Saying two halves don’t make a whole sounds counter intuitive but it is the reality in marriage. Every single man and lady is looking for that better halve that completes them, however if you are a self-professed “half” looking for another “half” your marriage will be a train wreck waiting to happen. Marriage, which is a lifelong commitment needs to be entered into with judicious caution and with realistic expectation. Though you have no control over all the factors that will affect your marriage, you have supreme control over yourself and your expectations. Here are 5 realities one needs to come to terms with before entering into marriage:
- Your husband or wife CANNOT make you happy, only God can make you happy:
Most people find it difficult to come to terms with the fundamental truth that it is not up to their partner to make them happy. Going into marriage, we believe it is only logical that your partner anticipates your every need, remembers every important date on your life calendar, puts you first and is at your beck and call every waking hour. Most times we also expect our marriage to be our partner’s uttermost priority in life and we consider it sinful for a partner to even thinking about putting anything else first. These are good expectations, but going into marriage you need to realize that your partner is human and expecting him or her not to miss a beat is impractical.
Having little to no expectation going into marriage is a great approach. I know this sounds ridiculous but honestly, go in with a blank slate and learn who your partner really is; does he or she forget dates, does he or she hate hanging out with only you all the time, does he or she walk around naked ALL THE TIME? Believe me, after the glamorous (or not so glamorous) wedding ceremony, partners take off the mask, get comfortable and begin to reveal personality traits that are natural to them. Perfect example, my husband used to cook for me the entire two years we dated, we have been married for over five years and he has never cooked me a meal since we got married.
This all points back to our main point, be happy and comfortable with who you are and stop looking to others to make you happy – be a “whole” and not a “half” going into marriage.
- Never compare.
We can all think of that one couple that ALWAYS gets it right: they eat out all the time, they never miss a vacation, they are at a romantic getaway every other weekend (or so it seems) and their children are so well behaved at every event. The reality is that every relationship has its own issues and people are great at hiding their problems so please don’t beat yourself up for being in a normal relationship that has occasional arguments, no vacation and kids that love to take off running at the store. If you hear some of the conversations that go on behind closed doors at these seemingly perfect homes, you will be quite grateful for your situation.
Never compare your relationship with other relationships, don’t compare your partner with other partners.
- In-laws are always a factor (or force to be reckoned with):
Your in-laws have the same expectations, as you do, of your partner. If your partner has estranged family members, his friends will have the same expectations of him. They expect him or her to remember every date on the family (or friendship) calendar, they expect him or her to always be available and reliable just like before you got married. The fact that he or she is with you does not release him or her from the responsibility of being the doting brother, sister, uncle, friend etc. Your partner’s entourage (be it family or friends) will be a part of your life and you have to learn diplomatic ways to draw a line.
From experience and observation Exhibit #3 is the best approach to family and friend involvement in your relation.
- Exhibit #1 represents complete detachment where you want your spouse to yourself and want him or her to have other relationships (friends or family) without you. This could be unhealthy because as you will constantly put your partner in a position to choose between you and his family and friends.
- Exhibit #2 represents complete integration. Where your partner’s family and friends are neck deep in your relationship and you are neck deep in all the family activities. They know what color your sheets are kind of deep, in your relationship. This is also unhealthy because you have no privacy, multiple input, and constant confusion or conflict on which direction to go.
- Exhibit #3 represents a healthy balance. You are have some involvement with your partner’s family (and friend) affairs and they have some involvement in yours. This is healthy because your partner does not have to choose between you and his family (and friends) all the time and you have some sort of support system.
Always make sure that the red bubble is in a healthy position with respect to your marriage. You don’t want it to stray too far away and you don’t want to get so close that the entire bubble in your space.
- Whoever is not a solution is a part of the problem:
Opinions are a dime a dozen and trust me everyone could give you and opinion about your marriage if you let them. An elderly lady once told me that she will like to give me marriage counselling if I am open to it. She proceeded to say that most people do not think she is fit to counsel others because she was married for only 9 months before she got a divorce. She, however strongly believes that she has great teachings on what not to do in marriage. Seriously?
Please do your relationship a favor by thoroughly examining the individual giving you relationship advice. If an individual is not offering you sound suggestions, they are potentially a part of the problem. Please don’t be that man or woman that takes marital advice from your legion of single friends who are still struggling to find love.
- You don’t have to learn from your own mistakes:
Realize that the love in your relationship is not “special.” That horrible situation that happened to someone you know may very well happen to you so don’t fall apart like a two dollar suit case when it does. Learn from other people’s mistakes don’t wait until you are in the same situation. Always leave live in realization of the fact that you are not insulated from certain incidents in life. Even if you are very prayerful, you do not have direct control over your partner’s actions.
Don’t live in suspicion but learn from relationships around you. Chances are that you have people around you that have been in marriages longer than you have, take cues from these relationships by learning what did not work for them. Every relationship is different and what works for one relationship may not work for another however, if something does not work for more than one relationship you know, chances are that it will not work for you. For example, if you know at least three couples that began fighting over money after they established a joint account, you need to thoroughly scrutinize if a joint account is right for you. Ask yourself, why is it not working for these couples and will it work for me?
Marriage could be blissful when two “whole” people enter a relationship with limited expectations.
Written By Lola Fajemirokun