When we first got engaged he'd make comments like "oh no, it all goes downhill from here". Or he'll say kiss goodbye to the woman and relationship you have now because it's all going to disappear, or if we're holding hands (which we always do), he'd say "don't worry this is going to stop abruptly soon". He asks Bolaji, "does she allow you to listen to your own music now? don't worry that will change and you'll never be allowed to any longer". The woman you're dating now is not going to be your wife and all kinds of scary crazy things. The thing is TJ is married! He has been married for the past 3 years and has two beautiful daughters to show. At first his offhand comments used to slide behind my back but I started to get really ticked off! All of his qualms about marriage where about the woman and I really didn't appreciate him saying things to an almost married man (at the time) that could scare him or give him jitters. I discussed it with Bolaji and he was like you know what? He's just jealous about our happiness and doesn't know how to show it, the best way to deal with him is also make a quip about how happy WE are and roll with the punches that way.
I say all of this to set the scene. A few weeks ago, at a friend's party TJ goes "so when was the last time you guys argued?" and he said it in this really smirky way as if he really wanted to prove himself right about how terrible marriage is. Bolaji and I looked at each other and replied..."you know what? I can't even remember!" But we also made a show of it and feigned like we were trying to remember and couldn't. Shame. You could tell he was disappointed that he couldn't be proven right at that time. I was so happy because truly at the time he asked we hadn't even had a misunderstanding/disagreement in a long stretch so I REALLY couldn't remember!
Cut to last week. One of the thorns of our relationship is that I LOVE giving and receiving gifts and my love could care less really! lol. He's one of those people that doesn't celebrate birthdays or any other type of anniversary, meanwhile I'm the kind of person that you could come in to the house and find a 100 balloons and a special cake to surprise you on the little things. So we are quite different that way. We celebrated our 3rd month anniversary last week and I also finally did my name change so of course I was in the mood for a little celebration. Bolaji was very blase about it. That evening not only does he come home later than usual, he then says he would really love to go to a going-away dinner for one of our friends who was leaving Nigeria for good (he had forgotten about the surprise dessert tasting I had arranged for us!). I was very upset and felt that he wasn't considering how important it was to me to celebrate milestones in my life. This little thing turned into a big full blown disagreement (we are not yellers so it's hard to say fight lol). I ended up listening to Beyonce's "Why Don't You Love Me" to sleep which in my head is the highest scale of marital unhappiness i guess lol. The next day we got up and it was another round of trying to listen and understand and explain to each other. I was exhausted. Just as we were beginning to patch things up, something completely different happened again that day to cause even more tension and friction.
During this time I was thinking those thougths that all I think all newlyweds will think at some point during their first year: Aaargh, I'm so mad at him, gosh what have I gotten myself into? I thought many different things. In that moment of feeling unloved, unheard, and just plain feeling that this marriage thing can indeed be tough, I thought of the carefree single days. I thought what if this man can't change and I can't change, could we be happy?
That evening Bolaji headed to one of his best friend's bach eve. Not even an hour in, he sends me a message:
Gosh, where do all these women come from? I'm sitting here, looking around, and I've never felt even more confident that I picked the right person, that I'm truly content and truly happy. I'm good, I don't need nor want anything else. I love you very much. Very very much and don't ever doubt this.
About thirty minutes later he sends me another message:
Okay I'm officially sad now, all these men grinding on all this women and gyptian ft. nikki is on and I'm by myself wishing my babes was here. I'm leaving here soon, once Nkem comes out of the room they've locked him in. (Bolaji really REALLY likes that Gyptian song!)
I tell him I'm trying on the dresses I just got back from the tailor and he asks me to please send pictures so he can see them on me. He comes home a little after that and I'm not sure what it was but it's like he just realized that whatever we were arguing about did not matter in the grand scheme of things. He grabs me and holds me so tight. I get a little perspective too. Here is my man. The man that goes to a bach eve and rushes home because he misses his wife. The man that isn't afraid to share his feelings with me. A man that loves me so very much, that he tells me almost every week that he dedicates his life to making sure I'm happy and cared for. A man who wakes me up to kisses all over my face.
A lot of marital activities went on these last few days ;-)
All kidding aside, I wanted to post about this incident because it was my first real challenge and realization that yes, marriage is going to have it's rough bits. I also gained a new consciousness that it is the journey that we are going for, the ups and downs of it all is exactly what we've signed up for. I thought to myself, how many of young couples out there go through their rough patches and instead of choosing to grow from it, choose to grow apart from it. And yes, it is a choice: Am I going to learn from this or am I going to withdraw just a little bit from this relationship because of it? Be wary of the withdrawal and teach the TJs in your life a thing or two!
We also talked about having kids this past week but that's the next post :-)