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Theresa Omoronyia: Before You Say “I do”

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As a young girl I loved fairytales. If truth be told, I still do, especially the animated ones. And I think most ladies love fairytales; you can see that in the way we look forward to our wedding days.

A woman’s wedding day is her way of fulfilling her wish of being the princess who gets her prince charming. She looks her absolute best, makes sure everything is perfect, and then dreams of “happily ever after”.

Understandably people put so much effort, time and money into it because it is regarded as the happiest day of their lives. However, beyond the bridal showers, soirees, stag night, hen night, pre-wedding photo shots, aso-ebi,…etc that come with celebrating weddings, is a marriage which will require effort, not wishes, to sustain.

While it’s easy and straight-forward to plan a beautiful wedding event, a marriage on the other hand is not so. It is a living relationship which requires commitment, patience and love for it to thrive. If you don’t understand this, it is easy to become frustrated.

I read a comment on this site sometime ago from someone who said, “I love weddings, but hate marriage.” And I think many of us go into marriage unprepared for what it entails and end up frustrated after a few months when “honey boo” is no longer the same person. Somehow many people expect that the joy they felt on their wedding day will continue into their marriage by default. Sadly this is not the case, as attested to by the frequency of short-lived marriages we read about.

Nothing is more frustrating in life than an unhappy marriage; it affects everything you do. It’s no wonder that people are quick to get a divorce when their marriage becomes unbearable. But marriage is a truly wonderful institution, it is meant to be enjoyed, not endured. So before you say “I do” to that wonderful person in your life, you might want to think of the following:

Have realistic expectations
You never really know your partner until you get married. In marriage all those faults you overlooked during courtship, become glaringly and painfully obvious. It is very easy to become preoccupied with them and neglect the wonderful traits that attracted you to this person in the first place. It helps to be loving, forgiving and patient, knowing that you too have faults.

Men and women are very different
Contrary to what some feminists believe, men and women are different and there is scientific evidence for this. These differences are not to make us competitive, but to complement each other. Don’t expect your partner to like what you like, instead cater to their unique needs. I know most men love being respected as the leader and protector of the family. A wise woman will regularly massage her husband’s ego and make him feel like he is a king. Ladies on the other hand are big on emotional stuff. A wise husband who wants a happy home will regularly cater to the emotional needs of his wife, paying her compliments, and making her feel like a queen. In addition, just because your spouse does things differently doesn’t mean he or she is wrong. See it as an opportunity to learn something new, remember 2+7=9, so also is 4+5=9.

Communication
This seems to be the common culprit in most divorces. Communication does not mean speaking louder or longer, but being able to convey a message. Unfortunately because we are different, we may pass on or receive a message differently from the way it was intended, especially if it is a complaint. It is not wise to stop speaking altogether, or only speaking what your spouse wants to hear; that will only build up resentment. One way to avoid that is by writing your thoughts through emails, text messages, notes, etc to your partner. The message is to let your partner know how you feel, but also let them know how much you love them and want things to get better. This will provide clarity without the interference of bad body language. I recommend the “Love Letter” technique developed by John Gray, author of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”. This is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ technique, please adapt it to suit your own unique situation.

Don’t expect your spouse to fulfil you
I’ve heard people say they are looking for a man/woman who will make them feel a certain way. Sorry to disappoint you, no mortal has the ability to satisfy you or make you feel good consistently. They might do that initially, but after a while, because they too are human, they will not be able to keep up. It’s unfair to expect your wife or husband to be your messiah all the time. Please take personal responsibility for your happiness.

Marriage is not all about feelings, but about commitment
Dating/courtship is usually a period of whirlwind romance, where you couldn’t do without each other. But in marriage, those intense feelings will not always be there. What will sustain it is the commitment you vowed to each other in the presence of God and family. Feelings are like a yo-yo, up one minute, down the other. If you give in to your feelings all the time, it is just a matter of time before your marriage hits the rocks. Make your mind to be in it for the long haul, give it your best shot, see the best in your spouse, and before long those warm feelings will return.

Leave your baggage behind
Deal with any unresolved painful issues in your past, otherwise you may unconsciously punish your husband or wife for the sins of others. Forget about your ex, forget about what your father did to your mother or what your uncle’s wife did to him. Do not compare your spouse with another person’s spouse. Your spouse is unique just as you are and so is your marriage.

Never stop Learning to be a better spouse
Read books, articles and tips but especially read your spouse’s reactions to the things he/she likes. If you are religious, apply religious admonition to your marriage, not always what the society or your friends say. Our society or friends do not always get it right, but religious admonitions were inspired by God to help marriages. No matter how ‘old school’ or unpopular they may be, they usually work. Besides if one honours God by obeying these admonitions, I think He honours that person in return.

