Before I start today’s edition, I think it is important to mention something I omitted in that one month prayer saga, to make things more lucid. Like so many of you, I had mixed feelings about it. I really didn’t like it because of the emotional trauma and uncertainty that came with it. When we met a month later for the review, and he was talking about us meeting a week later to make it official, I actually accused him.
I asked why he didn’t just allow us to be friends like normal people who liked each other, and develop a relationship from there. Why put me through all these one month stress? I basically accused him of being insensitive and giving what he could not take.
His response was
“I am not looking for another female friend to add to the ones I already have. I have enough female friends already. I was looking for something more. We could have easily done the usual thing of just talking and gisting as friends, but I guarantee that we would not be where we are today if we did it that way. Now, we both know what exactly we are doing and working towards (something like this).”
At that point, all my resentment towards him concerning the one month drama vapourised.
A couple of weeks after we made it official, he asked if I still think the one month prayer request was a bad idea, and I said “NO”.
For most part of the midyear, BH was high on euphoria about us… dismissing other expectant ladies, and basically getting high on Atilola juice. During this period, we kept getting to know each other, working through conflicts, learning how to walk and work with each other, and basically doing what people are supposed to do in courtship – bonding through constant communication.
One day, we had our annual church retreat at a hotel. He came to the hotel by midnight, and refused to go home, so we were in the car, talking and sleeping till morning, after which he drove home with his last fuel (it was the period of fuel scarcity).
He shouted me out to the whole world.
We then started preparing for premarital counselling, and dynamics changed again.
Firstly, I was afraid they would turn us back because it was a short courtship. K and my pastor said they wouldn’t because they are looking for much more than length of courtship.
I also wanted a ring and a proper proposal before the counselling began. I didn’t want to be the only proposalless and ringless person in my class. In fact, I wanted a ring before I introduced him to my mum.
I did not get any of my wishes. He said he wouldn’t give me a ring before meeting my mum. The only thing I got before counselling was HIV test result, which I also insisted on (I can't come and let marriage kill me with disease). All these requests caused serious fights.
I liked to have my way, and he doesn’t like feeling like he’s being controlled, or that something is not his idea.
The ring thing pained me ehn, but I decided to disdain the ring, so I won’t be too expectant.
BH said whether they pass us or not for premarital counselling, we would still marry, cos no one can tell him with 100% conviction that we weren’t mean for each other, so he’s not scared, although I didn’t think it was a good idea. Those people at premarital counselling panel are experts, and trained to see things many people would not ordinarily see, and if they recommend that you shouldn’t marry, or you should wait a bit, you better not take their advice with a pinch of salt. Others who have pushed their advice aside have regretted it.
And the form for the premarital counselling? It was something else. Questions like, how many spouses your parents have had, your position in the family, finances, what you are doing for the kingdom, rating of weaknesses like greed, arrogance, selfishness, what you would add to your spouse’s life, length of courtship, of you go on dates regularly, etc.
And you better not lie.
So if a first born lady is marrying a last born guy, they would flag it, and counsel you through handling it, cos that would be a source of conflict in your marriage.
When we went for premarital counselling interview, they flagged our courtship length, but didn’t really see it as a big deal cos they sensed sincerity and maturity in us both, and also let it slide cos we weren’t going to get married till year end. A major issue for them was that I had stayed about 14 years in my church and had been a dedicated worker for very long, while BH was 2 years in his church, and had been working for less than 3 months, and I would have to follow him to his even though I was more grounded church-wise.
And then we waited for the result for about 10 days. In all these, I noticed a little anxiety in BH before and after the interview. He would ask. “Haven’t you heard from these people? When will they call us? When are we starting?”
It was obvious that he really wanted us to pass premarital counselling, and learn all he could. In the end, we made it to the class. It went on for six weeks (14 classes), and we learnt a whole lot. We were the couples with the shortest courtship, though I wasn’t the only proposalless and ringless lady there.
There were about 2 more.
By the time the class was over, we already had our introduction date, traditional wedding date, and wedding date, but I was still wearing no ring, and had no proposal story to share.
Question: Do you think formal proposals and engagement rings are important/necessary, especially when you are already making plans to marry? What level of importance do you place on premarital counselling, especially church ones?