MOTIVATION: Ashley Thaba
LAST week I shared my love story with Percy, basically explaining how different we are! Despite our differences, however, due to intentionally preparing for marriage, we have enjoyed over 15 years of wedded bliss!! Because we enjoy marriage so much, we do a lot of pre-marital and marital conferences and speaking engagements around town.
So, today I want to give you some of the questions and answers from a conference where singles asked us questions as they contemplate marriage. I also should add that we are in the final stages of creating a marriage show for BTV which will be bringing these kinds of practical conversations to improve marriages right to your homes across Botswana every week!! So get excited for that! Our prayer is to really encourage families and marriages because we firmly believe that strong families are the foundation to a strong nation.
Qsn: I am not really happy, but I feel like once I get married, I will be happier. Is that true?
Ans: Nope! Let me tell you. No person will make you happy – at least not for the long run! They can give you the butterflies in your stomach and make you have that lover’s glow for the short term, but if you are depending on another person to fill a void in your soul – you will end up frustrating and suffocating them. That happiness needs to come from within you. You want a man/woman who compliments you — not completes you!
Let me give a practical example of what this looks like. For Percy and I, we both draw tremendous internal peace and self-worth from knowing we are loved deeply by God. He fills us with His love to the point that we have enough left to give to others and each other. He gives us each an individual purpose to serve Him to the point that it makes Percy my life partner in my individual mission to serve God.
Qsn: Are there warning signs to look out for when choosing a spouse?
Ans: Yes!!! And you should be looking for these things! Many people assume things will be better in marriage and that is just not going to happen! So if he or she is drinking too much, if she or he shuts down when there are tough issues to discuss and avoids communication, if he or she is verbally or physically abusive, if he or she is not responsible with their finances, if he or she is lazy and not motivated to work, among others. Without supernatural intervention from God to change the character of that person from within, this will not change in marriage — so run!
Qsn: I want to marry a good, faithful, and honest person. Any tips on how to find that person?
Ans: Become the kind of person you want to attract! I am shocked with the number of people, men especially, I have talked to over the years who say this and yet those men are out late at night every weekend partying, sleeping with different ladies. Yet somehow they think that when time to marry comes, they will settle down and get this girl who has been sitting at home twiddling her thumbs and waiting for them! Are you kidding me? The kind of girl who is that valuable knows she is worth waiting on! So if you want that kind of girl, ask God to help you become the kind of man she would love and respect! The same principle applies to women.
Qsn: We don’t really have the same religious beliefs. Is that okay?
Ans: What a person believes about God shapes a lot of who they are as a person. When two people try and join and have different opinions on such a core character building quality, it causes a lot of unnecessary conflict! Where do they go to church, what will they teach the children, how will they give their money, where will they spend their time, how do they choose their friends, among others.? These things are influenced by core beliefs.
Qsn: Is there a good age to get married?
Ans: A healthy marriage will be built on the two becoming one and separating from their parents. You two together need to be able to support yourselves before you marry. You do not have to be the richest people but you need to be able to provide for your basic needs together. Also, you need to each, individually, know what you stand for and where you are going. One mistake is people get married before they have really matured as people. Then they feel the other person is holding them back. Figure out where you want to go and what you believe in and then find someone you can walk with who supports you in that life journey!
One last thing on this point, you should be in the same season of life. We counsel a lot of couples and one thing we see as a cause of a lot of trouble is when two people are in two different seasons. You will find one really wants to pursue further studies while the other is ready to settle down and have a family. You find one who wants to spend weekends at parties while the other prefers church events. One prefers to live in the village while the other opts for town. It creates a lot of conflict and headaches! Choose a life partner to share life with!
I hope that helps you with a few practical tips. Hopefully, soon our marriage show will be on television and you can join in more of these conversations that I pray will ultimately lead people to really having strong, healthy, happy marriages! As I said, I am motivated to do this because I firmly believe strong families build strong nations, and my prayer is for Botswana to become a strong, healthy, happy country!
Ashley Thaba is a popular life-coach, team-building facilitator and motivational speaker. She is also the author of Conquering the Giants and Dive In. You can view some of her works on her YouTube channel: Ashley Thaba.