Read the fine print
Today marriages fail because partners go into marriage with wrong ideas. Some marry for beauty, wealth, social status and convenience.
They are blinded by romantic love and when it fades they find they are totally incompatible and wonder why they married in the first place.
Studies show 75 per cent of wives and 60 per cent of husbands think they married the wrong people. They did not pay attention to details before they married.
A wealthy American happened to sit near a beautiful lady on a flight. They talked and thought they had fallen in love at first sight. That very day within 12 hours of meeting each other for the first time they got married.
This was possible because in the US you can have a drive through marriage. You just sit in a car, give your personal details to an officer standing by a window and for a fee of 100 dollars, you get married.
This marriage failed within six months because the couple failed to pay attention to important details to marriage.
What you must know and do before marriage
Accept that God who is the author of marriage has good purpose for marriage. Marriage is meant to give companionship, support, parenting and spiritual development.
Any other reason for marriage should be the 'jala' or icing on the cake and not the foundation of your marriage, if you ever hoped to have a successful marriage.
Appreciate the blueprint for marriage. You must leave your parents physically, emotionally, socially to be united with your partner and become one flesh.
If you cannot share your life completely with just one partner for life then marriage is not for you.
Know the roles partners must play in marriage. A man is the leader of a marriage. You must be a good role model and provide security for your wife. You must have a mission for your family and make mutual decisions.
You must love your wife as your own body. You must also honour your wife. The good book says if you do not honour your wife, God does not answer your prayers.
A woman must be a helpmate. Be there for your husband and fill the empty spaces in his life. Take good care of the household and be a good cook. Be attractive and show great interest in sex.
Above all submit to your husband irrespective of your age, qualification, position and wealth. Respect him and show him you need him and are dependent on him.
If you pride yourself on your academic qualifications, wealth, position and can, therefore, never submit to your husband, do not marry because no man takes less.
Also appreciate that if you cannot submit to your husband you cannot submit to God because a husband is God's representative in marriage.
Appreciate that all marriages are difficult and yours will be no exemption. There is, therefore, nothing like living happily forever. Conflicts will surely come but with commitment, honesty, hard work and forgiving spirit you can have a happy marriage.
Read the fine print
Manufacturers and promoters of products are smart. They write boldly the advantages of their products and write the disadvantages in fine print because they know many people do not bother to read them even though they may be critical to making your decision.
For example a manufacturer may print boldly how effectively a product controls high blood pressure but in fine print indicate that it may predispose you to impotence.
Many use this product, get impotent and then admit that they would not have used the product if they had known the side effect.
Many partners do not take courtship seriously. Partners show their strengths in bold print and hide their weaknesses in fine print. They, therefore, focus on the bold print of sex, money and fun while they ignore the fine print of selfishness, intolerance, abuse, dishonesty, constant criticism, immorality and poor communication. They rush into marriage and crush out.
Be sure you are ready for marriage and has what it takes to have a happy marriage. It is also important to appreciate that you can influence, challenge your lover but you can never change him or her no matter how hard you try.
If you enter into marriage with this myth, you will pay a heavy price for it. Read the fine prints in your relationship and work at them. If you see substance abuse, gambling, temper tantrums make sure you can cope with it because it will not get better.
Your marriage can make or unmake you for life. Before you say 'I do', read the fine print.
By John Boakye / The Mirror / Ghana
The writer is the Director of Eudoo Counselling Centre, West Legon. He is also the author of 'Your Guide to Marriage' and 'Love Unlimited'.