Category Archives: marriage

Our Fighting Fair Tip

man sitting beside woman

Photo by Joshua McKnight on Pexels.com

Rule One

So when the Mr and I have a misunderstanding and it looks like it might hit the proverbial fan., the party that does not feel as strongly does not escalate it. How?

Recently, we were traveling, I had mapped out the route and knew what station we needed to get off at to board the connecting train when the Mr decides to change the route halfway. So we get off and the map shows we need to walk five streets to catch the train and I lost my gasket. I was so pissed off, 1) we were running late for a flight, 2) where were you when I was staying up the whole night to get the route? To give him credit though, he just kept on the task at hand and did not engage with my anger or my threats to get us a route ASAP.

This works for us and it is not prescriptive but it saves us from saying what we might later regret or descending into a shouting fit with each other.

Rule Two

If someone needs time to cool off, to think or process, we allow it and the other does not pressure them to discuss it at that time. However much time you need to, take it. Often we continue to engage on other matters as normal and either you don’t feel as strongly later or you have had the room to process why you felt so strongly or couldn’t engage.

Rule Three

I know they say not to do this, but it’s OK to sleep angry every so often. Sometimes it’s safer and better that way. Of course this can lead to silent treatment which is not great but eventually gets resolved.

Rule Four

No name-calling. EVER.

What rules do you and your significant live by when it comes to conflict resolution?

 

 

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Books on Letters between Friends

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About So Long a Letter

About Dear Ijeawele

In March and April I read these two letters between female friends. Both of them touch of womanhood and issues of feminism which although books are written almost four decades apart, are still so relevant and applicable to the plight of women. All in all, they are both great books so I will talk about the common themes that struck a note with me.

  1. Maintain your identity that is separate from your role as a mother, a wife, a sister-in-law. Maintain that single identity and I would even venture to say, keep pursuing those interests you have and love to do.
  2. Make your partner a full partner. From Dear Ijeawele, this is quite obvious and self-explanatory. From So Long …. it’s not quite obvious but I like Aissatou (the friend)’s response when her husband married a second wife, she held him immediately accountable and  left the marriage. Many called her names and wished something else of her but she held him accountable and did what she had to do.
  3. Both authors talk about centering marriage in the right place as a nice to have/do but not the penultimate accomplishment. Marriage is neither good nor bad, but how we aspire to it could be.
  4. Both writers caution each other against assigning certain roles to male or female children and the assumptions we make or impute. The future is not one where boys (girls) can do certain things that girls (boys) cannot. Also the language that we use when we explain the roles and responsibilities to kids also matters a lot.

The entire letter is an ode to female friendship which I totally loved and would therefore recommend both books. You can easily get through both in a single sitting or weekend.

Belated Sunday Reads

Where are you going. You cannot leave with so many pieces of me still inside you. How will I ever put myself back together again.

Nikita Gill

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Guest Post: Motherhood: the first 12 months

Show some love today for a regular guest poster here on the blog for Simple Girl blogging over at (Simple Girl Writes) who defines herself as Slightly Neurotic, Cheerful, Blessed, Wants to be a back-up singer in the next lifetime, Sh*t scared of pigeons and chickens, Econometric nerd extraordinaire, Just a simple girl

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Mummy and her Little Madam 🙂

Technically my little one is now just over one year  (13 months to be exact) and I honestly can’t believe that I’ve been a mother for a year. WOW – we made it 🙂  (albeit with a lot of bumps and bruises along the way and don’t forget the many, many tears)!

I’ve never really liked children. I know that may be a shocking way to start this blog post but I always thought that I was a better aunt especially to little ones over the age of three. But babies? Yoh, I was not present for the diaper changing, constant burping, bottle feeds and anything else associated with newborn babies. So when I found out that I was going to be a mother, my biggest worry was whether I would genuinely like my child. Of course I would love my child – that goes without saying but I was honestly worried about how I would cope given that I knew nothing about handling babies and whether I would genuinely like the experience.

I was pronounced a mother on 28 November 2016. When I finally got a chance to look at the little human that I had been baking for nine months, all the fears and trepidation I had did not miraculously disappear (contrary to all the lies you are told at the baby shower) – but rather completely enveloped me.

Yes, I was that woman.

