You’re probably wondering why animals? In a world where separation and divorce has become the other of the day, marriage is fast losing its value and original intent. While attending a training program organized by my office, I watched a short video of the book “WHO MOVED BY CHEESE” by Spencer Johnson. Of all the lessons learnt, one thing has stayed with me all through- “humans are too complex for their own good”. Unlike Sniff and Scurry (the mice characters) they simply smelt the direction of their cheese and followed after it. Whenever their cheese was moved, they would smell out where the new cheese was and go for it. Hem and Haw (human characters) on the other hand over analyzed things when their cheese was moved. They asked why their cheese was moved, who moved it, how it was moved, to where it was moved? They kept going in circles for days without cheese until Haw was able to embrace the changing tides and locate his cheese, while Haw remained in misery (You will need to read the book to get a full understanding). What’s my point exactly? My point is that even when it comes to marriage, we humans bring in the entirety of our complexity; I decided to look into the animal kingdom and see if there was a thing or two we could learn from them.
It might sound weird to want to learn from animals about marriage and you might think what they could possibly know about it. Well they might not know much about love or spending so much money in preparation of saying I DO at the altar, but they know a whole lot about COMMITMENT, LOYALTY, STICKING TOGETHER and a few other things we would examine in the course of the article. Surprised? So was I when I began to unravel the mystery behind how they managed to mate for life. I figured that if God could ask to learn about disciple and hard work from the ant, why we can’t take marriage lessons from these animals. For the purpose of this article, I have listed a few of the animals that mate for life and will be listing out the habits found in these animals.
They are; SWANS, Kirk’s Dik-dik (African Antelope), CONVICT CICHLID (FISH), , AND BLACK VULTURES. You might have heard about some of these animals while I’m certain you a new to some. Either way like the scripture says, “These things are for our examples”
LESSON 1: LOYALTY
The number one reason that cuts across all of these animals is their sense of loyalty and duty. Defined as the act of being faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, individual or an unswerving allegiance, it is a pre requisite for couples that desire to stay married. To stay loyal to your spouse means believe in and accept everything that makes up your spouse and subscribe to all that makes them who they are. In our society today even outside marriage a lot of people have no idea what it means to stay faithful and loyal to one person except of course there is a catch. Marriage cannot survive if both partners cannot be loyal and even prove that loyalty to each other. Your loyalty must be reflected in your actions, conversations and priorities. Practicing loyalty to your partner means remember all that you owe to your spouse. In the olden days when you save the life of someone they become indebted to you and the one way they pay back is pledging their allegiance to you. They become loyal to you until the very end. It’s a way of acknowledging they owe their life to the person who once saved them. You’re not being loyal if you doing it because of what you stand to get at the end that’s deception.
When you are loyal to your spouse, you can be trusted. If you can be trusted, you marriage stands a chance.
LESSON 2: PROTECTION OF YOUR SPO– USE/FAMILY
Of all the animals studied it was the Kirk’s Dik-dik (African Antelope); that displayed this quality. First the male deer sticks around to cover his mates’ female scent, reducing the likelihood of other males sniffing her out. The simple truth we can learn here as a human is the need to protect our spouses. Don’t say things that will be little them in the eyes of others. At this point let me say a lot of women are in the habit of relating every conflict they have with their spouse to their parents. Truth is that long after you have your forgiven him, trust me your parents might not. Protect your spouse from the attack of others.
In the world of these animals, most of them are known for philandering and having multiple partners and although few there are still animals that mate for life and do things differently. You can make your marriage to be among that few. Like wise men as the case might differ.
LESSON 3: LEAVE AND CLEAVE
A lot on this subject matter has been said already and it’s amazing why human beings find it difficult to pull this off when animals can. The Convict cichlid usually pairs off with its mate in a crevasse they can call their own. It’s absurd although it still happens to see couples living with their parents. If a man cannot afford to set out on his own, get a place and start taking some responsibility then he’s not yet a candidate for marriage. When you leave and cleave, it gives you the much independence you need as a couple and as a family to grow.
LESSON FOUR: RESPONSIBLE PARENTING
All the animals here displayed this trait, apparently if the relationship between a man and his wife works out, then they tend to be better parents for their children. Take for example Swans, when some of the eggs hatch, the male takes the little swans on their first swim while the mother swans sits to warm the remaining eggs. The Convict cichlid pair spends time fanning the eggs laid by the female, and keeping potential predators at bay. When the larvae hatch, the two parents share the burden of keeping tabs on them. If any wander off, the parents suck them into their mouths and spit them back out in the safety of the home cave. The Prairie voles and Black Vultures are also known for sharing parenting duties.
Truth be told, if you are not a responsible spouse you most likely cannot be a responsible parents. Of all the animals that mate for life, no reference was made of the Ostrich (king of birds). It is described as a bird who although can outrun a horse, she leaves her eggs lying on the dust and at the mercy of predators.
A quote says that the bonds of marriage are not sown in a day, but with lots of tiny thread over the years and children are one of those threads. Animals that mate for life are also in the habits of raising their little ones TOGETHER. Children further cement the bond between a man and his wife. It gives them more reasons to stay together and make their marriage work. @ Least that’s the way it should be.
LESSON FIVE: DEVELOP ONE ANOTHER
Prairie voles and Gibbons are in this habit. It is reported that they spend hours grooming each other; making each other better. You will enjoy fulfillment in your marriage if makes you better and brings out the best in you. Nobody throws away a good thing; thus if you are fulfilled in your home, your marriage is bound to survive. Your partner has strengths and weaknesses and both your partner and your marriage stands to gain a lot if these strengths are harnesses with weaknesses improved.
Develop you partner with your words, encourage them, don’t be quick to criticize them or bring down their morale. When your spouse sees that he/she gets better as a result of being with you, he/she would definitely seek to cultivate and stick on. Bottom line if you want to stay married for life; constantly seek out ways to make your partner better. Groom one another.
LESSON SIX: INTIMACY
Prairie voles have been described as appearing cuddly asides the grooming of each other. One word for this behavior of theirs is none other than INTIMACY. Intimacy is not sex; it’s about having a sense of belonging, closeness, inseparability, familiarity, nearness and so on. It allows both partners to bare themselves to each other at every level to each. For your marriage to stand a chance at forever, you must get close to your spouse beyond the level of physical intimacy. You must strive to attain emotional and spiritual intimacy. When you and your partner get to the level whereby you can talk about your fears, hopes, dreams, goals without fear of rebuke, then you have achieved intimacy.
LESSON SEVEN: ENGAGING IN SIMILAR INTEREST:
In his book HIS NEEDS, HER NEEDS by William F. Harley one of the ways to build an affair proof marriage was to be a recreational playmate with your spouse. This is exactly what the Black Vulture does. The pair hangs out together all year round. They fly in the skies together, scavenge for food together and do every activity together. This of course makes them inseparable. What activity do you engage in with your spouse? You need to find that activity that both of you enjoy doing. And when you succeed at that, it leads to my next point.
LESSON EIGHT: QUALITY TIME
This is often the needs of a lot of women who feel and complain that they are not getting enough of their husbands. For the Black Vulture who hangs out together all year round, it increases the Bonding process. When you spend time with your spouse, you invest in that person emotionally, you increase the bond between both of you, you become inseparable and ultimately you become 1.
Written By Eyitemi Oluwumi