Wednesday, April 20, 2011

11 Thoughts on the First Year of Marriage

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I thank God for his grace that he has shown me and Bo over the last year. I thank God that he picked me to share the life of such a wonderful person as Bolaji. Many say the first year is the hardest or roughest year, if that's the case then Bo and I are among the very lucky ones. The first year wasn't hard for me. I mean we had some really key disagreements and some intense moments, many of which I've recorded on this blog, but truly it is easy to live with my husband. Since we've navigated the first year fairly successfully, here are some of my thoughts and experiences within this first year:

  1. Marry Your Best Friend. This I think is the most important lesson learned this past year. I read an article in an Oprah magazine recently where the woman exclaimed "your husband cannot be your best friend" but let me tell you, yes he can! Bo is my absolute best friend in the world. Most times it actually just feels like I'm living with my best friend and we just happen to be married. I don't mean best friend in the sense many ladies say it simply because this man is who you spend most of your time with and are devoted to, but best friend like how a kid can go to a playground, meet another kid in the sandbox and start playing with each other for the entire time and then swear they're best friends.
  2. Never Go To Bed Angry. For me this is similar to the familiar refrain of communication. No matter how hard, awkward, difficult, or challenging it is, make sure that in your heart, you forgive yourself and your partner for your contribution to any argument. You don't have to talk it out, but in your quiet moments, make peace with it. This is an incredibly difficult challenge but it's an investment for a stronger bond and a more secure marriage. Put in the work. One thing is for sure, you cannot talk to God whilst angry, so at the very least before you sleep, try and talk to God, leaving all anger and malice behind. I've read some things on the internet that say it's good to go to bed angry, you can talk about it another day. This is not entirely true, even if you choose to forgive the other person as well as yourself before you sleep, no one says you can't still talk about the issue in the morning. Challenge yourself not to stay angry.
  3. Loneliness. This is probably my number one realization about marriage and I wish someone had spoken candidly to me before. This is not that you'd be lonely in your relationship, no. But as a single lady you are used to talking about relationships, boyfriends, etc. Once you get married no one expects you to talk any more! This can be a hard transition as sometimes you just want to yell "aaaargh!" I deal with it by adhering to some fundamental rules of mine. I will NEVER talk badly about my husband to anybody at any time for any reason. Apart from that I've found it helpful sharing my experiences with a closed set of friends, mostly married ladies. In Nigeria we are told once we marry never to talk, I think this can lead to loneliness for many women. I think we should share experiences. Just share smartly and never say anything you can't say in front of your husband or your husband doesn't know already.
  4. Indescribable Sense of Security. One of the best things about being married is that I feel so secure and loved ALL the time. I know my husband chose me, I know he loves me. He's not playing games and he's not going anywhere. Because of this security I feel so much peace about myself and about my future. I read this quote online somewhere yesterday and it's of a husband saying to someone else "I know my wife is wrong but I'm the only one who can tell her that"....so back off! I love all of this.
  5. Encouragement. Just like women want security, I think men want encouragement and support. My husband dreams a mile a minute, from big dreams to not so big ones, but he has such a fervor for them all! I'm not sure there's anything more important to a man than when his wife offers words of encouragement and support. I've come to believe this is one of the key roles of a woman in marriage. Forget all the cooking and things, but if you are the pillar of encouragement in a man's life, he'll always always put you on a pedestal. If Bo comes to me tomorrow and says "Babe I want to tie a rope around the moon and bring it down to our backyard" I would say, okay what's your plan? Let's get to work!
  6. Listen. Some of us are not very good at the listening thing. In a legendary fashion, I'm actually bad at this. However I've been committed to this part of my personality. I read somewhere that you have to always give clues to the other person that you're listening to them and value their opinion. This is especially important in an argument. I literally have to tell myself to stop. and listen. whenever Bo has something to say. Rather than interrupting to say why I think he's wrong etc., I just try and let him land, watching my body language. I relax my shoulders, tell my body to be calm and release all tension, then I look at him and nod my head to assure him I'm listening. Then I just let him finish. I think a lot of arguments escalate because many people don't know the art of just staying still. We think we're right and want to tell it to the other party right away, but listening goes a long way. If you can before you start, reiterate what the other person just said then go into your points of view.
  7. Tough Life Decisions. Let me say, marriage matures you! Whenever I'm speaking to my just about engaged or newly affianced friends, at some point they start complaining about decisions they've had to make etc. Well, things don't get easier. As big boys and girls we now have more freedom than ever but also more responsibilities than ever and this means making those tough life decisions. The good thing is it's not just you and you have a life partner who can bring much needed laughter during such times.
  8. True Meaning of Love. You've got to be ready to love someone wholly. This means through all their flaws and all. If you don't think you're ready for this, then you may want to wait a bit before jumping that broom. You have to honestly be able to look at your partner's crooked nose and their ability to leave their socks next to instead of IN the basket, and still love them more than anything else in the world. Now this is tough and you may never fully get the hang of it, but you have to always maintain your willingness to try. I have a friend of mine who's dating someone (waiting on a ring) but thinks he's not so hot in the bedroom. She's thinking she should end this relationship because of it. From my point of view, if you can't love someone enough to try and work through whatever issues he has sexually, then maybe you should end the relationship. It's really important to be willing to love someone through whatever issues they have. (of course this has limits like alcoholism, emotional abuse, and violence when loving that person may mean getting out of their way and getting them professional help).
  9. Mirror Effect. Being married to someone is like holding a mirror to yourself. Your partner is your mirror and WILL reflect back to you all the good and the bad parts of your personality. This will happen no fail. I'm not sure if there's anything to be done to mitigate this, most especially because you are a mirror too, holding up the reflection of your spouse, so you have firsthand knowledge of how tough it is to handle. I will say try and be compassionate, whatever it is you're feeling chances are your spouse is feeling exactly the same way. Go easy on each other.
  10. Tit for Tat. Never ever ever do this. It's malicious. Try and stir clear of "don't worry, i'll do the same thing to him then he'll know how it feels." This is a rule I had about marriage before even going into it. An eye for an eye makes the world go blind and this thing is just too important for me to let it all "go blind". It is so hard to do, I know, but what I do is talk it out with my hubby and tell him how I feel about that particular issue. Tit for tat breeds distrust, anger, and resentment, it won't solve any issues. It really is a challenge, but the fruits of not being malicious pays wonderful dividends.
  11. Make Up Your Own Rules. I think this should be a cardinal direction, especially in Nigeria. This is because here, the society has very clear and concise rules for how a marriage should be and how a wife and a husband should be. Very clear. And we're unapologetic about it. Even worse so, we try and ram it down everyone's throats: you are a wife you must be like this, you are a husband you must do this. The best thing I've found being married to Bo is that we agree to live our lives exactly the way we want it and we fight to maintain our own principles as opposed to society's principles. We've always agreed that being married is not the most interesting thing about our lives or even our lives together. We don't always introduce each other as husband/wife because we feel it's nobody's business what our relationship status is so long as we're together. When we pray we pray first about our relationship, then second about our marriage, because we believe our relationship is just two of us, our marriage is everything else kids, finances, etc. and we are in a marriage because of our relationship. MANY people find this odd, I know, and I understand but that's just the way we want to live our lives. It works for us. I think everyone should talk about and decide what works for them and stick to it regardless of what ANYONE may say or think.

