Marriage is about fusion and the merging together of two different people!
Marriage is about the fusion and merging of two very different people, sometimes it is also about compromise and sometimes even about doing what’s best for you as a couple or a family, rather than you as an individual. Finally, it’s about finding a new and dynamic third way or perspective to approach life. — Cheli Akanbi (quote). Okay this life lesson is marriage, yes as a relationship coach and someone who has been married for nine years to a very dynamic, vibrant, ambitious and determined man. I have learned a lot and probably enough to fill an entire book all on its own, but that’s a different book to this one. So I will share what I have learnt about marriage, keep it brief and keep it moving.
So where did I get this quote from, it came from me, but basically I guess it is a summary of some important life lessons that marriage has taught me. I never came to marriage with any expectations or assumptions, while at least that is what I have told myself and continue to tell myself. The truth is you all come to this amazing institution with some expectations, however submerged, repressed and unexpressed. As women on some level, you are all influenced by the media’s image, representation and portrayal of love, romance and marriage, no matter what we say to ourselves in this post-feminist age. Additionally, as Christians and or black women you also have additional perceptions, expectations and perspectives of marriage superimposed on these already pre-existing expectations. These may also be shaped and honed by the church, the bible, cultural, religious, class, material, financial and social expectations and images of marriage, wifedom, husband hood and fatherhood that you have grown up with.
Nevertheless, these expectations and images may be submerged in your subconscious and come into clearer focus as your marriage develops. These imprinted desires and beliefs may impact on how you interact with your spouse and become road blocks and difficulties in your marriage and partnership when they remain unfulfilled, especially when the other person may be completely unaware of these beliefs and anticipations. Finally, as your marriage develops, evolves and goes through the various stages of its life you must learn to let go of these expectations and be committed to finding and evolving a new marriage or way of doing marriage that supports your individual and unique family unit, which is so quintessentially you.
So to cut a long story short, what am I suggesting, is that you often expect marriage to be one thing and the reality you encounter is often usually something completely and entirely different to what we anticipated. As, a relationship and marriage coach I have found that people are rarely honest about the difficulties of being married to someone else and being a Christian wife. Moreover, people are very quick to look at the faults and frailties of their spouse, yet often unwilling to recognise and be honest about their own role and responsibilities for any problems they may encounter in their marriage. When you face issues, struggles or complications in your marriage, it is rarely just the other person’s fault, the reality is that you have added to and compounded the problem in some shape or form, through your response, reaction or failure to respond. It is hard work being married and even with the best counselling or coaching in the world, which we had both pre-maritally and post-maritally, but especially pre-maritally; it gives you greater insight into married life; but yet truly it cannot fully prepare you for it. The problems you expect to encounter and you discussed with your pastor in pre-marital counselling are rarely the problems that you encounter or the issues that plague your marriage. I wish I had known this beforehand. Moreover, nothing can really prepare you for the reality of this new and different life, especially if you get married later in life as I did, when you had been single for a long time, been a Christian for a long time and had lived on your own.
Nevertheless, it is a fusion, the way your parents did marriage or your friends do marriage or a celebrity you idolise does marriage, is unlikely to fit your unique and customised blueprint. Marriage is a construction, as a Christian when it is built on the foundation of Jesus that helps, but what I am basically saying it takes a lot of hard work. I am also saying that as two very different people with very different world-views even people of faith, who have the Holy Spirit and who can pray, need to commit to their marriage, to work at. Give it, the give and take, it needs and recognise it’s about fusion and developing a new third way, that isn’t based on your way or his way, but is based on God’s way and “our” way.
Another thing I have learnt is that your husband may at times grate on your nerves and rub you up the wrong way. However, he will be an amazing resource, he will be an encourager and a great provision. He will always love you, come what may, he will see only the best in you, the perfection in you and the Jesus in you. He will inspire you and aspire greatness for you. He will protect you when the storms come. Apart from God, you and the children you are his world. He will pull things out of you, you didn’t even know existed and be the ying to your yang. He will nurture you, love you, he will speak sternly to you, when you need it and speak lovingly to you when you need him to. He will be your rock during the storms (apart from Jesus) and sometimes you will be his rock, during his storms. He will hold you when you need a cuddle and let you cry on his shoulder, but sometimes your arms most also open to embrace him. He will have a quiet strength, but also a softer vulnerable side that is easily hurt. He may indeed be strong, but he will always need your strength. He will father the children that you have together, using the model of God. This man, he doesn’t complete you, but like a good wine he will compliment you. Love your man of God and share your vision for your lives and your purpose, IJN, Amen.
Be blessed to be blessing!