In the film industry, PG is “a motion-picture rating system, designated to classify films with regard to suitability for audiences. The criteria used include issues such as sex, violence, substance abuse, profanity or other types of mature content. It simply means Parental Guidance, and it comes with particular ages of suitability. For example, PG13 means parents are strongly cautioned that some materials may not be appropriate for children under 13.
I use the term in this discuss to refer to the place of parents in guiding children through life, especially when it comes to the choice of a marriage partner. The question however is, “When does PG stop?” “Should it be PG Unresricted?”
Some parents, it seems, never think it should stop; they believe Parental Guidance should be ad infinitum, with no bounds or restrictions whatsoever. Hence, this blog, Parental Guidance Unrestricted: “The place of parents in choosing whom to marry.”
There is an increasing and worrisome trend, of parents refusing their children to marry particular persons of their choice. Their reasons range from being preposterous to sheer illogicality, and sometimes outrightly spooky and fetish. It seems this nuptial period has also been used by some parents to ‘flex their muscles’ to control their children. Some egotistic parents have derived a sense of self-importance and some outlandish satisfaction from exerting this restriction, especially over independent minded children.
It doesn’t get any better with parents of ‘faith’. Sometimes, it gets worse, because they can wrap their reasons around a scriptural text (sometimes taken out of context), a revelation in the place of prayer (or by a person of prayer), a dream or something as intangible as “My spirit doesn’t agree with it.”
I will not even attempt to bore or rile you up with the range of reasons I have heard.
However, the time to get married is a time of decision, and every adult child must be allowed to make his or her decisions. Yes, they can be counseled, advised or even guided, but the decision must be theirs. If a parent thinks their adult child is not mature or wise enough to make a decision, I think it is a failure of their parenting. Moreover whatever nuptial decision any adult lady or man makes, or is made for him or her, is a decision the couple (most often) alone will live with…whether good or bad.
Believe it or not, their have been marriage decisions made by parents for children that went sour, and the ones the children made for themselves that turned out sweet…and vice versa. In order words, whoever makes the decision is neither here nor there.
However, the spirit of scripture is “‘Whoever’ FINDS a wife…” and, “For this reason shall a man LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER and BE JOINED to his wife.’ These scriptures tend to put the primary responsibility on the persons involved. In fact, the law of our land says that ‘Marriage is between two CONSENTING adults.’ So, there is something we are missing somewhere.
But of course, culture teaches children to respect parents and the Bible says, “Children obey your parents in all things” and “Children, honor your parents, for this is the first commandment with a promise.”
As straightforward as this matter may appear to some, it has caused a lot of pains – family divisions, enmities, heart breaks, and offense. It has made a lady/guy who should have married at 27 an unmarried 42 year old.
Wait, before you say, “Nah, that can’t happen to me, my parents are liberal minded,” or “Well, I am one for letting my adult children be adults,” THINK AGAIN!!! Many social prejudices and spiritual sentiments, long-buried, have been known to arise when it comes to marriage, and suddenly daddy is finding it hard to let go his little ‘Pretty Princess’ and mummy can’t handle seeing an ‘unworthy’ girl come and run Mummy’s boy’s life.
There have been parents who simply and outrightly refused their child’s choice and further refused to give any reason for their objection. Some are adamantly averse to their children marrying ‘below’ their SOCIAL STATUS and will literally fight tooth and nail to prevent the nuptial tie.
What therefore is the way out? Where do we draw the lines? Who decides? Who backs out? What if WHAT IS DREADED happens?
Questions and questions and more questions???? Questions that call for reflections and resolutions.
Give your thoughts, share an experience, a challenge or a victory…I’m sure it will throw more light on this topic and it will help somebody.
Thank you and God bless you.
I await your feedback.
BY: Pastor Wale Afelumo
READINGS: Genesis 24:57-59, Proverbs 18:22 and I Corinthians 7:2