The reality of marriage
Martha said to me “my marriage would be a bed of roses” but a few weeks later, she came crying and I asked: Roses do have thorns, have you experienced it so soon? She probably did not imagine that the beautiful roses would come with a twig full of spikes —that is marriage for you.
Married couples or those who have ever been married would have a clearer picture of reality that unfolds as the initial romantic air passes in the lives of newlyweds. If you are married, it will be a lot easier for you to connect with this piece and if you are not married, you are lucky to know this ahead of time —we do not mean to scare you at all. Some of us would have fared differently if we knew better before walking down the aisle to take the marriage vow. How strange it is to discover that everyone falls into the same old trap of dreams and fantasies: ‘the perfect man meets the perfect wife and they both have a perfect home with lots of money and lovely kids to nurture’.
People seem to totally forget the fact that life was not designed to be that predictable. As a matter of fact, ups and downs determine the real worth of life. They may not be palatable though but the thought that you survived it brings more fulfilment and offers a better ground for advice, especially to the younger ones. People prefer to hear how you overcame and not just what you think would work, they want to be sure it is doable; if he/she did it, I can do it too.
The saying that “love is blind but marriage an eye opener” is worth considering. The popular one only says “love is blind” no one cares to find out what happens in marriage; does the love still remain blind? A cynic has been quoted that: “There can only be a peaceful married life if the marriage is between a blind wife and a deaf husband, for the blind wife cannot see the fault of the husband and a deaf husband cannot hear the nagging of his wife”. This quotation tends to suggest the fact that a wife cannot say all that comes to her mind; neither would the husband lend his ears to every comment if happiness is their goal. You might not necessarily ignore all, but you can discern and select what to respond to.
On the other hand, “love is blind” is more of an emotional drive thing. A time of throwing caution to the winds and giving the body the pleasure it desires. This has made a lot of folks misrepresent the concept of love. I have a problem accepting that love is purely blind; I’ll rather say infatuation is blind but love chooses not to be overwhelmed by shortcomings.
The institution of marriage seems to be bombarded with a whole lot of myth and beliefs that distort its very essence. The unfolding of its true nature has now become the ‘enemy of progress’ making people to wonder why their own marriages are different from what they see on TV, books and movies. The earlier you accept that real life is different from acting and fiction, the better positioned you’ll be to work and make your marriage work. Didn’t someone tell you? Marriage is hard work and it works so well for people who are ready to make it work.
The early part of some relationships sometimes fool people into thinking or believing their spouses are angels and they would live happily ever after. When things begin to happen in the opposite direction, they mourn and regret their choice. It is more of mentality/preparation stuff than what you are experiencing. I’ve heard someone say “a man who knows there’s a lion round the corner walks with caution and alertness while the uninformed risk its sudden attack”.
A great percentage of people settling for marriage have little or no idea of what they are about to commit to; that is to say, they sign the contract without reading its terms and conditions; how unwise. This is indeed revealed by the rising divorce rate and unrealistic expectations of people who were meant to be consenting adults working for the good of the union. We therefore cannot point accusing fingers on one exclusive source but rather view the situation as a collective responsibility of all to tell and demonstrate the intricacies of love and life principles.
Elaine grew up to face loads of family challenges and gradually gave into the thought that marriage would be her ‘saviour’. She spent so much time dreaming of a man who would be her father, friend, help, support and husband. I tell you this is a serious job description for only one person —we hope he survives it. Demanding so much and getting little would definitely make you think the relationship is a complete failure. Let’s be realistic in our desires and be willing to also contribute to our spouse’s life —it’s a two way thing. Some things are true while others are totally false and misleading:
False: Marriage makes you happy.
True: You are responsible for your own happiness. The choice to be happy is yours.
False: Marriage puts an end to loneliness.
True: Most married couples are more miserable than singles, they actually feel trapped.
False: We love each other so much there would be no disagreement in our home.
True: When you disagree, it shows you have passed the stage of pretending to be good. You really want to make a contribution to his/her life.
False: I understand every move he/she makes.
True: No one is a mind reader; you need to communicate clearly to your spouse.
False: No romance, no marriage.
True: You might not always feel love but doing acts of love makes you closer.
False: Marriage will make me complete.
True: You are complete if you are mature; marriage can only complement you.
False: My marriage is the worst situation.
True: Everyone has got something to contend with in their marriage