What you need to know:
- Weathering storms include being so vulnerable to each other that there are no secrets or putting up fronts for the other.
- Weathering storms means that your partner knows that you have their back as they do yours.
One of the saddest things to witness, if you are a lover of love, is an aged lacklustre marriage. Have you been to a home where love and care died and were buried decades ago?
While the marriage is intact on paper, the certificate still crisp in the envelope, the relationship is icy cold, even a cold harsh winter night in Alaska is warmer.
A friend who lived in Kinangop and now resides in Alaska told me that Kinangop in July is a summer day in Alaska. That is how chilly a relationship gets after years of neglect with no attempt at building a friendship, no warmth for each other’s company, and of course no laughter.
Save for the functionality of a marriage, such as the home responsibilities that each party has assigned or are assumed assigned by society, including cooking, cleaning, and paying bills, there is no meaningful conversation.
In this Alaska kind of relationship, since there is no camaraderie, every other topic is off-limit. Most topics are taboo as they can birth an argument that is always laced with spite and put-downs.
Secrets thrive here. One party will wake up to discover that the other has sold a joint property by forging the signature of their partner or has done something similar that will further breach their partner’s trust to an irreparable level.
The couple drifted apart and are now soulless souls sharing a space, and that is not a life to live.
Then there is the other heart-warming type of relationship, warm as a sunny, breezy day by Lake Victoria.
Have you ever witnessed an elderly couple’s companionship? They will openly squabble, apologize to each other, joke, tease, and above all, ultimately demonstrate quiet caring for each other. They laugh together a lot.
Reminiscent. They are always in conversation, mostly about mundane stuff.
Life is too brief not to thrive while at it. We are meant to work together to live wholly, building each other. What is the secret of the thriving couple?
They weather the storms of life together. Adversity visits anyone, but facing it together builds a bond that we only see after they have emerged on the other side of the storm. Weathering storms include being so vulnerable to each other that there are no secrets or putting up fronts for the other.
After all, a marriage is a union of two to form one unit. Weathering storms means that your partner knows that you have their back as they do yours.
Shared values and vision
Another secret is being open-minded enough to unlearn. You unlearn harmful worldviews that do not serve love and respect to your spouse.
For example, you unlearn and discard attitudes that hold prejudices and biases against gender, tribe, race, and other people who are differently abled.
To unlearn is hard. It means dying to self, discarding mental attitudes that you have held for all your life. It also means admitting that you are fallible and that your thoughts dictate your behaviour. To unlearn means getting out of our comfort zones, which is tough for all of us.
The third secret of a thriving marriage is shared values and vision for the union. Couples who realise that a marriage is a gift to each other put in the work to make it worth their while. After all, it is a voluntary union.
While opposite personalities attract, their differences become a complementary element that strengthens their relationship.
However, those who lack shared values will grow apart and eventually, the marriage will dissipate. If your home is starting to feel as cold as a morgue, it might be time to have a sit-down and decide whether you want to build a companionship, what sweat and tears you must put in, what unlearning you need to do, and how soon that should be, before it is too late.
Karimi is a wife and mother who believes marriage is worth it.