So should you get married? Some of you might say YES, others might say NO, but I believe the answer is much more complicated than we think or maybe I should say less straightforward. I am not sure anyone can truly answer that question, even those that are in successful marriages. I mean, there are just so many variables, so many moving parts (don’t get me started on dealing with human beings and how complicated our feelings and emotions can be).
Look, I don’t know if the idea of marriage is overrated and outdated. I don’t know how realistic it is in this current society. I don't know if it is possible to maintain and successfully manage a relationship for the long term. However, if I may, please allow me to share with you, our journey to “I DO”. Maybe this might help you to somewhat draw a reasonable conclusion; somewhere in between YES and NO.
Wendy and Tunde
Our Stories Before Our Story
This is a universal truth; there is always a story before a story. Before Tunde (my husband) and I met, we both had our separate lives with different experiences. They were full of ups and downs that had shaped us, from infants to the adults that we are today. Prior to any relationship, it’s imperative to understand who you are as an individual. Your past doesn't disappear, the hurt, the pain, the joy, they all don’t go away because you are with someone new.
There is usually a residual side effect with most experiences, good or bad and they can shape you, even long after that experience is gone. Failure to understand that would leave one unprepared for what is to come. You must be able to positively learn from the past so you can be the best version of yourself for you or for your current/future partner. This is the foundation for a healthy and stable relationship. And if you are not there yet, well, there is nothing wrong with pausing for some good old self-reflection. Everyone has a story. And so our journey started...
December 31st, 2016, the day Tunde and I met. But first, a little walks down memory lane. So, prior to that day, we actually almost met a few times. We had mutual friends who would have get-togethers, parties or just hangouts. Every time there was an event we were both invited to, one of us would be present but never at the same time. Now this is where it gets interesting, even when we would both agree to go to the same event, something always came up last minute for either of us. And again, we would both be there but never there at the same time.
Anyway, it was literally a near miss. It was like the universe was either conspiring for us or against us, depending on how you see it. The only logical explanation we could think of was if we had met any other time before that, we probably wouldn’t have been ready for each other. This was the start of our journey to “I DO”. Timing is everything guys, oh and gingersnap cookies, and we are only partially joking about the latter. Seriously. Gingersnap cookies are life.
"Cherish that day, there is this freedom, this excitement you feel when you meet someone potentially important. Don’t let your pride or ego ruin it, soak it all in. Trust me, you will appreciate that memory years later, it is, in my opinion, one of the single most important memories of any relationship. That’s why I always tell you, Wendy, that I wished I really looked at you new years eve of 16. Sigh those memories, the innocence of that first interaction. Simply beautiful. I love you." - Tunde
I Almost Settled
When your heart doesn’t feel right about something, it’s probably not right. Most of the time it isn’t wise to go against your heart. Unless your heart doesn’t want gingersnap cookies, then totally go against your heart. Some more back-story, so Tunde and I are both from Nigeria in West Africa, and there is a certain way parenting is done. The foundation of most parenting across the world is love but there is a certain level to African parents more specifically Nigerian.
Can I get a high five? No? Cool, I’ll just high five myself. Anyway, before I met my Tunde (I don’t like calling him my husband, because you know, he has a name and all), my parents had been on my neck to settle down. To get married, to find a man. There had been a few guys who expressed their interest in me as a wife; they jumped the whole girlfriend phase (I am shaking my head in my head). My parents validated them because of their financial and social status (remember the next level point about Nigerian parents above? Yeah) and, to be honest guys I felt the pressure.
I am the first-born child, I was at "the age" for marriage (whatever that means) and I constantly felt I had to please my parents, plus society’s subtle nudging as well. It’s like there were weddings everywhere, EVERYWHERE. I mean we are human. It was a lot. However, at the same time, something did not feel right. My heart kept bugging me. I knew I didn’t want to sacrifice my happiness and my future for my family in this way or to conform just because. It was really tough, I wanted meaning, I wanted something more natural. So I fought; I fought myself, I fought my parents, I fought to have the right to make “my” choice.
A few times I was emotionally blackmailed and labeled as the bad guy, irresponsible, not serious, etc but I held on, as long as I could. That’s why I believe Tunde and I met at the right time, who knows, I might have buckled under pressure and became a statistic. I wanted to choose my partner because I wanted to, not because I was pressured into it. Don't settle for, “the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know". (African adage) Devil na Devil. Look, your happiness is more important, it might take a while for the guy or girl to come but it’s better to wait or be single than to live with regrets.
Do you really talk? Tunde always says, "The Wendy I know now, is definitely not the Wendy I met." this normally has a negative connotation to it and I can kinda see why. But I really believe that there is nothing wrong with that. People usually put their best foot forward, it’s self-preservation, we want to be liked, we want to be appreciated and we want to be loved. There is nothing fake about putting your best foot forward when you meet someone. It’s with time you get to know each other better and honest communication is one of the most important ways of achieving this.
So simply put, we encourage talking about everything, from money, to gingersnap cookies, to intimacy, to past experiences (good and bad), I mean EVERYTHING. I remember early on Tunde and I were trying to protect each other from the negative aspects of ourselves or I guess what we thought were negatives. So certain topics were either vaguely discussed or sidetracked. The fear of someone you like or love seeing you differently after you become vulnerable is real. Look, a relationship should be a judgment-free zone, as planet fitness is for people trying to get in shape.
Hiding our weaknesses and issues didn’t solve anything; they only caused more problems down the line. You were someone before them, don’t forget that. Until we started communicating honestly and being vulnerable with each other were we truly able to grow and understand our individuality better. It’s scary to be vulnerable, YES but trust me, it not as scary when you are being vulnerable with the right person. Each time you open up, it’s like peeling off a layer of onion and revealing a part of yourself to your partner, your true self.
"Let them choose you for who you are, nothing more nothing less, the main difference between you and an ex is choice." -Tunde
Continue with Part 2 Here
About The Author: Hi! My name is Wendy and I am so much more. I love photography, styling and creating content on various platforms. Freedom of expression is my niche, expression through fashion, music, art, and writing. I always say, not one person is the same we are all unique in our own ways and despite us having a few things in common our differences still sets us apart.
I like to encourage myself and those around me to embrace what makes them different from others and not fall into the trap of conforming to society or the norm. I include myself in this because I am eccentric but sometimes I have had the urge to conform to society. However, I love my originality because that's when I am most creative, confident and happy. So, therefore, Be you, Do you, look for what makes you stand out from others and remember you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God.
For more blog posts from Wendy, check out; Wendyike.blogspot.com
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