Monday, June 6, 2016

STANDARDS: TO HAVE OR NOT TO HAVE.

One recurring enquiry among singles aspiring to get married is the issue of whether they ought to or not have standards that should guide them in making the all- important selection of marriage partners. 
They want to know what should constitute the yardsticks for choosing a life partner. This quest becomes all the more pertinent where there are more than one likely prospect. What should be the basis really for narrowing down one's search of a spouse? If they are supposed to have standards, they wonder whether such standards should be physical, spiritual or a combination of both. 
There is definitely a need to make a selection such as this with a handsome degree of contemplation. Without this, it would mean that the entire process would be left to mere chance and a haphazard approach adopted. The Bible renders it this way:

Proverbs 22:3
A prudent man sees the evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished [with suffering]. ( Amp)

It is important therefore from the outset for each single guy or lady to have a clear idea of what they want out of marriage. This should be borne out of a good understanding of what the institution is all about, from God's perspective. You should know what purpose marriage is meant to serve. You should also be familiar with your own particular responsibilities and obligations as well as your partner's in the relationship of marriage.
Armed with this crucial understanding, you should then proceed cautiously to decide in advance the standards that you would hold a prospective spouse to; much like the scrutiny that you put into the whole process of entering into a business partnership! Nobody appends their signature to legal documents      casually! 
Alright, so what you need to know is that when it comes to choosing a life partner, yes there is a need to have criteria that guide you. These criteria however fall under two categories:
I. Flexible 
II.Uncompromising/rigid.


There are certain human foibles and mannerisms that are peculiar to individuals. Determined mostly by ignorance, lack of adequate exposure, lack of proper upbringing and the like, these quirks can be overlooked. This is because with time and given the right exposure and knowledge, people do change and get 'polished.' 
A person with a queer dress sense for example or someone who chews noisily can change for the better over time as they become more aware of the oddities that define them in these areas. 
Other examples would include things like a lack of finesse in social settings, not being expressive, talking on top of one's voice, not being organized, speaking with an ethnic accent etc. 
That is not to say that these things are not important. Of course they are! And depending on the person on the 'receiving end' of them, some of these peculiarities really put some people off and make them change their mind about marrying someone. For some people for instance, it is a very big deal for their spouse to be able to speak good English devoid of any local accent! Lol! And if he/she doesn't measure up in that regard, they will not marry him/her!
The point I am making however is that these things can change with time. Also they do not impact heavily upon how successful a marriage relationship will be or indeed how your spouse will treat you. Your happiness in marriage is not dependent on them. 
So these fall under the first category of flexible standards that can be overlooked. 
It's amazing what difference time, money, right exposure and requisite knowledge makes! Most of these tendencies are temporary and do not determine how much the other person values you or how they will treat you. They just do not know better at the time, and usually when they come across better knowledge in that area, they shape up and actually get better.

The second category is the rigid and uncompromising class. This has to do with the qualities and essentials that constitute a person's character. A person's character is their real self. It is what will determine how they will behave and how they will treat you, as everyone acts based on the limitations of their character.
Therefore, in choosing a marriage partner, you must never overlook anything that borders on character, because that is the true manifestation of who the other person is and that is what you will live with for the rest of your life. 
Watch out for lying, dishonesty, cheating, deception, violent outbursts, treating people shabbily, unfaithfulness, intolerance, controlling behaviour, disrespect, indiscipline, and the like. 
Put in another way, anyone who you will get married to needs to pass the test of character. Any shortcoming in this area must not be overlooked or swept under the carpet. "Oh but everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect. What if they apologize, shouldn't I forgive them?" Of course you should. But you see, it takes more than just expressing remorse to be truly changed. No matter how sorry someone is for their character flaws, they will not suddenly change in that area of weakness. There has to be conscious, deliberate, concerted efforts aimed at dealing with the problem area from its roots spiritually, practically and most times with the help of a spiritual mentor or accountability partner.
After that, time must be given to see how far they have come. They themselves should be able to point out the difference that has occurred in their lives as a result of consciously taking steps to overcome their weak character areas.
So you see, forgiving someone does not mean that you have to marry them. Just like forgiving a pilfering employee who asks your forgiveness for example, does not mean you have to take them back and put them in charge of money again! 
Your standards for character should be high and unyielding. That you decline from marrying someone does not mean they are bad or evil. It simply means that they fall short of the standards you have set for yourself and you are not willing to compromise that.
 No hard feelings. 
No quarrels. 
No name-calling. 
No castigation  whatsoever.

