I wanted to write about a beautiful experience when I first got the invitation to contribute to this blog some months ago. Something I would read, that would bring a smile to my face as I would recount the memory.
Something he did right! Oh there must be numerous examples to be honest … but I couldn’t remember anything I could actually write about. I knew things hadn’t been great for a while but I didn’t realist how badly we had drifted from each other, until some three weeks ago. I was looking for a particular file on my hard-drive – I couldn’t remember the name as I had saved it about six ago. It took ages to find but while I was searching, I stumbled across a file I didn’t recognize titled ‘My Darling’. I opened it and it was a series of emails I had saved. At first, I thought it was someone else’s mail because I didn’t remember writing the things I was reading, and these exchanges sounded pretty intense. She couldn’t wait to get to her desk at work to send him a ‘good morning, I’m at work now…’ message; and he sent almost immediate replies throughout the day. At closer inspection, I realized that I was indeed the woman who had written these messages, and my husband was the man I couldn’t get enough of!
I sat there looking at my computer screen, trying to remember what that time had felt like, but I couldn’t. I knew we were the ones, the dates and times made sense, and how else would this be on my personal hard-drive? But we had drifted so far that I couldn’t even associate these feeling with either one of us. I felt so ashamed. How did we let this happen? I have essays and articles I wrote almost twenty years ago which when I read now, I can tell you almost exactly what I was thinking and feeling as I wrote. I have kept a journal since I was 15 years old and when I look back on old entries, I can still recognize the version of me I am reading. Yet, I couldn’t recognize these simple short emails, written over six years ago, to the man I am now married too! Yes, it brought a few tears to my eyes. I guess we must have gone too far in our bid to accommodate each other. I sent the file to my husband and sadly, he had the same reaction, he couldn’t remember being so in love.
As I consider the word ‘Compromise’, I think I have accepted the wrong definition. People say you have to make compromises in marriage and I agree with this school of thought. However, if the definition of compromise you adhere to is the one which says “…the acceptance of standards that are lower than desirable…” you may find that a time will come when you just can’t accept those standards anymore. I guess that is one of the reasons the divorce rates keep reaching for the skies every year. Don’t get me wrong, because in marriage there will be compromise. This is both fact and truth. No two people can be exactly like. While preparing for marriage I was given some examples of compromises some people had made. For example, one lady said she always liked her cereal with cold milk, and her husband preferred warm milk. She eventually started taking hers with warm milk as she thought to herself “… I might as well warm mine while I warm his.” Another lady talked about changing the way she made pasta because her husband preferred it differently, and he didn’t always eat when she made it her own way. One man recently talked about getting used to his wife’s preference of stacking toilet rolls in the toilet instead of having one at a time. For another, it was the tradition of eating rice on Sunday afternoon that had to be given up. These are habits that for the sake of love and peace, one party may be willing to change for the greater good, and as long as it is not a big issue, Yes, give in and let love shine.
However, when it comes to giving up a career/passion or accepting a relationship without affection (Yes I went there), These are deeper issues, similar to what I am having to deal with at the moment. Some people assume it is a given that the woman should give up her career, or take a long break when children arrive. Some women have had to give up jobs they loved because they had to move town or country for the sake of marriage.
While it may be a hard choice to make, it gets even harder when your spouse seems oblivious to the sacrifice you are making simply because “…You are the woman and you have to submit…” And then comes even more hurt when the pressure of being the only earner in the house gets too heavy, and then husband looks at you and says “why can’t you just get any job?”. This is just too far.
Darling husband, I love you and I appreciate all that you do for our home. It gives me pleasure to cook for you, to take care of the little issues in the home, so that you don’t have to bother and you can focus on our long-term goals. Please do not forget that I am a daughter of the Most High God. I am favour to you and for you. I pray for you, asking God to promote you and sustain you, but I am human and I am hurting. You have left your first love. We seem to be keeping appearances yet we are hurting. I wish you would talk to me. I wish you would look at me with love again…
I know some of you may think I’m being a little pathetic here, but here’s my message; While compromise is necessary, don’t go too far. If there is one major lesson I have learnt from marriage, it is that my husband doesn’t always have all the answers. Don’t be afraid to say NO to a significant lower standard. I am not talking about going out all night with friends because that is your standard, or wasting funds on gadgets and greedy wants, when bills have not been paid. I’m talking about compromising on the essence of you. Don’t loose who you are, because you want to please someone else. Otherwise, you will hate your reflection and resent the person who you think is responsible for this version of you. I strongly believe that I will write again and tell you how things have changed, because we certainly can’t continue like this. But I am working on a plan to fall in love with my husband again, so watch this space!
For better for Worse,
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