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.
- 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.
Posted in Heart matters, home, marriage
Tagged about us, Cape Town, communication, friendship, in-laws, love, marriage, planning, relationship advice, relationships, Three Years
All of this week I am thinking a lot about relationships and one long-term one that I have is with my dreadlocks.
After seven and a half years, I really really still love my hair. It is now waist-length and just as exciting as when it was first locked. After all these years, I still get excited at having my hair washed, twisted and then styled. Before that I delight myself by looking at pictures online and choosing an appropriate style and then looking forward to the big reveal at the salon. When I see someone with dreadlocks that either have a style I would like, that are dyed beautifully, longer and sometimes even shorter than mine but just look so good, I get the worst dread envy.
And all of the above is how I know that I made the best move and I still don’t regret it. Nah, nope, I am still good. CONFESSION: Come Summer, I do want to trim them slightly shorter, just an itsy bitsy bit.
In the meantime, below are some styles I am looking forward to in the next couple of months.
For a wedding or special date night
I love the braid at the front, it elevates an otherwise boring style
I love the take on the traditional morehawk – but a part of me keeps thinking of the weight on your head.
Posted in Heart matters, home
Tagged about me, dreadlocks, dreads, hair, hairstyles, love, natural hair, relationships, stuff about me, stuff I like
I recently read this (poetry) book and it was amazing. A workmate recommended it and initially I thought poetry *insert puke face*. ASIDE: Am I the only 8-4-4 product that does not appreciate poetry for leisure? Anyway, its ~165 pages and since most of the poems are a couple of lines, I finished it in one fell swoop. I LOVED IT, did I already say that?? Below are some of the amazing poems I loved.
There is danger in letting people misname you. If you are a fire, do not answer when they call you a spark.
Tell the story. Give it a name and skin of its own.
Please go out and get the book. It’s a lovely read.
This morning the Mr and I had a little fight. I had to take my car for a service – something that in my horror, totally feels like a dentist’s visit what with the information asymmetry, pain (actual and to the wallet) and the fact that there is a specialist whom you trust but then again, information asymmetry. At the root of the fight though is that ugly word: Expectations.
Any one about to be married, or married for a day and an hour will long have heard the mantra that expectations kill a marriage and that the counter is communicate, communicate, communicate. Our little fight had me reassessing all the different expectations that I had regarding marriage and an assessment of all other expectations I have held since our marriage started.
- I expected a partner that would take charge of cars and who would directly engage with mechanics and basically inform me when I needed to do any car-related changes.
- Ergo, any fixing of stuff around the house. I would highlight any issues and he would oversee to the fixing – whether directly or outsourced, I am ambivalent. To be honest, a lot of the technical stuff I was happy to delegate away.
- All newly weds are told that they need to set time for date night or else … Consequently, I too came into marriage with this (fear-driven) expectation and very early on we both figured out that given the pace of our lives it would be infeasible to designate a specific evening to always hang out. Having said that, when one of us is hectic, there is no expectation to do stuff but when things simmer down, we often hang out.
- My family has a habit of starting to plan for Christmas from as early as August/September. His family? Not so much. Initially this made me feel slightly helpless. Besides the family tradition, my personality is such that, you can never be too prepared OR start preparing too early. What we now try and do to incorporate both our idiosyncrasies is to have a lose discussion in September and refine it in the following months. This is certainly imperfect (according to me) but it definitely helps somewhat.
- I thought that I would hate meal planning. Turns out, I love it.
- Sometimes as wives we expect that our husbands will become our best (female) buddy. That’s not the case and surely it’s not the reason that we fell in love to begin with. So keep your buddies and work on building a friendship with your husband too.
- Before the wedding I had heard of brides that often felt a bit sad after the wedding because things had gone back to “normal”. Did I feel the same way? Emphatically, NO!! After the energy and time spent planning the wedding, I was only too happy to settle for normal.
I must say these lessons are over and above learning how selfish I am, how much space and time alone I require. All of that. Marriage is certainly not the penultimate goal, neither is it my most defining relationship but I must say I have learnt a lot and it has been very fulfilling for me.
Posted in Heart matters, marriage
Tagged about me, about us, conflict, date night, friendship, in-laws, love, marriage, meal planning, planning, relationships, Wedding
For the longest time I have wanted to try my hand at updating an old post.
A colleague gave me John Legend’s Album to listen to the other day and it just made me wonder! Its really nice and it just made me wonder,is any of that stuff for real? That whole chick when I see you, I feel …. or what, do people really do that? Do they really feel that way about someone else? I have caught myself wondering how two people meet, fall in love and STAY that way? Isn’t that just the greatest mystery of all time- My folks have been together for 33 years and I just wonder at the resilience of that whole thing? How does that work? Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely loyal but to what end? This is why I don’t listen to R n B coz for me,it just isn’t about the beat BUT the words as well!
I wrote this post nine years ago, very single and obviously questioning the whole notion of love. It also doesn’t help that I was only 22 years old at the time.I obviously don’t have the answers but I think maturity has brought some comfort and some clarity.
Is love real? Yes, absolutely and definitely. I think at the time, I had never fallen in love or fallen for someone that loved me back, honestly and authentically which accounts for all the doubt and the skepticism.
