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
I recently read a post about things you would change of your wedding. I loved my wedding and though, mhhh nothing. On second thought, I do know some things I would do differently:
- I would have worn blue or yellow shoes, just because I could.
- I would have insisted the DJ play more Kenyan music.
- As a guest book, I had wanted to buy a new bible and ask people to sign against their favourite verses as a prayer for us the new couple.
- To ensure that all my plans were accomplished and our families could relax and enjoy, I should have paid for a day-of-the-wedding coordinator.
- I still would not have any kids on the line up.
Are there any changes you would have made to your wedding? Why?
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
- Discipline, nature or nurture?
- In case you love Longreads and want to catch up on some of the year’s best readings.
- As if I did not already want to go to Turkey,this beautiful post here for you!!
- Oh dear me, I can comfortably say I will never be an insta-mom!!
- On the prevalence of C-sections in the US. Interesting to note that it varies with Mothers ethnicity, age, day of the week and that something like having more on cal obstetricians would keep it within the WHOs 10% target.
- The low rewards to thinking short-term!
- On using simple household items to tell the story of global inequality!
- For all the word ninjas out there – the 58 most mistaken words in the English dictionary.
- Maths and Colouring Books if ever you wanted to combine the two!
Posted in books, design, home, life
Tagged books, C-sections, ceasarians, Colouring Books, Debt Crisis, design, English, home, inequality, language, life, Longreads, Mathematics, motherhood, parenthood, parenting, planning, Rewards, Sunday Reads, Turkey, who
As discussed here, one of the ways to cut back on your food expenditure is by having standard pantry items that enable you make a nutritious and delicious meal. Last year this is what I felt and now in 2015 I have slightly updated the list again:
This is obviously in addition to onion, frozen tomatoes, ginger and garlic and standard spices.
What would you be on your list?
Two weeks ago, I finally got the opportunity to read the November Destiny magazine. This is typically the birthday issue when they introduce various readers to selected mentors. Ah, what am I saying, just look at the cover below.
Herein also is the supplement, “The Power of 40”, looking at top achieving women across the different fields who are under 40 years old. This prompted me to ask myself and indeed a few others the question below.
Do you know what you want out of your career? What are your goals in the short, midi and long term? Should you have these and/or is it ok if you don’t?
I don’t really know what I want right now so I’m just giving myself time to find myself again.
We grow (up) knowing that we can do anything. ANYTHING and we want to do it all. But can’t seem to decide or settle for something so we end up feeling very unfulfilled.
Probably enjoyment actually career progression, being able to live comfortably earning respect and a name for myself.
I read about all these women and I felt underachieved. I am 28 year old, 29 in a few weeks and it forced me to look at my career and wonder, what am I doing? Is there a plan and what is that plan?
But that was the first reaction, I did step away and realise that in the medium term, it’s important that I learn as much as I can, experience different organisation cultures, push myself out of my comfort zone and get involved in different sectors and types of work. That this is the phase to learn and so what if it takes me longer, I will get there and will have learnt a lot more about my strengths and weaknesses and what I like and don’t like to do. And that I am sure will serve me in good stead later.
I also think it’s OK to work with a long-term definite plan and wing it in the meantime. It is OK to be flexible and meander along, provided it brings you to the long-term equilibrium (suddenly had a vision of my Honours and Masters Macro lecturer).
What do you think and how do you plan your career?
Aside: Following this post, I decided to cancel my True Love subscription and rather pay for Destiny. Good choice!!!
So the holidays are coming up and I thought I might share my really two tips for packing and getting through that part of things.
First, I always begin to pack a few days before so I don’t miss out on anything that might spoil my holiday.
Two, I always use a packing list. Always. (Available here)
How do you make packing easier?