To those of you already in a serious relationship or about to get married, these are nuggets I’ve learnt so far:
A Wedding and a Marriage are two different things. Know and understand the difference. Do not spend so much time preparing for the former, that you ignore to plan for the latter.
Marriage is a mystery. It is a sacred union, a holy sacrament. Do NOT defile it. Get married for the right reasons today, so you can stay happily married tomorrow. Build it on a solid rock. Even if you start off on a shaky foundation, know that all relationships can be restored by faith, if both parties are sincerely willing to change and commit for the better. It is simple BUT it is not easy. Be yourself, have clear values, have boundaries, avoid pretense and deceit, if not, you WILL most likely be miserable for life! Respect your spouse and teach them to respect you too! Whatever you’re feeling-anger, love, hurt, gratitude…allow yourself to feel it and let it go. Holding on to grudges is a slow-killing cancer and like a deadly poison, it is toxic to ALL relationships, especially marriages. Have a short memory and forgive easily. Have a sense of humour, laugh and play together. Marriage is freestyle, so choose your own style, as long as it is right before God.
There are few things sexier than a man or woman who fears and pleases the lord. Every other thing fades…looks disappear, wallet shrinks, shoe sizes diminishes, health disintegrates, but a man with the heart of King David? His love is eternal. A woman with the inner beauty of Queen Esther? Her beauty shines forever! Take time to understand the difference between men and women and they relate an d communicate. A man often wants to be a ‘hero’ and needed, a woman often wants to be ‘cherished’ and appreciated. There may be those off-day(s), you get so mad at your spouse and question: ‘who is this stranger I married? Either rant out loud, talk about it as rationally as possible (whatever suits your personality). If you decide to just shut up about it, then you MUST let it go. No one is a mind reader. Don’t go revisiting and re-enacting the pains at some undefined time in future. Time heals all wounds but you must allow time to do its work. Pray…thereafter, simply default to the 5 A’s of a relationship (Acknowledgement, Affection, Attention, Appreciation and Acceptance). Love unconditionally but understand that love requires conditioning. The best conditioning oils are also free: Kindness, Loyalty and respect!
It is nobody’s role or duty to complete you. Only God can do that. Don’t place people on pedestals. Your role is to complement each other, beautifully. Love is a two-way street. Learn to know and love yourself, so you can give love with all your heart. Overall, marriage is a wonderful union and will help you serve and bear witness to each other of God’s awesomeness but BOTH of you, together, have the power to build and nurture the home of your dreams. It takes two to tango beautifully and it also takes two to have an epic fail! It is like a seesaw, both sides must play, if not the whole point of the game is lost. Be aware that anyone who has time to poke their noses in your business, in a negative way is running away from dealing with the sh*t in their lives because happy people simply wish others well. Other people’s opinion should not be of concern to you. Become more discerning in spotting a friend from a foe. Pray together. Let your love be inclusive of other members of your families but both of you must agree on acceptable boundaries.
It won’t be rosy all through. The rough tides WILL come. Most likely, you may be hurt deeply at some point(s). People in love also have a capacity and power for cruelty. Don’t put up walls to guard your heart. Leave it open and free. This is life and sh*t happens. There are no guarantees, period. Promise each other that should either of you check out physically, emotionally, spiritually or mentally from the relationship, the other person will FIGHT with every thing they have to restore the relationship. It is more important to DO right than BE right. Don’t forget the little things. Be kind and courteous to each other. Create wonderful memories together. Go on dates. Have shared hobbies. Have individual hobbies. Give each other room to breathe, grow and create. Be passionate about life! Seek new ways to always deposit into your respective ’emotional/goodwill’ accounts. (The ‘surplus’ will serve you well in stormy seasons). Someone has to be a fool at different times but know the difference between a beautiful compromise and a resentful sacrifice. Christ already died on the cross, no one should be a martyr in a relationship. There are no victors here. Don’t allow yourself to be or play the victim. It should be enjoyed and bring joy, to both of you!
Don’t play the compare and contrast game. The grass may seem greener at the other side but you may be allergic to that sort of grass or the chemical that keeps it green will poison you to death. Focus on building your own relationship. Be content. When all else fail, learn to nail any challenge you face to the cross because no one else can restore relationships like your creator, trust me on this, it is a tested truism. Again, let me reiterate, marriage is simple BUT it is not easy.
Nothing in life should be a DO or DIE affair, and that includes marriage. Sadly, there have been too many cases of physical assault by spouses, sometimes resulting in death! I’ll like to end this piece by stating that if a marriage becomes a source of danger to your physical, mental, spiritual, financial and emotional survival, know when to stay on or move on. Marriage should give your spirit freedom to grow, bloom and soar. It should not be a bondage union that diminishes, kills and dries out your essence. Listen to that voice within, seek it with sincerity of heart and you will hear it speak. IF GOD WILLS IT, it will BE, if not, just take the next exit and become a life-long member of moveon .org! Whatever path God has called you to be on, single or married, live beautifully, passionately and freely. Serve him and serve the society well. It is your birth-right to have a fulfilled, joyous and blessed life either way. Claim it. One size does not fit all. Do not let anyone convince you otherwise! Good luck and God’s grace!
P.S: Today, I am thankful to celebrate my 18th Wedding anniversary! Hopefully, in 7 years (on my 25th), I’ll share more nuggets. This is simply an opinion piece, based on my experiences. It should be taken accordingly, and applied with wisdom.
The preceding is a guest post from Juliet Ume, MBA –Wealth Management Consultant & Lifestyle Coach at Whole Woman Network. Juliet is an avid Life Connoisseur and a passionate advocate of WomEntrepreneurship, Investment & Financial Literacy for women. Follow her on Twitter: @wholewomaninc