I remember that day vividly like it was happening today. It was a small, intimate wedding and we were surrounded by our favourite people.
There had been a few disappointments from loved ones who one had envisioned had to be there on such a special occasion.
I look back and I still wonder how I was so sure, so assured I was doing the right thing. To many, I was young and probably clueless what I had gotten myself into, another category probably admired what we had and several others couldn’t be bothered either way.
I look back and I feel it will be useful to document some lessons that have shaped and stayed with me and helped our journey. So here it goes…
Marriage is for Grown-Ups – There is a lot of focus on chemistry and the need for a whirlwind romance. It makes for feel good movies and momentary glimpses at lala-land. But there is only so much that intimacy can do for a lifelong commitment like marriage. Marriage is hard work and I am not even joking. It is as beautiful as the perfect looking pictures we encounter on social media and as tedious as Further Mathematics is to an average Arts student (does that subject still exist? lol).
The level of maturity it needs to look away when everything in you is fishing for a fight, that maturity to forgive and empathise, to trust and be found trustworthy, to be there even when the feelings are blurry and the lack is loud. This however is not a function of age. Maturity is the key word here. I was pretty young when I got married as I mentioned earlier.
What to do? Maturity can be learned, groomed and developed. But if you have a choice, don’t hurry into a marriage just because of how you ‘feel’. Feelings are fickle and dwindle. So, grow up some more and then take a shot at exploring the thought again.
Self-Awareness is Golden – Yes, we should take an entire topic on this in pre-marital classes. It is the foundation upon which Emotional Intelligence blossoms. Self-awareness is an ability to observe and reflect upon one’s feelings and responses. Anybody can feel an emotion; a self-aware person can name or describe the emotion. When somebody is self-aware, they are able to take a step back and describe themselves from a more objective viewpoint.
What to do? Start that journey if you haven’t to knowing yourself. I encourage people to engage this journey while enjoying being single; establishing your positive and negative triggers and then learning to regulate it. Once that is done, it is easier to communicate to your spouse.
Note: It takes courage; that willingness to see the negative traits in addition to the positive ones. It requires a dose of curiosity likewise, an inclination to asking questions and exploring one’s reactions and assumptions. There is a certain humbling effect it has on a person, maybe because the imperfect nature of humanity is on full display whenever you look inward.
Why does he not understand? Empathise enough? Maybe it is because he is not a woman. Does that even matter? We pick it up from here soon with other lessons…Please stay tuned!