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After the Ring - When Things Get Real

So now you are finally married. Excitement is in the air, you've found "The One" - but nobody told yo that after the butterflies have subsided and honeymoon phase a distant memory, things start getting real.

What do you do when your romantic and attentive partner begins to stop being so agreeable? What happens when that wig flies off her head once she walks into the house to reveal a messy bird's nest? Or When she stops contouring her face to perfection? Marriage gets real, and real is not always pleasant or considered at the start of a marriage.

After 15 years of marriage I have learnt a few things:

1. Marriage is an Amplifier. Whatever you dislike in your partner will most likely be amplified in the future. My tip is to learn to love and accept every aspect of your partner. Farting, burping and all! Once you start making "dislike disclaimers" in your mind, it will only get amplified.

2. Do not neglect what you did at the start to attract your Partner. Don't get lazy or complacent. Love is a Verb - an action word. You have to be deliberate and proactive about everything within your marriage. Don't stop caring about how you look. Don't stop trying to impress your partner. Don't stop seeking to please your partner in ways great and small. You can't change anyone but you can determine your own actions.

3. Your children should not replace your spouse. I know all too well how easily women change from doting wives to doting mothers the second they start having children. The children suddenly become everything and their dear husband is relegated to the side lines. Its not a phenomenon exclusive to wives either. I know fathers who live for their kids and their wives are treated as a necessary imposition. This shouldn't be the case. We have the in-built ability to be both Mother and Wife or Father and Husband at the same time. One relationship shouldn't displace the other. What good is your relationship with the children if you have a broken relationship with their Father? This is particularly important when the kids are young. You must learn the delicate balance between being a Parent and a loving/encouraging Spouse. My husband always says: "I chose your mum.....I got given you lot!" Harsh, but true! We must strive to find a healthy equilibrium.

4. Make your home a safe and comfortable place to return. When your partner thinks of coming home, do they run towards it or away from it? We must make it our ambition to keep peace and tranquillity in the home. As long as it depends on us, we must try within reason (Abuse excluded) to keep the peace. That might require you to zip up your mouth from time to time or agree to disagree more often than not. A peaceful and happy marriage doesn't happen by osmosis; we must work at it daily.

5. Marriage is a degree course that you never really graduate from! The second you think you have learnt everything there is to learn about marriage, that's when a curb ball comes flying towards you to remind you that your learning has not ceased. Be open to learn, adapt and change. I'm learning everyday how to cater to the needs of my family of 6. I guess that's what makes the journey exciting!

In the words of my Father: "Don't prepare more for the wedding than the marriage."

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