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Where have I been? Why haven’t I blogged for so long? Will I still be posting to EPE?
In short, I’ve been opening a new chapter in life and enjoying every minute of it. My last post was in October, The Late Bloomer, and since then, it’s been a whirlwind of fun, uncertainty, and excitement. And in this new post, I want to share some preliminary learnings about married life!
Growing up, I always wanted to be married and have a family and I had a rose-colored perception of what that would look like! It’s been a little over a year since getting married and these are the top 5 lessons I’ve learned.
Disclaimer: There is nothing revolutionary about the things I have learned. But I’ve also learned that repetition is not always a bad thing 😉
#1 | It’s comforting.
When done right, having someone by your side, as a partner, is an at home feeling. It just feels really good, selfishly, to know there is someone you can talk to about any- and everything and the energy you’re putting out is reciprocated. It’s a comfortable feeling that can’t really be explained.
#2 | It’s important to be best friends.
I always heard this and was like “hmm I wonder what that looks like?” But when you live with someone, the amount of time you spend together creates this requirement by default. You have to be able to be vulnerable with them, honest with them, and enjoy each other’s company. Otherwise, the days will feel long, and you will be searching for that best friend feeling elsewhere and that’s no way for a healthy marriage to function.
#3 | It’s not always pretty.
In general, but especially in the Senegalese community (in a traditional sense), dating is fun and not always an indication of how married life will be. It’s usually short stints of seeing one another, when you’re at your best and/or putting on a show to hide all your flaws. But after marriage, all that goes out the window. It’s now time to be your authentic, true self, 100% of the time. You literally cannot escape yourself when you’re living within 4 walls with someone for an extended period of time … it would be exhausting to try to keep up an act. So, I’ve learned that you have to learn to embrace the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s just how life goes but if you do #2 right and you marry right, it is not a daily task; it becomes much more instinctual.
#4 | It’s important to have a tribe around you.
That toi et moi phenomenon is not beneficial to the probability of success for a long-term, healthy relationship. It’s crucial to have loved ones and family as a support system individually, and as a couple. When you need some space, when things aren’t going too smoothly, when you just want to continue to nourish the pre-existing relationships you had prior to getting married (and you should!)! You don’t end one life and start a new one when you get married. It’s a continuation and merging of two chapters of your life – that’s how I see it and it’s important to find a healthy balance while prioritizing the ones and things that matter.
#5 | There’s no manual on how to do it right.
Your relationship will be unique and your own to cultivate. There are books out there and plenty of material to help you navigate the changes, difficulties, and moments you will encounter. There are even professionals who counsel married couples for a living. But the true nature of your relationship will only be known by the two constituents. Find what works for you and just make sure you and your partner are on the same page.
There is not guarantee on anything in this life. One thing I always used to hear when I would ask “how do you know you’re ready?” and the constant answer was “you don’t know.” It’s a calculated risk and you take it cautiously, but with huge leaps of faith. Nobody goes into a marriage knowing what the outcome will be. They just pray it works out and do their best; the rest is up to God.