Recently an article was published in which the deplorable state of young marriages in Zambia was highlighted. Zambia may have been the focus there but this is actually a representation of a global trend. Naturally this begs the question: why are marriages crumbling?

Most weddings that we attend these days, whether as invited guests or Facebook witnesses, are lavish. Some spend hundreds of thousands to ensure that their wedding is spoken of through the ages: that the guests remember just how spectacular this wedding was. The decor was fit for a queen, the food cooked by the best known chefs and rather than a “common” DJ, a live band or even better, one of Zambia’s most happening artists was enlisted to entertain the guests. Never mind the tailored suits and the hand-stitched wedding dress made to accentuate the brides beauty. These weddings seem to be designed to be the talk of the town.

Except, this is the primary consideration. Precious little time is spent preparing for what comes after the fact: marriage. Counseling is a by-the-way event, a perfunctory exercise to show the parents that there was a semblance of preparation. But for many this isn’t even the case. The woman, because of tradition may be cornered by a bana Chimbusa who may or may not teach them appropriate things. The man is left, even in this traditional setting, to enjoy his beer with the boys. After all, he has “a good job at the bank.”

One spends years in University preparing to get a job – not even a good one – yet assumes that they could possibly do marriage without adequate preparation. Now you may assume that this preparation refers only to the pre-marital counseling I earlier spoke about. It does not. Preparation ought to begin much earlier than when you meet the woman you are to marry. One area that many of us overlook but is critical for a long and successful marriage is self control. The question then is what level of self control do you exhibit? Are you lured by every late night text wantonly sent by a wandering girl? Are you constantly looking for the next opportunity to flatter and be sought after? Are you proud of being the man’s man? That you can get any girl you want?

I ask you to seriously consider this question: after the wedding, once you have got the girl, what would stop this behavior from continuing? Self-control is the hallmark of a man. When everything and every opportunity is in front of you, are you able to say “no”?

One challenge you will discover in marriage is the reality that your wife may not satisfy all your needs. But first, how did you even come to know what these “needs” are? What brought about the idea that you have more needs than your wife can meet? The internet is one of the main culprits, it provides a gateway to countless vices.

Pornography is pervasive and remains one of the greatest killers of marriage. That unquenchable desire for pleasure. The killing and numbing of the mind. The question we must ask ourselves, is: is this relentless pursuit of pleasure worth the killing of our souls, the pain inflicted upon those we say we love and the destruction of the home we vowed to nurture and protect?

I know there is a lot going on in the women’s space as well. I have heard such statements as: most men are archaic and unable to deal with the modern empowered woman. There is much to be said about this and the feminist movement as a whole but for now I keep the focus on men as the success of a marriage depends largely on us.

For those who are married, I humbly challenge you to focus your attention on the pursuit of your wife rather than the pursuit of futile pleasures. You can start by creating a loving environment for your wife and you will see what joy comes as a result. Her submission may be transformed from a grueling task performed under duress to one of joyful surrender to your loving and selfless leadership. She will no longer feel the burden of insecurity caused by your wandering attentions or the compulsion to check your phone for competitors. But treat her anything less than you are called to and you will hear Proverbs 27:15 ring loud and true; a quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm.

Lastly, for those seeking to marry, if you go into the marriage, hoping to be “completed” you will quickly be slapped into reality. No woman, no matter how beautiful, can complete you – that place is reserved for your Creator!