“There’s something unique about her that made you choose her,” Mom told my cousin. “Maybe you feel she’s witty and she challenges you; gets you out of your shell. When a few years from now you feel like she’s the dumbest woman on earth, remember what you’re seeing in her now- when you’re so deeply in love with her, that you’re confident she’s the one you want to spend forever with.” Turning to his fiancée she added, “The same goes for you. Always remember what you saw in each other.”
She served that advice raw, unafraid of ruffling a few feathers. None of the other speakers had said it like she did, and a part of me thought they were afraid of stepping on some toes. Dad for instance; he looked visibly tense. And it wasn’t difficult to figure why. Then again, maybe they also didn’t know that; because looking around, I felt my parents’ relationship has been one of the most tumultuous and they’re still together.
Some of the people in that room were already separated from their spouses; they threw in the towel when it became too hard to bear. And that’s understandable, because from what I’ve gathered, marriage is no walk in the park. It’s no wonder marriage is now being termed a failing institution; most of those in, want out. For it to succeed, it needs two people who are committed to each other; people who understand that chances are there will be more tears and sorrow than there will be joy and laughter.
Marriage requires two people who understand that just because they have wedding bands on their fingers, they won’t stop finding other people attractive and chances are they will be so tempted to satiate those carnal desires. The only thing that wedding band/marriage certificate does is to remind the two that they’re already spoken for; that their wagons are stitched to someone else’s and that whatever they do will affect the other. This therefore should be a reminder for them to ward off other admirers because they won’t stop getting hit on simply because they exchanged ‘I dos”.
Marriage is not easy. It requires aligning of ideas and finding middle grounds so the two people in that relationship don’t fight everytime a decision needs to be made. Marriage requires that the two don’t plant their feet on the ground over certain issues; it’s all about making compromises. If for instance she wants pink and he wants blue, they could then settle for purple. That’s the whole concept of marriage.
Marriage is not easy, but with the right dose of love, commitment and tolerance, it could actually work. When difficult situations are pushing the two over the brink of love, they should hold on to those wonderful memories and fight fiercely to get that back. Truth is, sometimes people fall out of love and for marriage to last the two should find ways of falling in love with each other, over and over again.
Judging by my cousin’s background, I commended him for choosing to acknowledge his girlfriend of five years as the woman he wanted to marry in the presence of family and friends. See his parents separated when he’d barely started his first year of high school, and someone would imagine he would be a chip of his father’s block and steer clear of marriage.
However, I would say we all learn different things from the obstacles life throws at us. This is because my sisters and I have grown up with married parents but being a part of the turbulent life they share has made us witness things that make us afraid of getting married. If my parents’ marriage is anything to go by, I would say a married couple spends most of their life together being out of love than in love.
One thing I’m certain of is that there’s no one out there who’s perfect. I would want to believe my cousin’s dad could attest to that. He’s been with more women than I could care to count and as he approaches retirement age, he risks spending old age alone. None of the women he’s been with seemed to have stuck around long enough to build a home with him.
If I was a love guru, I would say he’s still searching for the one. But truth is, even when one believes they have found that perfect soul mate, with time the truth will out. No one is perfect. And marriage is not about love only. It’s all about finding that flawed person, whose shortcomings one can tolerate till death… That’s marriage.