This Is Not The Man I Married! – By Chidi Akunna
Phil and Sue were so in love that they were inseparable. Thus, they decided to get married as soon as possible. On their wedding day, friends who gathered were truly happy for them. They looked perfect for each other. Years into marriage, they were still going strong and had deep affection for each other. Having risen through the ranks in his company, Phil was promoted and had to oversee the affairs of his company in Africa. This was an offer that would change their lives forever.
They were so excited about the offer, but they were not prepared for the challenges that would come with it. Phil had to work away for a month, return to his base to work for 3weeks and then leave again for a month; this was meant to be the pattern for 3 years, as stated in the contract. Initially, the arrangement worked out well, but not for too long as they started to grow apart because they had little time to talk and bond. Sue was saddled with the responsibility of caring for their two children, alongside keeping up with the demands of her work, that she was always worn out by the time Phil returned.
On return, Phil expected Sue to ‘pamper’ him since he had been away, but she expected Phil to help out with some chores and make her feel like a Princess again. Sadly, these expectations were not properly expressed. Instead, one had to interpret the actions of the other. This created even more problem as Phil began to feel that Sue did not want him around. On the other hand, Sue began to feel that fame had taken hold of her hubby and made him lose his ‘sweetness’. With these issues in the way, it was difficult for them to get intimate. This meant that they had to go months and months without getting intimate, further straining their relationship.
Sometimes, couples are not prepared for the challenges certain opportunities bring and if not identified and managed properly, it could affect the romance in the marriage and ultimately, the marriage. Have some opportunities created a gulf between you and your spouse? Are you beginning to have too many arguments recently because you are trying to cope with some changes to your schedule as a couple? Have you decided to keep to yourself so that ‘peace might reign’, rather than seek solutions? Nothing will happen until steps are taken towards finding a solution. Thus, it is important to consider what you can do to revive your relationship.
Discuss your expectations. This will help you understand what your spouse thinks and would help you avoid making assumptions. “Assumptions are the lowest level of knowledge” – Sam Adeyemi. Talking about your expectations EARLY will help you both to be on the same page. Referring to the case of Phil and Sue, if they had both discussed their expectations, Sue would have been able to see things from Phil’s perspective and vice versa. Probably, if she had stated clearly how difficult it was to cope with all she had to do in his absence, he would have returned with a desire to give her a massage, help out as much as possible and then, when she feels re-energised, he will have his pampering session?. Stop trying to make your spouse a mind-reader, express what you have in mind.
Be willing to compromise. To get the best in marriage, making sacrifices cannot be underestimated. Rather than expect your spouse to change, you can make the first move. Decide to give your best to make your marriage work. Even if Sue thinks that Phil should be more understanding and help out on return, if he returns and does not do as expected, putting up an attitude and not being nice may not give her the desired result. Some women who have had rough experiences in marriage and regret not taking the right step to connect with their husbands’ hearts will tell you that from hindsight, it is not worth it. Rather than sit and sulk and complain, ask, “what can I do to capture his heart?”.
Take it a step further. From experience in counselling, some people are often concerned about being the first to make sacrifices because they are often not sure about how their spouses would react; they may not reciprocate and may even begin to think that it is their ‘right’ to be served. Both parties must be willing to make sacrifices for the sake of the marriage, but if your spouse is not willing, go on and do your best, he/she may be won over by your conduct.
Avoid getting immersed in other activities. Some spouses tend to throw themselves into work, taking on more responsibilities or new hobbies as a way of dealing with the pain. Some do this as a way of detaching themselves from the pain they feel. This may seemingly ‘work’ for a while, but the danger in doing this is that it could tear you both apart even more and leave you living separate and disconnected lives. Do your best to bridge the gap.
Look forward to seeing each other again. Build excitement, prepare surprises and fun memories, talk about what you will do together when you see yourselves. Redecorate the bedroom and create a romantic ambience; people respond to what they see, hear and smell. It is an investment towards the marriage you desire and this would go a long way in building the right emotions in your heart for your spouse; we reap what we sow.
Make declarations. Complaining will not yield any positive result. Take your desires to God in prayer and unburden your heart before Him; for sorrow, you will have joy. Take authority and begin to create the marriage you desire with your words. Speak what you want to see – my marriage is blessed, we are so in love that we can’t have enough of each other, my husband/wife makes me happy, …add yours.
To have a better marriage, aspire to be a better version of you and take the right steps. Enjoy a romantic marriage!
For more tips on how to transform your marriage, order our books- Spicy Romance, Bedroom Makeover Plus and Dynamics of Marriage!
If you were in Phil and Sue’s position, what would you do? We would like to read from you.
Photo Credit: indianexpress
Chidi Akunna is keen on building healthy relationships; a UK based solicitor with special interests in Family and Children Law. She is passionate about the challenges and opportunities facing teenagers, 21st century marriages and parenting.
She partners with her husband, Victor Akunna, in running “Romance Masterclass” – a coaching programme and “Lite the FIRE” workshop – a couples’ romance makeover intervention. Together, they write “Connected Hearts” – a leading daily devotional on spicing up marital romance, while also running Foundation for Family Affairs – a charity focused on strengthening families around the globe.