Take care of yourself
Marriage can be demanding especially when there are kids. It’s very easy for ladies especially to neglect themselves while caring for the rest of the family. Try to take out some “Me Time” and pamper yourself. Remember you can’t give what you don’t have. If you are unhappy, stressed out and resentful, you will unconsciously reflect it on those closest and dearest to you – your family.

I am by no means an expert on marriage, in fact I don’t think anyone really is. It’s been said that marriage is an institution one never graduates from, because one is always learning. However, some principles seem to work regardless of the people involved. Please feel free to add other tips.

Have a love-filled month!

Photo Credit: 123rf.com
_______________________________________________________________________________
Theresa Omoronyia is a trained business analyst and has degrees in Management Science and Computer Science. She lives with her husband and son. Theresa enjoys being with people and her passion is to help those who are hurting. Please visit her blog for inspiration and motivation at http://thesisterskeeper.blogspot.co.uk

I think everyone has unique attributes to make a positive impact in this world. I hope my articles encourage people to "think right, feel right and do right". Professionally I am a trained business analyst with degrees in Management Science and Computer Science. I am happily married with children. I blog at http://thesisterskeeper.blogspot.co.uk

33 Comments

  1. Okechukwu Ofili

    February 21, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    deep

  2. Oyinade

    February 21, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Theresa Omoronyia, thumbs up! I’ve been married for 1 1/2 years now and everything you said is so true. Thank God for His grace.

  3. nwa babii

    February 21, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    how amazing are you!!beautiful article..infact you have said it all..nothing more to add

  4. koko

    February 21, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    A GOOD READ…I AM CURRENTLY LEARNING TO TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY OWN HAPPINESS IN MY RELATIONSHIP..

  5. Tundun

    February 21, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Nice and deep

  6. Blessmyheart

    February 21, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Well done Theresa. You’re so on point! I really hope I’m being a good wife. I can only try my best though.

  7. wunmi

    February 21, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Thanks Theresa. Insightful piece. Just wondering though if the feelings are absolutely necessary before marriage. I’m dating a guy presently who’s a great man and he does love me but I don’t feel those butterfly in the stomach & electrifying feelings. Some say its matured love but I wish I was gaga for him. I know that on the long run; commitment will sustain the r/ship but I really want to be madly in love.

    • TheresaO

      February 21, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      Dear Wunmi, I understand where you are coming from. As an avid fairytale and M&B reader, I expected to go gaga over my boyfriend (now husband). It didn’t happen. I never did. But I knew he was the right one, I prayed about it and had peace about it. And today we are happily married and our love continues to grow daily. I’m so happy I made the right decision.
      A decision especially one as a binding as marriage should be a carefully thought out process based on substantial evidence, not feelings. Remind yourself why you love your fiancee, don’t focus on ‘butterfly feelings’, after a while you will start developing great feelings for him again. If feelings were all that important, most celebrity marriages would last longer.
      I wish you wisdom and all the best dear Sister.

    • zizi

      February 23, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      There wouldn’t have been a better time for this……your reply to Wunmi is just so important to me @this time than the post itself….God bless you ma’am

    • zizi

      February 23, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      Our so called celebrities nees to read this

  8. Chinma Eke

    February 21, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Deep, honest and straightforward. Love the part about marriage being more commitment than feelings.
    http:www.chinmaeke.wordpress.com

    • jcsgrl

      February 21, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      Yes ma’am. I remember a time when I didnt feel the sparks again in my marriage. We had gotten comfortable and casual with each other and I got scared and was even enying couples who were still lovey dovey with each other. A friend of mine said to me “You know the grass looks greener on the other side because someone or something is watering it. You better find what yours is and start using it on your grass…lol” I went back to God in prayer, studied and started demonstrating love towards hubby. Before you know it, we were back to our normal selves. Marriage it works and I need God’s help every step of the way. i honestly dont know how people do it without God.

    • Bobosteke & Lara Bian

      February 21, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      High 5! lady for caring enough to do something about it and not thinking your husband must be the one to make efforts at restoration being the man of the house. You are three mucsh and quite special in God’s heart. More strength for today and bright hopes for tomorrow.

      Have a lovely weekend.

  9. Missy

    February 21, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Well written and very true too. I have been through a few of these things and so I pray for discernment for young couples to be able to hold up and pull through in their marriages when all the lovey dovey from relationships and courting reduces in marriage.

  10. Why did I get married?

    February 21, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Great tips! I have a few to add.

