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Some thoughts for newlyweds

By Francis Ewherido (14/08/2017)

The Christmas season has also become a time for solemnisation of marriages. Many couples are getting married this season. It is all so nice seeing young couples; immaculately dressed, apparently happy, feeling fulfilled, sometimes relieved, smiling into the future with great hopes and expectations. It is wonderful to be surrounded by family, friends and well wishers, but it is momentary. Shortly after the reception and the aftermath, the personal nature and the reality of marriage begin to sink in. When it is time to retire to bed, none of your friends and relatives will follow you into the bedroom, just you and your spouse. This has some significance, beyond privacy.

Marriage is a twosome affair, actually a threesome, only that the third party, God, is not physical. He is the spirit of the marriage and dwells in the hearts of the couple to guide and direct them. It also means that ordinarily only God should get involved in your marriage both in good and in tough times. Even when third parties—for example, your sponsors and marriage counselors – intervene (no interference, please) in your marriage, the spirit of God should guide them. So indirectly, it is still God guiding and directing.

Hopefully, God has been part of your union since courtship. Just continue to abide in Him and even if you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you will just be fine because “you do not walk alone” (Mark you; I am a gunner, with all the wahala and heartaches, not a Liverpool fan).

Marital communication should be empathic and this involves empathic listening. As Stephen Covey rightly pointed out, “most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. They are either speaking or preparing to speak.”

Be patient with your spouse and let him/her explain his/her position. It is after he/she is through that you should put forward your own position, taking into consideration what your spouse said earlier. As my mother used to tell us while growing up, “you do not ask somebody ‘what are you about to say’; rather you ask ‘what did you just say’”. “Self-mastery and self-discipline are the foundation of good relationships with others.” In other words, private victories should precede public victories. (Covey)

Do not be scared of being you. You cannot run the long distance that marriage is by being a phony, and you will not excel by being a fake. When you are real, no matter how “bad”, it creates a pattern, certainty and understanding. However, be courageous and humble to make the changes necessary to make you a better spouse and by extension a better human being. “The most important ingredient we put into any relationship is not what we say or what we do, but who we are” (Covey).

Be open about the changes that must inevitably arise in your marriage. Change is one of the constant factors in marriage; changes in your spouse, changes in you and changes in your home as the years roll by and the family size grows. It is change all the way.

Jesus preached and practiced selfless and unconditional love. Wonderful and supreme, but I reluctantly suggest that you add reciprocal love in your marriage. Let us be realistic, we are mortals, not God. We naturally want our kind gestures reciprocated, more so in marriage.

Spare some thoughts reflecting on the implications of the vows you took earlier in church. Perhaps you got carried away in the euphoria of getting married and did not pay much attention to the enormity of the vows. “For richer, for poorer” means that money, as vital as it is, will not play a dominant role in the happiness and success of your marriage. “In sickness and in health” means whatever the health challenges, you will stick to your spouse, provided these health issues were not there and hidden from you prior to your marriage. Such a scenario gives you the option to seek an annulment of the marriage. That is, it is assumed that the marriage never took place because it was based on falsehood.

“To love and to cherish” means that no matter the circumstances you will continue to love and cherish your spouse. “Till death do us part” simply means only death by one or both spouses can end the marriage. When God instituted marriage, He meant it to last a life time. A long-lasting marriage starts from the mind. If your mindset is conditioned for the long haul, it reflects in your attitude, approach and actions.

All these vows, though achievable, are tall orders. That is why ordinarily; new couples ought to be ponderous before taking marital vows. Unfortunately, we generally take vows and oaths perfunctorily. But not to worry, God will be with you through this exciting but dodgy journey. Congratulations, guys, welcome to the real men’s club; I wish you all and all married people a happy married life. Marriage is meant to be enjoyed, not endured. Go ahead and enjoy yours. Happy New Year in advance.  

Triple celebrations for the Ewheridos

This morning, my youngest brother, Edesiri Mark Ewherido, will be joined in holy matrimony to his heartthrob, EseOghene Alexandra Erakpotobor. The wedding was delayed by a year in honour of my late brother, Senator Akpor Pius Ewherido. I thank Edesiri, his wife and her family for their understanding and patience while we struggled to come to terms with the harsh reality of the death of Bros P.

I also use this opportunity to wish my eldest brother, Aloysius Ewherido, who turns 60 today, a happy birthday. May God continue to guide and protect you. I also wish my eldest son, Oghenefego, who is a year older today, a happy birthday. Young man, remain level headed and focused and you will just be fine. God bless you all.

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