Marriage is a fantastic institution if you ask me and I would encourage everybody to get married someday (that is, if you are not already married). However, there are certain things I think every young person intending to marry must take into consideration before jumping into marriage.

These principles I am about to share with you are my own thoughts on the subject and as a believer, I strongly believe that my thoughts are inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is good to have your own expectations, standards or qualities of an ideal man or woman but I believe that these principles I am about to share with you must be the foundation of your standards or expectations. In other words, let these principles guide you in determining who to marry (BEFORE YOU SAY I DO).

Consider this article as my new year gift because it will guarantee you a happy new year.

1. THE PERSON'S FOUNDATION IN CHRIST There are so many people in the church today who are not born again. They are only church goers. They are in the church for one reason or the other. They dress, talk, pray and behave like Christians yet they are not. Some are in church because they are looking for somebody like "YOU" to marry. Yes, I said YOU. Others are there for healings whereas others are also there for business networking and contracts. Some of these people have managed to become church leaders and even pastors; yet are not truly born again hence, lacks the fruit of the Spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. So you see, people go to church for different reasons. Now, you have a responsibility to go beyond the eye service to determine whether the person you are considering for this covenant of a lifetime truly has a foundation in Christ. This is very important! To be able to do this, I believe that we must be able to find answers to the following five (5) basic questions;

A. How long has the person been born again?

B. Is the person committed to the things of God?

C. How is the person's bible study and prayer life like?

D. Is the person committed to Church activities?

E. Does the person pay tithe, give offerings and sow seeds at church?

The answers to these questions will help you to determine the person's foundation in Christ. Always remember that one's foundation in Christ has nothing to do with the role he or she plays in church (even though it's important) but it has everything to do with the person's personal relationship with God. This is what defines your foundation in Christ. People are becoming more of "the workers of God" for vain glory rather than "the worshippers of God" for eternal glory.

2.THE PERSON'S FUTURE PLANS It's a dangerous thing to marry somebody who does not have plans for the future. Such a person will take you to your early grave. We marry the future and not the present. Sadly, we live in a generation where people make serious destiny decisions based on the present. We are more present oriented than futuristic. Get to know the person's plans for the future. Where does the person intend to be in the next five, ten or twenty years? You need to know! Don't compromise on this. The person's future plans must not necessarily be the same as yours but must be in line with your own future plans otherwise, one of you must be willing to make some sacrifices for the attainment of a common goal. Every serious minded person in this age and era must have some written down strategic plans for the future. Anything short of this could result in future disaster.

3. THE PERSON MUST BE EMPLOYABLE To be employable does not necessarily mean that the person should be gainfully employed but the person should be well positioned for a job even if he/she is currently not employed or not in a suitable employment at the time of consideration. An employable person is that person who is well qualified for a job but may not be working or doing a job that may not be suitable for him/her considering the person's qualification. Note here that, I did not make mention of money even though it is important. It's good to marry a rich person but not everybody will marry one. However, everybody must marry an employable person who can guarantee you a reliable source of income because "LOVE DOES NOT BUY THINGS FROM THE MARKET BUT MONEY DOES". I love this particular statement from my Senior Pastor; Rev. Paul Amoako. God bless him!

4. EDUCATIONAL STATUS "Monkeys play by their sizes" "Na lie"? So go for your level. I am yet to see a medical doctor who is genuinely married to a Junior High School leaver. If you know of one, just comment below or write to me about him. I will be glad to interview him and possibly write a story about them. It's very rare! Consider your own level of education and match it with your potential marriage partner or "babe" as my wife prefers to call me. I wonder how a grown up man like me can still be somebody's "babe" but that is fine, I am cool. Many people in the name of love and sometimes the love for money overlook this particular point but please pay attention to this. You should be able to communicate with your partner on a certain level and be satisfied with it. So get it straight. The person must have a certain appreciable level of education in conformity with your level of education that will make you comfortable around him or her.

5. THE PERSON'S CIRCLE OF FRIENDS "Show me your friend and I will show you your character". True or False? "Don't be misled, evil company corrupts good character"~ I Cor 15:33 A person's circle of friends speaks so much about his or her character. There is no smoke without fire. If you are not comfortable with the person's circle of friends and all efforts to get him/her out of that is not working, then the person may just not be the right person for you. Yes, I mean it and I am serious about that! Don't underestimate the power of friends because friends can either make or unmake you. Your circle of friends is a pointer to where your life is heading to. Friends are a powerful factor to consider before you "say I do".

Many have risen or fallen because of their friends. So don't joke with this. The funny thing is that, if you can't change your circle of friends before marriage, it will take some special grace for you to change them after marriage. I believe I have shared some principles that will shape and guide you "BEFORE YOU SAY I DO"! To those who are already married, I believe you can add this to your notes so that together, we can guide the next generation into a prosperous and a secured future devoid of a divorce.

Let me conclude by saying that the principles shared here are mine and reflects my position on the subject. I don't by this present myself as an expert on the subject hence; others are free to also share their thoughts on the subject as well. God bless you.