Marriage, in its simplicity, means two becoming one. This means that we work to share our commonalities as well as differences. To get to the ‘We Do’ is a process. A step by step process and this is how I see it:
Step 1: Meet and take time to know each other. In the current world of instant gratification, it does pay to learn who you are committing to spend the rest of your life with. This only happens when you do not decide to get married within the first 2 months of meeting. I do not care what people say, about instantly knowing that you are already in love. My friends, you are in lust. If after 6 months you still feel the connection, then you can move to step 2.
Step 2: You have sufficiently begun knowing who your soon to be life partner is. The quirks, the annoyances, the wonderful things that he/she does. Now accept them as they are. You met when you are adults. To think that you will change someone once you get married is setting yourself up for disappointment. Do your review and decide whether you can live with the annoyances. If not, get out while the getting is still good. Otherwise, move on to Step 3.
Step 3: Share your fears, hopes, dreams (including how many children you would like) and pasts. You will want to say that the past has no basis on the present. But it does! You are choosing to trust your partner completely. Why then would you not want to share your past, especially if you know it has the potential to ruin your future? This is where I get to give you keen advise. When your partner discloses something that happened in the past, no matter how irate it gets you, remember it is in the past. They chose to tell you, when thy would have decided to keep it to themselves. This is not to be brought up in future ‘disagreements’, or be used to undermine them. Remember…, two become one. You are supposed to have each other’s back. We all need to feel understood. Now we are ready for step 4.
Step 4: Trust your partner. They have shared their deepest fears, past, some not so pleasant behaviors. You have chosen to take them as they are. You are ready to move on to the next big step, which is all out live together. You will need to realize that your partner will have friends, business associates and friends of friends, who are not married. Give them the benefit of doubt. You are not your partner’s past. You are their present. Do not use the past to start mistrusting them. Not until they give you a reason to. On to Step 5.
Step 5: Marriage: The next big discussion. You will need to decide what works for both of you, in terms of finances and comfort. A simple wedding, vows exchanged at th Attorney General’s chambers, a ‘Com and See’ wedding.. It makes all the difference. Then go ahead and tie the knot! Congratulations! You have started your lives together! Remember, you are looking to make your relationship work. The marriage is between 2 people. Leave your marriage between you two. It is not a social gathering, where you air out all your clean and dirty laundry.
Next Time: Parenting A Boy vs Parenting A Girl. A Dad’s Perspective
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