When I first met this couple, whom I will call the Tayos, I was newly married and they were a perfect image of what I thought marriage was about, of what I wanted my marriage to be like. They were an older couple, with over 30 years of marriage under their belt, and still lovey dovey, not caring who was watching them hold hands, or when mama would sit on her husband lap, or the way they would eat from each other’s plates, even with their own meals right in front of them.
They made the love business seem easy, holding hands and sometimes even going to the market together; Mr. Tayo would drive and Mama T would do her market runs, bringing her purchases to the car one by one and stopping to chat with him, as she did. I so fancied them, until I ran into murky waters and needed to put things in perspective. I went to the woman for some advice, and I got more than I bargained for. Both of them helped out.
I got the story of how their love began, the different challenges they had gone through, including the exact challenge I was dealing with, and then more. I however realised one thing; what I saw on the outside was only true to a certain extent, even for an older couple, they were not into each other, all the time. They were times they just wanted to be out of each other’s hair, not all the time is Mr Tayo solicitous and chivalrous. Sometimes, he doesn’t give a damn and Mama T can also be a she-devil, so for me to think that their marriage was perfect was a mistake.
I left their house that day, knowing what I must do, to get to where I wanted to be, not because they provided answers, but because I had a new perspective. What I wanted might never happen, and if it did, then, thankful is how I need to be, not taking it for granted. From this couple, I also learnt these lessons, and that’s the main reasons yours and my marriage will never be perfect. If it comes close, then that is fantastic. Here we go:
- You and your spouse are not the same
This is like the most basic reason why a marriage will never be perfect. You and your spouse were raised by different parents, most likely with different values, which would have been ingrained by the time you meet. You get married and blend, but the old habits will still show forth at different times.
It’s only natural that some of your opinions will differ. Disagreements shouldn’t break you. Each one presents an opportunity to learn something new about your spouse and should provide an opportunity to strengthen your marriage, not weaken it.
- Wanting perfection would cause unnecessary stress
One incidence Mama T told me about was how, in the early days of her marriage, she had been fond of sewing same the materials for her and her husband, and insisted that he wore his. He was not happy about it, but it was several months later that he made it known that he wasn’t into all that uniform business. Mama T was hurt, her idea of the way a perfect couple dressed had been through out of the window.
She said, when she eventually gave the clothes out, she was crying and only later, realised it was over a lost dream. They still don’t wear uniform, rather they colour coordinate, and no one is stressing anymore, over things that do not really matter.
Besides, material things, it is a futile effort to be trying to change one’s spouse into the perfect spouse. Of course, we should be working on the areas of our weaknesses. However, we should do so with an understanding that both parties have flaws. And learn to accept one another, in spite of those flaws.
- You are human, and so is your spouse
It’s okay to be human and vulnerable within your relationship and not feel unsafe or feel that your mistakes will be used against you. Look at it this way, whenever you make mistakes, it proves you too have weaknesses, just like every other person in this world. To be aware of those mistakes is to be alive.
Your ability to know yourself, and come to a place of acceptance about the things you don’t necessarily love about yourself is good for your marriage, especially when you’re willing to do the same for your spouse.
- Your strength is in going through life’s ups and downs
Life, as they say is the best teacher. It taught Mr. Tayo never to underestimate the powers of his wife’s tongue, when his brawn could no longer carry him. During my chat with them, he revealed how his wife had gotten him out of police custody one night. He had gone out for a drink with his pal, and they had stayed back longer than planned and as the police was raiding, they took them too, and off to the police station, where they were asked to produce a certain amount of money, before they would be released.
That night, he had not wanted to call his wife, but his other friends whom he called were not responding, so he called his wife as a last resort and you guessed right, she came. She wasn’t going to let her husband sleep in the police station. And she did not nag him about it, until he told her himself, some days later, what had happened at that night. She got him and his pal out for less money than was originally asked for.
People grow during life’s trials. The greatest lessons I’ve learned came from the mistakes I’ve made, and yes, my imperfections.
- Your relationship will adapt for the better as you age
If your relationship was perfect, that means there isn’t any room for growth and everything will basically stay the same. Growth is a very important part in marriage. You and your partner will continuously find new and better ways to do things in your marriage. And that, I tell you is a great thing.
The less we strive for perfection, the more we can truly live and enjoy our marriages. We might not ever be the perfect couple, but the key is to be perfect for each other.
So forget about being perfect and just enjoy your marriage.
Kristine is a member of The Lovelint team. She is a down to earth person, who says it as it is. Having given relationship advice for years in a national daily, she has found out that fear is one of the main reasons holding people back from enjoying a healthy, happy relationship. She is married with kids and is willing to listen to you and help as much as you let her to.