In fact, before you even take it to the elders…have you considered marriage counseling? No? Ok. This is where a lot of couples get off the wrong foot…and this my friend is why our divorce courts are so packed daily. We get so caught up in the butterflies, the bling on the finger, calling friends at 11:00PM yelling “OMG OMG he proposed!! Girrrrl you should see the rock!!”; the next thing the elders are involved; and we all know once it gets to that stage, there’s no turning back aker… But worry not, I’m here.
So dames en here…before you even pick up that phone to call mom & dad, have you considered the following?
1. Financial plans/ status
- Is he/she in the habit of spending – I’m sure there had been a rainy day or two while you were dating. How did your partner deal with it? Did they run around borrowing money from friends & family? Did they run to 20 banks looking for loans or did they instead calmly dig into their savings/ investments/ policies? This should set the tone for your marriage. Of course the latter would be ideal but if the former was the case then….you guys need to sit down and discuss this.
- Do they care about what other people think of them? Are they reckless spenders? You know brands, parties, top shayela kind of lifestyle etc. Of course there’s nothing wrong with a posh lifestyle…only if you can afford it. Or else you run a risk of parking an X5 and walking into a house with only tomato sauce in the fridge & ice cubes in the freezer.
2. Dreams – Do you have dreams you’d still like to pursue?
- Is he/she supportive of it. Will he be patient with you when you finally tackle that MBA, all those sleepless nights and lethargic days?
- Will they be supportive when you get that scholarship you always dreamed of to go study in another continent?
- Will they support you when you one day make it in the music industry and have to go on a series of tours and night performances? Or are they going throw the conveniently “traditional” “o mosadi/monna wa lapa” emotional blackmail at you.
3. Goals – Do you share the same life goals?
- Does he want to settle in a nice, tranquil farm house while you instead are a big city girl who’d die of boredom living on a farm.
- How many kids do they want?
- Do they even want kids?
4. Personalities – VERY important
They say opposites attract but some opposites can be too extreme. You need to ask yourself a few things about him;
- “How is he/she when upset?”
- “How’s his/her temper?”
- “How do they handle stressful situations?”
- “How are they around children?”
- “Is he/she generally a happy person”
- “How was his upbringing?”
- “Do you make each other laugh/smile/generally happy or miserable?”
- “Are you yourself completely/comfortable around them? Do they love you for the person you are or are trying to change you?”
This one’s for those who are already in. If you aren’t, then you many swiftly skip this one.
- How is the sex?
- Do you discuss your sex?
- Do you go all out to please each other or is it one of those…boxes to check and move on with life?
- Do the two of you want kids?
- How many?
- At what ages do you both want to close the shop?
- Would he have a masectomy or leave all that responsibility to you?
7. Spirituality/ religion
Unless you aren’t religious at all, it takes a strong person to abandon a religion they’ve grown to love and reference for a completely different one. I find that from a Christianity point of view, Christian women/men don’t mind changing changes churches for their better half as long as the message is similar. But I’ve seen marriages going through strains because the husband goes to ZCC while the wife insists on abazalwane.
8. Culture – So you are that girl from a liberal family and he on the other hand is that staunch traditionalist together with his family…worse, he is of a culture different to yours.
- Have you been to his hometown?
- Do you know what’s expected of you when you visit their home or even as a spouse from a cultural perspective?
9. Their relationship with your family
If they don’t gel with your family or you with theirs…boy you’re in for a lifetime dose of misery. Your other half should be able to pick up the phone to check up on your ailing mother or better yet, go see her in hospital without you by their side. I’m not saying you should be BFFs with each other’s parents and siblings, but there must be genuine love there. Otherwise you’ll end up in a situation where you two sulk whenever the other party goes to visit their family or worse, have them choose between “marriage” and their family. It happens…it’s been happening…people have divorced over such.
10. Are you over your past relationships?
- Have you forgiven?
- Have you completely let go?
- Do you have any guilt?
- Is your heart still with someone?
A friend of mine once said something along the lines of “Le nna ke batla ho le utlwa lenyalo” tr “I also want to feel what it’s like being married”. Of course there are so may red flags about this statement but hey…*shrugs*