I can't express how much I look forward to writing my thoughts on the Fifth Year of Marriage (whether here or elsewhere who knows). I'm so excited about that. At dinner on our anniversary I asked Bo to give us a toast and he said this, "May 1 become 2, become 5, become 10, become 30, become 50 and more" and I thought that was a PERFECT toast. I can't wait!

17 comments:

Nenyenwa said...

Kemi congrats to u and Bo and after 3 yrs of marriage I concur but the security and encouragement goes vice versa. My husband also loves the security that I am not going anywhere and I believe most husbands do. That is why many men do not look for that woman that slept around with everyone they know, they wld rather have the inexperienced, virgin sometimes partly because they hope it will never cross their minds to cheat. Not to say all men are this way, many men still choose the one who later changed. A lot of women also need their hubby's encouragement...I am a medical doctor with big dreams, one of them is helping the least fortunate by doing missions. Hubby is right behind me- he will often hear about some of them and throw it at me. I see my job as a calling from God almighty and explaining that too my husband and helping him understand it has helped him support me and he also feels like his calling is to the Navy and I will always be by his side. In essence, the role of a woman is both to provide that security, and encouragement and vice versa. Because just like he chose me, I also chose him. God bless you! and continue to grant you happiness in your marriage. :)

DiAmOnD hawk said...

A truly perfect toast...
#9 is so spot on! I realized it a couple of years into my relationsip... your partner is your mirror...

Not so sure I subscribe to not going to bed angry... sometimes that goodnight sleep may do just the trick... all the experts agree and disagree on this one...

All in all... everyone needs God...
congratulations on your first year!

P.E.T. Projects said...

Congratulations on your anniversary.
You're such an inspiration, the vital lessons from your relationship as written in this blog are eye-openers.
Thanks for sharing

Faith said...

wow, i am blown away! this was so well written and i can't agree more! i was nodding my head while reading the whole post.

congrats on your first year! may God continue to bless you and Bo with many, many more happy and loving years together!

Fluffycutething said...

Congrats!!!!! P.E.T took the words right out of my mouth!!

am said...

