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5 ways to make marriage work

10 April 2015, 16:14 Shakila Alivitsa

Nairobi -  I am not married, but I could write a guide book on marriage just from all the marriages I watched growing up and those marriages I see now.

What better place to learn other than your own backyard. I watched my parents, I watched my relatives, I watched my neighbors- basically if you in my sight, I watched you and took a way a thing or two.

I like learning from other peoples experiences other than mine call it, me proofing myself. I do not need to make the mistake myself in order for me to learn from it, your mistake will do just fine for me.

One of the most hilarious comments that my mother makes when she is on a rant and she does not feel appreciated by the lot of us is, ‘Other people would like me to be their mother, you just do not appreciate me.’ If the bullet is intended for my father then it will go something like, ‘Other people tell me they would like me to be their wife.’ Then she huffily walks off, still talking to herself.

My comeback to her always is, those people would like you to be theirs right now because of the experiences that this marriage has given you. If not for those experiences then you would not be the woman that you are today. I do admit that my mother works hard and it can be overlooked even unappreciated by my father at times. My thinking is that, if my father had been that rich man who is busy tuning her in the streets then she would not have been the woman that she is today.  She might have been stupid and lazy because she would have been getting everything handed to her on a silver platter. In which case such a person would not have looked at her twice today.

I have learnt a lot from my parents’ marriage and they gave me a guidebook without even knowing it. Not just them, but I will try to compile a list of what I think any marriage would work better with.

Silent treatment will only get you so far

One bad habit I have noticed among grown-ups that are around me is that when the other had done something wrong to the other, the one who is wronged just keeps quiet and does not talk to the other person. They do not say what may have angered them. They do not sit the other person down and tell them what their problem is. So the other person is trying to figure it out at times even asking but they get no reply at all. After a while, they start talking again until the next time the mistake is repeated and the cycle continues. Problem is, in a marriage, it is long-term and you end up building bitterness over something that you never actually talked about. One day everything just explodes and the other person is wondering where it is all coming from

I think that is part of the reason I am always on the defensive, I cannot keep quiet if I see you trying to be a fool. I just let it out. Sort it out, that way you know that I am not about to take that kind of nonsense from you.

That is what married people should do. Do not go to bed angry at someone and think that they will figure it out on their own and complain to other people. How will they help, it is not them that committed the offense. It is better time management when you sort it out when or as it is happening. The earlier the better.

Talk about money

Beating around the bush earlier on in the marriage is what gets people in trouble. You are married, you are planning to have children. Sit down and tell the other person what you expect of them. Who is handling fees, who is handling food, who is handling rent and who will handle amenity fees? Or will the both of you have a joint account. Or you could even set up a joint emergency account and one for household expenses where everybody makes a contribution. If on the other hand one person clearly outlines they will take care of something and asks you to do the other, then negotiate. That is how it works. My parents and a couple of other marriages I have witnessed did the mistake of never having such a sit down. My mother was naïve and figured out that the man is always the head. It created a tag of war later on in the marriage. Because one was not able to do something while the other could not come up to scratch as the other felt the other one had more money. Deal with money issues early, have a contingency plan for in case one of you loses their job. That is the only way people recover from such bad situations. The other person already knows what is expected of them until the other one can recover.

Shutting up is only good for one thing when you have nothing sensible to say.

Maintain independence from your partner

One thing that is bad about marriage is when people literally take that line…you are now one and blah blah blah…’ Especially women that is why majority of them wonder why the man keeps going out after he is married. She forgets about her friends, her family, things that she used to do let’s say hobbies that actually drew him to her.

Men maintain their independence while women do not. Just because you are married does not mean that you completely lose your identity. That is how marriages become lackluster. You no longer do what was once a passion of your and it shows by the way. You become a nagging trooper who wants the husband to always be within her sights. If he is at work, you want him home buy 5 because you are also at home. You become bored and you are not even sure why because you spend even more time with you soul mate since you got married. You thought it would become better but it never does. You chose to lose yourself.

Do not give up yourself. Go for those field trip with your friends once in a while. Have dinner with a workmate or your single girlfriend because he said he will be late at work. Sitting at home chewing on nails and enacting thousands of scenarios where his secretary is playing a lead role never helped anyone. It might be happening but it might also not be happening.

Do not involve children in your drama

I have noticed that a lot of parents in a bid, to win over the children on their side, they start making the other parent look bad. The child is not even interested but you are there narrating you latest tragedy with their mother or father.

Sometimes it might not be intentional but you end up making the other parent look negative. Do not involve children in your problems. Let them have a chance to grow up.  Do not give your partner silent treatment then go ahead and start using your child’s shoulder to cry on. It is in bad form. And taste.

No one needs to know your business

Even the money. No one needs to know. Discussing your issues with all and sundry will only make you look like an idiot for putting up with it and settling. Even running to the church elders every Sunday, they also get tired. If you can solve it on your own, then deal with it. At times we need to put up a front especially where family is concerned.

There are only those few significant cases that you need to ask for outside help or advice other than that, keep it in the inside. Do not air yourself.

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