Today is exactly 17 years since I got married. I went into it in love and with no guarantees of what to expect but hoping that it will meet my expectations.
That sounds ironic isn’t it? How can you go into something not knowing what to expect but hoping it will meet your expectations?
Of course, we all go into marriage very excited but really the outcome is not entirely in our hands. You go into it by faith.
I have heard many people use interesting adjectives to describe marriage.
Some use words like great, good, wonderful, enjoyable and sweet. Others describe it as difficult, not easy, burdensome etc. Others say it is amazing, wonderful, inexplicable and mysterious. There are no right or wrong definitions: it all depends on your experience. My experience has been great and I hope it gets better.
Interestingly, a few use other expressions to describe marriage and I am not sure where to place them. So for example if someone heard you were getting married, it will not be surprising to hear the words,” I wish you luck.” Others just say hmmmm or simply sigh. Of all the expressions that are used to describe marriage, the one I find difficult to decode is hmmmm.
I quite remember that when I was at the School of Communications Studies (1999 Year Group), some of my class mates who were married described it as a decision to sell your independence. Indeed, as soon as you get married, you sell your independence.
That is why it is called wedlock; you are wedded and locked for life, so it has to be good.
The fact is that marriage can be bitter or sweet depending on the circumstances.
The reality is that it’s a mixed bag. No matter how enjoyable it is, there will be challenging times and these may be due to many reasons.
The things that challenge marriages are many; financial, social, behavioral, cultural, and in Africa the word spiritual is always a constant factor. For the African Spirituality is seen as a major factor in marriage. If you don’t believe it, just ask a few women.
Marriage is like life. You have to treasure it and hope it brings you the best. Just like anything in life, you have to hold it dear. Just as we guard our lives, we must guard our marriages and protect it from negative exposures.
It is like building a house. You must decide whether you want to build a 10-storey or five-storey or just a one-storey building.
The foundation determines how high you can build and vice versa.
It is also like a ladder. It can help you reach the top or it could also aid your downfall. If you want a ladder to serve its purpose, you must watch where you put it – the ladder must have something solid to support it.
We enjoy hot tea, especially in cold weather. If you rush it, you burn your lips and spill it. If you take your time and handle it carefully you enjoy it. So take you time and work on your marriage, not on the wedding event. Many people spend so much money on their dresses, parties and the other things but spend less on their marriage.
I am sure many people don’t care anymore what challenges they face in their marriage. After all they think they can get a divorce if they don’t find it pleasant. And that is where the problem starts. Marriage is like colonial rule. Once you get colonialized, it is difficult to break yourself free from your colonial master.
Even when you gain independence you still find yourself hooked to your ex in some ways. If you doubt it, ask all the members of the Commonwealth. Marriage is not a prison though and when you must get out, you must make that decision.
Getting out is not easy for most people. Compare marriage to BREXIT. You may decide to vote for an exit only to realize that the consequences of leaving may be more difficult than you imagined. If you don’t believe it, ask David Cameron and Theresa May what BREXIT means to the UK.
Marriage is just like entering into politics and making a decision to contest in an election. You never know how difficult it is until you lose your first debate and then you have no option than to blame your microphone or the host.
You may want to ask Donald Trump. You can never take it for granted. Be prepared. It’s the best decision you can make.
So really, if you want to find value in marriage go into it with all your eyes, ears, heart and mind open. You have to make the best out of it. Remember, it is a union between two people and for the avoidance of any doubt, I am referring to a union between two consenting adults; male and female.
So if you ask me what I can say about marriage, I will stay on the side of the positive optimists. It’s exciting, wonderful, great and fulfilling. The question is this: has it met my expectations? Yes, it has and it is still work in progress. You can never say you have arrived.
I believe those who have been married for 40 to 50 years are still discovering more about marriage. I wish all married people the very best of life and to those who are now planning to get married, I pray for wisdom for you to make the best choice.