I was scared and completely nervous about being a mum over the first four months. I was completely overwhelmed by the responsibility that comes with raising a child. The sleep deprivation and hormones did not help. And let me not start on the struggles faced with breastfeeding. It didn’t help that I also did not receive proper support regarding this and went into it completely blindsided. People take it for granted that every woman will have sufficient (milk )supply and the right technique for baby to latch. Needless to say, I struggled with breastfeeding. We had incorrect latch and minimal supply (a teaspoon worth of milk was produced after pumping for at least an hour). Breastfeeding completely humbled me. I remember hysterically crying after another (well-meaning, I’m sure) relative called to give me a lecture about the benefits of breastfeeding and that regardless of the pain and difficulty I faced that it’s just something I must do if I want to give my child a good first step to a healthy life (yes, those words were actually said). The judgement you face from other women when they hear or see that you aren’t breastfeeding is real 😦 I still haven’t gotten over the guilt over my failure with breastfeeding  – this despite having a happy and healthy little girl. Lol, I actually think I am quite scarred by the experience, especially people’s reaction to my attempts. Baby steps I suppose.

But the past year hasn’t been all gloom and doom. The first time she smiled at me, first time I saw her sitting up on her own, the first time I came home from work and received a massive toothless smile and of course the first time I got a wobbly hug after someone took her first steps were literally the best moments I’ve had in a while. Those were the days I honestly felt like a mother and realised that this little person knows that too.

What I have learnt over the past year is that it’s ok to not be in control of everything and to ask for (and accept) help. Once I learnt to let a few things go, motherhood was not as scary anymore and I was able to enjoy being a mother. I luckily went through this emotional roller coaster with probably the most understanding partner I could ever have asked for. This coupled with the support from the grannies and aunties also helped (especially when all the nanny drama started – that’s a story for another day).

But honestly, I think motherhood (especially with your first child) is made to appear all shiny and sparkly and perfect (like floating in a field full of candyfloss perfect). And in my experience, I was rather running through a field of thorn trees 😦 Yes – It does get easier and becomes quite enjoyable but it’s not always easy to start off with. I just wish someone had told me that so that maybe I could have prepared myself a little bit more for it.

When I think of motherhood now, I’ve learnt to be kind and patient (nothing like a few weeks with minimal sleep to test your patience). That Googling if the colour of baby poo is normal at odd hours of the morning is ok. I also know that I’m a lot stronger than I ever thought I was. Importantly, I’ve learnt to humble myself and to be willing to do just about anything  (including crawl on the floor if I have to)  to get that amazing laugh (now with eight whole teeth!) from the little madam.

I’m constantly amazed by my child at her sheer resilience to reach all of her developmental milestones (regardless of the many bumps, tears and falls on the way). I’ve also fallen completely in love with my husband again and again while watching him interact with his child – their bond is love in its purest form, it is beautiful to watch. So here’s to the first year of being a mother – it hasn’t been rosy and perfect but hey, aren’t those imperfections what makes for an interesting ride?

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The Little Madam Herself …

Thanks Mama, please check out her past posts here and here.

Thanks so much for this post, I already shared with you how much it means to me that I can guilt/bully/ ask this of you and know that I can depend on you to be honest and vulnerable with me. It is much appreciated. As someone that has witnessed you come into your own as a mother and wife, I am so delighted to witness this growth and wish you and your family many more joyful and blessed days ahead.

Sunday Reads

This definition of her: to go from her father to her husband, to be pretty, docile – a man made tragedy. Her soul was made of larger, more powerful things, things that create or desecrate armies and galaxies. This is why when she loves she changes kingdoms, and when she hates she destroys legacies.  Nikita Gill, Jasmine, A Princess That Belonged To Herself First

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2017 in Posts

*this list is based on views

  1. Having a baby, what would you like to do before baby arrives?
  2. The status of rape in South Africa
  3. Thoughts on Upile Chisala’s book.
  4. Poems for my daughter(s)
  5. Happy Anniversary love 🙂
  6. A conversation with my oldest nephew
  7. Expectations and Marriage
  8. Lessons from the book of John
  9. Wh!at do you cook for guests?
  10. How I love thee!!

Sunday Reads

“Silence is often a woman-flavoured thing. It is guilty of holding countless women’s names and voices hostage inside of its spine and its ribcage.” Nikita Gill 

 

You and I Always and Again

A friend sent me this article earlier today and it provided me with another answer to the type of love that we have. In particular when I saw this quote:

I know I am not owed love. I also wonder sometimes if I don’t know what love actually feels like, since so many grown men have told me it’s been missing from our relationships. (One came back a year later and said, “Oh wow, I did not realize that I loved you when we dated, I am so sorry.”)

In response I would say that our love is secure and I know that I am loved for who I am and in all different versions of myself, the best and the not so great. 

