It’s one of the great dating myths: Single life is hard, and married life is easy. As experts continue to debunk this claim as truth only on the most superficial level, Romance and Relationship examines seven issues and solutions in marriage. Linda Aliogo writes
The honeymoon is over and reality of married life begins. This is the time you start noticing those things you did not during courtship. Co-habitation involves living together in the same house, probably sharing the same bedroom and sharing your partner’s good and bad side too. Then, the issues start creeping out from the closets one after the other!
Learning to live together
The first rule in marriage is learning the word ‘we’. You’re longer single and have to learn how to adapt to your new status. Yes, you courted for a while but you were lovers not spouses. So questions like why do I need to keep the bedroom tidy all the time should not come up no matter how many times you have to re-arrange the bedroom in a day. You remind him that you just finished arranging the room… He says sorry and still leaves the clothes and the shoes there!
Most men generally are not good with housekeeping. This is a fact you must bitterly accept if you don’t want to be christened a NAG. Accept this, and learn to live with it or find a truce, you never can tell, he might be good at repair works all over the house and would gladly trade that for keeping the bedroom tidy.
What chores are right
Why should I prepare his meals when we have a cook or house help? What is the big deal in cooking or serving his meals? After all, you are equally spent and tired like him after the office hours. You get home late and leave home early too like him!
Courtship period differs greatly from married life. What quite a number of men permits during courtship period will not be tolerated in marriages. If your spouse enjoyed your meals during your courtship period, he certainly won’t enjoy a cook or house help’s now that you’re married.
If you insist on deferring this function to your cook due work stress, read his reaction!
If you hear the complains, then that is good for you, it means you need to change your position before it gets out of hands but if you do not, then…
No matter how busy, as a wife, create time to cook and serve your husband personally! Prepare his favourite meals and freeze if you do not have time to cook often. Serve his meals as regular as possible. If you do have a cook, try to supervise and see that things are done properly.It may or may not be perfect, let him see your effort and interest. He does notice and yes, it does matters!
Pursuing a career after the vows
This is one sore point with some couples, though with the recent economic depression world over, cases like this are on the decline. Some spouses prefer wives that work from home, run their personal businesses or full-time housewives. While this decision might sit with some, it might not work with others building their career paths or about to.
The first way to manage this is to find settle down in your home and enjoy it…enjoy it? You may ask? Yes, I said enjoy it. If you do have kids, take care of them properly. Attend to your husband needs. If you do satisfy all these then, you can bring up the issue of working again.
Tell him why you need to work, let him understand it isn’t the money rather, the fulfillment. How it would make you feel accomplished and happy! Let him understand that you would be happier and this would rub off positively on him and the kids and the entire family!
Let him know when you feel better about yourself, you can equally perform better in your duties as wife and mother.
Plead with him and do make sure you have a plan on what to embark on. Be patient and pray about it.
Keeping the slimmer you after marriage
You have added some weight and have unsuccessfully tried to lose it. Why should he be complaining? After all, both of you are in the same boat. He is even heavier than you, so why is he talking?
Over time, with children, you tend to add weight. You have bulges here and there and fluctuate from one size to another. Same with your spouse in some cases but this won’t stop him from complaining about yours. And having babies is no justification for packing on the pounds with Hollywood celebs bouncing back to their svelte size after birthing babies. Does it mean you do not care about what he says or thinks?
We know you care and probably worried about it too, desiring to return to your pre-baby body size. But castigating him about it won’t shrink your weight size in his eyes. Leave the squabbles and make a genuine effort to lose weight, for you first.
If you make genuine effort and do it for yourself, I bet your husband would be motivated and come around to join you. Get to work and regain your confidence!
The in-law trap
Why should I have my in-laws around? Do I have to be nice to them? Why should I care?
Remember the day you took your vows, you promised to adhere? Marriage does not revolve around you and your husband (in the African context). You are married entirely to the whole family!
“Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” You must have heard about this Biblical quotation as it is applicable to this situation. Give to them what is due with all honest and leave the rest to God.
Truly make genuine effort to accept your husband’s family and I believe it would be reciprocal (even if it’s not, just do your part).I do agree there maybe occasions when this suggestion backfires but if you do not try, how would you know?
Give room for your mother-in-law as appropriate. It is difficult for some mothers to let go off their sons. You may not understand this feelings until you have children. Liase with a couple who have been successfully married for many years and let them give words of advice as time goes on.
Pray for difficult in-laws and relatives and learn to take your stand when necessary. You need a lot of wisdom and understanding here.
Investing in the future/ Avoiding the splurge
We are rich, comfortable and can afford the latest car, so why not? Traveling abroad for vacations shouldn’t be a privilege, it should be a right because we can afford it. He’s too practical about investments. When the opportunity pops up, he says he would rather invest the money than travel abroad. You do want a new car but he would rather invest on land or property!
It sounds ridiculous! And you do not understand or rather would not understand!
Relax! Chill! Cool down!
Do you want to cry your eyes out? Do you want to shout down the roofs? Do you want to keep malice till God-know-when? Or do you want to fight? There is a way out, calm down. Take some time off from this discussion. Focus on other things. Do not bring up this until you are totally calm.
Seat down and reflect….seriously on his stand. Is he right? What are the reasons? Are they really for the benefits of the family? Which is more important now, luxury or investment?
Be honest with yourself about the answers you come up with. However, if you do not still have answers, then ask him calmly and listen patiently to his answers.
Whatever, the outcome, put it in prayers.
Why should I not keep so many friends like I want and hang out with them when and how I like? Why should I always ask or discuss before I do things?
You have always taken decisions until you got married (excellent decisions anyway). You got out and visit as you like. You hang out with friends anytime.
Now you are asked to consult, discuss your decisions. You do not want to take ‘permission’ after all you are an adult, right?
You are married now and no longer single! There’s a huge difference. You have a partner and you must be considerate in your actions now.
Let him know what you want to do, carry him along and inform of your thoughts before they become decisions. He would also carry you along. Learn to listen to what he has to say. Mind your social activities, as things have changed. Know there are many sheep in wolves skin or clothing. It’s not all your friends that are happy for you or your married status. Be wise and pick your friends from now.Really listen to him and try to balance things.
So when you start having a “bumpy ride” in your relationship, don’t be surprised. Expect it. Relationships are never easy -– even in the best marriages. There will always be things to work out, sacrifices to be made, and changes that we each must undertake to accommodate our spouse.To get married and to stay happily married, know that marriage will entail hard work.
•Linda Aliogo is an entrepreneur and relationship counsellor