Dear married people, I am so happy for you. Now that you are married, how is marriage? Awesome, right? Always? Sometimes? most times? few times? never? No matter your sentiments about your marriage, I have a few tidbits for you that will hopefully prove helpful. It doesn’t matter if you are new in marriage or if you consider yourself old. Take some time to read these, I believe that you may be able to pick a lesson or two.
1. A new home is a NEW home, old things are passed away.
God said that marriage is for people who are ready to leave their father and mother and cleave to another. Uncle, your wife is not your mother. She did not grow up in your parent’s house. This means that she probably has a different mentality as to who a wife should be and what makes a good mother. Note I said different not wrong. She may not cook efo riro like your mum, she may not be as good at cleaning the house and arranging the room as your mum. She is NOT perfect, neither is your mother. The difference is that you got so used to your mother’s ways that you became blind to her weaknesses and faults.
Aunty, your husband is NOT your father. He may not be able to send you on vacation 3 times a year. He may not be able to pay your salary in addition to the one you earn, just the way your father does for your mother. It may not be in his DNA to be romantic or help around the house. He’s not a terrible husband, he’s just not your father. You were not there when your father couldn’t afford to do glamorous things for your mother, so be patient. He will get there.
My point? You may, rather, WILL need to start many new traditions as a family. These traditions may comprise of some old ones from both families, but in reality, they will mostly be new and develop as time goes on. So, DO Not hold on to the past so much that you cannot create a better future. Make your home what you want it to be. Be guided by past experiences, but don’t be shackled by them. Family devotions may need to be conducted differently, family vacations may need to be scheduled, budget allocation and control also may need to take a different turn. Do not resent it. Don’t let your words become a nursery rhyme that comprises 6 major words; ‘in my house, we used to…. ‘ Just go with the flow as led by the Spirit.
2. If you need help, get help
Needing help shouldn’t fill you with shame, it’s ok to realize when you need help and to seek help. This shows wisdom. In our generation, for the most part, we are trailblazers in some aspects of marriage. No counseling or parents can prepare us for the crazy things we may face. Our predecessors have not experienced the challenges that we are likely to face, at least, not on the same level. If they had, they would have lent us advice from their wealth of experience. Therefore, there is a possibility that pre-marital counseling would not suffice. We may need post-marital counseling.
The saying: ‘don’t let a third party into your marriage’ is worthy one. However, I will like to tweak it. Don’t let just any third party into your marriage. If you need help, get help! Don’t wait till the marriage is dead or one of the parties is ready to give up before you get help. Get help if you feel there is a need. Help doesn’t only entail sitting on a couch and spewing your problems. There are many ways to get help, they include; attending couples’ programmes; visiting people who are around the same age or slightly older than you in marriage, just to observe and learn a thing or two; it also involves out rightly involving an elder or a pastor in matters where there is difficulty resolving it among two. This doesn’t make you a failure, far from it! It keeps your marriage longer and happier. I am not saying that all your misunderstandings and disagreements should be public knowledge. If you can settle amongst yourselves, by all means, do. However, if you can’t seem to find a common ground, get help Quick! We all need help from time to time, don’t be ashamed of asking for help.
3. Divide to conquer
Making a marriage successful is hard work, so the whole idea that there are clear-cut duties for each party in a marriage is a recipe for even more struggles and hard work. The way to conquer is by knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses and using them to maximise opportunities (yes, I studied business in school, lol). We all know house duties, so I will not bore you by listing them. If a husband is better at cooking than his wife and he enjoys it, why must he make her cook? If she studied elect-elect and she enjoys fixing bulbs and changing the sockets, why frustrate the man by making him do it because it is ‘expected’? The goal here is to divide and conquer. If both parties focus on activities that they enjoy, things may go a lot easier. It’s just a waste of time and energy to dwell on activities you don’t even enjoy just to stick with traditions. Smart work pays more than hard-work, so work smart. This leads me to my next point.
4. Keep the Romance Alive
I know, some people are already looking at me like who has time or money for that one. My friends, make the time o. One of the ways to make time is by working smart. Working smart saves your times and leaves you with some energy. Moreover, Delilahs and Potiphar’s wives (PWs) await your spouse if u don’t make time. Although there were Delilahs and PWs in the time of our parents, the difference is that those ones were afraid and ashamed. The ones in our generation are not ashamed at all, they are proud of their craft and they don’t mind sharing. Therefore, amidst the craziness of work, in-laws, children and chores, make quality time for each other.
It is easy to be deluded, that you are still in love and in touch with each other simply because you live in the same house. My dear, you guys can drift apart so easily o. The worst part is that there are side chicks and guys lining up and waiting with deceitful tongues. I know that your spouse is too spiritual to fall, I also know that you trust them. Nevertheless, they are humans, not wood. Help them, make time for them, don’t take them for granted.
Let me tell you a few ways you can make time; It doesn’t take anything to drop the children with either of the grandparents or their aunties or uncles. Even if its’s just for a few weeks or even 24 hours, just make time. You don’t have money shey? Stay indoors and cuddle if that’s all you can afford. Gist, laugh, dance, talk. No need to pay for that one. No matter what you do, fight for time together. Don’t ever feel like you guys have no problem in the cheating department, everyone has tendencies, therefore guard your marriage
We sincerely care for each other and we think that we are showing love. However, the truth is that most of us have good intentions, but the execution is wrong. People feel loved in different ways and the earlier we realize that the sooner we can do something about it. Realizing this truth will reduce most of the misunderstandings and tension experienced in marriage.
Gone are the days where the husband will say I pay the children’s fees and I give her money so she should know that I love her. Or that the woman will say; I do all the house chores without complaining, he should know that I love him. Unfortunately, that just represents how you show love, that’s not how they feel loved. Thankfully, Garry Chapman has helped explained this further to us in his book ‘The five love languages’. In summary, he explained that there are 5 major ways in which people feel loved and express love to others. The 5 ways include; Words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, gifts and acts of service. If your love language is receiving gifts, for instance, you will assume that you are showing how much you care about your spouse by the gifts you buy for them. However, it would not have the desired effect if their love language is physical touch. I hope you get the picture. So, one party may feel that they are doing their best to love, while the other feels unloved. These things cause tension because both parties end up frustrated.
Enough said by way of points, if I remember other things, I will do a sequel. For now, let me not overload. In conclusion, it’s not just about the 2 of you. In times past, you could say, I and my wife/husband are just on our own, we don’t want any attention. Such statements don’t fly anymore. With too many bad examples these days, your marriage is more than just about you – that is of you are planning on having a godly home. If this is your desire, you have responsibilities.
First, you are responsible for raising godly offspring. This begins by showing good examples. We can no longer tell children to do as we say and not as we do. They can now challenge our actions, so we need to walk the talk. What you do at home will shape their mentality to a large extent and how you relate to each other will inform their relationships.
We are also responsible for shinning the light in our generation. We have boldly declared that the pattern of marriage we follow (God’s pattern) is the best. Therefore, people are watching to see what the best looks like and are ready to attack at the slightest provocation. You can’t afford to fail.
Therefore, I hope these few points will help you to make the best of your marital destiny. Stay blessed.