And I now pronounce you husband and wife, you may kiss the bride’ were the words of the officiating minister at our wedding, Oh! How wonderful it felt to be married. Planning the wedding was stressful, hectic and demanding. It was difficult coordinating studies, work, preparations and commitments and wedding panning within a short frame of time. Coupled with financial demands, it was a relief to be finally called husband and wife and at the end of the day jetting off to our honeymoon destination.
Fairy tales usually end with… and they lived happily ever after… I am sure there are folks out there that would agree with me that they thought it would be smooth sailing after their wedding. In my case, I had attended a lot of singles conferences and marriage seminars, read books and magazines, watched videos and listen to tapes related to marriage and the life after. I am glad I did because what I learnt cushioned our journey through marriage so far and given us the impetus to work together. I would like to share 7 things I have come to understand better 12 months down the line.
1. Roses may have thorns, but thorns have roses too
This was the title of a track performed by a gospel artist way back in the university during my first degree and it has come to have more meanings to me. We were told that marriage starts after the wedding and we are bound to face challenges relating with each other and facing life as a couple. That makes more sense to me now. It hasn’t been smooth sailing and we have had very trying times which we had to overcome together. Some lessons we learnt the hard way while others we trusted God and things worked out at the end. The difficulties we had include habits we needed to change, learning to listen to each other, talking right, setting priorities straight, choosing friends, budgeting, meal time table, dressing styles etc. The little things that I wouldn’t have bothered about single now were recipes for disaster in marriage.
It has been a steep learning curve; I have had to unlearn a lot of things ad adjusted to others. I thought I got rid of anger a long time ago, but all of a sudden it seemed to have loosed itself again. I have had to learn patience, temperance, perseverance; in fact I needed all the fruits of the spirit so I do not walk in the flesh. But looking back now, I see that I have actually become a better person and on the right track to being the best husband I can be to my wife and eventually a wonderful father. We have had times when we sat together and laughed at how we behaved in past contentions and arguments. But in the midst of the laughter we learnt what not to do or say and we try not to repeat them.
2. He who wants equity must come with clean hands
I learnt from my dad at a very early age that a man’s honor is his bond just as the bible teaches. While we dated, we were frank about who we were and what we were about. All cards were laid on the table, there were no hidden agendas and we built our relationship on complete trust and faith in each other. In the last 12 months, there has been several occasions that would have turned really ugly if were had not been open with each other right from the beginning, particular when it had to do with friends in the past or relationships that may or may not have existed. Each time situations like this occur we get home talk and laugh because we had long settled them.
3. Men also cry
Our wedding guests would testify to this! And the saying that men don’t cry isn’t true. It may not literally mean shedding tears, but men hurt, and I would like to believe that men hurt more than women do. We try to hide our feelings within us with an outward expression of anger. It can be very painful when the one you love hurts you but it’s more divine to forgive. I am trusting God to remember this myself each time I get hurt.
4. Women are really from Venus
Have you read the book men are from mars and women from Venus? How true is it that men and women really come from different planets? It only goes to show the omniscience of God and to prove that definitely humanity did not evolve from micro-organisms or from the big bang as many have believed erroneously. Women think very differently and every day I get amazed and I keep finding out new mysteries. Perhaps I get more amused because I went to a single sex secondary school and university. I get stunned daily but I am learning fast.
5. Women are the well spring of life
Back in boarding school, each time there was no running water, we had to go fetch water from wells in nearby villages to wash our uniforms and those of our seniors. How we hated it as juniors! Fetching water from these well required special skills. The wells were very deep and there were no solid buckets to fetch water. The containers were made from tyre tubes knit together by hand. With a long rope attached to the container we painstakingly fetched the water. We had to pull gently and steadily to get a bucket full, if not you’ll spill everything and end up with an empty bucket having to start all over again.
I have come to better understand, that women are just like wells. Wham bam thank you mam does not work. No instant coffee, you got to let it brew. Slowly, gently and steadily you’ve got to see her through until you get a bucket full. But after several practice sessions, consultation and advice, the skill can be mastered and you can always get a bucket full every time.
6. Wives are happy for the men to be the head…
This title is only one half of the statement, without the other half many women would disagree. The full statement should be “…women are happy for the men to be the head as long as they are the neck…” How so true is this statement? For the women out there fighting to be the head, you may need to consider this. The husband and wife are equal in the sight of God and equal heirs to the promise. They should work together; submit to each other just as the bible commands. However, the man is the head of the home as Christ is the head of the church, but a godly woman taking her place will always be the neck to support the man. Her God given intuition would play crucial roles in helping the man lead the family in the right direction. She is the help meet for the man, the ever ready toolbox equipped with every tool and answer the man would ever need.
There have been times I wished I had listened to my wife, perhaps we wouldn’t have gone through the financial difficulty we went through. I can vividly recount other instances like that, but now each time she speaks, I listen and in my own time reconsider my plans based on her opinions and then make decisions after careful thought and consideration. It has worked out well every time I did, and I’m glad I learnt that sooner rather than later.
7. The best is yet to come
I have left this for last because, I couldn’t think of a title for it. To me it is the most important thing I learnt. I know that I achieved the best I could have achieved as a single man but marriage opened new doors of possibilities and showers of blessings. I really have found good. I always knew I would go into business but did not know what business to go into, how to go about it or when to start. But soon after getting married, my eyes of understanding seems to have opened and the scales fallen off my eyes. New doors of opportunities have resulted as a result of our marriage, directly and indirectly. Her insights have been very helpful and brain storming, her encouragements and believe in my abilities have motivated me to thread wisely and confidently. I believe that the best is yet to come. This is only the beginning and the tip of the ice berg.
I have tried to summarize the important things I have learnt above. Definitely not everything can be said but hope that this would be useful to others about to get married and an encouragement to those already married. We are very happy to be married and we consider every challenge as an opportunity to work together and learn something new. We are on the same team and have only each other when the world seems to be against us. Having this in mind and God with us, who can be against us? Shalom