Love is real.
Love I have come to discover is what works for two people that are committed to one another and who wish to to continue to be committed. Love is in the little things. Love is the opposite of apathy. Love is a process. Before I planned my wedding, I thought I loved my husband but then we went through the wedding planning process and moving cities and all the other countless things we have experienced together and I discovered I love him more now than 8 years ago. Love matures and love develops. Love has to be based on something or it can shrivel and die. Love glorifies God and inspires other people to also believe in God and that they could also love like that.
Love is what works for the two concerned people.
See below a bunch of wedding related items I have been gazing at. Yes, I still have some wedding blogs that I religiously follow.
Not really a fan of the wings on the side but for this jumpsuit, I would do it.
For some reason, the cape works and would help me overlook that slit.
I just love the imagery of this board and the fact that you can make it part of your home decor as a daily reminder of your wedding.
I love this stationery!!
This week’s lesson at BSF was on John 3, where Nicodemus approaches Jesus and learns that all who believe in Jesus are born again and have eternal life. Salvation is the necessary prerequisite to access the kingdom of God and eternal life. We become children of God when we receive Him, believe in our hearts and confess in our hearts that Jesus is Lord. I love the song and the lyrics below because they express this point in a beautiful way. Salvation is to be found in no other name but the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 4: 12). There is only way to heaven, not many.
There is Love
That came for us
Humbled to a sinner’s cross
You broke my shame and sinfulness
You rose again victorious
Faithfulness none can deny
Through the storm
And through the fire
There is truth that sets me free
Jesus Christ who lives in me
You are stronger
You are stronger
Sin is broken
You have saved me
It is written
Christ is risen
Jesus You are Lord of all
No beginning and no end
You’re my hope and my defense
You came to seek and save the lost
You paid it all upon the cross
Posted in Heart matters, life, marriage
Tagged arranged marriage, fatherhood, Google, India, Johannesburg, loneliness, love, migration, Obama, Olympics, recycling, relationships, travel
- On the importance of community in marriage.
- Beautiful images of women.
- Famous logos – before and after.
- Me right now …
- This skirt seems fairly simple enough to stitch.
- On getting rid of all the pause/fillers we use in conversation.
- Love is a verb! Yep, like this!
- Not a fan of kale but this looks like a yummy salad and I love the dressing.
- All male panels in Development and 2016. Really?
- Desegragation and education of minorities. (NYT article)
This Hippo advert provides serious fodder for a pre-marital class. Husbands never want to hear they are nothing like your father or wives that you wish she could be more like your mom.
Hilarious ad though that captures the message adequately!
Other adverts available here and here.
Following this summary of what is currently on my to-read bookshelf I have a couple of books that I would like to review.
Happiness is a Four Letter Word – Cynthia Jele
I loved this book, it deals with two things that I am particularly passionate about: Johannesburg and female relationships.
- The book is what would happen if Sex and the City had been cast in a cosmopolitan African city. If you would love to see that, check out the YouTube series, An African City.
- The themes are easily recognisable: love, family, beauty, work/ career advancement, marriage, female friendships.
- The book is a really easy read, I started on Friday at 7 and finished the next day by 12.
- Having said that, it is definitely a conversation starter and will have you thinking deeply about some of the issues dealt with for instance, what would I tell a dear friend that was cheating on her husband because she did not exactly marry him for love? Or a friend that rekindles communication with an old ex?
- Only concern and I guess because of my personal views, I feel like the author portrays a very negative view of (Black) relationships and someone that is not acquainted with any Black people might take it as a given that this is how our love dynamics play out. Yes it’s a novel, but their portrayal is definitely very one-sided, what happened to “normal“?
- Would I recommend it? Definitely yes!! I actually cannot wait for the author to release a second book.
Men of the South – Zukiswa Wanner
A bit of a preliminary disclaimer is that I read this book on the back of Happiness and the after-glow it gave me.
- The book’s main theme is love and relationships (gender dynamics, hetero- or homosexuality, family and friendships) and it definitely deals with each of these in turn.
- The book is set in Johannesburg and Cape Town, cities that I can safely say I am familiar with which makes the reading that bit enjoyable when I can understand the physical setting.
- The book provides an entry point to have some difficult conversations for example, being a Black homosexual in a culture where one is expected to get a wife and settle down or what if I earn more than my husband and can take care of him, should he stay home while I work?
- However, I think it attempted to do too much in a few pages and fell short. Hence, it was not as memorable as it could possibly be. I also felt that the first person reportage was not too helpful either.
- Overall, the book was quite predictable and I would not recommend it unless you maybe had a few hours and did not want to be wowed but wanted to tick a book off your reading list.
Rachel’s Blue – Zakes Mda
I tried to read this book and failed to get into it despite trying. In light of my recent advice on how to read more books, I am giving up and will mark this is a non-read on my part. My biggest issue I suppose is that I love it when he writes about various aspects of South African people and the setting of this book was too different for me to adjust my expectations accordingly.