    1. Marriage and wedding are not the same thing. Wedding is what you do where the whole world is involved. Marriage is your everyday life with your spouse, your chosen one, your love interest, your partner. Keep it sacred, guard it jealously. Dont go telling your business to 3rd party interveners, your in-laws, relatives or your own family. I know a girl whose husband could not keep a erection. Rather than seek medical help with her spouse, she went about telling her sister and friends. One day when couple had an arguement about something else, the mum called the husband and warned him “Look, you this nonsense one-minute man, mind ya self o…”

    His self-confidence deflated faster than a LASTMA tyre, and their marriage never recovered

    2. Make time for yourselves. I and my wife make sure we treat each other on our paydays. So we end up dining at a good restaurant or go to see a movie together at least twice a month. That’s how I was able to see the“Best Man Holiday”. I even did the BBD dance for her later that night. Nigeria is tough and expensive place, but if you do not invest in your marriage/relationship, you will end up spending at least twice that amount on divorce lawyers, bridal dowry refunds, or paying for the transport/food/accommodation of opportunistic elders or relatives who come down from the village to help come and settle your domestic issues. You decide.

    3. Compliment your spouse. I have a pal who only says good things about his wife to her face when she has just cooked him his favourite bitter leaf soup. Marriage is not Maggi kitchen o. Have a pet name for your wife. I recommend names like “ada ada”, “sweet stuff”, “baby”, “iyawo mi dada”. On the other hand, I know someone who calls his wife “Necessary Evil.” Mbanu!

    4. Don’t let your self go – both physically and emotionally. Husbands sometimes wonder why their wives have changed. Where is the svelte, well turned out, chic, well behaved girlfriend I fell in love with I married. Why is she now a wrapper wearing, hair-net rocking, morbidly overweight lady who shouts at the top of her lungs each time we quarrel? From Jasmine to Jezebel.

    Women also wonder. Where is the slim, muscled, cultured, smooth, well-shaven man I married? Now he has a pot-belly which can house a set of triplets, he rocks a Samaja moustache, and is always complaining about everything and counting pennies?

    I know we live to eat well in this country, but please try to keep fit, trim and well kept.

    • Nina

      February 21, 2014 at 5:15 pm

      hahaha! Well said, I;m getting married in a few months. I will bookmark this page so I can always read the writers advise and your comments to help keep my marriage strong. Thank you.

    • TheresaO

      February 21, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      You had me laughing so hard my friend!
      Thanks for those wonderful tips, really glad you added them.

    • Mimi

      February 21, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      Well said! It nice to see this come from both a woman’s and a man’s perspective

    • Abisoye Amosu

      February 23, 2014 at 8:50 am

      Nice write up and interesting one a lot of couples need counseling on this issue most people are just crazy about weddings not the marriage that’s why they end up jumping out on time.we should know what marriage is about ,compliment each other at any available opportunity this will help build your spouse confident ,be proud of them ,spend more time togeda ,exchange gift ,try and always see same thing you saw when you were dating.and especially the lady try to takia of yourself and keep fit don’t relax because you are now married your appearance is your spouses pride and happiness.and never compare your marriage to another persons own,also always pray together ,encourage yourself no 3rd party interference love your spouses family,and try and go for vacation even if it’s a weekend in a year it might just be in one hotel you don’t need all the money in the world to do this

  11. oj

    February 21, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    love ur article. thumbs up and success in your own marriage.

    • TheresaO

      February 21, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      Thank you and all the best dear.

  12. jirla

    February 21, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    TheresaO and Jesgrl …great!

  13. always happy

    February 22, 2014 at 4:14 am

    lol…. you just gotta love the man who called his wife ” necessary evil” he sure has a sense of humour….. and I bet he sleeps on the couch a lot too.

  14. sussy

    February 22, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Loool @ from Jasmine to Jezebel

  15. smiles

    February 23, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Lol,soo true nd he should also keep anti poison drugs around him all the time

  16. Constance Thomas

    February 23, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Belanija

  17. khoryin

    February 24, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Really deep. Wonderful piece. Very well said, makes plenty sense. Welldone!!

  18. Dee

    February 25, 2014 at 7:03 am

    Well said. Been married for a year nd all I can say is there’s more to marriage than meets the eye. The happy ever after depends on both . To God be the glory marriage is a beautiful institution.

  19. anny

    February 26, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    You really done a good job ma! May God continue to bless your home.

  20. Jeena Effoe

    March 11, 2014 at 1:52 am

    Excellent article. Love it.. you are a very wise woman 🙂

  21. chioma annie

    March 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Alot of people get married for the wrong reasons e.g the lady is pregnant, they’re from the same hometown, he has a gap tooth.,etc and so many other silly reasons which has led to so many broken homes. My people, Love is not enough,Get married for the right reasons!!!!

  22. Mima

    March 27, 2014 at 12:26 am

    Am glad I spent all the time I did, to go through this article and the comments aswell, very well though, and there is a lot of maturity, and sincerity, and also originality in all of it. I feel blessed to have stumbled on this article at such a time in my life. Blessings to you all, and a big thumbs up to Theresa, and the gentle man who added to the tips.

  23. Obiora

    June 6, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    This is an insightful piece. Marriages work through the CONSCIOUS effort of both parties. The two parties must make personal resolutions to make their marriage work. Above all, don’t lose touch of God; He alone makes the difference

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