…on marriage

I found myself in the strange position of playing Agony Aunt during a long phone call this morning, but after speaking, I felt the issue is one that a lot of young couples will benefit from. Take note that I’ve been married for just seven years now…

A young friend of mine got married just before this pandemic. Now he is having a serious quarrel with his wife. I won’t give the full details here for privacy reasons, but as I mentioned to him, and he gave leave, I’d like to talk about the key thing I think is the issue. Patience.

C has been living by himself pretty much since he left his parents’ when he went to university. He matriculated 12 years ago now. That 12 years is more than enough time for him to have gotten used to certain patterns of behaviour. As such, a new wife is a pretty unsettling event.

You see, there is a difference between when you’re dating and when you’re married. When you’re dating, you’re not meeting the person, you’re meeting the person’s representative. There is every incentive for both of you to be of very good behaviour at the time. This applies even to live-in lovers. However, the moment you sign a contract, which is what a marriage is, there will be changes. Both you, and your spouse, will relax a little, and the real you begins to come out. That is when the irritation starts. I think it is important to mention that the irritation is necessary. Because from it, you actually get to understand yourself, and your spouse better, and draw boundaries.

Let me put it bluntly. Lolade Nwanze irritates me. A lot. I irritate her as well. Probably a lot more than she does me. Does it mean we love each other any less? No. What it means is that in being considerate of her feelings, I have temper down on stuff that I do that annoys her. This is the reason why I no longer throw off my clothes as soon as I enter the house, something I used to enjoy doing as a free-spirited bachelor. She also tempers her own rough edges. That is just the way it works, and perversely (if you can use that word), it is those little irritations and annoyances, that actually makes you appreciate the sweet parts of the person, and as a result, make the relationship stronger. You cannot possibly enjoy the highs without the lows.

So, what I told C was this: your marriage is still young. Enjoy your wife while you still can because when children come, you will no longer have each other, and as the man, you will turn into a full-blown beast of burden.

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Cheta Nwanze

Using big data to understand West Africa one country (or is it region?) at a time.