Hi Guys Part 3 of OMG I am getting married as promised. If you have missed out on the first two parts please catch up here and here. This part is written by a very good friend of mine, Bayo Daniels. He is one of those people who are so easy to relate to you feel you have known them forever. Here is his story.
Re-creating Your Marriage
When I speak to intending couples, I can’t help but wonder at the “fantasy” some of them have in their heads. I use the word “fantasy” losely because some of them could actually come true. You hear things like “my husband and I would travel to Morocco for our honeymoon for two-weeks”, “I want to enjoy my husband for at least a year before having a child”, “We are having just two children”, “My husband and I only – no family interference” etc. While some of these statements are reasonable, there is always a need for flexibility.
At the church where I worship, we are told that marriage is meant to be stress-free. However, I have heard/seen couples and write ups which denotes a slight variation from the “stress-free” notion and appears to give credence to a more real scenario in marriages. i.e. “…..When couples say that they don’t fight or argue in their marriages, yet they have a happy home, don’t misunderstand, it doesn’t mean that the opportunities to do so never come. It just means that they have made the decision to never allow such to be the story of their relationship….”
While many have the desire to get married, they are ridden with subconscious fears of what they might experience because of what they’ve seen in other marriages or in their own parents’ marriage. The fear of making mistakes even cripples some relationships before it starts. Some people become overly cautious and in the process run in and out of relationships. My parents divorced when I was four years old because my dad thought my mum was working too much, neglecting her children and him I guess. My mum on the other hand argues that she is business minded and only trying to work hard to make more money for the family. Years later, My mum would show me pictures of them (before the split) having the time of their lives at parties and family gatherings. Funny this thing called love. Till today, I wonder if the situation couldn’t have been resolved amicably.
Like someone rightly said, Marriage is the only institution where you get a certificate before you even settle down to write the exam. My philosophy is – Marriage is a race of faith because you have to create and recreate it until it becomes the picture you saw with the eyes of your mind. You might need to drop your “fantasies” when you finally enter the exam hall. A good illustration would be entering an exam hall and discovering the questions you previously practiced did not come out. What do you do? I can imagine you looking unto other questions and limiting the damage.
I met my wife in 2004. Though we were in the same choir, I never really spoke to her however; I was friends with her twin brother. I admired her reserved personality. She hardly got into any arguments with anyone and if you are in a choir you will know that this is nothing short of a miracle. It must have been destiny because I told her from the first day that I wanted to marry her. Her response was that we should be friends and see how it goes. I tell you, the journey went on for a good 5 years. I wouldn’t say it was an easy ride all the way but I became more or less like a friend of the family.
I met my wife when I had nothing except the blessing inside of me. She was hardworking. I mean HARDWORKING both at college and at her job. Due to my pending papers I could hardly do any worthwhile job. I was a volunteer clerk at a law firm being paid £200/month. My wife was understanding and encouraging. She didn’t run away with a rich man (lol) but stayed with me all through. I don’t know why, but securing my papers was the last thing we discussed. I touch on this issue because I know this is a crucial factor in some relationships. We did discuss it, don’t get me wrong but it was never the motive for continuing or discontinuing the relationship.
We decided to get married in 2009. We dedicated a separate account and saved a percentage of our salaries in it mainly for the wedding. Few weeks into the wedding preparation, I started noticing attitudes in my once “reserved” girlfriend. She became more opinionated about decisions and would coil up in her shell when she lost an argument. I began to wonder if all was well. I tried to understand her, I couldn’t and this got me really frustrated. However, I said to myself, she rarely talked and therefore should be given the opportunity to make decisions for the wedding. That sorted out what could have ended in a quarrel or disagreement. Our wedding was a blessed one and there were no major issue.
Finance was not really an issue; we had both joint and separate account. We jointly made decisions on major financial obligations. We cautioned each other when we were being wasteful. The truth had to be said even though it was argued or reluctantly accepted. You might be lucky and it all goes well for you through out your marriage life in regards to finances. But if, like us, you have down-times where one of you ain’t working, then you need to be prepared to cut cost drastically on luxury and excesses. If you have to go for the cheapest option on household items please do. We always reminded ourselves that it was just a bend and not an end. One mistake you might make is comparing your family or spouse to others. This has a tendency to lower the self-esteem of either the man or the woman. And the danger in this is the man/woman going ahead to take unnecessary steps like taking out a loan or credit card. My principle is live life with what you have at present and work hard to earn what you desire.
Sex – I desired it more than my wife and this was initially an issue. However, I had my shortcomings and had to learn stuff. Just like you would learn later on if you’re yet to be married. Men want it as soon as possible. Women always want a build up. Pre-sex romance (foreplay) prepares a woman before the actual act. There is a different place to touch to turn-on every woman. This varies from one person to another. Some it’s merely kissing and some you have to work harder. There are things to do to help a man not to finish his business quickly. Learning ways to spice up the act of intimacy is quite essential otherwise it becomes boring. Most problems in marriages are as a result of sex or money. I’ve come to understand that your relationship with your spouse would be strained if your sex-life is. A problem in your sex life affects the prayer altar as a family. Don’t ask me to pray when you refused to do your spousal duty of having sex with me. Don’t ask me to cook for you when you can’t really make me happy in the bedroom. Every man is different and every woman is different. Study each other, discover where the pleasure points are and you would be just fine.
One of the most trying times is when the woman has just given birth. Anything ranging from loss of libido (sexual desire) to changes in moods could occur. This is when discipline is cultivated by force and also a crucial time for communication and understanding. The woman is trying to cater for the needs of two (the man and the child). The woman is frustrated that the man does not understand, the man is frustrated that his sexual needs are not been met, yet he is obliged to be happy at the arrival of the baby who has come to encroach on his territory.
Mood Swings. Why did she suddenly change? Why did he just snap at me? These questions would always crop up. Learn when to approach your spouse. Some women get mood swings during their monthly period and you wonder if anything is wrong – nothing is wrong, just hormonal changes. He’s had a bad day at work or at the car park – he snaps at you – know when and how to re-approach him. Don’t snap back and create a scene. A soft answer turns away wrath.
Friends – let your spouse know your friends both male and female. If possible introduce them. Friends from the past who suddenly spring up should be introduced. If possible, try to have common friends. I am thankful for the wife I have because most of my friends are female. Most of them are also her friends but there are limitations in order to avoid problems. My wife learnt the hard way, so take note.
Career – while setting goals, put your family into consideration and carry them along. The risk of not doing so is unhappiness on the part of your spouse even when you succeed. Don’t lose your esteem when your spouse is more successful than you. You have truly become one and his/her success is yours.
I can go on and on but let me save you from getting bored.
Finally, the number of books you read on relationships and marriage is not a yardstick for a successful marriage because no two marriages are the same. The mistake most people make is trying to create the circumstances written in the book rather than living the principles stated to suit the situation they’ve found themselves. If faith is the substance of things hoped and faith without works is foolishness, then it follows that hoping for a sweet marriage without working at it won’t produce the desired results. What do you see? Work at it. The more I look at my wife in comparison to my other female friends who I could have married…the more I see reasons why they wouldn’t have been the one. I had options but God gave me a wife suitable for me.