Stuff We Wish We Knew Before Getting Married
Mo and Phindi spell it out in their new book on relationships
We hold a view that no other human relationship demands the exercise of wisdom and knowledge more than marriage. Meshing two fully grown individuals from different backgrounds requires that you not only become life students of one another, but also manage the relationship with a great deal of wisdom.
Some two years ago, we decided to take stock of things we wish we had known before getting married.
They became a long list of “aha moments” that revealed how we often think we know so much, but actually know very little.
We decided to put some of them, summarised below, into a book we’ve just published in March, called, Stuff We Wish We Knew Before Getting Married.
We call them our “aha moments” because we woke up to much of what we know about marriage, in marriage.
Much as we prepared ourselves for marriage, it’s impossible to know everything about marriage before you get into it, until you actually get into it.
Most of what makes marriage is learnt in marriage, not through academic qualifications. We get our certificates before we get into it and then, become continual students of one another until we’re separated, hopefully by death.
1. Marriage is a divine mystery with a spiritual purpose
Marriage, as created by God, serves a much higher purpose than our biological clocks and social statuses.
And for as long as God continues to have a relationship with His creation, marriage will never be irrelevant.
When we remove God as the centre of marriage, the whole relationship becomes a futile, meaningless and outdated man-made emotional attachment.
2. Marriage today is different from marriage back then
Marriage is no longer what many of us grew accustomed to with our parents and grandparents. Gone are the days when men were the sole breadwinners , and women, stayed home.
However, although culture has evolved into what we have in the 21st century, God’s original design and purpose for marriage does not change.
3. Achieving oneness in marriage is 100% possible
You cannot be happily married if you’re still tied to your parents, friends as well as other commitments like work.
Oneness in marriage is a goal achieved when you free yourself from all these in order to prioritise and relentlessly pursue your spouse in total transparency.
4. Being “in love” is not enough to marry someone
You won’t feel “in love” every day, and love on its own cannot sustain marriage. On the contrary, it’s in fact marriage that sustains love.
When you live long enough in marriage and come to understand the concept of love, you’ll learn that love is not the foundation for marriage.
Love is born and deliberately nurtured through daily, practical and mundane decisions in the course of your marriage.
5. The worst and unexpected does happen in marriage
Wearing a ring and having a marriage certificate doesn’t make you a couple. You grow into being one when your marriage passes the test of hard times.
It’s important to understand what you mean when you vow to love someone “for better or worse”.
6. Never sweat the small stuff
Not every conflict in marriage is worth resolving. Some issues are just meant to be managed. However, never agree to disagree. Let God’s word be the final authority in your marriage.
7. Unbroken soul ties will ruin marriages
You cannot be fully joined to your spouse while you’re still emotionally entangled to unhealthy previous attachments.
In order to completely give of yourself to your spouse, you have to renounce – and allow God’s grace to free you from – any unhealthy attachment that ties your soul to your previous life.
8. Forgiveness is a lifestyle
When you run out of forgiveness in your marriage you run out of relationship and most importantly, you run out of you.
And one of the main issues about forgiveness is to understand that when you forgive your spouse, you’re forgiving someone with no absolute guarantee that they won’t do it again.
9. Marriage isn’t primarily designed to make you happy
Your spouse is unable to complete or make you happy. It’s not their job, and hence they are ill-equipped to do so. Whatever state you were in before the wedding, you will be, perhaps even more so, after the wedding, because marriage doesn’t change you.
It reveals you to yourself and scarily enough, to your spouse. When you expect that your spouse makes you happy, not only are you placing an unfair expectation on them, but you’re also making them an idol.
10. Great sex is neither constant nor automatic
In the final analysis, being “great in bed” should be item No13 when you characterise your marriage. Nevertheless, great sex is cultivated.
11. It’s possible to lose yourself in marriage
The quickest and most painful way to kill your marriage is changing who you were created and purposed to be in the name of loving your spouse.
12. We marry the in-laws too
Marriage is never just about the two of you. When you say “I do”, you also commit to each other’s parents and siblings, , cousins, uncles and aunts – often even friends too.
13. Being on the same page financially can save your marriage
It’s not “my” money or “your” money, it’s not even about it being “our” money. It’s about us being joint-stewards over resources trusted to us irrespective of the type of our marriage contract.
Our book is available at Fogarty’s Bookshop, Walmer Park, or www.loot.co.za..