We live in a world where very many people no longer believe in marriage. Some of the people who start the union find it hard to stay married for more than 3 years. It’s so bad that some even stay less than one year.

Now don’t get me wrong, individuals have reason why they stay married and why they do not. However, if the foundation of a building is wrong trust me the building will not last. And I’m saying this from my wealth of experience as a developer.

In project management, preparation is important. I can tell you for free that many adults who go in to marriage only prepare for the owambe and asoebi not the marriage. That’s where some of the issues starts from. Some are in love with the idea of being married and could care less what happens in the marriage.

I met my husband in 2011 and eight months later, we got married. I love to say this, we got married two times in 2012. So, we got to say ‘I do’ two times. Lol!

My husband has asked me to pick one date for our wedding anniversary but I told him I love both dates because they both have meanings to me. Our first wedding date is 30th of June, 2012 while the second date is 22nd December, 2012. Don’t worry, one day I will share the story.

I’m not one to believe in ‘love at first sight’ but that’s what happened. We both fell in love at first sight and made a decision to be together against all odds.

In a decade of living together as husband and wife, we learnt the following facts and I have decided to share.

Understand your individual goals, respect it and align

As separate individuals you have personal goals before meeting to marry. It is important that you discuss your personal long-term and short-term goals before saying ‘I do’ so you can align the goals. This helps you to work with each other and not against each other. That way you are not in competition. For instance, you as the husband desire to run your own business later in life while the woman wants to pursue her career to the highest level. In this case what you will both require is full support when the time comes to execute your goals.
I was able to grow this much in my career because I got the unending support from my husband. When it was time for him to start his own business, I gave him the full support he required from me.

Your marriage is customized to both of you

Don’t expect your marriage to be like that of your uncle’s or your parent’s or your neighbour’s. Every marriage is customized to the two people in it. Your marriage; your rules.

You have to come up with rules of engagement that you will agree upon and formulate to accommodate all your possible concerns. One that is original to you both. Your values and your dos and don’ts will be a part of your house rules. These rules do not have to be written and documented but it should be discussed. It is important to know the deal breaker for your partner. Without communication, you cannot move forward. For instance, my husband knows he should tell me his movement and also I must do the same. No matter how angry I am, I must not drop the call on my husband.

Do not allow the sun to go down on your anger with each other

Whoa! I know couples in marriages who keep serious malice after an argument. You will hear some gallantly say ‘we are not talking’. One of my friends once told me, him and his wife kept malice for 8months plus. I cannot but wonder how you accommodate such toxic home with children in it. Malice is a no no for me and my husband. Whatever the problem is, we talk about it and apologize where necessary and move on with life. We do not engage in -not talking and all the shenanigans that comes with it.

Another reason I believe couples have issues is when one or both parties are reporters. Any small thing you have called her parents or his parents or her uncle or your aunty. Third party will always bring problems or expand the one you already have. In the 10years of our marriage, we did not call anyone to come and settle our differences. We settle it on our own by talking about it.

Kindly note that, this doesn’t apply in the case of Domestic Violence. Please speak up to get help.

Communication will resolve your issues no matter what caused it

When you are able to communicate effectively with one another, it will be easy for you to understand each other. Relationship is largely dependent on communication. Without it, you will misunderstand yourselves and you will hold unnecessary grudge. In our busy lives, we find time to talk so we can catch up with work life and family life. Even when you feel jealous about a friend or colleague who seems awfully close to your husband, all you need is to talk about it. My husband works in the entertainment industry and trust me, a lot of women see him and want him. He is able to tell me about it and we talk about it.

Your money is not your money. Make your money our money

I know a lot of women do not like to hear this, but the truth and reality of this thing called marriage is, your money is not your money. It is our money. The responsibility of running the home and the family is given to the husband in Nigeria/Africa. With the reality of situations and all, depending on the financial status of the husband or the wife. It is better you join your finance to move the family forward.

When I changed jobs to a start-up where I was been paid ₦50,000.00 per month, my husband was carrying the home and subsidizing my salary to cater for my personal needs. He also maintains my car for me so that I can concentrate on building the business with the start-up company. It was not easy, but we survived. Also, when my husband left paid employment, I was at that time doing well at the start-up company and I was able to support the home for a few months till my husband was able to pick up. There are times that you as the wife may need to step in and pay the children’s school fees and sort feeding for some time. It is okay to do it when necessary. The family belongs to both of you.

Agree on the number of children you intend to have

It is important to talk about the number of children you intend to have or If you both want children at all. I have seen couples have fights and hold grudges over the number of children they have. And the husband ends up blaming the wife for having too many children. I honestly wonder how this happened. When I ask the question, ‘Didn’t you discuss about the number of children you intend to have?’ What I hear is, ‘We did not.’ Before my husband and I tied the knot. We had discussions about the number of children we intend to have. I told him I only want one child and he said he wanted 3. So, we decided to meet in the middle and decided on 2 kids. We also talked about the preferred gender of kids and we agreed that whichever gender we get is fine.

Tribe is never a barrier to love and understanding

I know friends who say they can never marry outside their tribe. For me it is never a barrier. My husband is Delta and I am Yoruba. We do not speak the same dialect but I can tell you that we communicate well in English language. Our children have names from both tribes. I had to learn how to cook and eat Delta delicacies and my husband did same as well. The importance of family love is evident in our home, His family sees and accepts me as theirs and mine accepts him as theirs.

Support each other fully and selflessly

When you start having children, it is important you both agree on the standard of living you intend to give the children. The values you want them to have and the standard of education you want them to have. It is not good for both of you to be speaking differently about your expectations from the children. You will cause confusion. Support decisions made as one body.
When we started having children, my husband and I could not agree on having a live-in nanny because I was not comfortable having a nanny live with us, so it took us about 4 years into having children before we got a live-in nanny. During that time, we used a day-care.

Learn to respect each other’s space and decision

This part took us a bit of time to understand. I sometimes just want to be by myself reflecting or just doing my own thing or spending time with my friends. My husband likes to do the same as well. So, we learnt to spend time alone and apart and also spend time together. When we are together, we enjoy every bit of the time. It is not realistic to want to be together every time of the day, week, and months of the year. You will get tired.
On decision making, my husband once made a decision to invest our savings in a business that crashed and left us in huge debt. He also made a decision to invest in another business that gave us huge sum of money. Support and respect are the key words here.

Be friends and make sure you are able to tell your friend anything

It is true that you should marry your friend. We have been able to prove that right because my husband is my friend and you can do the same too. I am able to tell my husband anything and when I mean anything, I am able to be vulnerable with him. We have both seen each other at our lowest and we are each other’s cheerleader and biggest fan. The first time my husband was to direct a live show for Nigerian Idols, he was so nervous that he had to call me just to hear me say ‘You got this Honi’. The rest is history. I have been down several times on my job and all I need is a shoulder to cry on and my husband gladly offers his without bias.

In conclusion, there is no perfect marriage. All you need is two willing adults to love each other and be ready to compliment, accommodate and compromise for each other against all odds.

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.