Before you take your vows

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For those brothers who missed the last issue which carried the first installment in the series of important issues a man should know before he ties the knot (you can still get a copy from our office), allow me to recap on what we discussed before moving to this issue’s topics: Firstly, you must accept there are prettier and more intelligent women than your wife. Secondly, remember that her interests will vary, and thirdly,

your wife is bound to hold you as a key suspect of cheating. As we said, trust is the key factor in tackling these three issues. And now to more of what you should expect as you plan to take your vows:

THERE ARE TIMES YOU WILL FANTASISE ABOUT OTHER WOMEN WHEN IN BED WITH YOUR WIFE…

To the inexperienced, this might sound like a line from hell. But the married man will tell you this is common sense. It goes back to our first point when we said you will discover smarter and prettier women than your wife after you are married. The fact is that these women become the forbidden fruit for you. You desire them but you cannot have them. These may include the supermodels, international or local celebrities, your friend’s wife, lecturer, classmate, workmate or boss.

They will come in all shades and shapes. Now, I am not writing this to prove to you how rotten men are. No. For even your male marriage counsellor and best man goes through the same thing. No woman has ever confessed this to me but being human, I think there are times during lovemaking too, when she thinks of your best friend or even your pastor. Your bodies could be together but both of your minds miles away to God knows where. Now, this should not in any way be interpreted to mean that you no longer connect sexually with your partner, or that you should look for your object of desire to fulfill your craving. This is just how life is and it is no different to how any man who owns a car dreams of driving the one he doesn’t have.

Moral lesson:: Human beings cannot find full satisfaction from another human being. Your wife cannot satisfy all your sexual fantasies and neither will going out with other women. Therefore, the fact that you fantasise about other women is not a revelation that you are sexually incompatible with your wife.

THERE ARE TIMES YOU WILL REGRET MARRYING HER AND SHE WILL DO THE SAME…

In one of our arguments, my wife told me as a matter of fact that she would think thrice if she were to marry me all over again. I told her likewise. After

our tempers cooled off and we started laughing at our intolerance, I raised the matter of ‘thinking thrice’ again and we both felt, after a thorough look at many other marriages known to us that it would be better to stick with the devil one knows.

You see most of the things a dating couple knows about each other is like starters on a dinner table. You love the French onion soup but you really do not know what the main dish will end up like until it is served and you start eating. Couples reveal very little about themselves during courtship and there are some things you will never know even if you courted for 15 years. It will be like tasting different kinds of starters and hoping to have an idea of the main dish by doing that. You won’t.

So, when you are married and the lid is removed, one is either happily surprised or tearfully disappointed. After living together for a couple of months, you discover that she is not such a tidy person and you were wrong to judge her by how her room was kempt since, as you now discover, her younger sister with whom she lived with did all the cleaning. Secondly, you may discover that she has lost interest in the things that matter to you or that she is not as romantic as she appeared to be; or that the five-year-old nephew she showed you once was actually her son from another relationship.

Now, most of these things are not the kind that break up a marriage, but they are important to know beforehand lest you coil yourself on the sofa thinking you are the only one who married the “wrong” person.

This is why marriage is called hard work because you will have to confront these things at some point. Your consolation: Your wife also knows things now that she wishes she knew before marrying you and so it is a meeting of two imperfect beings working towards perfection.

Moral lesson: Getting into marriage is like opening a new novel. Every page comes with a different discovery and insight. When you marry, be prepared to learn things about your partner that you never expected or thought about. Secondly, marriage is about two imperfect beings coming together and complementing each other in love that could see you through what could otherwise be turbulence.

IN SPITE OF ALL EFFORTS AND GOODWILL, SOMETIMES MARRIAGES FAIL…

I have told you things that have the potential to both wreck and make your marriage. I wrote them so that you may work to ensure that trivial things like suspicions, other prettier women and so on, do not come in the way of your marriage. I want to encourage you to work hard because marriage is all about that.

There is no short cut. However, sometimes, and irrespective of all our good will and efforts, some marriages just fail. One or both partners discover that they are just incompatible no matter what glue you use to keep them together.

Sometimes the marriage becomes abusive and one is forced to run for their dear life. So even as you go to the honeymoon, be determined to work extra hard to have the marriage work but know that a marriage is not worth your life. Thankfully, the Relationships column in last month’s issue addressed the matter of when it is time to call it a day in a relationship. I advise you look for the May 2012 Parents magazine and read the column.

If you have reason to believe that your continued stay in the marriage will lead to harm or death of both or either of you, or your children, just walk away while you still can. I read in a newspaper recently about a man who was arrested for strangling his two-year-old daughter to death after a domestic row with his wife. The woman should have seen this coming long before and the man should have ended the relationship long ago before all this buildup of anger and madness.

Moral lesson: When they say ‘for better or for worse’, self-destructive tendencies, physical and emotional abuse, murder and suicide are not included. Journalists are usually told that there is no story worth dying for. I think the same could be said of marriage, especially if the killer is the one you are supposed to be in love with.

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