The first advice a friend gave me when I told her I wanted to marry was; “Jojoe, women are not good for you. God would have created a woman for himself if women were that good to live with.” Does she have a point?
Well, I don’t know. I didn’t take her advice anyway.
It was early 2013. A year before I got married. I had a very good relationship with my boss then, so she was one of the very few I first told that I wanted to get married. “You’re young; don’t you think you need to take your time?” She asked. I replied, “I’m young but I don’t know how old I should become before I get married. Like 99 years? Then we both burst out laughing.
“The most important thing is,” she said, “you have to know what you are getting into before you get into it. Let me give you this assignment. Look for ten people who have been married for over twenty years and asked them to give you just one advice on marriage. After listening to them, if you still think you are ready, you can go ahead and marry.”
I found ten people and asked them for the one advice they would give to someone thinking of going into a marriage;
#1. No man was ever shot for washing his wife’s panty
There are so many things you’ll be asked not to do. Being a man is a burden. A burden of a whole lot of things you don’t have to do. Throw them away. Wash the dishes, though they say it’s the woman’s job. Change the baby’s diaper, that too, they say is for the woman. Cook dinner and call her over to eat. If everything is left for the woman, what then is the man supposed to do? Wash her panty. Be proud to take her underwear off the drying lines without thinking of what the neighbors will say. In the end, we all will die but I’ve never heard anyone die because she washed his wife’s panties.
#2. The day you realized you’re trying to make it work, there’s a problem, solve it.
Marriage should simply work because love works. It’s not too hard to make the TV in your sitting room work. You just have to switch it on and the pictures start showing. The day the pictures fail to show, it means there’s a problem. The day you try too hard to make your relationship work, it means something has to be fixed. Fix it.
#3. This should be the final heartbreak that kills you
You go into marriage with your all. It’s not a laboratory to test what work and what might not. You are in to make it work. So you give it your all. You love like there’s no other to love. You fall like this is the last time you are ever going to fall. You invest all the time that there is in this thing called marriage, so you wouldn’t have any other time to love another. The thing is, you should give you all so when it doesn’t work, the heartbreak will kill you. The truth is, no one gives their all and still fail.
#4. Two halves don’t make a whole
It only happens in math. A half and another half give you one whole. You can’t go into marriage as a half being. Don’t go looking for someone to complete you. You shouldn’t try to find validation in your partner. Don’t go looking for what you lack in another. You’ll fail. You are one complete whole whose sole reason to marry is to find the ultimate joy in companionship. Don’t look for the rich because you’re poor. That way, you’ll become so reliant on your rich partner that it becomes uncomfortable for her. She’ll eventually break down under the weight of your over-reliance. She’ll leave you. If there should be a reason to marry, it should be for the ultimate joy we find in companionship.
#5. Two imperfect souls looking for perfection in companionship
You are not perfect. She’s not perfect. It doesn’t mean you can’t carve out a perfect companionship. It takes the realization of your mutual imperfection and a desire to work to achieve the apex of companionship. It’s very possible. At some point, the individual imperfection will show. Realize it and strike it out. Remember the ultimate goal and always work towards it.
#6. There are greener grasses for sure but focus on watering where you’re standing
The grass always seems to look greener at the place where you are not standing. Always, there is a woman beautiful than your wife. You might have a friend whose marriage looks like the perfect model. There is a home that looks so polished that it reflects the ugly and unkempt home of yours. Don’t worry. The flower that blooms is the one the farmer waters well. If the greenery of the grass yonder is what you desire, water where you are standing. In no time, it will be greener too.
#7. Don’t think of making your marriage last forever.
Forever is a very long time. It might never come. Take your marriage a day at a time. Be happy today. Enjoy your spouse. Sit by the river and talk of the beautiful times you’ve had together and the beautiful times ahead. A day after another is all you need. When you go to bed in the night with smiles on your lips, you know you’ve won the day. And you know there’s another to be won when the dawn breaks. Make your marriage last the day. Forever is a series of days rolled into one. It takes only a day at a time to see forever.
#8. You don’t know if she loves you, live your life every day trying to know
“Do you love your spouse?” Yes! Does she love you? Don’t answer that. You don’t know if she loves you for sure. But you want to know. You want to be sure that she loves you too. So, live your life every day proving to her you deserve her love. Start every new day on a fresh note. As if you are now trying to get her to love you. That way, you’ll live to do the things she loves. That way she’ll fall in love with you anew every day. That’s how you win.
#9. I’ve forgotten the advice here. We are humans. Sometimes we forget. That’s alright. I give myself the permission to forget the 9th advice. Someday, maybe, when I’ve been able to marry for over twenty years, I’ll fill the 9th with my own advice. Sorry.
So. A week before my wedding, I went back to my boss. I told her, “I know you haven’t been able to marry for over twenty years but I believe there’s something you can advise on. I’m here today to take the tenth advice from you. What do you say?” Then she replied;
#10. “It’s a good thing to be married. So go ahead and say I do.”
The next weekend, I got married in front of my friends and family. Here I am today asking myself if I’ve been able to follow all the advice. And the answer is NOPE! I don’t think I’ll be able to follow all that. Because I don’t have to. I only have to do what works for me. She just came to serve me bread and some fried eggs. That’s all I need to be happily married.
Author: Nesta Jojoe Erskine
A blogger, speaker and social media enthusiast