Trying any new thing can be stressful. Young people ask “why should I get married?”. In my mind, I know it is beyond the wedding bands and wedding dresses. I sometimes make observations and short interviews (if it qualifies as one) of married family members and they always said of marriage “you learn on the job” but I am also aware that it works and here is why.
Love is not always exciting
In the movie, Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye returns home to Golde, his wife, to whom he must explain why he consented to Hodel, their second daughter, marrying Perchik, the idealogue from Kyiv. It provided an opportunity for the couple to assess their marriage in the context of what seemed like a new word- Love. Which Hodel had offered as a reason for her choice.
Golde proceeds to recount all of the acts of love she had done and in the end, they both realized that though they really never sat to consider it, they had expressed themselves differently throughout their married lives and the word is not as alien as it seemed. Though it didn’t carry the vivacity of young Hodel and Perchik, it was deliberate.
Marriage is hard work
Marriage is hard work. I have always known this. There is nothing easy about two separate individuals with different goals and backgrounds, experiences, and idiosyncrasies, pruning all they must of themselves to be the best they can be for themselves and the children they would raise to be functional members of society.
Coming from a closely-knit family, and I admit this seems more like a privilege, I have enjoyed the benefits of family. I sometimes dream about “my happy family” (I am quite excited about marriage.) and sometimes I am overcome with anxiety at the thoughts of living with anyone who is not my immediate family.
I presently live alone; though my fiance and I visit each other regularly, it is a lot different from being married. Visiting each other is a different experience from living with someone as a married couple.
Recently, in one of my idle moments, I was making an observation about marriage and married people when it struck me that part of staying married involves indulging conversations when all you want to do is to read a book. This thought made me anxious because I am not the talker. It wasn’t the first time it had struck me and I have intentionally improved this part of me for quite some time. I shrugged it off with a smile. I, however, made a serendipitous find on Twitter. It was an experience worth sharing and I was granted permission by my acquaintance to share her story here:
One day, I told my mum, I would like to have a hubby like yours,
“Why?” she asked. I explained how they both delight in each other without knowing/remembering a third party is around or something,
She smiled and said, “it wasn’t always this way.”
Mum then shared that when she got married, dad did not know how to converse, “whenever he returns from work, he picks his newspaper.” She got tired and decided to devise a plan. Dad has to write down anything that happened in the office so he can tell her how his day went in detail.
On the first day, dad came back with “the secretary poured tea for me”.
“Was that all?”, she asked dad who replied “and I continued work”, by the time she repeated the question several times, dad knew she was serious about it.
Next day, dad came back with more writeups about the ‘Secretary & tea’, ‘the newspaper guy’; and the day after, it was about ‘the meeting they had at the office, what transpired’ & in all of those times, he referred to the notes as a guide, and on it went until he could converse on anything without thinking twice.
Only You can make the relationship work if you really want to.
This was a practical example of what could be achieved when people are considerate in relationships. Relationships (friendships and marriage) are built on genuine acts of self-sacrifice from two people who find no need to keep record/tally.
Marriage is fulfilling
As she concluded, it takes two people to make relationships work. Marriage demands a lot from us. We will be required to adjust in unselfish consideration for the other; to consider the needs of the union above ourselves and our puerile need for excitement but it is fulfilling work. We would need to understand that we can’t do as we please and that rash decisions have implications.
I admit I have grown quite excited about starting my family lately. An aunt says the magic in the family is the fulfillment of being responsible for and watching a little copy of you grow and the benefit of companionship. I look at my Grandma, and the excitement when her great-grandchildren come around, the companionship my parents enjoy with themselves as they have aged, nephews and nieces who were pea-size humans a moment ago and I want that. I understand this to mean, that it comes with work beyond the wedding bands and wedding dresses