Wife Speak: Don't fight for your marriage

Most couples make a point of truly getting to understand their partner’s love language.

What you need to know:

  • Rarely do we hear of husbands being advised to fight for their marriages.
  • There are unwritten rules that encourage women to fight for and not to fight back. 

“You need to fight for your marriage!” is advise often dished to couples - to wives really, whose husbands are philanderers – whose marriages are on the rocks. The already heartbroken woman is advised to up her game in the bedroom, which is a subtle way of blaming infidelity on her. She is told to fight for the marriage with everything she has got, including her life, as we have consistently and regretfully witnessed, with tragedy after tragedy of gender-based cruelty.

First, let me clarify something. I do not believe in fighting for a marriage. To fight connotes something adversarial. It means that there are two enemies in a combat situation, which is usually the case. A husband gone rogue is a dangerous man. He will be the opposite of what he vowed to be. He will be the protector turned attacker, the provider turned bearer of adversity, the lover turned abuser, the husband turned adulterer.

He will, in other words, be doing everything to break the marriage, while the said wife will be busy chasing him, begging him to stay, fighting for her marriage. Of course, the women also fall in their own category, but rarely do we hear of husbands being advised to fight for their marriages. There are unwritten rules that encourage women to fight for and not to fight back. 

When a reader wrote to me, sharing her story of abuse in marriage and asking me for guidance, I started by correcting her assumption. She had said, “I know you encourage women to fight for their marriages.”

Investing in your marriage

“No, I don’t!” I shouted in the best way one can do via email. I wrote in CAPS.

In the more than five hundred articles I have penned over the years, I have never encouraged a man or woman to fight for their relationship. That is not my school of thought.

I told her: “If that man is no longer interested in the relationship, it does not matter how many fights you put up. And it is not worth it at all. A marriage is made up of two willing individuals.”

What I preach is an investment in the relationship by both parties. Investing in your marriage, both of you – since marriage is an agreement of the two - is vastly different from one fighting for their marriage. One is an unattractive act of desperation, devoid of self-love; the other is a healthy, mature approach to an adult relationship, meaning there is no co-dependency.

Investment entails a husband and wife putting in time, money, patience, and a massive dosage of goodwill for the union to grow and thrive. Some couples dedicate one day in the week to date. It does not matter whether their favourite politician appears in the news or their tummy is bloated; these couples honour their time together.

Couples' love language

When Covid -19 led to a lockdown, these couples would tuck in the kids to bed, then sit at the balcony for their date. Other teams make it a commitment to check on each other at least three times during the day. They talk about the mundane, but they grow their bond and friendship at the end of the day.

Most couples make a point of truly getting to understand their partner’s love language, which I think is the greatest investment for a marriage. We tend to demonstrate our love towards our spouse through our own love language, so it must take great effort to know our spouse’s love language and speak to them through it. 

For example, I am an affectionate person whose love language includes touch. Therefore, I am likely to give a lot of hugs and kisses and reach out for Hubby’s hand as we walk. This is not Hubby’s love language, and so, he usually pockets his hands or gives me the ‘Melania Trump’ swat. No, I shall not fight for this because it loses its power to communicate love when I must force him to unpocket and hold my hand.

Investing in a relationship is not always a breeze. It requires creativity. Sometimes, funds are low, and consequently, the husband is moody, the wife is experiencing hormonal imbalance, her temper is unstable. At that time, no one is feeling lovey-dovey. Yet, it is in such a moment that love demonstrated in their language would mean the world to them. Do not fight for your marriage, but keep investing in it together. 

Karimi is a wife who believes ibn marriage. [email protected]

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