Getting married is simple. It’s a no brainer. People do it all the time. But to stay in marriage? That’s where the real work starts.
Everyday, people get married, take spectacular and glossy pictures at beautiful weddings with incredible cakes only to announce a divorce later.
In the United States alone, about 50% of marriages end up hitting the rocks and as you are reading this, some are already throwing their wedding rings into the River Nile. Why? What are the marriage mistakes you should not make? How can you make sure your marriage does not only work, stay intact but also gives you the joy and happiness you’d imagined before saying ‘I do’? i have brought you this special marriage-themed piece. How about calling your better half and reading it together? Ready? Let’s roll!
1. DO NOT ASSUME
Okay, this is one thing both parties are guilty of. Many assume too much! He assume she knows. She assumes too. And that’s where the trouble starts. Fine, you’ve dated for a while and it seems like you’ve known yourselves for all of eternity. But wake up, you don’t! You are still discovering and rediscovering many things. Communicate with your partner. Let him know you are not enjoying the sex. Let her know you are not too comfortable with her shabbiness and gossip. But if you are getting married to Linda Ikeji, you need to love the gossip part. I do! Communicate. Talk. Discuss. Gist. Carefully and reasonably. Especially when it comes to money, sex, retirement and your religious beliefs (and maybe inlaws). Never assume. It can be dangerous. If you will be having a mood swing, talk.
2. TALK USING THE RIGHT VOICE TONE -OR KEEP QUIET
Remember the last time your dad scowled at you for sneaking to a high school party? The tone of his angry words, right? Very unpleasant. Human vocalization is a very tremendous aspect of communication but many couples seem to forget this and shout, hurl insults, abuses and criticisms at their partners. You see their eyes as red as the embers of Hell. Remember that it is not always what you say that matters but HOW you say it. When angry and you know the next words will not be nice, keep quiet. Always taste your words before you spit them out. Let your Lover see a smiling face when she thinks of you and not a frowning face with the voice of an armed robber. Okay, that makes 2.
3. NEGLECTING SEX
I cannot emphasize how dangerous this can be. One of the luxuries of marriage is having unfettered enjoyment and cruise on the intimate highway. (Coughs) Neglecting sex does not necessarily mean you are declining his offers. It can also mean you are not taking good care of yourself anymore. Now you look dirty, unwashed and smelling your armpit is suicide. How can there be any pre-intimacy like that? Take time to look good. Groom yourself biko. Especially if you are lady (I’m not saying guys should now start looking like bricklayers or mechanics, shoye (you understand)?). The body and looks you had at 21 will not be the same at 35 if you decide to look like a housegirl rather than a Mrs. Tidy yourself up. As they say in Nigeria, it is all about packaging.
4. FORGETTING TO CHERISH EACH OTHER
In this fast-paced world of jobs and stress, it’s quite easy to start losing that special touch you once had during the olomoge (when you were much younger) days. Particularly when the kids have come and you are now battling with the responsibilities of a parent. She now has stretch marks, jowls of fat, varicose veins and he is already greying with a potbelly. You both look pitiful. That is when you need to start working on it again. A good marriage does not sustain itself. It needs WORK -from both parties. Cherish yourselves, go out for dinners, tour the park, flirt, tease, laugh, play games, watch movies, serve food in bed, hold hands, listen to your partner, watch old pictures and spend the entire day together. Bring back the charm. Age is but a number.
5. NOT GETTING PREPARED FOR CHALLENGES
Marriage is not going to be all sweet. That is why it is not called the honeymoon. But it is not an eclipse either. A stage will come when you will just feel overwhelmed, disenchanted, caged or even frustrated with either your partner or the new experience. Did you know that even after years of marriage, Barack and Michelle Obama actually once considered divorce? Michelle was prepared to sign the divorce papers. Her mind was made up. She was tired. He was also disenchanted. But they managed to rekindle the love again and you and I know better now. What I’m saying is this: marriage is not always a bed of roses (even roses have thorns, shey?), be tough and ready your mind for all kinds of obstacles. But just know one thing: you will conquer. Just like millions across the globe.
6. NAG. NAG. AND WHAT? NAG.
Oh! He has left his smelly socks on the bed again and has refused to flush the toilet. She has not stopped accusing you of being too close to your secretary. We all nag. But if you want your marriage to last longer than the fireworks you used during the wedding night, minimize nagging. It is killing. Try your best to pass your complains in a very civilized and understandable way. If he or she fails to get it, register your displeasure while not losing your cool. Do not make him feel like he has committed more evil than Adolf Hitler and Abacha combined simply because he has dumped his dirty clothes in one corner of the bedroom -again.
