As I write this blog I do not consider myself an expert in any way, actually far from it. Day by day I realize how much more we are yet to learn about marriage! So Hun and I have decided to seek a ‘short-cut’ of sorts. We have decided to ride on the shoulders of giants. It is true that every marriage is unique so there is no one-size-fits all template. However when you get to sit down with others, you realize there are some almost predictable stages marriages go through and with those comes similar challenges/ victories. So we have decided to learn from our mentor couples. We are lucky that within 6 months into marriage we have several mentor couples. These are all people whose marriages we greatly admire and the couples have taken up walking with us and praying for our marriage.
I really look upto my parents. They have been together for 43 years, wedded for 36 of those. 5 children, 5 grandchildren and some wrinkles later, they are still together. They have been through all the usual drama. I could tell by the occasional silent treatment. However, never have I ever seen my dad lay a hand on mum (only severally on my then naughty brothers) and neither did I ever hear them exchange words in our midst. I always wondered when and where they let the other know what one was ‘really thinking’ considering we lived in a relatively humble neighborhood where homes had thin walls, well figuratively, and yet I still never heard them. I really wonder.
I could go on and on about various people who we look up to because of how they carry about their own marriages. However, for the purpose of this blog I’ll only pick one such mentor couple, our Pastor and his wife, the Kigwis….. who have enlightened us on one of the greatest lesson. They introduced us to the concept of being intentional in marriage.
Before I wedded, I heard a lot of how marriage is very hard-work I don’t know about you but the term hard-work makes me think of manual labor! Sounded to me like I needed to build some muscles. Well, of course in marriage there is a bit of that too since (sigh!), the rate at which I have to cook and clean can never compare to the once in a blue-moon back in the day. Oh, plus I know once the 5 (ha!) little ones start trooping in…. for sure there’ll be manual labour.
However I’d like to think that about keeping the marriage fulfilling and not gradually growing apart, it is more about purposing to do stuff. Things do not always ‘just fall in place’ nor ‘work themselves out’ like it mostly happens when dating. Leaving things to spontaneity might land your relationship in trouble. We have learned that you have to purpose to be in accountability & enrichment groups, go on family holidays, to go on regular – say weekly – dates, to be home early to spend time with the family, to train the children to go to bed early etc. Our Pastors’ 2 toddlers are in bed by 6.30pm and sleep throughout the night, and they have assured us it is not genetic! It did not come easy but is is doable. An older couple once told us that later in marriage, it is advisable to put even ‘the intimacies’ on a program, otherwise before you know it you are surprised that it has been weeks or months since you know what. And no this is not for the boring couples or couples without chemistry or any of that, it is just life happening…. READ: children, career, mortgage, bills, education advancement etc.
Laying the plan for the activities above is the easy bit, following through is another issue altogether. So even for this seems we also need to….. well…. PURPOSE!