Once the wedding day is over, the guests go back home and normal life resumes. The rest of your marriage stretches out ahead of you. While you know you are both committed to the journey ahead, it is an unpredictable one. On this journey you will acquire wisdom and you will get to learn first-hand about marriage and what it truly means.
Fortunately, here are people who have long been part of the game – and are eager to share their tips with any newly-weds and young couples.
Always choose you
As selfish as this may sound, it is the absolute truth. I learned this the hard way, because I invested everything in my marriage and forgot about myself. I neglected the person I was before I got married.
I stopped doing the things I loved and focused on being the “perfect wife” and only realised later that I had lost myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love my partner and I am very much committed to our marriage, but I believe in leaving room for myself as well.
My advice to a younger me would be never to forget that your emotional and mental well-being is just as important as someone else’s. – Nozinja
Your different religions will clash
I was born and raised in a Christian family my whole life. When I met my husband we did not really have the religion conversation until we had to get married. It then dawned on me – what now? How are we going to keep this marriage going with different religious backgrounds? What about our kids?
Although my husband did not give me an ultimatum, I chose to convert to Islamic religion. I must say, it was very difficult at first. There were a lot of practices and rules I had to follow, especially because I was a married woman. Everything was hard work, but it worked out in the end. I feel it is very important to discuss your religious backgrounds before getting married, because it plays a huge role in the long run. – Jyoti
Your friends don’t need to know everything!
The older I got, I
I believe that there are certain parts of your life that you should keep to yourself. So, before you consider everything your friends are saying, look at their intentions and belief system and then take the time to decide what you really want. – Gladys
Dealing with past traumas
My childhood abandonment issues affected my relationship with my husband. Growing up I never noticed how much it bothered me. It was only when I got married, and realised how much I resented my father for leaving me. I would always compare my husband to him. It’s as if I was always waiting for my husband to disappoint me, and then throw it in his face.
He was never enough, I started seeing him as the man who left me when I was a child and never bothered to look back. I didn’t realise that all of this was affecting my children and their relationship with their father. I honestly think therapy is crucial before getting into marriage. It creates a space for you and your partner to speak about topics that are not so easy to engage with generally. Have this conversation with your partner and deal with the traumas that are affecting you. I promise it helps.- Zanele
Perfection is overrated!
I have always been a master of perfection, but marriage is a different story, perfection does not exist in marriage. Marriage is challenging and requires a lot of effort, patience and communication. Trying to balance all of that can be a task. It will test your patience.
I always saw myself having a perfect marriage, but that was not the case. Throughout this journey, I have realised how easy it is to remain happy about marriage when everything is in control, but there is going to come a time where you are shaken by the realities of your marriage, then you will have to learn how to deal with them. Just remember that you do not have to be perfect. – Khali
Don’t stop pursuing your partner
The early stages of our marriage were amazing. My wife and I always confided in each other and were consistent in everything we did. The older we got, we stopped trying, we did not put in the effort anymore and it started to show. Managing the household, children and finances took up most of our time, however, we stopped making time for ourselves.
I stopped buying her flowers, we stopped dressing up and going on date nights. We became bored and stopped showing affection towards each other. And that is not what marriage is about, it’s an adventurous journey, so for me, I think keeping the spark going is important and making sure you do not give up on your love. Affection and assurance are very important to keep any relationship going. Once you are married, do not drop the ball. Continue pursuing your partner the same way you were when you were just ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’. – Allan
Learning to grow together
My marriage advice to my younger self would be getting married when you are mature. Live a part of your dreams and find a partner who will make your life experience complete. Be very selective when choosing a partner, after all, you are going to be spending the rest of your life with this person.
Marry someone who loves, cares and will forgive you. Your partner should always make you his or her priority above everyone else. You and your partner should motivate each other and support each other’s aspirations and dreams. There’s nothing more amazing and fulfilling than having each other’s backs in a marriage. I’m so lucky to have married my wife. – Benjamin
It’s safe to say that marriage is not just happily ever after, but is about working together to get there. Getting married is easy, everyone can do it, however, staying married is another thing. Being committed and having the will to grow together creates a marriage that can endure eternity. There is after all no textbook version of the perfect marriage. Different strokes for different folks – as long as love is the centre of it all.
So in the wise words of Nicholas Sparks from the film, The Notebook, “it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, every day. You and me… every day.”
Until next time.
The Wise About Life Team