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Four things to agree on before marriage – Part 4


James O. James

“Honour your father and your mother; that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God has given you. Exodus 20:12
Recently on Facebook, there was the story about a bride, who ended her wedding at the reception venue. Apparently, they had an argument about serving and sharing food to her guests and her mother- in-law slapped her for being rude. She responded by giving her mother-in-law a dirty slap in return. This kind of story is common because sometimes, in-laws can be overbearing or wanting to exert undue influence on the marriage.

Another important agreement to make before you marry is to agree on how to treat in-laws. Before going into details, it is important to remember that in many African cultures, in-laws are an integral part of the marriage. You essentially marry into your spouse’s family and become a part of the larger family.

However, this cultural concept sometimes puts pressure on the couple, especially the wife, as she is expected to please every family member, whether immediate or extended.

I remember the story of this young couple, who were visited by the man’s mother. In order to impress “Mama,” the wife decided to cook a very delicious meal with large pieces of meat. At dinner, the mother said to her son in vernacular, “I didn’t know this is how the wife is wasting your money, when we are suffering in the village.” Unknown to the mother, the wife had started learning the husband’s language and a big quarrel ensued.


Therefore, agree that the man is the King of the home, while the wife is the Queen. The man must be able to put his foot down to let them know that no family member is allowed to disrespect his wife and vice versa. When brother or sisters-in-law come to the house, they are to subject themselves to the wife’s authority, as the next in command in the house.

Secondly, it is important to agree never to report each other to your parents, no matter what. Learn to solve your problems by yourselves or at worst, seek intervention of your Pastor or godly church members. If you report your spouse to your parents, after you have forgiven him/her, they may never forgive him/her.

Thirdly, agree to honour both parents. Parents in-law deserve as much honour as your own parents, because you have become part of the family by marriage. What you would do for your own parents should also be done for them as much as possible. I know a couple, who, if the man wants to send money to his parents, does so through his wife and when the woman wants to send anything to her own parents, it is through her husband.

These are other things that must be agreed upon before marrying to avoid in-law issues later on.
For enquiries contact: Elshaddai Covenant Church, 7, Social Club Road, Off Charity Road, Abule-Egba. Tel: 08080929292; 08182281184 (Whatsapp messages only).


In this article:
Dr. James O. James
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