7. TAKING YOUR PARTNER FOR GRANTED
Well, you are now married, right? She can’t leave you again and he is now your man forever, abi? You are wrong. She can leave you in the blink of an eye and he can marry someone else faster than you can ping or spell your name. It is very easy for couples to become relaxed (only if people can put just half of the efforts they put into their classy weddings into their marriages) and start taking one another for granted. Appreciate the little things. A marriage is a garden. If watered and tendered regularly, you enjoy the view and you will see the flowers bloom. Neglect it and pests and weeds take over. Say thank you even if what she bought for you was a toothbrush. Say thank you and mean it. Tell her she’s beautiful. Adjust her dress (or bra straps, comot there!) for her (forget the fact you’ve been married for 20 years) and tell him he looks good (even though he can look like a plumber atimes…lol!). Never take your partner for granted. Leave Twitter and chat with him. Forget Facebook for now and do not take anything else above your partner. Not even your friends. Or kids.
8. CRITICIZE AND COMPARE.
Good. He doesn’t make enough money. He doesn’t have a good job. There are better men (stop thinking of Paddy Adenuga, will you!) out there who are more ‘manly’ and ‘care’ for their families. Nice, She’s a lousy wife. Spoilt brat. Bad mother. Worst cook in the Universe. Romantically dead. She has poisoned the soup with too much iru (locust beans)and salt again. Ha! Whew! If you want to see your marriage die before your very eyes, just keep doing this everyday: criticizing and comparing. Tell him you made the worst mistake of your life marrying the bald-headed, good-for-nothing, penniless wrench. Tell her that you didn’t know what you were thinking when you walked her down the altar (or is aisle?). You are only digging the grave of your matrimonial home. Desist from bitter criticisms and never compare your spouse with anyone (not even ________fill in the gap yourself!). Correct with love. With affection. With smiles. No one is perfect -and that includes you and your spouse. Do not listen to reply instantly, listen to understand. Then give kind and reassuring replies.
9. KEEPING MALICE AND BRINGING UP DEAD ISSUES.
Allllllllright. She told you of her dirty past on the campus and how she was coaxed into having an abortion with her former lover, right? You don’t have to tongue lash her every now and then about that. The past is gone, let it remain there. That your lover told you something dark and shameful about his or her past reflects the amount of trust, respect, love and confidence reposed in you, do not betray it. And is it not senseless to you to keep malice with your wife for days? Spit it out, carefully. Let her know she hurt you and not kill her with your stoic silence, ignoring her well-cooked meals (who do you think you are punishing turning down that spicy nkwobi soup? Shior!) -and those wicked moustache-flavoured looks of yours behind the newspaper. It is painful. And yeah, the kids don’t like it too either.
10. PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF MADNESS (PDM)
Cruising to the market, you saw your husband, with a pretty damsel in his car. Next thing, you park on the wrong side of the road, did not even switch off the engine, left the keys dangling, re-tie your wrapper, remove the tapanpa (special colorful headgear used by Nigerian women) you took three hours to make and off flew your shoes! The next sound was the stinging slap you landed on her face (thank your stars if she’s not a female soldier with the Nigerian Army). You just concluded she’s been sleeping with your Prince Charming. Calm down Madam. Such acts will only make you lose value before the very person you are fighting for. Passersby will be thinking ‘abi were ni woman yii ni (has this woman gone crazy)? ‘If there is anything you find suspicious, discuss with him, he is your husband and you are his wife. Wife. Not mistress (be his mistress on the bed sha). You too, never insult her in public (or private) or do disgraceful things in the full glare of everyone (falling into gutters after getting stone drunk). Respect yourself and your marriage always (do not be the busybody of the adugbo (neighborhood)). The marital union is sacred. Do not stifle your matrimony to death with incurable insecurity and peppery jealousy.
11. WITHOLDING SEX OR MAKING A MESS OF IT
For what? Before you do that, just remember that it is now cheaper than pure water. You don’t have to punish yourselves over your imperfections. You can still have the intercourse and still frown your face abi….lmao! Do not use sex as a weapon of terror, tyranny and dictatorship in a marriage (you be Mobutu ni?), you will only end up burning yourself. Spoil yourselves with sex and if there is anything you will be very generous with, let it be those acrobatic displays in the middle of the night. Shhhhh! We are talking of married couples. Have a fantastic sex life, be adventurous. Read books, see your doctor, learn, use all tips and techniques to ensure you really reach heaven right here on earth. Make it real fun -and not on the bed ALL the time. And do not be selfish, you know what I mean. If you don’t, go and get married jooor.
12. ALWAYS RIGHT, EXTREMELY STUBBORN AND NEVER SAYS SORRY
If you have any or all of these satanic traits, your marriage stands a high risk of falling apart unless you are married to Mahatma Gandhi. Ok, or Nelson Mandela. You are not always right, accept your mistakes when you are wrong and agree for the sake of peace. Afterall, no one pays you for arguments. You only end up losing your voice and writing your name in his bad books. There is one thing my Partner and I practice: we never look at who is wrong but WHAT is wrong. You can also try that out instead of accusing each other and trading blames as if you are on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Always respect individual opinions on various subjects instead of telling her to shut the hell up. I need to shut up now. Like she’s coming…