By TOYIN IDOWU
In order not to keep deceiving ourselves, we need to realize that there are no two people who come into marriage completely fit into each other’s lifestyle immediately. Irrespective of the number of years spent courting, we still find out that there are a number of underlining concerns to deal with, some lose ends to tighten up, compromises to make, attitudes to shelve, ideas to nurture and characters to model when marriage finally happens.
The main reasons for this is in most cases is due to the fact that there has never been any opportunity to stay under one roof as a couple for 24 straight hours, so there are quite a number of issues that we never had the opportunity to encounter most especially for those who didn’t practice the live-in lover style. This now makes it easier for us to gloss over a lot of issues. But sadly enough, the expectation of so many of us while we go into marriage is that things should just automatically go well, no, it doesn’t happen that way. Marriage takes a process of adjustment.
In as much as it is not out of place to have such an expectation, having courted for a minimum of one year, the assumption is that we should have at least been used to one another properly. But is this realistic? No wonder, quite a lot of marriages break up and no thanks to this strange and cumbersome expectation. Issues happen based on individual differences which need not be allowed to get out of hand if only we are ready to confront them. There is a process of adjustment that we need to realize and negotiate internally with our spouses but before then, let me quickly demystify two misconceptions we have about marriage.
First of all, it is important for us to know that our marriages are just the sincere extension of who we were before walking down the aisle. No miracle of transformation happens on the wedding day per se. The huge misconception here is that we think our partners must have a change of attitude and character in all ramifications the moment we both say “Yes, we do”! That guy can’t change from who he used to be neither has that lady changed a bit. A dishonest guy will keep being dishonest; a sneaky and naturally withdrawn woman will still manifest the same thing in marriage due to the fact that they are who they are. The same thing goes for those who have not been happy with themselves and think marriage will transform them, most times, it fails!
I believe you now understand that coming into marriage with some unrealistic expectations could be quite frustrating and disappointing. This is one reason why it is very advisable for unmarried singles to first be sure of their identity, keep developing themselves and deal with issues in their lives before dabbling into marriage. Are you unmarried? Then, focus on getting to understand your identity first of all because getting into marriage without being sure of who you are and where you are going in life could make you to likely absorb your partner’s identity thinking you are finding fulfillment.
Another misconception about this is that we believe we are very powerful and loving enough to change our spouses Just because we are married to him or her. We assume the role of a mother-hen and keep doing a lot of nasty things like being over protective, nagging, ordering around just in a bid to quickly get our spouses to conform to our ways. However, when it looks like all these don’t work at our own time, we get frustrated and our love begins to dwindle. Many of us find it a herculean task to even change some things about ourselves, many of us have been fighting hard some habits for the past seven years of our lives with no success yet we expect to change our partners instantly. How easy? Don’t get hypocritical with this!
In case you don’t know, when two people come together as husband and wife, they have ideals, characters, attitudes, way of life, values etc they have lived with for at least two whooping decades of their lives which they bring into their new home because that’s what they are used to. Now, it will be very unrealistic to expect that such ideals and way of life are thrashed completely after two weeks of marriage or after one year! It doesn’t work that way. This is where the tactics for adjustment process come in and most often than not, it varies for individuals. For some couples, it takes 5 to 10 years before they can get it right. At times, one party doesn’t even change but the other party just accepts him or her that way.
What is the bottom line here? Having a successful marriage will require your understanding, patience and hard work. Understanding to know where your partner is coming from and bear with him or her. Where he or she is coming from made him to be who he or she is today so excuse him for some time. For example, if your wife comes from a background where women are not meant to be heard but just seldom seen, then you can’t expect her to be confident and have a healthy self esteem. You have got to understand while you work on her.
When you understand your partner’s make up, you have got to be patient…being patient makes you see things not necessarily from your angle but the way they should be seen. You have to be patient with one another while you both adjust to each other’s demands. It is highly unfair to demand immediate twist from a grown adult.
When we know these things, we don’t have to be lazy to work with our partners because that’s one of the problems causing divorce in homes. People are lazy to confront issues and labour to make their relationships work. Hard work pays in real life so also it does while trying to make our marriages work.
Keep a date with the author every Thursday on Reality with Toyin Idowu on ExpressNG. Follow him on Twitter @ThoyinIdowu or visit www.toyinidowu.blogspot.com