Make sure however that you too are also uncompromising in your own character. So that you are a person of high character and values in search of another person of values and integrity like yourself.

So when faced with the choice of who to say 'Yes, I do' to, as you begin to relate with them, determine whether the things you find undesirable in them fall under the category of things that can be overlooked because they do not matter much in the long run or whether they are character traits which are a manifestation of a person's values. 

Some singles are worried that their prospect may pretend and hide their true character from them prior to marriage.
Only if you rush into marriage and do not do the entire pre-wedding process right. 
You need to remember that no one can keep up an appearance for long. Give it a little time and before long you will begin to see pointers to their true character. How they react under pressure, how they talk to people especially subordinates, how they shift blame, evade certain questions you ask, shift responsibility, how seriously they take the things of God, how disciplined and self-controlled they are, how much they obey the word of God and encourage you to do the same, how they treat you etc. 

A note of caution here though:
Because of the possibility of someone 'giving you what you want to have and telling you what you want to hear,' you should not be too quick to reveal what your standards in a prospective partner are as soon as you start relating with them. Avoid telling them everything you expect from them so that they do not fake it in order to deceive you. Watch them carefully without 'lecturing' them on what and what you expect them to be or not be. This way with time you will be able to determine whether they meet your unyielding standards or not.
 I hope you get this.

Matthew 7:6
Do not give that which is holy (the sacred thing) to the dogs, and do not throw your pearls before hogs, lest they trample upon them with their feet and turn and tear you in pieces.

Don't forget too that your greatest asset in your search is spirituality. Having done all, depend on God to guide you and to help you see what you do not see. He knows everyone's heart and intentions. Depending on your own relationship with Him, He can help you know when someone is trying to deceive you. 

Finally therefore, before you marry anyone ask yourself "If this person does not change, am I willing to live with their character for the rest of my life?"
Answer the question honestly and then make a decision.

There you go! Standards; yes and no!
Singles out there, I'd like to hear from you about this subject too. 
Please share your thoughts below so that others can benefit as well.
Shalom!  


3 comments:

  1. It is well! Some people are over-due for marriage, because of high standard, and others settled for less, as a result of low standard... That is life. God bless you ma.

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  2. Solomon makes the telling observation in Eccl 9:11 that, "The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all" (NKJV). So yes, there is an element of 'time and chance', or "That is life" in choosing partners. Nevertheless, just as we'd be imprudent in not sowing seeds at all, because we're subject to 'time and chance', we'd be unwise if we did say yes, or no to a lifetime proposal without carefully thought out criteria.

    Let's bear in mind that our Creator designed us for lifelong unions, not Hollywood-style hook-ups. So the decision requires careful fore-thought AND every help we can procure from the Counsellor. Meditative reflections on what constitute Flexible Standards and what ought to be Uncompromising Standards in choosing a partner and conversations with other committed Christians through literature, etc offer plenty of opportunity for the Spirit of God to transform us into prudent judges of who we can form enduring, mutually fulfilling unions with.

    Having said that, I'll recap in passing that yes, a 'Flexible' just may turn out to be an 'Uncompromising' to a particular single, simply because it is a source of continual irritation to that person and he or she finds it impossible to endure the irritation. If you get indigestion when you sit next to someone who chews loudly, you may need a lot of medication till your partner learns to chew quietly! On the other hand, the attributes of character are enduring and best left to the guidance of the Counsellor. He alone knows what's in the heart of your suitor and He alone is able to transform your suitor (and you, for that matter). We are so much better off just trusting His judgement and if we don't learn to trust Him in the decisions we take about 'little' things, I'm afraid there's no magic potion which will enable us to trust Him when it comes to deciding on who to marry for life. Let's not take Him for granted in the ordinary course of life; it may cost us much of what our Father intended for us on this side of existence.

    And then, I'd rather keep my standards to myself unless it adds something to my suitor to tell him (or her; ei ... na waa oo) after we've known each other for quite a while. You don't tell the numbers which win you the game.

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