Fights, disagreements, hurtful words, disappointments, disillusionment etc…. Every marriage goes through one or more of these at the onset. I have not heard a marriage that sailed smoothly without a glitch in the first 3-5years. ‘Might exist but haven’t seen. A lot of major conflicts that occur at the onset of marriage can easily be avoided if certain topics had been discussed before marriage. I’m sure you know by now that counseling is imperative for intending couples. But then even with pre-marital counseling, in marriage counseling, we have seen that issues arise that throw marriages off course or should say balance. Little things that one can overlook. Topics generally discussed in counseling are money matters, in-laws, sex life, submission/respect etc. But I can tell you as a woman that all these things and more, we know and are aware of and also get right but there are other pertinent (tiny) issues that matter and if not dealt with, may snowball and eventually become deleterious to the marriage.
Below, I have listed a few issues that are pertinent and should be discussed before marriage. Please note that there are so much more but for the sake of a concise blog post, I am listing a few.
- When to start having children- When I was getting married years back, I remember very well that we did not discuss when we wanted to have children. I want to say in my generation, the expectation was that you get married and within few months people start sizing you up to see if you are pregnant. But these days couples want to spend time together before the conception of their children which I think is beautiful because this gives them time to get to know each other inside marriage before the arrival of a baby. Babies change the dynamics of newlyweds fast. Getting pregnant is a big deal and a woman needs to be psychologically ready to conceive. As for men, I want to say financial stability is important to them. So, in essence, either or both parties might not be ready to have a baby and if conceived at the wrong time, one or both parties may become upset and destabilized. Other reasons couples may not be ready for the conception of a child is their career. These are valid reasons. So, to avoid unnecessary conflict, this needs to be discussed so both parties can be on the same page.
- Assisting with Children (especially the little ones)- An unspoken culture in the African home is that it is the role of the woman to take care of the children. I agree with this partially. I say partially because the innate nature of the woman is to nurture. Which quite a number of us do beautifully well. But when a career woman has to combine her day job with her business and if by God’s grace she has other children, it becomes cumbersome and tiring. Men should take it upon themselves to assist their wives with babies. God, I really hope a man is reading this. If you are, please assist yours with changing diapers, feeding the baby at the wee hours of the morning/midnight so she can catch some sleep. Ever heard of post-partum depression, some new mothers go through these and some may even lead to suicidal thoughts and act. Sleep deficit leads to a fatigued and cranky wife. Aging sets in early because growth hormones that are supposed to be released during sleep are not given the chance. Grey hair sets in fast. So husbands, assist your wives with children
- Extended family obligations aka in-laws’ obligations – Discuss how much you want them in your relationship. My suggestion here is to have an invisible boundary and set it from the onset. This way, in-laws will know how far they can go. Of course, you will meet with resistance initially but trust me as time passes everyone will understand and adjust to the new you. Also, discuss how much you are willing to assist financially and if you want in-laws to live with you- (I’ll address this in a new post- please Kim out for it)
- Assisting each other with house chores- for some reason, it is a general belief that it is the role of the woman to take care of the home especially in the African home. what happens when this same woman had to go out and work for 10 hours and then comes home, tired, exhausted and still has to prepare dinner, take care of the children and the house, shouldn’t this lady get some help? Please husbands, if you happen to read this, I plead with you, assist that wife of your youth. We have the same blood running throw our veins. We get exhausted and tired even more than you. We get worn out from labor at home and this affects our physiology and then we age fast. Assist that wife of yours. She might not speak due to societal expectations. But I can assure you she will love you more if you assist. House chores are meant to be shared, period!
- Account/Bill– this is a whole topic that I will address in another post. Honestly, I belong to the school of thought that couples should have a joint account (and separate spending account as agreed upon). A topic for another day as well. But please discuss this.
- Debt- remember when 2 are joined together, they become one? Well so does your debts. Her debt becomes his debt and vice versa. You want to lay it on the table so you both know what you are getting into. Student loan is a common debt in the western world so please don’t let this scare you into not marrying the woman/man of your dreams. Fashion out how you plan to pay it off.
I’ll stop here for today. Do you have any question that has been bothering you? Please feel free to ask in the reply box below. You can also send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Tolusworld Profile- Tolu Dairo MD. MSc. A Life Coach (Motivational/Relationship/Parenting) and writer who uses her passion for career/self-development, positive parenting and healthy relationships to inspire people to live their dreams.