70 yr old wise woman shares what to explore whilst dating
Several of you who have read my post titled “A Godly Hook Up” have asked me to explore the points Ma Annie Chikhwaza gave me with regards to things a woman should look out for before courting with a man. It’s always easy to get into a relationship, the hardest is finding the compatible person to spend the rest of your life with. Compatibility also does not mean you and your partner must be alike in everything, just because you are an extrovert, it does not necessarily mean you should marry an extrovert.
As I sat with ma Annie in 2013, a young lady desiring to get married one day, I realised advice from someone who has been married twice in her life, both these marriage were in God, but she described her first marriage as a mistake and gracefully loved being married to her second married. I knew lessons shared from her experience in her first marriage can help me. In her biography, she writes how she and her first husband met at a youth organisation. He was a youth leader, fully saved, tongue speaker, devil chaser but, this is the same man who cheated, slapped her, and demanded she abort one of their pregnancy. How is this possible that a child of God can have a horrible marriage and was married to another child of God? The word encourages us to be equally yoked with our kind, but why is it possible we can still have the worst marriage even if we are married to a born again Christian?
Since ma Annie went through that and even freely wrote about it, Let’s explore the four critical advises she shared with me:
1. Don’t just go for a saved Christian man.
If you have been through the ups and downs of dating, you may have realised in your disappointments and hurts that not every saved guy is your future husband. I learned this after a saved guy at church I was interested in was such a disappointment. Ma Annie mentioned the importance of not falling for just a born again Christian and believe if you two marry, marriage will be a bliss. She said one needs to go for a man who does his best to live the word of God. As much as she married a youth leader and one who was a born again Christian, she was still emotionally and physically abused in her marriage with that very man. This means being saved should be your non-negotiable as a child of God, but also it should not be the ONLY deal maker for you to choose a life partner to call spouse one day.
At times, we are too impatient to wait for someone who just received salvation for God to work on them, their character, way of living and so forth. We quickly want to snatch them for ourselves that he ends up marrying you without first being whole as a person. You don’t want to end up in a horrible marriage. If he does not meet your other non-negotiables qualities, don’t compromise, move on. You desire a priest in the home, not for you to be a priest when there’s a man. You desire a gentle, self-controlled man who lives the word of God or at least tries to, if he is saved but the fruits of his life are still of the worlds, move on lady and wait on God.
2. Be friends.
Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend in their book, Work Boundaries in Dating, chapter seven is, “Don’t Fall in Love with Someone You Wouldn’t Be Friends With.” This is very true and ma Annie also advised on this. You need to be friends with the person you are married to. If you are in love with someone but never see him being a friend, then you need to do some introspection. Ma Annie married three months after dating her first husband. That is not enough time to know someone. It is critical to get to know someone. Some may show you their real fruits in a short space of time, but 12 months should be enough to know what you are getting yourself into if you marry the guy. I am also not suggesting you sit in a confusing relationship of five years where the guy has not acted on his intentions to marry you and he keeps saying he is still getting to know you. You can never know someone fully for it takes a lifetime to know someone’s character. Give yourself enough time to be friends with the person, get to see how he behaves in unfavourable circumstances, his dreams and visions and what he is doing to live his dreams. His values, and so forth.
Let me also mention this, if you are friends with a guy but you are giving him wife duty benefits, its time you have a talk with him. Most guys who are afraid to commit can be misleading. They tend to get the benefits of a relationship without being in one. Careful as a lady to not fall for this “We are just friends” title, yet you are always out on dinners with him, always chatting to him, always availing yourself for someone who says they aren’t ready to be in a relationship yet their actions are very different to what they say.
3. Do a background check on the guy.
Ma Annie made it clear that she does not mean focus on his past, but try find out the environment he grew up in. If he grew up in a home where they don’t respect woman and see women as objects, it’s possible he will treat you like a doormat. Check how he treats women, is he flirtatious? Or disrespectful? How does he treat people he will never benefit from? The environment he grew up in.
I am working on a post about how the environments we grew up in play a huge role in our relationships and developments, and how many people discount this area. Environments play a huge role in how we perceive life. We need to be aware of the environments we grew up in and also make note of the generational patterns in them, the familiar spirits. We need to study our parents’ marriages and the mistakes they made. Talk about them and be accountable to your (future spouse, not just any guy you date) so you don’t end falling in the same trap. I have once dated a guy who saw his father abuse his mom physically. He vowed to not be like his father, but that was one relationship where I was abused emotionally. He was like his father, just abused differently. When I made him aware, he was very defensive. I opted out of that relationship because as much as he was aware of the kind of environment he grew up in, he did not do anything about it.
So check who he associates with, does he have someone he accounts to, what happened in his previous relationships, If he is from a family that does marry but every one ends up divorced, how is he planning to break the pattern and ensure he also will not divorce when the journey get tough? Ma Annie’s ex-husband had been married before he proposed to her. In 2013, he was already in his fifth marriage!
4. You will be at peace.
“On my wedding day, I was not at peace at all! I was anxious, fearful. I still went ahead with the wedding because everyone was there, and for the first time my mother was so proud of me she even mentioned I have done something good for myself. So I went ahead with the wedding.” Ma Annie.
In every choice we make in life, our peaceful state will always assure us if we are going the right way. It’s the peace the bible promises, the one that surpasses (exceeds, outshines) all understanding. You are at peace. The opposite of peace is confusion- doubt that will lead to fear. Any relationship you consult God in, you are guaranteed the Holy Spirit will be your Helper in giving you peace if God approves.
Even after ma Annie shared these points with me and believed she knew someone who could be compatible with me, when B (my hubby) called and pursued me, I still used ma Annie’s advice. There’s no formula in how things need to go for you to end up being happily married, but it is always important to have our own Naomis (Godly woman, matured woman, mentor, the one you can account to) who will always advise us and hold us accountable so we don’t fall into the traps they fell in because they were naïve.
Ma Annie Chikhwaza owns one of the biggest orphanage homes in Africa, a vision she had when she was 50 and lived it. Her life story is one to read as you will be encouraged. In short, get her book!