Marriage can be a beautiful thing, yet, making a wrong choice in a partner can be detrimental to an individual's wellbeing.
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We often hear phrases like, 'the person you marry will influence every aspect of your life, so you must choose wisely' and 'do not rush into marriage'.
Such statements usually come from individuals who have had a fair share of the consequences of wrong partners or people who have witnessed toxic marriages.
The simple Christian definition for marriage, according to Malachi 2:14, is that it is a covenant between a man and a woman with God as their witness.
"You ask, 'Why?' It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant", Malachi 2:14 (New International Version).
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Sociologists, however, define marriage as a socially supported union that involves two or more individuals in a stable, enduring arrangement typically based at least in part on a sexual bond of some kind.
The definition from the Christian standpoint and the society prove that marriage, regardless of the challenges and difficulties, is supposed to be for the good of the people involved.
In the past, marriages in Ghana were arranged based on certain factors.
Now, couples meet organically either by coincidence or through mutual friends or family members, gets to know each other, develop a spark and decide to take it to the next step.
As much as one of the basic foundations of marriage is love, it is just not enough. Various character traits and personal values need to be brought under scrutiny to ensure a good level of compatibility between two individuals.
Rate of spousal murdering
Recent reports about marital abuses and spousal murders, particularly in Ghana, is very alarming.
Publications of boyfriends killing their girlfriends and husbands ending the lives of their wives one way or the other can be linked to poor communication and conflict resolutions which in the long run goes back to the wrong choices in partners.
According to a public health report, 33 to 37 women in Ghana have experienced domestic abuse from their intimate partners.
A study conducted by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection reported that 35 per cent of women experience physical or sexual violence during their lifetime. As of 2015, the study estimated that 28 per cent of women and 20 per cent of men in Ghana experienced domestic violence, and these percentages include incidences that occurred in marital homes.
YEN.com.gh has highlighted a few factors individuals need to look out for when choosing a partner towards marriage one day.
Share similar or identical values in life
Having a joint stand about things you want in life, such as whether you want children, where you would like to live as a couple, financial practices, religious beliefs, and other values, must be considered.
YEN.com.gh, in a conversation with Reverend Betty Mensah, a licensed marriage counsellor, gathered that it is best to share similar values with the person with whom you would like to spend the rest of your life.
Misunderstandings and fights set in when couples have opposite values, which is unhealthy for any relationship.
Have a great friendship going
You know they are the ones when you can open up to them about anything and not be judged or misunderstood.
As the saying goes, 'great marriages or intimate relationships are the ones that emerged from good friendships'.
Being friends help to know your partner inside out because you get to see their weakness and strengths at play.
This helps one make the right call when it comes to things about your partner.
Look out for honesty
Having an honest partner is vital for a successful marriage.
Your partners must be able to come clean when they are wrong and apologise.
The person you eventually marry must not hide things from you and always lie about things even when caught.
The relationship between a couple must be rich in trust and honesty.
Good conflict resolution skills
So long as we are humans, conflicts and misunderstandings are bound to occur, but a good partner can maintain a level head and not overreact.
The person you intend to marry must be willing to have a reasonable and healthy conversation any time there is an issue.
They must not get overly angry and make the situation worse.
Mrs Leticia Anderson, a wife who has been married for 19 years, shared that;
When it comes to conflicts, we both knew we come from different backgrounds. That meant we have different approaches to solving arguments. We both had to learn to use the phrase, 'i'm sorry' for peace to reign at all times.
Must be able to forgive and forget
In the event of wrongdoing, the right partner is the one who would address it, express their displeasure and move on without harbouring any hard feelings.
Look out for someone who can forgive when you are wrong and not hold it against you.
A publication by marriage.com shares that, forgiveness allows a partner to step out of the role of a victim and shows that they are capable of acknowledging the other person is hurt and then move on from it.
Forgiveness in marriage helps couples to process negative emotions and acts in order to build a stronger bond.
Consider their level of intelligence
Choosing a laid-back person as a high achiever can cause problems in the marriage.
It would be best to be with someone who aspires to be more in life and not settle for mediocre.
Marriage involves a lot of decision making, and you need someone who can bring intelligent solutions or suggestions on board.
Every individual belongs to a family, whether extended or nuclear.
Prior to your partner, those that would know the most about you in your family.
Family members usually tend to have an idea of the right person for you.
When the person you are dating does not connect with your family, you need to pay attention to that.
A partner willing to spend forever with you must be accommodating to your family.
Anything other than that is a red flag.
Counsellor Betty Mensah told YEN.com.gh that;
A person who wants to marry you must know he would be marrying your entire family as well hence disregarding them or according them no respect means he would be doing same to you.
In conclusion, love is essential for any marriage, but it must not end there.
You need to consider every aspect of the person with whom you intend to spend the rest of your life.
The person one marries influences your life and that of the children you bring into the world.
Therefore, one must choose a forever partner not only with the heart but also with the mind.