You Are Not Alone:
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage.
So, goes the saying. But they left a large chunk out.
Marriage; there’s a reason it’s called an institution.
I will not say I walked into this institution bright-eyed and naïve. I like to think I kind of knew what to expect. I was so wrong. The following is what I did not know, which is surprisingly everything. I have been blessed, I know, and I am thankful for my husband and children. No harm in some humorous analysis of the situation. Wives and mothers may relate to some points and not others. Husbands, this is how it looks like from where we’re sitting. You’ll get your chance to state your perspective too. As for those on the verge of beginning this venture, please take the time to educate yourselves.
If you think that getting married means living a continuous whirlwind romance, with a boyfriend for life, you are wrong. I will outline many of the misconceptions that strike a newly married woman. Some she comprehends immediately, while others take a while. Some days, some of these realities are more relevant than others, so, in no particular order, here we go…
A husband does not catch his breath and tell you how beautiful you are every time you dress up. He will probably just nod his head, and ask, “Can we go now?”
When you sit in the dark crying, your husband does not wipe away your tears. Contrary to our Hollywood/Bollywood expectations, he will not wipe away the tears gently with the back of his hand, cup your face, gaze deeply in your eyes and tell you, with absolute conviction, that everything is going to work out, just let him handle it. He may ask (with a touch of exasperation), “What’s wrong now?”(Sometimes the ‘now’ is silent).
A husband is very different from a boyfriend. A husband may spend an entire day thinking of you, but not in a good way.
Listening to Freddie Jackson over the years, may cause you, very very early on in your marriage, to wake your husband up in the middle of the night, to tell him that you can’t sleep. Don’t. He will not think it is charming, he will not ask you why nor will he try to talk it through with you, as you drink the glass of warm cocoa he got up and prepared.
As a modern woman, in modern times, you probably had lengthy discussions prior to marriage, broadly outlining each spouse’s “responsibilities”. He will have stated various preferences, with varying emphases. You will have stated specific chores that you are not comfortable with, or delightfully ignorant of. Some days, these “discussions” are light-hearted, pedantic and specific. Other days, they became heated; phones were shut, doors were slammed, and text exchanges ranged from pointed comments to, eventually, conciliatory text messages.
When you move into your love nest, you will congratulate yourself on having “agreed” on all the important issues. Too soon. You will then find yourself in a situation where you soon discover: your home, your responsibility. However much you may enjoy the initial bickering and loving banter, you will wise up to the fact that if something is not done it’s your fault (“You didn’t remind me” is a phrase men actually use with a straight face) and if you want something done, it is easier or more effectively accomplished when you take the reins. (The term passive-aggressive comes to mind, but let’s not start labeling the menfolk just yet).
Having your kingdom “just so” is nice. However, there are some days when your house is not picture perfect, and that is just fine.
Contrary to popular belief, modern science has approved the following: you will go to bed angry. You do not have to resolve each and every issue just in time for everyone involved to get a good night’s sleep. Recent studies reveal that it is alright to sleep on it, and thank heaven for that, because good luck finding a man who wants to talk about your relationship issues late into the night.
You may be blessed with the best husband in the world, and some of the above statements will still be applicable. Marriage is a two-way street, and we are only human, regardless of our husbands’ insistence that we are angels:-|, this fact we must concede. Unlike many of our regional sisters, women in Sudan are blessed with a voice we are not afraid to use, loud and often. I like to think that our men do not consider us inferior, and treat us with respect.
The reality of marriage is vastly different from our original expectations. The sooner you realize the existence of differences, embrace the changes and implement them into your life, the happier you will be. Celebrate the differences.
I believe that the most important aspect of any venture is a positive attitude. Laugh more. It will lower your blood pressure, and draw positive people to you. Put your family first in your priority list. Take the time, make the effort. I guarantee this is one venture where you will be generously rewarded.
And, finally, when it comes to marriage, there are no guarantees.
I wrote this article June 2010 but it was never published.