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
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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
One of the things that I thought would happen with marriage is that we would automatically become part of a group of other couples and we would often hang out and as the babies came, they would all grow up together. Why is this important for me? Well, I believe that as a couple, it is important to have a community that you can learn from and you can be open with. Not the entire world but some people that hold you both accountable and keep you both encouraged in this game of marriage.
Two years later, I can’t really say this has been the case.
If I think about our friendship cycle, we have either had that one couple that always invites us over to theirs and that we have occasionally hosted or the ones we always invite to ours/ out to dinner but upon our initiation and not theirs. Very binary. We are both really puzzled as to how other couples go about befriending other couples. Where are the best kinds of places/activities to meet and interact? In the past, we have invited people for dinner or lunch but it has tended to revolve around food. Another possible place is church but our local church has less than 40 people (clergy included) and is very old. Where else?
Who would our ideal couple be? This has been the toughest bit in truth. As we have no kids this rules out the flexibility of having another couple with one or two kids in tow to pop by at random. With single people, we have observed that they sometimes project third wheel vybes when we hang together. Which means that we either chill with our single pals separately or host few people sporadically. Our ideal couple would be similar in age, committed to being married and fairly authentic – separately and jointly as a couple.
So, have you got a couple pal? How did you meet and what is the benefit to you to dating/being married and having a crowd of witnesses?
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.
Relationships are not easy. Conflicts are a side effect of all relationships and sometimes it’s all about the perspective we select.
This is a working list that I will probably keep editing and referring to.
- Dinner Date at Home
- Series / movies marathon – Our favourite Series are: Modern Family, Empire, Scandal, Suits.
- Go on walks around your neighbourhood.
- Explore the restaurants in your local neighbourhood.
- Massages at home and professionally.
- Learn a new hobby or activity together.
- Play board games.
- Talk through stuff both the profound and the simple things. Talk.
What do you and your loved one enjoying doing together?
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Tagged alcohol, apps, Cape Town, eggplant, labour markets, productivity, recipes, relationships, salmon, sandwiches, women
Posted in Heart matters, life, marriage
Tagged arranged marriage, fatherhood, Google, India, Johannesburg, loneliness, love, migration, Obama, Olympics, recycling, relationships, travel
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Tagged Africa, books, cooking, economics, elections, India, parenthood, recipes, relationships, wearable tech, women and work
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
We all have those days when we need a little boost, each one help one!
Happy Human Rights Day South Africans.
I often talk about female friendships that are in many parts so fulfilling but sometimes so emotionally frustrating. Just today at lunch I was thinking about how fleeting female friendships can also be. In particular I was thinking of all the people that I am not longer friends with.
Of the friend that is a twin who felt the need to lie about her age. PS: her twin said his age honestly. Also, we were in our early twenties when age was not yet a thing.
Of the childhood friend that went through such a demeaning and embarrassing break-up and because we all knew of it, our friendship could never be the same again. We eventually made up and can talk but things are just not the same. Too much history there.
Of an old time friendship that is hanging on by the skin of its’ teeth because … who knows.
While they have such depth and can be emotionally fulfilling, female friendships can at times also change just as suddenly. Sometimes because we honestly outgrow each other or sometimes for no reason beyond the fact that its time to let go and move.
Today’s post is written in response to the WordPress Daily Prompt —-> Fleeting
This year I fired the Mr from Valentines Day and decided to plan a three course in-house dinner for the both of us. #iSlayedV-Day. I totally did. I obviously took no pictures but below is the selected menu.
Warm winter greens with Ceasar dressing, smoked bacon and a poached egg.
Steak au Poivre, Creamy lentils with rosemary and tomatoes and sauteed rosemary and garlic potatoes.
Poached pear with lemon sorbet
I used Rachel Allen’s Entertaining at Home for inspiration.
Posted in books, design, Heart matters, home, marriage
Tagged about us, books, cooking, design, food, Heart matters, home, marriage, recipes, relationships, Valentines Day
- If you would like to incorporate more vegetables into your diet/ be vegan. Here’s how to go about doing so.
- Recipes to enjoy your grains.
- Such a beautiful and poignant story of motherhood.
- And this post on surviving after losing a mother from one of my most favourite bloggers.
- Creative ways to counter the rising pay gap e.g. publish pay info by gender, make an offer that ignores past salary levels, teach women how to negotiate.
- The Mr and I have the same and different takes to this Saturday dilemma.
- I so DO NOT endorse people that believe in presenteeism.
- This is the kind of meaningful stuff I want to do with myself.
- But what is this now???????????? Virginity testing, school only for virgins? Madness!!!
- Because who would not like poached pears with tea?
- Another tea recipe (tea-infused lemon tart)
- What Obama carries in his pocket … (Lemme know what you think?)
Posted in Heart matters, home, life, marriage, working
Tagged cooking, Feminism, gender gap, Heart matters, home, life, marriage, motherhood, Obama, poached pears, recipes, relationships, Sunday reads 2016, tea, vegan, vegetarians, virginity, working