“If you can sit down and have a meal together with your wife, you are lucky. Finding a partner and marrying is one thing. Remaining in love for a long period of time is a different ball game. In the two part series, I will provide you with ideas to enjoy your marriage and build a strong bond with your wife.
I was invited on 2nd January 2019 to speak to couples during their final counselling session as part of their preparations before marriage. The topic on the table was “happily in marriage.”
To drive the point home, I asked each person to answer the following questions:
- What are the top three things you love in your partner
- What top 3 things puts you off that your partner does
- How best would you want to deal with money in your home?
- How best would you want to deal with relatives in your lives?
- What are your expectations of your partner?
- What do you bring on the table in your marriage?
- Why do you love each other?
- What is the number one key role you cannot delegate in your home?
I usually require 2-4 hours to fully administer this couple open-up session to help dig deep into their relationship and the bond that keeps it strong.
After each person has taken time to answer each of the above questions; I pair them up with their partner for a reality check. Partners know these things are important, but they don’t give themselves a forum or opportunity to open and talk about them. Yet they matter a lot for a strong relationship.
The top three you love in your partner
This helps create a bond. Partners love to be appreciated. Getting partners talk to each other the things they love in the other person is so great. It also reveals the kind of stuff to do to keep the marriage happy. It would surprise you to know that most couples never get close and open about such things. I usually, start with the man, opening about the things they love about their partner. I give the flexibility to identify as many good points as they can but to be sure to rank them, from the most critical to the small one. This provides clarity of the key marriage bonding points.
The three put-offs
No one is perfect. All of us have shortcomings. It is important that we know how what we do affects our partners. There is nothing worse like some innocent turn-offs – doing something that turns off your partner, but you never get to know.
In a marriage, small things matter. The toothpaste. You find one partner wants to fold it down up; as it gets empty. There other partner, presses anywhere to get the paste out. With time, such small disconnect on how to squeeze the toothpaste out of its tube could be a source of a big disagreement. The other partner will find the mess and fix it. The other will come and mess it. If this ‘small’ issue is not discussed, and a common position reached, it could easily ignite hatred among partners. Small things lead to major outbursts.
The laying of the bed. For those who got the benefit of the Ssenga’s the bedroom is the responsibility of the woman. She is the overall boss. She can set the rules in that part of the room. Some of the rules include – no access to the bedroom by any person including the cleaners and or the house help. Another rule could be, the last in the bed, lays it. Or the wife could take the responsibility to always lay the bed, regardless of who is the last to get out of there. No checking social feeds – no WhatsApp’s, Skype, Facebook or twitter in the bedroom. Only phone calls from known numbers of family and friends (in case of emergency) can be received or made while in the bedroom. Otherwise, it is a place of relaxation. One couple once told me that they don’t allow any disruptions to their bedroom. A time to relax. You can consider many other bedroom rules to help set your expectations.
Knowing the put-offs is so critical. You can manage them and keep your marriage strong. In such a face to face interaction, clarity is made on why the habit may never be stopped. For example, an addictive smoker may promise to reduce like by not smoking in the house or bedroom but may not easily stop the habit. Setting such expectation and getting the promise is critical before you say I do – as such promises become part of the deal!
So what are the top three actions by your partner that put you off? Know them and let them know about it. There is no pain like hurting silently.
How to manage money in your family?
This is always a key subject which most couples fail to agree on before marriage and during marriage.
Several approaches to money abound. One of the popular models is where a joint family account where both couples are signatories – each couple contributes a percentage of their net salaries monthly regardless of the income. Once the money hits the account, it is owned equally by all the family members – husband, wife and children in the home. Each partner is free to use the other remaining percentage as they deem fit, no questions asked. You need to explore which model works.
To be continued. If you would like part 2 of this article, leave a comment below. Once the comments get to more than five, I will publish part 2. Be blessed in your marriage.
Copyright 2018. Mustapha B Mugisa.