Today is my 8th TRADniversary and I would love to share some of my lessons which can be helpful to you as a single or married person.
I strongly believe that marriage is not an end in itself but a means to an end.
It is a journey that each party should take personal responsibility for.
It is a journey with a process that should make both parties better on a daily basis.
This wouldn’t come by wishing, just admiring or comparing yourself to others.
It comes by actually “doing the work” and going at your own unique pace of growth as a team.
Over the years, I have learnt a lot, grown a lot, dropped and picked a lot of habits and I am still on the journey.
It can only get better!
The following are things you can start or keep doing in marriage to have a happy and stress-free one.
Keep being flexible
One major lesson I have learnt and I am still learning is adaptation.
Because we are from different backgrounds and have had different past experiences, we would not always have same views to issues.
I have learnt to be open and shift position sometimes as it’s not always about who is right but what is right for the Marriage per time.
“This is just how I am” is now a scarce statement in my mouth. Rather, I check to see ways we can come to a meeting point.
This can also be called “shared values”.
I never used to like adventure especially with food, I never used to initiate sex, I never used to keep quiet sometimes.
Now I am better than before and I am still learning to be more flexible.
You too can!
Keep growing in knowledge
I have realized that my marriage cannot grow beyond the level of my personal growth.
I therefore invest in personal development resources which in turn has postive effects and influence on my marriage.
Once you stop growing, stagnancy steps in and it affects your marriage negatively and threaten it’s longevity.
Keep showing empathy
I have learnt to show understanding by first putting myself in my spouse’ shoes to see how he sees, feel what he feels and hear what he hears.
The times I do this, I end up changing my approach or style of correcting or complaining.
Whenever I show or I’m shown empathy, I realize that the need to be defensive, judgemental or have conscious resistance to corrections disappears.
I have always been a communication person.
It is one of my strong areas. I love to listen and be listened to.
I have learnt that it is a great skill I must never throw away in my marriage.
So many things can be averted as well as reinforced just by listening.
The art of listening can be learnt and mastered.
You can learn to listen beyond what your spouse is saying and what he/she isn’t even saying.
I am a couples’ play advocate and I must say it has helped us bond more. Do something romantic together at least once a week or in 2 weeks. It could be a date night or indoor we-time or whatever works for you.
Play is therapeutic. It is a love tank filler. There is tendency to get so serious especially when life throws challenges at you and when you have so many deadlines to meet up with. However, a few minutes of play, laughter, dance, games can go a long way.
Couples who are in different locations or who travel a lot, please do well to keep your communication line open always.
Whenever you have the opportunity of being together, make it count! Make it memorable.
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I try to make this a daily habit. Say something positive to your spouse everyday. Be the number 1 fan of your spouse. If there is anything you see out there and admire, it’s because someone has invested. You need to tend and nurture your own. Prune each other till you both get to your desired state.
As easy as it sounds, it takes a whole lot. Being a human that I am, I can be selfish sometimes. I learnt this early that love is beyond a feeling but a decision to stay committed to your spouse. I discovered my spouse’ love language and I found out it’s easier to love him via that strategy.
Keep God at the centre
In our weaknesses and strengths, through ups and downs, thick and thin, we surrender to God and He holds us together. He is our ‘one’ secret. Invite God into your marriage and let him be the wheel that controls and guides it. God is love!
Cheers to a happy and stress-free marriage!
Written by Temitayo Ogunnaike