To achieve a blissful marriage, one has to manage his or her expectations, be ready to sacrifice and change the mindset
THERE are reports of increasing cases of domestic violence during the Covid 19 pandemic lockdown. These point to the fact that many couples are struggling to adjust to each other and some who have pulled through, have many skeletons concealed in their wardrobes. Fights arise from a number of issues.
Jane Christine Wajja, a counselling psychologist notes that there are partners who are not willing to change but fight to change their spouses. She adds that usually, women think that they can change their husband which in reality is unachievable.
"You cannot change a person you did not produce or nurture," she opines adding that, "Simply accept them and come up with ways of reconciling your differences. For example, be open to each other about what excites or irritates you."
Charity Mbabazi, a seasoned sales and marketing professional who has been married to Brave Byarugaba, an engineer advises couples to learn the values of being patient, resilient and tolerant.
She has memories of her 16 years of marriage.
"We met at Kyambogo polytechnic and became friends. Upon completion of our diplomas, we parted ways. I went to UK for further studies and he stayed here," she recollects.
Mbabazi returned four years later to get married. However, since every human being is different from the others, the couple would get petty disagreements.
"We disagreed on things such as the number of children to have. I wanted two and he tied on six," she recalls. Luckily, the couple agreed on four children.
Besides, they had different personalities; Byarugaba is a high risk taker who will invest in a business no matter the risks. On the other hand, Mbabazi was too much of a career woman. She feared to risk her savings. He would always remind her to assume everyday was her last day at work. This gradually sank in her head and she blended in. Today the couple owns joint businesses and they involve their children as well.
"Brave is a calm man and this has helped our relationship a lot. Besides he understands," she shares adding that they are also best friends. They share a lot and have an open communication system.
"We have benefitted a lot from our membership to St Francis Makerere, marriage fellowship where we learn from senior couples," Mbabazi adds.
Manage your expectations
Before entering any relationship, Suzan Nalwoga, clinical psychologist with Motivational and Media Plus Company is of a view for one to stick to the qualities they want in a spouse.
To her, fights usually arise from compromising.
"If for example you are not comfortable with a drunkard but compromise because he has money and you want to get married, fights are inevitable in such a marriage," Nalwoga warns.
She is quick to provide a solution in such a situation; "The couple should understand and be patient with each other keeping in mind that they come from different backgrounds."
Self-discovery is also important as it helps a couple to adjust to each other since God did not create anybody that is 100% perfect.
For example, if discover you are impatient, nagging or untidy, be willing to adjust because it's no longer your life but for both of you. This means that just as you have flaws, he also has his.
"Discard the bad behaviors and strengthen the good ones. This will minimize on the fights at all stages of the relationship," she advises.
To Nalwoga, the people who expect to find perfect spouses end up moving from one marriage to the other. They never settle.
On the other hand, there are couples who find it hard to adjust to each other because they entered a relationship with high expectations. So, they end up getting disappointed when they find a different life.
Nalwoga advises couples to go in expecting to discover more things about each other; good and bad and prepare to adjust accordingly.
Besides, they should always reflect on what they want from the relationship, what attracted them to each other and the reasons that bind them.
To a woman who believes that sex is enough to sustain a marriage, Nalwoga has a different view. In this changing world, a woman is supposed to provide more than sex. When sex becomes boring with time, the man will see other values in you on which he will hinge the marriage. It's why counsellors encourage couples to be friends beyond sex and wealth.
Aside from that, "Men hate being picked all the time. Appreciate the good as well. Much as you realize he does a lot that irritates you, the reverse is true; you annoy him as well," she cautions.
To the parents, for anything that irritates you about your spouse, correct it in your children so they can be better spouses in future. They will grow up differentiating between good and bad.
Also, appreciation and love make a lot of sense when they come with action.
Here, Nalwoga refers to Gary Chapman's five languages of love. You cannot tell someone that you love them when you are insensitive to their feelings.
"When you are annoyed, be careful with the words that come out of you because some words are so strong that they stick to someone's heart and hurt them forever," she warns.
Be ready to sacrifice
Harriet Senfuka, a marriage counselor believes that once two people love and value their marriage, they can easily adjust to each other.
They should fall in love with the marriage, understand its values, be ready to sacrifice and commit to sustain it.
"1 Corinthians 13 shows that love is not self-seeking. So, if you get married, you become one and the language has to change from ‘my things' to ‘our things'. If one is excluded, they will feel left out, leading to cracks in that relationship," she explains.
Senfuka cites selfishness as a demon that is eating up marriages today. She says that partners are insensitive to each other's feelings.
"Cleanse your hearts of selfishness and adjust to each other's interests, likes and dislikes," she advises.
Also, couples should be ready to sacrifice and appreciate that there are some things that won't change even if they love them to. They just have to find ways of living life with them. Say, if one is a drunkard, it may take them sometime to drop the habit.
Senfuka says that usually, men find it hard to adjust, a reason many marriages remain in words.
"This is why there are many separated couples that are not divorced. They are living in the same house but living independently," she notes adding that, "If every partner sticks to their original life then the marriage can't go anywhere."
In case of any cracks, the couple should go back on the drawing board; look for things that bind them and agree on those that won't change.
"Marriage is all about sacrificing what you like. If you can't sacrifice then you don't qualify for marriage," she asserts.
Need personal psychological reflection
Ali Male, another counselling psychologist with A-Z professional counselling and support center suggests the couple appreciate their different backgrounds, cultures, values, levels of intelligence and understanding. This will help them adjust accordingly.
They also need to do a personal psychological reflection which involves self-awareness and assessment. This helps one to know their likes, traits, strengths and weaknesses.
"You may also need emotional intelligence because all the feelings bring about emotions which may escalate into misunderstandings and conflicts," he opines.
Where they fail, they should engage a therapist, counsellor or psychologist; someone who can challenge their minds into thinking about solving their differences.
"Avoid the ‘should' and ‘must' communication because it's not good to order a fellow adult around. This will bring out aggression and conflicts rather than harmony," Male advises.
Change the mindset
Ann Tweheyo, a counselling psychologist with Bishop Stuart University Mbarara says is of a view for couples to shade off their masks and be ready to get dirty in the name of mingling and staying together. They also flexible to change, be God fearing and respect each other.
"Consult mentors or role models who have been there. However, it's not right to report you're your problems to the mentors. Just ask what you need without exposing yourself," she cautions.