I Knew I was Married When …

  1. We unpacked our wedding gifts and as we reminisced about the little parts of the wedding.
  2. I went back to living with my sister and nephew and something was missing and I knew it was the Mr.
  3. My family would ask whether I had checked with the Mr before doing …
  4. His aunts would thank me for all sorts of things.
  5. His family would ask after me when he went for family stuff solo.
  6. It just made sense to clarify our plans before committing us socially.
  7. We hosted our first set of people at our first place.

Some days are better than others but most times I do feel married and I can’t even say what it is that makes it more than just when we were dating.

 

Our Love Is ..

I remember these cartoons from way back and how they made me feel. Like love was the most grown up thing I could think of because it was so out of my reach at the time. So each day I would look at them in the newspaper and imagine this thing called love and so here are a few things that demonstrate our love.

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Our love is just us and these cartoons can’t even express but they try …

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What Home Feels Like

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Internaive

The state of ignorance towards popular internet memes; the description of a person who does not recognise 90% of internet jokes. origins: internet + naive

 

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Best Part of your Wedding

I read this post where couples talk about the best part of their wedding. Three years on, the parts I loved best are:

  1. When the Priest placed our hand under his cassock and prayed the marital blessing upon us. More than when he prayed for the rings or pronounced us man and wife, this is the time I knew we were married and I felt God’s presence in our marriage.
  2. There is a picture of us talking about something so intense after the ceremony. I can’t remember what we were talking about but I love to think we were both excited and happy to be married.
  3. I have had the same WhatsApp profile pic since then because that was the first picture we took in our first house after the wedding. We stood in the bathroom replaying the day as I took off my make up then we decided to take a selfie and voila!

What about you, what parts of your wedding do you still remember and why are they so memorable?

PS: Please read the comments from the blog post, so darling and warm!!

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Happy Anniversary /Ode to Marriage

Today marks our third-year anniversary and I am not sure what it is about marriage that makes each year feel tougher and harder than the previous one yet the returns are just as fulfilling. I love being married and I love my husband and even after all these years together (nine this year) I am still remarkably happy that we are together. He is certainly my person.

What have I learnt so far?

  • Communication, yes, it’s great and truly the key. Half of communication however is being mindful of how you deliver the message. It is possible through how and when you say something to break the other person or get a response that you were not prepared for. True Story.
  • Regarding in-laws, that can be managed. There is a happy coexistence that you can attain. A fine line between respect for them and firm boundaries for your relationship. Also, one of the ladies that spoke to me before I got married reminded me that I can never be the best daughter in law and so I should not work on that but focus on being respectful.
  • Marriage is better when you have a crowd with whom you experience it together. This calls to mind mentors, other happily married couples of all ages and even people that are dating and hoping to also settle down. Being surrounded by happy couples in different seasons of life keeps you connected and encouraged to strive more within your marriage.
  • The move to the Mother City was also beneficial because it helped us build a firm foundation for this new phase of our relationship and to help the “crowd” around us begin to see us as a unit and to respect that.
  • Though we had known each other since our early twenties, we only got married in our late twenties and in the last three years we have spent a lot of time integrating our single lives into our new entity. In true us style, this has involved a lot of “business” meetings to plan, dream, forecast and review our future plan. Although we are closer now than when we started we are still not done. Urggh.
  • My husband is my best male friend and probably someone outside of my family that knows me best BUT having said that, I still believe it is important to keep other friendships going strong in your lives and to continue to meet new people and maintain old friendships. This is important because of the “crowd” I spoke of earlier but also the fact that when we interact with other people it draws out another side of you and also allows you to miss your partner that you look forward to seeing them.

Having said all the above, it is a fact that marriage is work. You only reap what you put in. Also, that both of you must work on it or the other party eventually gets worn out and might lash out. Each year has brought us something additional to work through / focus on and that has been interesting and kept us both connected.

What will I work on this year?

Firstly, on the words I use. I know that as a wife, I can either build him up / tear him down and I have to be very careful not to do the latter. Secondly, in the Love Dare  the authors speak of  guarding one self against spending time in your mate’s depreciation room. This is basically the place where we keep stock of all of his bad traits and all those things you do not like about him. I also have a depreciation room that he could dwell on but that won’t take us anywhere if we both fixate on it. Lastly, to work on making more couple friends and hanging out with those we currently have.

In closing, one piece of advice we received that I always remember is that marriage is what you make of it. Just as no two marriages are the same, you can get out of yours the things that you want and that works for the two of you despite what other people out there might feel/ have to say.

So here’s to many more and loads of love.

 

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Failed relationships bring us such great music

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