Everyone knows that I entered my marriage with two kids. I am also aware that I was deemed unworthy by many, because of this.
Something I never said, was that because of my choices and the fact that my husband didn’t come with the same ‘baggage’, deep down I deemed myself as unworthy too.
Here is what I was taught, by merely being loved.
My mother in law wasn’t too fond of the idea that her successful, childless, bachelor son wanted to wed the spoils of two other men. I accepted this at first, pretending to be meek in her presence.
I still cringe at how soft-spoken I became at family gatherings. Abuse still made me feel that being meek is safe. I avoid conflicts, even though I am fully capable of winning them.
I still crave approval and dread eye contact.
I remember the day she met my children. Lord bless her soul, she smiled… but then said in a very condescending tone; “oh is die jou kinders… haai shame. Os almal is maar nie die selfde nie”.
To this day I still don’t know what that meant.
However, that brought me to the first lesson I learned in my marriage… not everything needs to be a confrontation.
When you are in love, you tend to let go of small irritations. I noticed within my relationship that the list of things I was willing to fight about grew, the more familiar we became with each other.
Now, if you have ever been in a serious relationship with a man, then you are no stranger to anger and disappointment.
I sincerely believe that men are wired differently to women, and they perceive and execute daily things in an extraordinarily stupid manner. Bear with me, Meninists.
An example of a discrepancy that came up very early in my marriage was tidiness.
Your husband can successfully shoot basketballs into hoops from ten feet away, and pretend that it isn’t a big deal. He will boast of his accuracy and precision-planning to master the art of 3 pointers, but the fucker will drop his clothes at close range, right next to the fucking washing basket every fucking time.
It sounds cliché, but I shit you not this will infuriate you enough to Google ‘divorce attorneys near me’, just to have one on standby.
And don’t think that he will take it off and place it nicely in the vicinity of the basket. Oh no. You will be able to see his exact moves, like you have a time machine, when you go into the bathroom after him.
He will leave the toilet seat up. His toothbrush will be on the sink, not in the designated cup you payed R300 for at Mr. Price Home, and his underpants, in his pants, will be on the floor next to the basket, in the exact position he stood when he dropped his pants, you could literally step into it and just pull both back up simultaneously, and be dressed.
The confrontation starts slow, with a simple. “Baby, did you see the basket for dirty clothes when you were getting undressed?”
To which he will reply; “Yes sorry baby, I meant to put everything in it when I was done showering”.
And then, a month down the line, when it has now happened for the 45th time, the argument has morphed into “Can’t you see the naai basket? It’s been there since we moved in… Yoh you always do this…”… cut to three days of silence and vuilkyke.
I have learned to now, instead of hulking out, just pick up the dirty undy, and throw it in the basket. This feels annoying, but when I release how many times my hubby has placed the butter back in the fridge for me, or bathed the kids when I couldn’t get to it… sucking up frivolous things seems like a breeze.
The second thing I have learned from my husband and marriage is that money cannot buy love. Marriage and running a home is a collaborative effort, which will fail miserably if both parties do not act as one.
I know it seems like an obvious thing, but think about how often when planning your perfect mate in your head, you add ‘must have own money and car’ on your list of prerequisites.
Don’t get me wrong, a man should have his priorities in order.
Riyaahd has a good job and enough policies to make me feel secure in the tragic event that he leaves me a widowed millionaire… but when we fell in love, he didn’t necessarily tick all the boxes on my list of wants and needs.
I think that marriage, in this regard has made me evaluate my own qualities, and what I bring to a union, alongside the qualities of my partner.
When we first moved into our home, there was an unspoken battle of who would handle which portion of the responsibilities.
As Christians, men are supposed to uphold the household financially, and protect the family from any ‘bad forces’ that tried to invade the home.
Now, that is all fair and well, but how does that coincide with a woman who has always had to fend/work for her own things?
What type of life would my children have if I was to let a man, who had up until now been a bachelor, suddenly have to support four people, instead of one?
Also, what would happen to my sense of self if I had suddenly handed the responsibility of feeding me and my kids over to someone else?
Marriage and cohabitation have taught me to be a team player, if anything.
And believe me when I say, it has been hard.
Some days I really wanna take MY STUFF that I bought with MY MONEY and fuck off. But that isn’t how it works anymore, and realising that is an adjustment.
Until you learn to compromise, your marriage will fail to thrive. If you aren’t one, you aren’t married. Not properly anyway.
Sex. Marriage has taught me about sex.
No, I obviously was no stranger to the one-eyed-snake of Satan, but when I say that marriage has taught me about sex, I mean that it has taught me about what sex is meant to be.
I won’t speak out of my bedroom, as I too have boundaries (as shocking as that seems), but sex out of wedlock has always left me feeling somewhat dirty-ish… even consensual sex.
What I learned, from marrying a man that holds himself to the standard of being a godly husband, is that my body deserves respect.
I was so caught up in sex being about pleasing men, and being as raunchy and dirty as possible, that I was in awe of just how beautiful an experience it can be, when done with someone who loves you wholly, as well as within the sacred, blessed covenant of marriage.
And that I shall end there. Though we could speak for hours on the difference between letting someone ‘fuck you’, and joining in, in a guilt free act of love, that makes you feel good afterwards, and not like you have just sinned.
Marriage has taught me self-awareness.
This could be interpreted as a good or bad thing, depending on where in your journey you are when you read this.
Before, when I was acting solely on the behalf of myself, and my own image… I would at times disregard the possible negative outcomes of my actions.
When I got married, it slowly dawned on me that now, when I did anything, it would not only reflect who I was, but it would reflect my marriage, and my family.
Previously, I would say the word ‘poes’, more than I would say the word ‘and’.
Now, I only use the word ‘poes’ when necessary, and I would like to believe that that is personal growth at its finest.
But most of all, marriage has shown me that I am indeed worthy.
Worthy of love, of happiness. It showed me that past actions don’t define me.
It also solidified the lesson that you can be living on the street today, and have abandoned your son to go party with your alcoholic, gang related boyfriend, deeming yourself ‘ruined’ by your lack of chastity…
And tomorrow, you can be married to a handsome, gentle, respectful man, who accepts your children as his own, and doesn’t laugh when you accidentally fart while getting up because you’re 8 months pregnant with baby number 3.
Marriage is a mixture of fights, compromises and inside jokes with your best friend.
Marriage is a bad cliché.
And that is just year 1.