Posted in books, Heart matters, home, life, marriage, working
Tagged being gay, Being Zulu, books, Books reading, Cynthia Jele, female friendship, friendships, Heart matters, home, life, love, marriage, reading, relationships, working, Zakes Mda, Zukiswa Wanner
Below see some pins that have been getting some love on my different Pinterest boards.
I love their glasses first of all and then the beautiful locs styles – low maintenance but stylish!
I loved the curls and the size of the locs.
This actually challenged me to colour coordinate my bookshelf. So beautiful!
I would cut my hair this short if I got bored of my locs.
I love Nidhi’s cartoons and I love how she expresses love between herself and her husband. ❤
Posted in design, Heart matters
Tagged about us, design, dreadlocks, dreads, hair, Heart matters, home, home decor, love, Pinterest
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)
In the last couple of years I have started to look at a theme word and then gotten a verse for the following to keep me grounded. As 2015 drew to a close, I started to look at the last couple of years and the word that came to mind was “centred” or “rooted” as it felt like the previous years had been in some kind of flux. An alternative word was abide which always calls to mind being at peace and being deeply connected to something or someone as it were.
I love this verse above because besides so many other things it connects being established and rooted in Christ while at the same time talking of gratitude which was something else that I felt about 2015. God has been so good to me and mine in this year that I want to begin another year reminded of this and almost saying to myself to count my blessings, each and everyone of them every day.
So I look forward to a calming year with my focus on my Lord and Saviour as well as a spirit of gratitude!
Posted in Heart matters, home
Tagged 2016, belief, family, Heart matters, home, Jesus Christ, life, love, prayers, thanksgiving, theme verse
Posted in good, home, life, marriage
Tagged Adele, Cape Town, education, friendship, good, home, life, love, marriage, Podcasts, relationships, school, sweet potato
Wouldn’t do any of these but I would love to be friends with the girl that could carry them off.
Yes, I still check out wedding stuff from some of my old favourites.
My favourites are number 1 and 4.
Love that #1 is playful but it could also be adapted into a long, short or midi dress. I also like the polka dots on the trail and seeing it again, it could be done into a jumpsuit!
#4 has the type of neckline that I just love and indeed, my wedding dress had an illusion neckline as well.
If you any girl that would wear these dresses, send her my way 🙂
Posted in design, Heart matters, life
Tagged about me, clothes, design, fashion, friendship, Heart matters, life, love, shopping, wedding dress, weddings
I can easily name a handful and a half of women that I would do this with/to!!
Missing my gals (and cheers to discovering a new comic).
Posted in design, Heart matters
Tagged about me, design, female friendship, friends, friendship, Heart matters, life, love, relationships, women
“I met John in India while studying in a Hindi language program. He did all sorts of exciting things. He was from San Francisco and worked for all these super lefty politicians. In his twenties, he pretended to be a teenager so he could go back to high school and write an article about it. He did philanthropic work in African rain forests. Life with him was like a long vacation. Every day was an adventure. He’d literally wake up every morning and say: ‘Today’s an adventure.’ We dated for nine years. But he didn’t want to get married. He didn’t want to have kids. And even though he wanted to save humanity on a macro scale, he just wasn’t that warm. I never felt like I could come home in a way. So eventually I ended it. I met my current husband online. He was ‘all in’ from the very beginning. He doesn’t live in a rainforest, but he feels like home. If my sister sends me a picture of my niece wearing huge sunglasses, he doesn’t roll his eyes. He laughs even harder than I do.” Source
Last evening I was speaking to my high school pals and we got talking relationships. In particular, one of the ladies was talking about a friend at University that dated this guy for three/four years and then then she called things off because he just wasn’t ambitious enough for her liking. Fast forward to three years later and his bit jobs have gotten him loads of recognition and he is now doing that much better than when they were together.
What I know?
Sometimes you can be with a great guy, but he is not good for you but could definitely be great for someone else. And that’s OK. The guy in the HONY story sounded great, but he was not good for her and she has much better now.
Also, someone can be great for you but the timing is off and you break up only to pick up the pieces years later and get on and your relationship advances.
You can always see if your partner has potential – I believe that certain traits that are indicators of success or stability (emotional and mental, included) can be determined in the course of dating.
In a bad situation, no external person can tell us what to do. We may get advice but at the end, the decision to stay or not must come from the individual.
Slight contradiction to four above, I still tell people if something is off. My personal motto is better a broken engagement than a broken marriage. So I ask and I prod and heartily welcome it from my friends.
What I know for a fact is that relationships are not linear and they do not develop in this way at all.
They take time.
They are nuanced.
They vary from pair to pair and time to time.
And that is even in a committed relationship, people change as do the couple’s needs and it is important to be frank about these and keep re-committing or choosing to stay put.
I love this lady’s artwork – Nidhi Chanani and have shared about that previously. I love her work because it reminds me of the Mr and all the stuff that makes us meaningful so enjoy these pics. Her work is available here.
So carefree …
Nothing a hug can’t fix
I would rather be caught in the rain with you
Enjoy and let your loved one know you love them, today, tomorrow, always ❤
Posted in Heart matters, life, marriage
Tagged about us, artwork, friendship, Heart matters, life, love, marriage, Nidhi Chanani, relationships