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What Comes After We say “I Do”?

It sometimes appears to me that we take marriage a tad too lightly these days.

We plan for a lavish wedding, the prettiest dress, work out hard the months before to get the leanest body, pay well for good photography, and we even plan what flowers to get for our bridesmaids. I did all these too 10 years ago when I got married at 25. The whole nine yards and whatever our finances could afford us at that time.

On the surface of many of these weddings, both the bride and groom are glowing and have the appearance of a good life-long marriage ahead of them.

But that’s the key thing, isn’t it?

Marriages are meant to be a life-long commitment.

Being married to one person, living with and eating with the same person, possibly every day for the rest of your life. That is a major commitment to make.

After we say I do, the real test begins, and it takes work, compromise, and commitment from both parties.

When the cameras are no longer on you, when the guests have gone home, after the honeymoon, when you step out of the dresses and are back in your sweats with no make-up on, with the bad morning breath and mid-night snores to endure, will you still be in love and committed to the person next to you?

Then shouldn’t it be that the emphasis of a marriage on the relationship of the two of you?

It would be good to start with pre-marital counseling after the engagement, and then continue investing in your relationship with your partner in the years that follow. Day in and day out, weeks, months, years, and decades on.

It will be just the two of you at first, getting used to living and doing life together. Then children may come along and then you will either fall for your spouse even more after the kids come, or you may feel distanced from them as the challenges of post-partum and having a newborn baby are a new level of struggle, and you discover how your partner supports you as a new parent, and how they themselves parent your children.

Apart from that, you may encounter job loss, health issues, infertility, financial problems, and even relationship issues with others, sometimes with your own parents or family members.

As we age we may lose our looks, our once ‘hot’ bodies gain weight, wrinkles grow and hair turns white.

Will your marriage be able to navigate and manage all these? Will you be able to support your partner emotionally? Will the love still be strong?

The foundation of the marriages has to withstand all these trials and seasons that come, and they will come, in one shape or another.

I have learned that it takes more than love to keep a marriage going, and the love needs to grow and adapt through the many seasons and storms that you both weather together.

Through arguments and make-ups, through living and making decisions together, we learn about each other better and find how to react better to support the other person. It is not easy, it takes work, it will hurt, but the love is there, and so is our commitment, from the day we said “I do”.

As for myself, I am far, far from perfect.

Who allowed me to write this piece, I am no expert, I have fallen and made mistakes too, and struggled and made it over to the other side. That’s how I really feel.

But because I think some things need to be said and heard, some things are worth to be said, and that’s why I’ll voice it out and share it in writing.

I myself am guilty of this, I admit I have taken my partner for granted at times, and through communication and understanding his love language, we do better. I’ve learned to take a step back and listen, and he has too learned how to handle his emotional wife and my weaknesses. I’ve learned this over the 10 years of marriage, and am still learning.

About forgiveness, I would say that if you have been shown grace, then you should show grace to others.

So look beyond the wedding photos and the ceremony, and remember the most important asset you may have is the relationship, and that is the priority. Make your stand on this a strong one and stick by it.

As I sadly watch marriages fall around me, some from families I follow online who appeared happily together, to those whom I know in my personal life, I want to remind that the work for marriage continues even after we say ‘I do’.

As mentioned earlier, this year marks the 10th year of our marriage.

For some older couples, it may be small, but for us, it’s a milestone that we will celebrate, with family who have supported us when we needed help, with our children who we adore ( and who have challenged my mental health at times), and then at the end of the day with each other to remember what we have gone through together in 14 years of our relationship and 10 years of marriage.

We will then proceed to plan for our family’s future together as equal partners, and continue building on our marriage, for this is one relationship that cannot be taken for granted.

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