotional baggage that distorted your perspective on life or have a dirty secret in the closet, marriage will NOT fix this. Marriage is not an elixir but a union between two people who have worked on themselves to a point where they are confident enough to join forces with someone else to build an even bigger and better family unit from the one they came from. The moment you start looking at marriage as the solution to fix what you are struggling with, you have already failed because you will be disappointed. I have spoken to bi-sexuals, addicts, the depressed and individuals riddled with a savior-complex who felt marriage was going to save them or save someone else. They were all unanimously disappointed. Fix yourself first and then get married.
You Or Your Partner Are Struggling With an Addiction or Condition
I already touched on this above but i can’t over-emphasize enough on how important it is to note that if you or your partner are struggling with something, you should seek help first. If you or your partner have not been able to beat this condition personally then you may need help. In a situation where your potential partner has informed you of their struggles and both of you are actively getting professional help for it, my advice is that you leave marriage out and concentrate on getting them out of their struggle first because an addiction takes up space and time meant for the loved ones in the life of the addict and this unfortunately includes you. So make out time to solve the issue on ground after which you can then think marriage. Never get into a marriage hoping to manage an addiction. It’s a stressful place to begin your married life frankly speaking. Love conquers all i know but let the individual first conquer the situation they introduced into their life with you cheering them on from the sidelines. When they have healthily conquered the situation, i can tell you for free that it will improve your perception of them.
My Partner Might Not Be As Mature As I Would Have Wanted
If you are already considering the maturity level of your partner, then it means it’s a problem. I know this may not be the best discussion to have with anyone but it has to be discussed. This has nothing to do with age because i know both boys and girls who are over 50-years old. There are basic life skills that we are all supposed to learn at certain times and epochs of our life. Unfortunately many haven’t passed this class. These issues crop up in the quality of friends around them, their ability to manage their finances, their scale of preference, planning for the future and their ability to hold on to a job. If you or your potential partner are struggling with any of these, kindly put the marriage on hold as it’s a key issue that requires candid discussions.
I’m not talking about the fear of what to expect when you do get married but instead a fear of the marriage itself. When you are getting married because you are afraid of hurting them when you call off the marriage or afraid of what they might do then you are already heading into an abusive and unhealthy relationship. Stop everything about this marriage if you notice any of these fears. That’s your gut feeling again kicking against it. Any union that begins from a place of fear isn’t worth venturing into because you will NEVER have a voice in such a relationship.
Well, those are the points i’ve collated over the years on what needs to be attended to before the wedding gowns, parties and marriage ceremony begins. The more of these discussions we begin to have with potential spouses, the lesser the amount of divorce cases we will experience. A marriage can not be built on mundane things such as;
A) Sexual Chemistry
B) We Vibe
C) Financial Status
D) A Family Name
E) Physical Looks
F) Religion (yes i added it)
H) Similar addictions
…and much more.
As always, i hope this piece on “15 Reasons to Not Rush Into That Marriage. Red Flags” helped someone. If you are about to get married but notice any of the following, be patient and resolve the issue before proceeding. The resolution would only take a while but marriage is forever. You know how to reach me. A bad marriage can affect your career, dreams, family life or more but a great marriage is a booster.
Written by Obike Temple.
Temple Obike is a licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, author and psychotherapist who has counseled over one thousand, two hundred clients comprising of couples, individuals, abuse victims (substance, physical, emotional and sexual) and grief-stricken clients. With over 70,000 in-counseling minutes (1,000+ hours) accrued in practice. He runs his private psychotherapy & counseling practice out of Lagos, Nigeria and has counseling centers in Abuja and Port-Harcourt. His practice also provides options for both online and on-site services.
His private practice has positively empowered lives through his online counseling, podcasts, free advisory services and free online materials. Readership of his articles also receive a growing number of visitors alongside subscriptions to his email newsletter at templeobike.com. His passion for empowering and uncovering the secrets to lifelong marriages and personal development led to his new book titled “Soul Bodega” available on amazon and across other online and traditional stores.
Never give up on yourself! You are a journey happening through various destinations.