By Rachael Arinaitwe Mwine, Uganda:
If I had to do it all over again, I would. Yes, it has only been six months and according to the marriage 'cycle' I am still in my honey moon period. That's not to say my husband and I haven't had any fights or disagreements, on the contrary we have, it's all part of the journey; a very exciting journey I must add.
I'm a firm believer in the institution of marriage; I relish its values and virtues. I also believe those planning to get married and those already married need a fresh understanding of the foundation of marriage. The selflessness, compromise and sacrifice involved cannot be taken lightly. One of the many reasons we see a lot of divorce and separation today is because people insist on having their way, and with that level of selfishness, you can barely survive and be happy. We are naturally self-seeking; it takes work and deliberate effort to put someone else first. This trait is magnified when you decide to live with another person but so should your desire to change and be more selfless.
The one thing I heard a lot before I got married was, “marriage is hard”, and it takes work, that's for sure. It is what you make it, period. I looked forward to starting my home, being a wife, a mother and taking on the responsibility that comes with this institution. I was prepped alright, however, no amount of counseling or 'senga' sessions prepare you enough. The good news though is that there is room to learn from your mistakes or unlearn things that could bring your relationship to a halt.
My husband and I have guarded our marriage jealously so far, not just from people that might harm it but also from our past, attitudes and habits that we have picked up from our upbringing or experiences. It hasn't been easy because as an adult it can be complicated to have to give up something you have been accustomed to for the sake of another human being. But I dare say, it's rewarding.
I have discovered that while marriage is an intricate relationship, with prayer and the right ingredients bliss can be a reality. I do not say this as an expert on all things marriage; I say this as a believer.
As a married woman, prayer is my ammunition. One of the key lessons I learnt before I begun this journey was to find my validation and fulfillment in God, and when it's all said and done, that's all that matters. One of the mistakes that we, women, make is to put our husbands on pedestals that they almost take the place of God. We have unrealistic expectations of them that eventually begin to drive a wedge between us. Ladies, while your husband should be esteemed and praised as the most important person in your life, be careful not to exalt him above God, he is human after all and bound to fail you and once that happens, there's no telling how gravely that could affect you.
Since I've been married, pursuing a relationship with God has empowered me to appreciate and love my husband more and seek to bring out the best in him. Praying, for me, isn't optional and it shouldn't be for anyone. I pray about and for just about anything: God is interested in my marriage, the devil isn't.
My husband is as human as they come, prone to making mistakes like I am. He has taught me that it doesn't matter how bad things are, we love each other and everything else must bow to that foundation. Let's face it; it isn't easy to remember this in the middle of a heated argument, but we do our best to remind each other of this each time we fight.
I have no exit strategy. When I decided to walk this road, I didn't start the journey with a plan to back out just in case things didn't go as I hoped they would. This is it for me; I'm not testing the waters. Today sadly, the decision to get married is made with a plan to leave in case things don't work out. It may not be documented or spoken but a strategy may have been laid out sub-consciously, and this shouldn't be the case. It's a decision that requires deep thought, self examination, prayer and counsel.
I am reminded of some of the quotes and articles I used to read about marriage; I still do because I suppose I could learn a great deal from those that have walked this road before me. One of the things that stood out for me in all the material I have read is that love is a choice. I am inclined to make that choice every single day. Marriage has a way of bringing out the best and worst in you, and I'd like to think there isn't any other relationship that can spur me on to being a better person.
I am glad I am married; aside from the romance, friendship, family and all the other goodies that come with marriage, there is a higher purpose – to love (read*1corinthians 13) and be loved unconditionally.
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