The story of a lady who loves to laugh………occasionally she could be playful; She is warm and lively by nature; She loves to invest in her appearance; But then she has another side to her; she is serious minded; smart and intelligent; passionate about her life pursuit; highly competitive and dogged in nature. Then she gets married to a calm, quiet and reserved man who is conservative in nature. On getting married and unintentionally, her husband tried to tame and change who she is as a person to reflect his own personality. The result? She became depressed, suppressed and unfulfilled. The question is, does she change who she is as a person to become like her husband…quiet, calm, cool and collected? Does she forget all her hopes and dreams and embrace that of her spouse? These are some of the questions one of Tolusworld readers sent to me via Facebook messenger. She experiences it day-in-day-out with her spouse. She is not allowed to be herself in the relationship. Her aspirations are being thwarted by her husband’s personality…..unfortunately…
Your individuality, the qualities that distinguish you from other people earmarks you and sets you aside. Your individuality is your uniqueness.
When a man meets a woman for the first time, he is attracted to her initially by her physical appearance and her packaging (read more here for what a woman’s packaging should be to attract a man). After this comes the content of the package. Then both parties decide to be joined together, when this occurs, their dreams, their hopes are also joined together…… sort of…… As years roll by (and I speak from the perspective of a woman and my personal experience), you should not forget to distinguish yourself in your marriage. In your togetherness, in your oneness, make sure you are still connected to “YOU” and what makes “YOU”…… “YOU”. Now you ask me…..how do I go about balancing this act? How are you one with your spouse and yet maintain your uniqueness? How do you as a woman love your husband, submit to him, honor him, embrace his hopes and dreams (note I said embrace and support his dreams not replace yours with his) and yet not lose your sense of individuality?
HERE ARE SOME OF MY OWN RECIPES…….
#1. Know who you are as a person. I think this is the most important of all the tips. Master your personality and by this I mean know your strengths and weaknesses and how to manage both i.e. when to lower your personality red flags and accentuate your strengths. Guard what sets you aside or makes you unique passionately. In marriage, it is a common phenomenon for couples’ personalities to rub off on each other after years of marriage. This is normal. It should rub off…..not replace.
#2. Know your interests- Before I got married, for leisure, I used to do a lot of aerobics, swimming, watch/go to the movies, dance a lot, read motivational books, spend time with my girlfriends….occasionally….. I had my life planned out. I planned to go for my masters degree after three years after graduation etc. When I got married things slowed down a little bit because of children but thank God somehow, I navigated my way back to my interests and dreams…….in doing this, I am finding joy and a sense of accomplishment. What were those things that you used to do as a single person? Your interests, things that made you happy. Getting married does not mean stop living 🙂
#3. Self-worth/self value- When you get married, you may get carried away in the initial tingles of early marriage. This is ok as long as you do not allow yourself to get lost in all the lovey-dovey of early marriage euphoria. Most of the time, couples (especially women) often feel that if they don’t give all, that sense of intimacy will not be complete, then they let their guards down……completely. They don’t set boundaries on what they can or can’t condone. Eventually a lot of people realize this later on in the relationship but by this time, the relationship would have been structured. Unlearning a wrong way of life and building a new one is more challenging and longer process than just getting it right from the onset. It is better to set values straight from the onset. Set individuality boundaries and not barriers.
#4. Do not depend on spouse (or anyone) for happiness- I heard something recently and I thought it was very profound……“whoever has what you want has power over you”. Happiness is an emotion that we all desire to have every day of our lives. The key to your happiness should not be in the hands of any human. In the course of counseling singles, I noticed that quite a number of single ladies believe that once they find their God chosen man and get married, their happiness will be complete. True…..partially and initially. What happens is once a lady gets settled inside marriage (probably 2-3years after), then she begins to yearn for an intrinsic fulfillment that can only be achieved through self. Now if you are the type that depends solely on spouse for happiness, achieving this may be challenging. You have to learn to be happy by yourself. Do not be too dependent on your spouse for every little thing……it strains the relationship.
These are just few of so many……….
DISCLAIMER: Please note that there are some behaviors ad extracurricular activities that should be reduced (or stopped) as soon as you tie the knot to maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse. Example is spending time with your friends. Also remember that marriage is about sacrifice and compromise. You need to pray for wisdom to know when and how to decipher what to sacrifice or compromise because this could be challenging at times.
In addition, know that marriage goes through different phases and seasons. Depending on the season you are in, you might have to compromise to accommodate your spouse’s needs but as I always advocate, communicate, communicate, and communicate so that there is an understanding between two of you so that both of you will be on the same page.
Finally, marriage should positively influence your individuality and not completely change you. Remember, it is that uniqueness that attracted you to your spouse in the first place. Losing it may result in an adverse effect on your relationship and more importantly, it may psychologically affect your being resulting in unfulfilled hopes and dreams which initially might seem ok because you are supporting your spouse’s but unfortunately on the long run, it will backfire.
Let me know what you think in the comment section below. Did your marriage influence who you are as a person? How?
Share and don’t keep that wisdom/knowledge to yourself. 🙂
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