The synonyms for the word relationship include ‘association, affiliation, bond, link, liaison, rapport, connection, etc.’ When you extend these synonyms a little further, you will see other words like friendship, union, alliance, attachment, contact, cooperation, involvement, understanding, affinity, empathy, etc. The images that come into my mind as I contemplate these words include social, business, filial and marriage relationships.

Relationships are at the root of all forms of human endeavour. Experience has shown that some foundational issues must be fully considered in order for us to build joyful relationships. Some relationships that are critical to human peace, happiness and growth are those associated with sexes. These foundational principles will serve all of these types of relationships very well. It would, however, serve the marriage and its associated preliminary relationships – dating and courtship – the best.

The foundations for lasting and joyful relationships that lead to growing marriage relationships include:
• friendship
• mutual respect
• honour
• faith in God
• Trust or faith in one another
• clarity of purpose
• integrity
• virtue, etc
Find a relationship that has endured and you will find these elements at its foundation. Find a relationship that has collapsed and you’ll find that these virtues were lacking or were not strengthened over time. Those men/women relationships that are still there that lack these elements are one of the hundreds of millions of marriage relationships that are mere caricature of the real thing. Many involved confess being trapped, confused, and running high-blood pressure. It takes a life time to sustain the marriage relationships that are well founded. What is the hope for those built upon the sand of sexual intimacy? Most relationships are hanging on because children are involved, or the partners are afraid of what people would say or being seen as failures.

We all need to know that the depravity of premarital sex is not a mere religious jargon. It is a foundational issue for success in marriage relationships. Avoidance of premarital sex would enable ‘girls to get what they really want which is “a man” would care for them’.

I cannot remember the name of the movie where I heard this quotation. I would use it anyway. “Love is one product you cannot sell by giving out sample”. The predominant mindset of the ladies, especially those who feel time is running out on them on account of age seem to be “give the man a ‘little booty’ if you want help him decide to marry you”. Nothing can be further from the truth. We have countless cases, but no one seem to be ready to learn from their past mistakes or the mistakes of their peers. If you give a man a little booty, if you allow a man who has not signed the dotted lines before your Church or the Law (Registry) and your parents to see your nakedness or have sexual intimacy with you, you reduce the chance that he will marry you by 90%. That is a big risk to run if you ask me. At the same time, you erode the elements of mutual respect, trust, faith, honour and virtue by 100%, meaning: if he ultimately marries you, there would be no strength in the foundation of that marriage to produce happiness and make it endure.
There is a higher doctrine of marriage the world needs to seriously be considering at this time. This is the eternal dimension of marriage. The popular thing known to man is “till death do us part”. Marriage is part of the eternal plan of God for His children. If we plan marriages on ‘till death do us part’ basis, we increase the chance of failure and heartache. But if we plan marriage with a vision of the eternal relationship in mind, we would make the foundation sure beforehand.

Sexual intimacy, no matter how thrilling, has no capacity to sustain a relationship beyond ‘one hour’. I want to be quoted on this. I want to be proven wrong on this with evidence. Sexual intimacy is critical, wholesome, and beautiful in marriage relationship. Outside marriage, sexual intimacy produces more pain and anguish and I consider it dangerous to the desires of the young single adults.
The late Lucky Dube cried “my mother didn’t tell me the truth; my father didn’t tell me the truth….about the government”. Mothers please tell your daughters the truth. Fathers tell your sons the truth. Let fathers tell their sons the reason why they have no respect or why they have great respect for their mothers. Let them open up as to why they are not happy in their marriages to their sons’ mothers.

Mothers, instead of telling your daughters to “deal” with men because you suffered in their hands as a result of your own mistakes, help them to stop ruining their lives. My people have a proverb that says, “The sheep is messing its tail up, thinking it is messing up the shed for its owner”. When premarital sex is involved in a relationship it is the girls/women who lose the most whether it continued into marriage or failed. The men always get what they want – ‘sex’ and the girls always lose what they really want – ‘love’ (care).

Instead of premarital sex, dating partners can advance their relationship faster towards marriage if they used the opportunity of their dating to learn about one another and develop, build and strength the foundational elements for joyful relationships enumerated above. Dating and courtship would be great fun games if the period is effectively utilized to test one’s partner’s commitment to grow friendship, respect for one another, understand the true meaning of love and the sacrifices therein. For example, it would be great to know that love is not about merely looking into each other’s eyes to discover how much sexual arousal we have evoked in them, but more about both partners looking at the same objective.

To your relationship success,

Francis O. Nmeribe is a Relationship expert and coach and the President of Success Publishers ® He is the author of two bestselling books – “Foundation For Joyful Relationships” and Growing From Your Experiences”.

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