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" 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!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Royal Wedding Frenzy

Monday, April 18, 2011
I'm actually ashamed of myself that I'm so obsessed with these two. I'm ashamed but then I also cut myself some slack. I've had a crush on Prince William for pretty much my entire life so it only follows that when he finally picks a lady to marry I'd be very much into it. I can't wait for it to be all over though, the frenzy is just...unnatural. I can only wish Kate goodluck because like many brides that have gone before her, after the wedding frenzy ends, you've got a marriage. And that's one tough cookie to crack.

Outside of royal watching, not much has been going on here besides work. Our anniversary came and went pretty quietly. The first part of the day crashed with me crying and accusing Bo of not taking the day seriously enough since of course he doesn't mark anything. He even worked for a bit, then went off for a skype meeting that lasted a little bit. I called him in and told him I think he's ruined our anniversary, at which point he was so surprised and said, "I'm sorry babe, let's start the day again..." then proceeded to give me the usual million kisses, asked me to get dressed, went to my favorite dinner where apparently when I was in the shower he had called ahead and asked for my favorite cake and a candle. It ended up being a really sweet and romantic day. Even now my husband is laying in the bed next to me and it's indescribable the love I feel towards him. During the dinner we both mentioned three things that have been fabulous about being married to each other so far, one of mine was security and stability. I love that I'm the most important thing to this person sleeping next to me. No more single girl games etc. I truly absolutely love that.

In all I think I learnt another lesson. My anniversary doesn't have to be like anyone else's. We should just do what feels good and natural to us and make sure that our love for each other shines through. I think I got that wrong initially. There are no hard and fast rules.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

To all those celebrating Mother's Day or Mothering Sunday today (british and british affiliated countries), HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!! This one is special to me as I have a few of my friends expecting to give birth any moment soon, so I'm especially wishing them a PHENOMENAL mother's day.

We women are a gifted lot. Remember to love you!
Till My Dying Day © 2008. Design by Pocket