- Is an important institution in the life of an individual (Genesis 1:26-27).
- Is a union between a man and a woman (Gen. 2:24) from their respective families
- Is an institution of proper planning, organisation and responsibilities.
- Is valued by the society and ordained by God (Malachi 2:14).
- Is for companionship, support, love, sex and procreation (John 13:35; Gen. 1:28a)
- Follows a process/procedure and it is a life-long contract (i.e. Only death can end it).
- Procedure includes: Registering your interest for it (Giving proposal), Accepting the proposal (Courtship), Preparing for the marriage (Dating), Establishing the Marriage (Exchange of vows, prayers & merry making) and Building the marriage.
- The expression, “I Do” is, therefore, usually said by the woman right from the stage of “Giving proposal” through to the day of establishing the marriage.
Factors to Help You Say “I DO”
- Your own assessment of anyone who comes your way with a marriage proposal is important in helping you to say “I do” and for giving you a good marriage.
- Your peers, family, religious leader(s) and counsellors can help you.
- Attend marriage seminars and read good books on marriage to know what marriage is all about and how perfectly it can be run.
- It is not for fun or lust to say “I do”-it has to be treated with seriousness.
- Reported cases of divorce in Ghana are worrying. The Ghana Statistical Service (2014) revealed that 600,000 marriages contracted in Ghana collapsed, a figure said to be three times higher than the number of divorce cases recorded in England and Wales put together in 2012.
- M.A. (2015) said Accra alone recorded 4,080 divorce cases from 2006 to 2014.
- Head of Legal Department of K.M.A. Anthony Osei-Poku (2015) said the declaration of divorce increased from 200 in the year 2000 to 2,700 in 2014 with most of the marriages having collapsed between one month and five years of existence.
- Consider the following to help you say “I Do”: Physical and Attitudinal Factors, Social and Economic Factors, Sexual and Reproductive Factors, Religious and Cultural Factors, and Genetic and Family Records.
Physical and Attitudinal Factors
- Good to consider the person’s body physique, personality, attitude and behaviour
- What kind of man do I want? (i.e. Short, dark and fat or tall, fair and slim man)
- Do I want a friendly, gentle and too-busy man or the shy, calm but respectful one?
- We have people who are frank, honest, caring, humble, hostile, unyielding and proud.
- Always remember that appearances can deceive so take time to study things well.
Social and Economic Factors
- Know the person’s economic status, social relationship and level of wealth.
- What kind of man do I want? A celebrity, politician, public servant or self-employed?
- Should the man be attention seeking, reserved, kind, sociable or entertaining?
- Do I need a very rich man, moderately rich man or a man working hard to be rich?
Sexual and Reproductive Factors
- Know the man’s sexual and reproductive abilities if you do agree that marriage truly sanctions sex, love and procreation.
- What is the man’s level of sexual activeness?
- Is the man sexually fertile?
- Good to know the man’s sperm count, erectile function, blood group and Rhesus factor as against what you have.
- Observe him to know how he is likely to treat a pregnant woman, woman in labour and a nursing mother as well as his performance in rearing children.
- How many children does he want to have as against your preferred number?
Religious and Cultural Factors
- Should the man be a Christian, Muslim, traditionalist or an atheist?
- If, for example, the man is a Christian and belongs to your church, what is his level of faith in the Lord?
- What are his weaknesses and strengths in the faith?
- Know the man’s background in terms of tribe and upbringing, including the food he likes best, mode of dressing and beliefs as against what you also bring on board.
- Avoid the temptation of being unnecessarily tribal or ethnocentric-Never look down upon any tribe or ethnic group since marriage helps to promote national integration!
Genetic and Family Records
- Know his genetic and family records
- If DNA test is too expensive to do, contact a qualified medical doctor to assess the man’s fitness (i.e. Sickle cell anaemia and nature of body organs).
- Do your own assessment or you can rely on your peers, relatives, religious leader(s) and counsellor to help you investigate the man’s family record.
- What kinds of behaviour, sickness or abnormality are unique to his family?
- It is believed that certain conditions, such as mental sickness, speech disorder, barrenness, epilepsy and autism are hereditary and unique to certain families.
- Your simple research into the man’s family background can give you a clue of the real situation at hand and the way forward.
- In all of this, make sure you connect well with those that can help you say a better “I do” and for you to also enjoy your marriage in the Name of Jesus. Amen!
References for Further Reading
Before You Say “I Do”: A Marriage Preparation Guide for Couples. Published by Wright H. Norman & Wes. Roberts in 2015.
Genesis 2:22; Matthew 19:4-6; Proverbs 18:22; Proverbs 21:9; Proverbs 27:15; 1 Corinthians 7:3-5a; Colossians 3:18-19; Ephesians 5:33; Ephesians 5:25-32; Galatians 3:28; Proverbs 5:18-19.
NB: This was first delivered by the Author at a seminar organised by The Glorious Ladies, a group linked to The Church of Pentecost in Adwen-Bu District of Kaneshie Area, where he led an interaction with 50 members of the group on January 15, 2017 in Accra.
By Anthony Kwaku Amoah
The writer is a professional teacher, counsellor and a public relations officer of the Ghana Education Service, and also the assistant chairman of the Marriage Committee of Adwen-Bu English Assembly of The Church of Pentecost in Accra, Ghana.