“Nothing I do is appreciated by my wife. I’ve done everything I could possibly do to support her financially and emotionally, to help her develop her career. She is always nagging and takes great pleasure in humiliating me in front of her folks especially her mum. I guess she reckons that she’ll get a great pat on the back that she is in-charge in her house just like her mum is in charge in her own house. I can’t talk to her without getting shouted at. She only cooks whenever she feels like and whenever I ask; she just ignores me or she complains about being tired. I cooked occasionally especially when she pleads tiredness but had to stop when that was taken for granted.”
” My ex-husband used to lock out his child with sickle cell anaemia out in freezing temperatures. He will seize the tv remote control so we can’t watch sky. He will withhold affection from his daughter, sleep in separate rooms, the list goes on. I used my savings to fund the home, myself and my daughter. Can anyone guess what he did to me in the end? We broke up! We reconciled and I fell pregnant. He kicked us out and swore I will never have his son in his house . I didn’t! Now, he is looking for access to his children after he stole my money and used it to fund wedding with another victim, wife no 3.”
These are real stories told by real people that are married. How hard can it be for two people to agree and look in the same direction? Share the same dreams? Understand each other? How hard is it?
The tales of marriage woes always almost drive me to tears. Is it that the people in good marriages don’t tell their stories or marriages can never be good? My parents are together after over 30 years and irrespective of the occasional differences they have, they are committed to each other.
Why was the institution of marriage designed? Is it all about populating the earth or to close that void caused by being alone? Are we supposed to be individuals pursuing our own dreams or a team whilst married? Is marriage about self – satisfying our own wants or about the other person – making sure he/she is the best and giving only the best to make the other better?
People enter marriage with a warped sense of what it is about. A woman would say my husband loves me and gives me everything I want – the problem with that is there is a lot of me in it and it may be symptomatic of a one sided affair with one party doing the giving. A man may say my wife is submissive to me and cooks for me when I get home – it’s still the same problem, it’s all about me. Complaints about what he doesn’t or she doesn’t do for me and me and me is a great destroyer of good relationships. When the focus is me, marriage becomes hard.
It’s difficult when only one party understands and lives this concept. There’s a limit to how much selfless a person can be without a fair amount of reciprocation. A man cannot deny himself always to make a woman happy while she, thinking of herself alone, denies him intimacy or respect cos he didn’t deliver on something trifle. A woman cannot deny herself of her right to earn money to keep the house and the man, thinking of himself alone, treats her like his help and refuses to allow her indulge in things she wants albeit infrequently.
Without doubt, marriage is commitment and sacrifice. Personal sacrifice is hard, very hard. This is what makes marriage tough. We are unwilling to let go. We are unwilling to give up things. If both parties in marriages experiencing tough times have an honest conversation with themselves about what they should give up to make their marriages work and they are committed to giving these things up, the story of that marriage will change. Only one party having this conversation will not bring about a change. It is no doubt a hard thing.
Marriage, like life, is hard. Once we pick the good habits – thinking about satisfying the other party, selflessness etc and live them, like life, marriage becomes easy.