When a man comes of age, we often hear things like: you are old enough for marriage. When are you getting married?
When a woman is done with school, we expect her to bring a man home. We decide she’s eligible for marriage.
As soon as you start earning money and find some level of comfort, we expect that marriage should be the next thing in your life. Because you are “eligible.”
Eligible? According to the dictionary it is “Having the right to do or obtain something; satisfying the appropriate conditions.” It gives us a second definition, which is, “(of a person) desirable or suitable as a partner in marriage.”
How do you define ‘suitable’ or ‘satisfying appropriate conditions’?
We live in a world where a man with a good job and house is termed suitable. A man who can give great sex and ‘shift womb’ is deemed to have satisfied appropriate conditions.
The problem with this assertion is that there are many men who meet the above conditions and have gotten married but have made terrible husbands.
A Yoruba adage erroneously says Owo lafi nse oko obinrin, interpreted as Money is what we use to ‘husband’ a woman. No wonder we have made rich boys husbands and made a mess of marriage.
What about the woman?
It’s not so different from the same conditions we ask of men. When a woman can cook, dress well and has come of age, she is deemed suitable for marriage. It is not surprising that we now have a sharp rise in broken marriages and women.
When you place the burden of being a wife on a woman who is not suitable for the role, you are simply sending her into a war she has no capacity to win. Don’t blame her when she chickens out.
If all these (degree, job, money, ability to cook, etc.) are what define your eligibility status, sadly, you have been indoctrinated into the school of recurrent myth designed to get young people married without a care for their happiness and the consequent negative impact their union will bring on the society.
Age has nothing to do with eligibility.
You can be old enough to get married but that doesn’t make you eligible for it. Age qualifies you for the wedding experience, but it doesn’t qualify you for the marriage experience. The reason why many marriages break up almost as soon as they start is that we have one or two partners who are old enough for the wedding but not eligible for a happy and lasting happy marriage.
It’s the reason why you can meet a man today, fall in love at first sight, get wedded the next day, but have a stressful marriage. Anyone is free and should be free to get wedded, enjoy the night and experience together, but not anyone should take the vow of a lifetime with kids gloves. If you don’t have the capacity to be happy and make the other person happy every day for the rest of your life, you are not eligible in any way for marriage.
Note that I said ‘capacity’? Let me explain why.
Marriage is like an organization.
The institution of marriage can be likened to a corporate organization with a vision and goal to succeed and meet their targets. For them to achieve their objectives, they need competent staff who will do their job well enough to get the organization good results.
When such an organization hires incompetent staff, it will naturally experience a loss and if nothing productive is done about it, will close shop.
When you hire competent staff, your organization will make a profit and continue to thrive.
How this relates to you:
As a man, you are hiring a woman into the role of a wife into your “marital institution or organization.” As a woman, you are hiring a man into the role of a husband into your marital organization. The quality of your hire will determine the result you get. When you are perpetually sad in marriage, check your own quality and the quality of your hire.
When you hire the right one, your marriage will be happy and long-lasting, but when you hire the wrong one, your marriage will suffer the consequences as well.
You are the HR (human resource) personnel of your life; you should never hire a person who will run your organization aground or at a loss.
Already married to an ineligible spouse?
Just like any organization that hires incompetent staff, you really don’t have many choices. You can take the staff through the process of learning and relearning till he or she masters the rope, sack the staff, or be patient and hope that maybe the staff will eventually get it. These are the same three options you have if you are already married to an ineligible spouse or if you are ineligible yourself.
Calling for the head of your spouse?
I have worked in organizations where the boss kept calling everyone incompetent and was unhappy about the productivity of the staff, but when the same staff moves to some other place, they suddenly become competent and productive.
Sometimes, you are the one who is ineligible and not your spouse. And sometimes, it’s both of you. Before you point an accusing finger at him or her, be upfront about your own level of eligibility as well.
Becoming eligible for a happy and lasting marriage.
I no longer have the space to finish this here and even if I did, I wouldn’t be able to explain them in detail. This is why I wrote the book, The High-Value Partner (Love and Relationship Secrets You’ve Never Heard Before) and why I am writing a new one Mr & Mrs Eligible – The template for hiring a husband or wife that guarantees happiness.
You need four competencies to be able to eligible for a happy and long-lasting marriage:
You need to master yourself and emotions
A person who hasn’t solved the issue of identity will struggle to accommodate another in his or her life. Many relationships and marriages are failing today because one or both partners have no self-awareness and no ability to put their emotions in check. The day we have couples who have mastered themselves and their emotions, we will have couples who will be happy every day.
Identify and break negative patterns
What people are going through in relationships and marriages are simply replicas of what one or both their parents went through. They are repeating a cycle (pattern) they should have broken free from.
We are a product or our environment and will replay in our lives the negativity we are consuming if we don’t identify and break them.
You need to acquire and activate your personal assets
Once, a friend broke up with another friend, and when I asked why, the response was, “This person is not bringing anything to the table of my life.” If you are to meet the man of your dreams with all the qualities any woman or man can ask for, do you have the qualities to make his or her life heaven on earth?
You need to become unyieldingly teachable
When we start becoming people who have gotten to the point where it doesn’t matter if their suggestions or opinion is used as long as we arrive at the best result together, we will start having happy and lasting marriages. To be teachable is to learn, unlearn and relearn habits, skills, values, cultures, and worldview.
I throw you a challenge as I round off this piece: show me an unhappy or broken marriage, and I will show you how the lack of one or all of these four eligibility criteria are responsible for their love-state.