Like childbirth, marriage is one of those experiences where you go “How come nobody warned me.” It’s not that you hate it, no. It’s just real honest flipping hard work.
There are so many articles on , ’10 ways to improve your marriage’. The truth of the matter is, no number of articles could ever prepare you to spending an eternity with one person.
So what is marriage in my view?
1. Lots of hard work
The sparks will not always be there. I mean some days you are so mad at your partner that you could strangle them. I always say, ‘’If you and your siblings are raised under one roof, yet fight like cat and dog, what more about a total stranger”. See, we are all raised differently. I wash the dishes, dry and pack them away immediately. My husband on the other hand believes the dishes must breath. He will wash them and leave them to dry out. That to me is a serious trigger. Granted, he has been doing this since our dating days. Then I’d just brush it off because hey, it was his apartment. I get to go to my place. Sharing space with someone though, magnifies things. Small things become big, and big issues become catastrophic. It’s about breaking down issues into sections.
2. Accepting your partner as they are
Our definition of unconditional love is a paradox. Would you honestly love someone through unemployment, through their mental illness, through bankruptcy. You might stick around for the first year, or maybe even the 2nd. What happens when you reach 5yrs with baggage and problems you didn’t bargain for? What then?
I think at some point we struggle with the concept because there are all these pre-conceived ideas of what love it. He needs to buy you flowers, wine and dine you, sweep you off your feet. But there is so much more to love than that. Look at your partner’s attributes. I’m always grateful that he never goes ‘’chilling with the boys”. He spends time with the kids more than I do. He wraps me in his arms every single night, even after a disagreement. I’m learning to look at the positives and truly appreciate them.
3. Loving without losing yourself
I’m all for self-love before anything. The reason you find yourself snapping and irritable is mostly because you have been giving and giving and giving. You need to take time for yourself and receive. How when you need to feed the kids, bath them, make sure husband is fine, and….and… Listen to me carefully on this one. YOU NEED TO PRIORITISE YOURSELF, be selfish for just a couple of hours once a week. In my household, I’m unavailable every Wednesday afternoon. I do Pole dancing and I love it. I find myself a happier wife and mom because of that. Allow yourself to be.
4. Agreeing to disagree
I am a Cancerian (i.e. Emotional, passionate and ‘always right’). In short, I wouldn’t dare marry myself. Hubby and I don’t argue a lot, but when we do it tends to escalate quickly. I fight unfair and most of the time hit below the belt. I think I have some Italian blood mixed with our Cape flats sisters. Over the years, I’ve had to grow up. To stop being overly sensitive and just listen. Take time to just listen and not internalize anything. I’ve had to learn that it’s OK to not agree with him. His opinion is his. Who am I to try and convince him otherwise. There’s one video that just made it click to me…. Watch Kristen Bell talking about fight with husband Dax Shepard.