Many of us grew up good kids, there was no major drama in our lives, just the usual moving house from estate to estate, playing street football, stealing the neighbours slippers so that we can cut out 4-wheeler sets for our cars made from milk cartons and/or hanger wire stolen from mum’s closet (the good ones came in White Rose packaging). Praying for every meal was a must. Going to church on Sunday even if you were sick “utaombewa kanisani upone” my dad would say.
Growing up I don’t remember seeing my parents fighting, in conflict or showing that there is any issue with their marriage. This was in contrast with the marriages that i would see on TV where husband and wife were in constant conflict. I must thank them deeply for showing me that marriage is fun and happy.
Here’s the trouble with this scenario. I grew up knowing that marriage is fun and happy. I think I pulled out all the stops for my first girl. I bade her good riddance eventually after the relationship “just died”. Like most, I had no idea how to deal with conflict, different interests or a break-up. When I met my next girl. She was all that and a bag of chips. But I wasn’t looking for a girlfriend at that time, but we hung out anyway.
I think this is what worked because we became friends, did stuff together, and slowly grew on each other. At the strike of year two, a mutual friend (also dating two years) came to us with his girlfriend at a party and told us that we would break up because statistics indicated that the lifestyle of a dating relationship was 18-24months. We sort of purposed in the back of our minds that we would make this relationship of ours work. Three years of fun, drama, fights, break-ups and make-ups (to be discussed later) we got married.
All the while we have been married we have purposed to be friends at all times. During the good and the bad, our friendship has kept us going. Now, we are parents, not married for too long but I count it all joy walking in this journey with my best friend. I can say that I am a proud man, husband and father (in that order). Why? You ask… well for one simple reason. I write my own story. The prelude to this story is as friends, WE define how WE want our marriage to be, WE set the tone, WE determine the pace.
During counselling sessions with several couples from all kinds of backgrounds: broken family, too closely knit families, traditional families, single parent etc, and the one thing that is similar is that the couple want it to work. Our assessment always starts with “are you friends?” …
This is not the friendship that tells your partner “I like you lets hang out and talk about the weather” no… it is the friendship that tells you, “I have good news and you’re the first person I want to tell” or “I’m having a tough day, just hold me for a little while” or even “How do I fit into your dreams and plans for the future? How can I help you achieve them“.
Dating and Marriage is a two way street in all aspects, dreams, ambitions, communication, conflict resolution etc. You must decide within yourself to be friends, best friends with your partner. This is a foundation that cannot be questioned. This foundation, is the key to making your relationship work.