By Laju Iren
Adult I respect: I heard you’re getting married?
Me: Yes sir (with a big smile).
Adult I respect:What does he do
Me: He is a pastor.
Adult I respect:What church?
Me: Life Triumphal church. (Now Celebration Church). It’s in Ikotun (or Ikeja depending on what point during our long engagement they asked)
Adult I respect: (worried look on their face) I’ve never heard of the church. Is he the owner of the church?
Me: (Even bigger smile on my face).
God owns the church. But he is the Lead Pastor. Don’t worry, you will soon hear about it.
After that, some will let it go. After all my parents had agreed. Some would be marvelled at the bravery of such a young man. But some people wanted to know why I wanted to ‘Tie myself down’ at a young age with another who was nearly just as young. Some would begin to give advice. ‘Why doesn’t he go and do IT with so and so ministry?’
It’s an interesting journey ‘marrying potential.’ In this post I share helpful tips based on my personal experience with the love of my life. Have a splendid read!
1. You must love him beyond the potential
I once watched an American movie where a young lady had fallen for a high school football star. He was going to play college football and go on from there to play professionally. But something happened: he got injured. Their dreams were shattered and she lost her wonder. This is something to note if you’re love with Mr. Potential. I am not trying to be a doomsday prophet here, but pay close attention so you can understand my point. Suppose you’re dating a guy whose dream is to become the first Nigerian President before he is thirty-five. What happens if you marry him and he doesn’t fulfil that dream? What happens if a few years down the line, he no longer has a passion for politics and decides to change the world by being a teacher. Permit me to use myself as an example. When I first started dating my husband, I knew his heart to take the gospel to the four corners of the world. I knew God would use him to build a great ministry. I knew that thousands, millions and billions of people would hear God’s words from his lips. We still have a long way to go and haven’t arrived by any chance. And I can tell you that I’ve seen God’s hand upon our ministry in ways that have surprised words from my mouth. But I didn’t just fall in love with a dream or vision. I chose to love a man; a man who loved the Lord and loved me. Even if our church was still on an unknown street in Ikotun, Lagos state, he would still be the King of my heart. Would I desire the best for my man? Yes. Do I desire better for him every day? You bet I do. But I don’t have to wait until it all comes together before I am content in my choice.
Dear sister, I hope you understand this. Mr. Potential might take much longer to fulfil his dreams and visions. His understanding of his assignment might change and become something less glamourous than you both planned. He has to be a man that you love and trust regardless of his dreams. At the foundation, he must understand that his purpose is Christ. So that even when his dream is delayed, he doesn’t remain frustrated and unhappy. When people ask me what it’s like being a pastor’s wife, I tell them that I married someone I liked. Do I take my role as a pastor’s wife seriously? Yes I do. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a helpmeet to God’s man. But I chose the man first of all.
Sometimes when I hear a lady is getting married, I ask, ‘tell me about him.’ Some are quick to say that he lives abroad, or belongs to such and such family, or has achieved so and so. There is nothing wrong with that. But the man himself, that’s the person you should choose to love and submit to. You must believe in his dream. But you must believe first in him, so that even when his dreams change or the storms of life make them seem impossible, you will both come out stronger.
2. You must see his potential
I have talked extensively about believing in the man himself. You must understand that before reading this point. That said, it is important that you see the potential of the person you are going to marry. If you don’t believe in his dream, he is better off being single. No one should have to try and convince you of the abilities or capacity of the man you love. A wife plays many roles, but chief among them is the role of a cheerleader. Sometimes, you will be the only one on your man’s cheerleading team. If you don’t believe in him, it will show. I’m not talking about believing in him for selfish gains just so that you can cash out in the future. I’m simply saying that you must have faith that is both objective and subjective. Permit me to use my husband again. He is the closest example I know, so please don’t be angry. Lol. Pst Emmanuel Iren is one of the finest bible teachers in the world. That is an objective fact. If you haven’t heard him teach, you might not believe me. But anyone who has sat under him knows how true this is. Subjectively, even when he is not at his best, I love him and believe in him.
Let’s say for example, your guy cannot draw and he hopes to make a living as a professional sketch artist. You need to be honest with him. I think many people end up embarrassing themselves on reality shows because no one was honest with them. You need to be objective enough to let him know that he needs to improve or give up on that altogether. I’m not saying that you should give him an ultimatum or anything. But if you’re marrying Mr. Potential, you must be his number one fan. I’m not talking about the external opportunities that everybody can see. No. I mean those intrinsic gifts, talents and capabilities your beloved has. The external opportunities may not have worked out yet, but you know him. You know what he is capable of achieving, and because you love him, you can cheer him on even when the outside does not match the inside. You don’t have to be deceptive or patronizing because you can see it.
