A lot has been said and written about marriage and indeed there are mixed feelings about this topic. In our society today the world is moving very fast and keeping a marriage together for many people is becoming an uphill task. Much as there are many breakups and divorces, there also many successful marriages and I know someone out there may be wondering “how do they do it?” Like anything else really there are no smooth rides and since I have been married for close to seven years now, I would like to share a few insights and tips.

1.Choosing the right partner

This obviously comes way before the actual wedding and marriage perhaps it would work for those intending to follow this path in the not so far future. Many times the kind of partner one chooses may either make them very happy or extremely miserable. As was in my case, marrying someone who is your friend first has got many advantages since as friends we don’t pretend around each other, rather we keep it real and this is fertile soil to a nurture deep understanding about each other. However a few pointers for a good partner are someone with whom you share a few things in common for example, you could love the same band, play similar games, love similar food, share similar hobbies or even have the same profession. These similarities tend to pull people together and make for a lasting successful relationship so that even when the once-great sex diminishes with the passing of the years, those other things that brought you together, that you share in the common act as the glue that keeps you going. Take time to date and get to know each other better before committing permanently till death do you part.

2. Look for TRUE LOVE and not LUST, INNER BEAUTY over outward beauty

It is true most of us look for very beautiful partners who are good in bed and somewhere along the way lose sight of what is really important for a long term sustainable relationship. As we study potential partners we should look for traits that can withstand the storms that inevitably come with a meaningful marriage. Be sure that there will be children waltzing into this marriage and them come real responsibility. Remember for any marriage, usually, there are two people coming together from different backgrounds and upbringings and therefore have different ideology on any number of issues, yet this couple must live together in the same space and start a family. Therefore it is important to get a partner with inner beauty, which I term as good qualities that can resonate with your own, to end up with a beautiful successful union. we must be keen to not be deceived by outward appearances only or greatness in bed.

3.Compete to care about each other

Very Often my wife and I whenever we go out to say a restaurant for a meal, when the bill comes we both literally rash for our wallets to see who pays first and this applies to a number of other things that happen in our lives. It could be an alien idea for most people especially considering the diverse cultures but it removes the one-sidedness in any relationship because for any union to work there must be a give and take. if your wife, for example, took you out this year to a fancy restaurant for a sumptuous dinner on your birthday this year, the coming year you could be creative and take her out to an even better place, probably buy her that present she has always been singing about.

4. Familiarity breeds contempt, a little space might be the recipe you need to work wonders in your marriage.

More often than not as a married couple we stay together with each other, share the same space, eat the same food, know each other’s passwords for devices etc. This sometimes gets to a point that it becomes not only monotonous but also irritating and with time it may even bring about resentment in a relationship. We out to give our partners some space. This can bring you closer together, for example, my parents were both teachers and there was a point where they worked in different districts, separate schools and only used to see each other once in a while mostly during the school holidays and to this day I still think that was one of the things that kept them mostly happily married for over 30 years.

5.Share responsibilities

A family is a kind of organisation run by primarily two people. It is therefore demoralising to have one person doing all the work, while the other is slumped on the sofa watching television from sunrise to sunset day in day out. Don’t get too comfortable. Both partners have to take responsibility for the wellbeing and smooth running of the marriage and indeed the family. Today there are more and more women taking up the carrier path, they have day time jobs just like the men, therefore men have to go to help out more with the housekeeping and tending to children as women have to help with the bills of the home.

6.Sacrifice and compromise

For any relationship to work there has to be sacrifice and some compromises have to be made. These two values work must work both ways. It is not fruitful to bring into a marriage pride and ego, to carry your old habits of bachelorhood or spinsterhood. you will have to let go of some old habits to fit into the marriage crevice. Some people want to get married and yet continue their nocturnal tendencies like going to clubs and returning in the morning wasted from alcohol. Strike compromises and not be rigid with your old mannerisms or desires in some areas, for example, you may not like going to the gym, but because your partner is a gym person, it would not hurt to escort them there.

7.Gratitude and apology

Every day in marriage we do things, big or small and everybody loves to be appreciated, it brings a certain warmness to the heart. Tell your wife thank you for even the smallest things they do. It is bad to take these things for granted. If she pays the water bill, thank her for it, if she cleans the room, appreciate her. Sometimes this appreciation can even be accompanied by a small gift, a dinner date or it can just be a simple verbal ‘thank you”. We should also not be shy to apologise where we go wrong, apologise and be truly sorry, don’t carry grudges and as you apologise, also learn to forgive and let go. These things though seemingly small and insignificant go a long way in moulding great successful marriages.

8. Openness and transparency

In any marriage union, you are each other’s keeper and therefore you have to be open and accountable to each other. It is detrimental to any marriage when you keep things away from your partner. even the simple things like you went out with friends, had a meal and your partner did not know about it could be bad for your marriage should they find out from another source, it breeds an atmosphere of distrust. My wife and I are sometimes apart since we both work and from time to time I am out of the country, but we are always in touch and updating each other on how our day is going, whether or not we have had a meal, what meeting or training each of us is attending and so on. In this way, even if I am away from her she knows exactly where I am and what I am doing at any given time.

9. Work at it consistently without tiring

A marriage is like a project, it is like a garden. You have to put in work to make things move along. Things don’t just happen unless effort is put in. Get actively involved in whatever is going on in the marriage whether it is taking out the garbage, changing diapers, washing dishes, taking the children to school or doing that job to raise money to sustain the family. Work has to be done by both partners. Make a conscious effort to do all the things that need to be done to nourish this marriage. Dress well for your partner, buy them gifts etc.

10. Don’t forget to have fun while you are at it

The concept of having fun is understood differently by different people. In marriage, there’s a lot of opportunities to have fun. Go out on vacation, my wife and I have resolved to go to a new place at least once a year whether within or outside our country of residence with or without the children and this renews our fuel to keep going. Play with the children, try out new recipes, watch movies or television shows as a family, visit relatives, be active at your local church, join clubs and a whole host of other fun activities. These keep the family and marriage alive and vibrant.

In conclusion…

Like anything good, MARRIAGE is the result of the work you put into it. It is what you make it and when you do these things and more it can be a very happy place even amidst challenges. I wish you all happy and successful marriages