It has taken me so long to write the concluding lessons as I wanted to make time to ensure my thoughts were real and devoid of cliché lines.
There were several lessons left to sift through and week in, week out I pondered on which three stood out best to give the write up a beautiful finish.
I will be the first person to say how I woke up on my tenth anniversary and wondered how the years had passed by so fast. I wondered how much older and wiser I was now, wondered how such different individuals had come this far without changing their core traits.
It is a mystery; and other times it is just a simple short story. We do not stop trying. As I continue to learn, I will update anything I find that requires that. So here goes the last few lessons I will be sharing;
Alone Time is Healthy
As Dr Jane Green rightly put it, “alone time is a chance to do things that you enjoy and that bring you pleasure — to be your own person and do what you want to do with your own choices of activities and happenings aside from those of your spouse”.
I find this to be important because it gives me a healthy room for self-expression, maintain my identity and pursue the things we are not mutually passionate about. It is easy to lose oneself in marriage and even begin to resent one’s spouse if you feel like you have lost touch with favored activities or people because of him/her.
Please note that this does not in any way include deprioritizing your couples time or being wrapped up in one’s desires and alone time at the expense of pressing family needs. There is no template timetable I can share except the fact that it is important and each spouse should lovingly encourage or sponsor it for the other party because there is a sense of fulfillment it gives that helps revitalize the marriage when both parties can be allowed to be by themselves, and pursue their goals without feeling guilt.
Tough Times Will Come!
I was not sure whether to write this one as I realise how religious we all can be. It makes us sometimes immediately state the “God forbid” (with hand sign to go with it) phrase. But this is something I have come to realise is part of the journey of even existing.
There is no copy and paste reaction to tough times as they vary per couple or relationship. From grief, job loss, monetary challenges, to differences on values, delay in childbirth, fear, loss of a child, accidents or major illness of a party etc.
Now that we know it will come, it is safer to agree from the word go to be together even if the tough times means you have lost the ability to be objective. That ability to remain teammates, communicate even the hardest feelings and offer a hug not because you feel like one but because you are striving to remind him/her you are still here.
I have also learned that when it is absolutely difficult to be on the same side, it may be time to involve a healthy third party who can be your Counsellor, Therapist or a wise and emotionally balanced friend you both can speak or listen to easily.
I strongly believe that we should teach couples in premarital counseling that although the bad years will be rough, they will also provide growth and deeper understanding and commitment. Then the couple may take the bad years in stride (depending on the situation) and stop contemplating divorce the minute their marriage gets tough. Some tough times, once you stick through it as a team can birth a new and deeper bond.
What to Do?
If you are presently in that phase in your marriage, I will like you to take a deep breath, take it one day at a time and try to begin by identifying why you are where you are? Please do not dismiss it, slip into denial or paranoia. Write to one another. Most people can write what they feel easier than they can say it. At least I know how much good that writing my thoughts has done for me and my Husband. You can try it too. Strive not to withdraw from intimate activities you do together, it will only worsen the growing gap. This is also not the time to start pouring your heart to the colleague who has been crushing on you. Doing that will only further complicate where your marriage is.
Seek and get help if it is out of your control. Pray! That singular gift has kept us going even when we are both confused, we…
Yes, we pray together. Many times, we do this because we are both Christians, but some other times we do because we are helpless on our own and require the support system that man cannot give.
A few things I have found we gained from praying together;
§ We access our vulnerability, expose it and feel closer
§ We squash anger and resentment (a.k.a beefs)
§ We strengthen our values and alignment in where our strength comes from
§ We experience miracles
§ It changes us for good as we keep saying the area, we want to change in prayers
Thank you for patiently reading through my 10 lessons from 10 years of being married. I pray today, that at whatever level you are while reading through, you will experience a leap to where you want to be and be truly happy – single, in a relationship or married.
Feel free to reach out anytime and I will share what I can to make your burden lighter or listen and learn from your own journey.