“Marriage is very difficult…Marriage is not easy”…Part 2
If you haven’t read Part one, Catch up with it here:
- My dad taught me that, there’s no school for relationships.
He’d say to me, “Bola, from when you’re about a year old, you begin to learn abcs, and then numbers, and then addition, and how to make sentences. This is the foundation, so that in your adult life, you are able to sustain yourself and communicate, do simple math etc. You get spanked for stealing, lying, shoving a kid on the playground etc. so you learn social and moral ethics. However, the same society that expects you to work and be socially and morally upright, doesn’t take time to teach you how to dwell in the biggest institution of your life! There’s no school for marriage and like birds out of the nest, you’re shoved into it. You better figure out how to flap your wings and survive!”
Knowing this and desiring to spend the rest of my life with another person, the least I can do is invest some time in learning. What has made people fail? What made them succeed? More importantly, who am I? What do I want? What kind of person do I want to be in a relationship? What do I have to offer? It’s my responsibility to know myself before I get married, not wait for someone else to bring all the shades of me out of me, or not even suppress and defer all that I am to another person, because I never knew who I was in the first place.
I have heard it commonly said that Love is Blind, but marriage is the eye opener. My love isn’t blind, my love takes it time to study and learn – my love is the eye opener. My courtship isn’t the time for me to be focused on titles and outside appearances, it’s time for me to study the content. No one has ever bought a can of coke to admire the can. I want to be the kind of person the person I’m looking for is looking for.
Marriage is Hard…some days you look at the person you married and wonder why you got married in the first place.
My first semester in University, I had to take Math for Business. It was a required course and I knew it was going to be an easy class, because I loved math! Loved Math! In excitement, I attended the first class, and fortunately, some Africans came and sat next to me. As we waited for the class to begin, they began to complain about how difficult the class was and how it was their second time taking the class. I shrugged, I liked math so it wasn’t going to be a problem.
One of them looked at me like I’d sprouted another head, and then pointed to the others in the class, and said “The Chinese and the Indians, they were real calculators, what do we know in math in comparison to them?!”
The class suddenly became difficult. When I sat in class, while I was still punching my calculators, another student would have answered. Every time I sat to study, it was super challenging because I couldn’t shake off their words, ‘This class is really hard, in fact it’s the second time I’m taking it.’ They were like an eerie ghost, and every time I opened my book, I’d hear it.
I passed the class, but it was unnecessarily an uphill climb, filled with a lot of doubt. My family had to hit my reset button and help me remember that I was good at math and I could ace the class.
Whenever people say marriage is hard, it reminds me of this experience. I feel like they inject you with fear, dump you in an abyss and just leave. Then you get married and have difficulties with your spouse because instead of starting with a blank slate and working to resolve things, you clutch my chest and lament, “they warned me!”
More annoying is that they just leave you with the fear! They say ‘it’s hard, pray, marriage is very hard, nice jollof, can I take some home?’ – Bye! I’d rather be told that it’s difficult, that we’d miscommunication, but I should study my temperament and know when to speak and when to be silent, know timing and season. I’d rather be told that instead of ending up binding and casting, sweating profusely. My spouse and I need practical and realistic solutions for our problems in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, I totally believe in the power of God and His divine ability, but some issues are just a talk away!
I remember a conversation I had with my friend, Syreeta. She shared with me that she’d been told that the first three years of her marriage were going to be the most difficult- matter of fact- she’d regret being married!
She’s in the second year of her marriage, and she says they’ve created a partnership. They have each other’s back 110%, and the same goes for my friends Mercy, Tee, Kiki, Gen – the list is endless. Again, their marriages aren’t fairy tales without trials, they aren’t ‘happily ever after endings’, but they’ve all decided that they’d be proactive in their relationships and love through each mountain.
- I believe in grace. I believe in love and trust and hope.
And personally – I repeat personally – I find cheating, lying, and physical or mental abuse to be areas of no return. I’m not you. Maybe you can live with a spouse who’s cheated – that’s you! Cheating to me is the most disrespectful thing a person can do. It’s intentional and it’s selfish. I will forgive but I can’t see how you’d get my trust again.
This mentality that we must do all to make a marriage work – die there if you must – is diabolical to me. Too many people are dying daily because of the opinions of people who don’t suffer their pain with them. The ‘what would they say’ mentality has turned the institute of marriage into a social status, forcing people to live in unhappy marriages. Following that is “Stay for the children.’ This one is a topic by itself. Staying in an abusive marriage hurts your children as much as walking away. Staying so your children can watch you get beaten, get cheated on, get disrespected daily isn’t a better option for them.
Society creates fake martyrs of women who stay. Too many times this year, I’ve read headlines about women who either committed suicide or were murdered by abusive husbands, and the same society asks, “why didn’t she leave sooner?!” This catch 22! Damned if you don’t, damned if you do.
My dad says, “Bola, you choose the one you love, and then after that, you love the one you chose. Choose very carefully, there are billions of men on this planet, choose carefully!”
- Settling down
This is the idea that marriage is a) a place where the party hard boys and girls about town go to retire, or b) a place of serious work and solemnness.
It goes back to the point I made earlier about our parents not really having wild out fun in their marriages. I grew up watching my dad tickle my mum, tease her and chase her around the house. I grew up watching them just dance for no reason. They make me want that. They make me want to spend my life with someone else.
But I’ve also seen people treat marriage like it’s a place of solemn silence. I’ve seen too many of my ‘funky’ hip aunties get married and trade their jeans for wrappers, weaves, for dede and simple plaits, and condense themselves into this image of what a wife is supposed to be.
I don’t believe there’s a cookie cutter way to be a good wife. I don’t believe that from tribe to tribe as a Nigerians we would define good wife the same, let alone around the continent.
Also, to act like divorce is solely the oyinbo agenda is a lie. In many cultures and religions, simply placing your wives things outside the hut was a sign that she was no longer a part of you. In Yoruba history, you could be returned to your family as early as your wedding night if you weren’t a virgin!
Divorce is a real thing and an option.I don’t advise that we all run and hit the divorce button at the slightest provocation, but marriage isn’t hell, it’s not prison, it’s not a place of sorrow and ‘hard labor’ .
BeingBola discovery: Surely God, who makes all things good, who makes things for our joy and to bless us, wouldn’t curse us to live in this institution that’s “really hard.”