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Dear Joy,

You’ve been doing a lot of thinking about your future husband. You’ve read books and reflected on what you expect in your husband, and you painted a picture of your ideal mate back when you were just 19.

He should be someone who shares your spiritual values as well as your material values; someone who sees children as gifts from God to be loved, protected, disciplined and nurtured; someone who sees money as first for giving before anything else. You want him to genuinely care about people, and to be able to speak your love languages well too, never running out of affirming words and warm hugs. You are quite certain that you cannot compromise maturity, supportiveness, affection, sincerity, sensitivity, and intelligence; you’ve also decided that you prize vocational intelligence and a willingness to learn new things over book intelligence.

All of this is excellent, Joy. I couldn’t be more proud of you and how self-aware you are. From where I stand now, however, I can’t help wondering what the point of all this reflection and journaling is if you’re soon going to discard it for “chemistry” and a “connection.” What are you doing with someone who is not merely on another page but in another book? What are you doing with someone who talks the talk but pressures you against those same values? Why are you with someone who isn’t helping you grow but keeps you in a cute little box instead? Don’t you realise it’s the same thing as dying? If you’re not growing you’re dying. Your goals are fading, your dreams dying.

Oh you did get the man you prayed for, thankfully…but you almost didn’t.  You came too close to making a mistake for someone who already had such a clear sense of what she wanted.

Beware an aversion to being without a partner. It is perfectly okay to remain as you are until you meet someone who is right. Dating for dating’s sake and just “going with the flow” because he’s “nice” is simply toying with your life and purpose. If he’s not a right fit, leave him alone. Don’t dumb down or dim your light just to be “coupled”, it’s never worth it.

Of course people change, for better and for worse. More than that, people are layered. As a matter of fact, even when you meet someone who is all you’ve envisioned and more, you’re still going to be marrying someone you don’t really know. And that’s because you’re marrying a person, not a ticked list.

One Sunday a few months ago, my husband shocked me by presenting his face without the beard I loved so much. I suddenly found myself married to someone I had never really seen before! I had known him for 6 years, and I had never seen him without that beard. People who knew him before I met him were of course pleased that their “real guy” was back, but all I could think was, me that my “real husband” has disappeared nko? Who will console me?

It really brought home the truth that, no matter how much time you spend “studying” your intended during courtship, and no matter how well you think you know them, there will always prove to be facets of them you had never seen, big or small. Heck, marriage can bring out a side of them that they have never seen!

So why do I applaud your list and urge you to stay true to it? I do because it outlines the part of a person that does not change — their core, their essence — and that’s what’s most important. When it comes to everything else, there are no guarantees, dear girl. You take your vows and decide to make life together work, and then you get to work and have fun while at it, absolutely trusting that you’ll stick with each other till death do you part.

The true brilliance of marriage is faith.

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This article was first published on 30th September 2016 and updated on October 25th, 2016 at 12:11 pm


Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at]

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