3. You must see the hustle
Dear sister, your Mr. Potential must be working hard to fulfil his dreams. Anyone who marries a lazy man is to be pitied. This is not a money issue but a character issue. Please run far away from a guy whose idea of ‘hustle’ is to keep borrowing money from you and others without a clear vision and blisters on his hands to show for it. Or who pursues money dishonestly. If he is a musician, you must see him constantly working to improve his craft. If he is a business man, you must see honest sweat and thoughtful effort that he is putting into his work. If he is a pastor, you must see him devote time and energy into studying and reaching others with the gospel. Some ladies would be dating a guy and they are the ones dreaming for him. Why should you be the one begging him to do something with his life? A responsible man already knows where he is going. His help meet’s job is to help him on the journey. Even when he doesn’t have it all figured out, he takes the most responsible step possible. Dear sister, I beg you in the name of God to marry a hardworking man. Choose the sweat of a man who is working towards his dreams over the lazy dude with an entitlement mentality.
4. The Responsible line
Especially if you’re planning to get married, you and Mr. Potential might need to take some financially responsible steps. There isn’t necessarily a one-size fits all approach to this, so I will just give some examples. Pastor was in full time ministry when we decided to get married. He wasn’t getting paid as the ministry could not afford it at the time, but he was getting a small allowance that couldn’t sustain a family. Even though I was working, I wasn’t earning so much as well. So he decided to get a part time job. He did that for almost a year, until the ministry work load was no longer something he could do part time and things were better suited to accommodate him.
By God’s grace we never for once asked either of our parents for money to pay rent or to buy food at home. All four of them have been there for us, but we have never been dependent on them. God provided and we learned to cut or cloth according to our size. Taking the responsible step also makes it easier for your family to accept your relationship. Many families are worried that you are with Mr. Potential because they feel you will still be dependent on them or that he will be dependent on you. Take proactive steps to ensure that this is not the case.
5. Be content
Contentment isn’t something that is much talked about today. But it is very essential. Especially for a woman who is in love with Mr. Potential. There are some Asoebi (party clothes) I cannot afford today. And I don’t feel bad about it. We are a young family, and I don’t have to impress anybody. When people visit me, I welcome them with open arms. We do our best to keep our home clean, but I don’t feel like less of a person because some people have better looking homes. I may not use the latest phone, but I don’t feel embarrassed when I use it outside. Our first car used to stop quite often on the road. I would come down and help push without thinking about it. After all, I didn’t even expect that we would have a car so soon in marriage anyway. When you keep comparing yourself with other people, you will never be content. I’ve always been blessed, because I’ve always been content.
When I refer to my husband in conversations with others, I call him ‘Pastor.’ I’m so used to it now, that when people call him by name, I don’t know when I say: ‘You mean Pastor.’ It is the way you carry your Mr. Potential that people will carry him. I’m not talking about ladies that will be dating irresponsible men and then start lying on social media that he did this and that. That is why I told you at the beginning to choose a man you love and respect beyond his potential. My husband has a young face, and some people get carried away and call him ‘small boy.’ I don’t let it pass. ‘He is my husband and he is a responsible man’ I tell them. Because manliness is beyond age, muscles or money. Someone that takes God seriously, takes me seriously with all my drama and takes my family seriously is not a small boy at all. Am I perfect? Far from it. In fact, earlier in our relationship, it didn’t matter where we were. If I was upset, I would not let it pass. But now, I wait until we are alone. God is helping me. I can boldly say that I’m not close to anybody that doesn’t respect my husband. I must put another disclaimer here. Some ladies are dating a guy that doesn’t behave or treat them well. As a result, your loved ones don’t like him. They have good reason. But if people close to you don’t like him because he hasn’t really made it in life, that is a different matter altogether. Be sure to put his best foot forward when presenting him to your family. With your words and actions, let them see him through your eyes. People don’t have to know that you are more comfortable financially.
7. Let him see your potential
Oh the beauty of being in love with a man who has a dream! It is such an amazing thing to be the help meet to a man with potential. But dear sister, Mr. Potential must believe in you as well. You aren’t in that relationship to compete with each other; this is something you both must understand. But Mr. Potential has to believe in you as well. You both might not be able to pursue each other’s dream concurrently. There would have to be compromise on both parts. But you shouldn’t doubt that he believes in you as well. He shouldn’t despise you if your dreams aren’t as flamboyant or feel threatened if your vision seems bigger than is. I’ve seen relationships were Mr. Potential wants it to be all about him and isn’t interested in what his lady has to offer. That shouldn’t be the case.
Dear lady involved with Mr. Potential, invest in your man. Invest encouragement. Let it be your words that spur him on. Invest your money. If you’re with someone trustworthy, there is nothing wrong with supporting them financially. Although it is my belief that when you are planning to get married, the man should at least have a regular source of income; I think that a woman who loves Mr. Potential should make an effort to invest in his dream financially. Get a job or begin a business to support your home. Invest prayers; if you don’t pray for your man, who will? Invest peace. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on him by comparing him with others or making unrealistic demands. Invest your time. Be there to support him. I promise you, it will be worth it in the long run.
9. Knowledge is everything
Girl, when it all comes down to it, you must know yourself. Outside of that relationship, who are you and in what direction is your life going? You must also know what value means to you. My husband has always looked like ‘it.’ Because ‘it’ for me was a man who loved the Lord, loved me, knew where he was headed and I could trust to lead me. I’ll choose him over any already made man with a truck full of cash any day.
Thank you for reading. Please share your thoughts, questions and experiences in the comments section. Looking forward to hearing from you.