Your upbringing and that of your spouse will define your relationship. If you were from a wealthy background but he was from a middle-class family, you might not be as prudent and frugal as he is. He might think you can manage funds and you might see him as stingy. Neither of you is right or wrong: your conflict is really a clash between your value systems and your backgrounds. You still love this guy, but you detest his way of thinking regarding the matter.
Most couples think they are compatible because they both like jazz or travelling, so they get engaged, and then get married. Only a few months after the extravagant wedding, they can’t seem to get along. Your marriage will go through different phases and stages, which will rock the boat of your commitment to each other. Only those who have been married for so long and are still together can say confidently that they are compatible.
Our society primarily expects couples intending to get married to have children. Even at the wedding ceremonies, lots of prayers are said about having children within the next year and so much more. This puts a lot of pressure on ladies, many of whom may be clueless about hidden infertility issues. Marriage is primarily for companionship: someone to share your time, successes and sorrows with. If you don’t enjoy each other’s company, you will soon become roommates and not soulmates.
With many more women financially empowered, divorce is gradually taking its roots in our continent. Marriage stretches us thin: our patience is tested, our love ebbs and flows, we are continuously asking ourselves the purpose of this marriage. Before the wedding, guys are the hunters, they chase and pursue till they get their prey. Months after the wedding, the lady feels abandoned and wants to leave the marriage. Never think you’re immune; it can happen to any relationship. Always remember your vows to each other and keep them, even when it hurts. When your relationship hits rock bottom, never isolate yourself and struggle alone: get professional help and fast.
Affairs were a lot harder a century ago, but now with social media, infidelity is only a click away. This makes us much more exposed to its temptations. The moment you no longer admire or adore your spouse, you’ve started a downward trail to having an affair. Next, you think the grass is greener elsewhere and you begin to convince yourself that you deserve more. Before you know it, you’re caught in a web of issues. Stop the battle in your mind by always fining something to be grateful for in your spouse.
It’s easy to forgive your spouse when what they have done isn’t a big deal. What happens when you can’t forgive them for cheating on you? You become bitter and resentful, your blood pressure rises, you might not be able to sleep and your health is affected. If you remember that you aren’t perfect either, maybe you’ll reach out and forgive the other person easily. You may not commit the big sins like your spouse, but what of the little ones that go unnoticed?
It’s not easy to raise and care for a child and see them leave home one day to start their own family. Every mum and dad wishes they could hold their sons or daughters back. If your spouse was raised in a controlling and domineering environment, it’ll be tough to let go as the parents will still want to be involved and call the shots in your new home. Then again, you meet some people for the first time and you don’t connect with them. That could be a reason why your in-laws pick a fight at every instance: their first impression of you just wasn’t pleasant.
Most couples look forward to having their kids. In some cultures, boys are preferred to girls and this will affect your relationship if the guy is unhappy with a girl-child. Kids take up your time and effort and give you little or no time to nurture your relationship. If you have them too early, you won’t have enough time to bond with your spouse before “three becomes a crowd.” If you don’t have them, your relationship will be strained with the pressure from family and society. If they come too late, you won’t have the requisite energy to take care of them.
You meet a guy, you like him and in a matter of months you’re engaged. You get married and you find out he’s got some physiological or psychological issues in his family. You regret that you ever met, but you’re stuck and shattered by this new information. Most families have one issue or another, which most couples don’t talk about. Rather, they sweep it under the carpet, hoping it never rears its ugly head. As much as possible, find out what’s in his DNA so there aren’t surprises down the line. Many couples are spending so much money taking care of their children’s health because they didn’t share their family medical history with each other.
One of you will be a spendthrift while the other will be stingy or prudent. No surprises, it’s how you were raised. One of you needs to be able to balance the books monthly, though, to avoid getting bankrupt. A great advantage of a joint account is that it keeps the couple accountable; with separate accounts, affairs could be easily funded. Whether you decide on a joint account or not, it’s not as important as being open and honest with each other. There are still guys who are insecure if their wives earn more than they do. Some even tell their wives not to work or engage in any business. They want to be in control. One last tip: don’t be under any pressure from your family or the society to keep up with the Joneses; learn to live below your means.
No perfect spouse
Prince Charming and Cinderella still had their weaknesses and vulnerabilities, so who says you or your spouse is supposed to be perfect? Can you believe that a guy who’s very romantic in the daylight snores in bed at twilight? That a lady who is a high flyer at work may be unable to cook nourishing meals for her husband? That the guy you think has got it altogether has some dark secret you don’t want to know about? Accepting the mixed bag of your spouse’s strengths and weaknesses will be a great help to getting some stability in your relationship. There’s no perfect marriage. You might think you’re both having terrible times, but you’re not the only ones. Many other marriages are struggling, and what’s working for you might even be hurting others.
S*x is a great way to connect with your soulmate, but it feels different after the kids are here. The dynamics change as you both age. It’s tough to keep up quality time together with fatigue and hectic work schedules. Guys think about it a lot more than the ladies: they want it anytime and anywhere, while ladies need to feel loved and cherished to enjoy it. With many couples tasting the secret pudding before D-day, the appeal and excitement is most times lost. Those who have been abused at an early age often struggle to connect with their spouses too, as buried wounds still remain sore.
Who doesn’t have secrets? Will you share your secrets with someone you are about to get married to? Some people say you shouldn’t, but what if he finds out much later? How much you share is really up to you, but if what you hold back has the potential to turn your marriage upside down, then it’s fair for the other party to be aware. Equally important, pay attention to how much your spouse or intended shares or doesn’t share. If your spouse avoids questions while you’re dating or constantly changes the topic and plays down serious issues affecting your values, it’s a red flag. Or what will you do when you later find out you’re the second wife?
Every marriage has got a purpose and you must discover, define and fulfill that purpose. After twenty years of marriage, you’ve raised the kids, paid school fees, bought a house or two, a number of cars, travelled around the world, so what next? If that’s all, then marriage isn’t worth it. Use your strengths as a couple to be a blessing to those around you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a business. Look for a need in the community or even in another country with a problem that you want to solve together. You’ll be glad you met each other for this sole purpose of pursuing your common passion.
The success of your relationship depends on you. It should really be a joint effort for the best results, but at some point one of you won’t be interested in the relationship. One of you will stop putting in the requisite effort to keep the relationship blooming. It’s easy to point fingers and blame the other party, but if you will keep being yourself and doing all you know best even when you’re neither appreciated nor applauded, there will be a way through the knotty issues in your marriage.