You are a quick learner - I think its something the Lord has blessed you with. Thanks for sharing.
PS - I love the toast!!!!

Sisi Yemmie ™ said...

This post was such a blessing to me!!!!! wow!
www.gistdotcom.blogspot.com

oohjay said...

I guess number one is the bedrock of everything.. being best friends... now taking notes...

@ilola said...

Congratulations. I pray that as your marriage gets older, it gets sweeter.

gidibabe said...

amazing blog spent the whole of today reading up on past post....cant wait to find that 1 person and experience all you have talked about. sigh love is beautiful

Blessing said...

Awwww Kemi!!! Congrats sweetie! Wish you many more, thank you so much for sharing what you've learned...ur filled with so much wisdom! God bless you and Bo!!!

Anonymous said...

I'll drink to that toast! Congratulations :)

Edia said...

Haven't been on blogspot or your blog in about a year. Congratulations on your first year! Bookmarking this post for when my time comes. God bless and prosper your relationship xxx

Kemi said...

@Nenyenwa, thanks for stopping by. I agree with you, these things DO go both ways.

@Diamond, thanks for your wellwishes! I'm not saying solve the issue before you go to sleep. Nope. There are times that even changing into my pjs I'm grumbling and about to wring Bo's neck, however hard it is, I do think it is right to try and forgive yourself and the other person as you lay our head on that pillow. Tomorrow you'll have more time to iron out the issue.

@P.E.T, thanks so much for your kind words.

Thanks Faith! I'm so glad you agree with a lot of the points. i tried to do justice to the experience.

@Fluffy, thanks!

@am, thanks so much. I've never seen it like that but I thank God for all his blessings.

@SisiYemmie, thanks! I was really moved by your post. Thanks for commenting.

@oohjay, it is so important I tell you. A lot of people don't realise that unless you marry your best friend the whole thing will be a bit of drudgery I think. Bo is like my best friend that I get to sleep with sometimes, build a family with, and eventually when we're old and gray we would sit on that porch laughing about how silly it all was :-)

@ilola, AMEN! Thanks for the prayer and well wishes.

@gidibabe, thanks for spending your time on my blog and commenting! I pray that you will find that true love. It absolutely enriches your life significantly.

@blessing, thanks so much for your well wishes and blessings. I pray even much more for you.

@thanks Anon!

@Edia, well, thanks for coming back and moreso coming back to my blog! AMEN to your prayer. Stay blessed Xxxx

HoneyDame said...

Dont know how I missed this. This is such a........ piece. I love your down-to-earthedness. I can definitely cull one of two pieces of dvice from here. Thanks again.and congratulations in arrears

Kemi said...

@HoneyDame, thanks for your kind words. stay blessed.

Daughter of Her King said...

To say that I didn't agree with every single thing u have mentioned on this blog would make me a liar... As in......(SPOT ON JARE... I feel u to the core and rawness of the bones lol)..

On a serious note, I agree with each point.. (U see am not married yet, will soon be Amen.. speaking by faith.. All the points u have said is exactly what I have always felt with in.) I agree with number 1 till 11: I have always felt I would rather marry my best friend, the one I feel comfortable with and I am able to express myself without any need of hiding or any quams... 11: Important for all couples to define their own relationships because society talks utter nonsense and if care is nothing can have an effect on the marriage(abeg do u and as the spirit leads and from what I gather, u both know urselves very well. How cool is that..(hi five jare, it shows u both actually contribute in making ur relationship what it is today)......

Mehn all I have to say is I will have an awesome marriage... (Really Awesome one)...

(I am so glad that God loves me so much and has taught me a lot.. I love him even more for you sharing this cos this is exactly what I have emulated in my relationship with the man of my dreams.. Awesome...

Thanks for sharing..

My prayer for your relationship/marriage is that the Love of God will never depart from your home, the fact that Bolaji found u and made u his wife.. He will receive the blessings of Proverbs 18 vs 22: He who finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord... As in to find something good is not an easy job ohH... Besides that good thing(which is u) will be the best thing that has happened to him since accepting JESUS (As in he is enjoying ohh, no be small)...

Not only has he found a good thing, he is now obtaining that favour from God and I know u will help him maintain, sustain, upgrade, even regenerate that favour always...

And because God intention is for man to leave his family home and be joined with his wife.. Bo has fulfilled that promise and I pray that nothing, I repeat NOTHING UNDER THE WATCHFUL EYES OF OUR KING will bring u two apart..

His blessings upon ur home will notonly remain stronger but will enrich ur genertaions, the ones around you, above u and the coming ones...

God bless u you and Bless ur marriage.. AMEN..

Abeg no vex for the long essay.. I got carried away (I can be so long sometimes.. lol)

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