Updated: Jan 13, 2020
The Vows: “For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part...” Now that...that was the part I felt locked our souls. In fact, to me that commitment was more profound than the conception and birth of our offspring. I felt the weight of every word as I repeated after my pastor that Sunday morning my marital pledge. My heart and soul was submerged in those vows and to be frank that person. I was firmly assured of every uttering word.
Marriage is a beautiful constitution (in my opinion). It‘s the union of two individuals coming together to fully commit to journeying life as one; a legal and spiritual contract that is intended to never end. That’s where I see the beauty and sacredness of it. To walk in and live out that title as a spouse is a true gift that should never be taken for granted. However, in merely living, the vows will surely be tested as well as you!
This topic is one that I’ve been reluctant to blog on considering not too long ago I endured a long and trying separation followed by divorce. I was once convinced that surviving all of that had no purpose and that any attempt to provide some insight on what I’ve learned would just fall on dead ground or result in a never ending...”You can’t tell me anything about marriage if you’re not married!” or “You weren’t successful at it so why should I listen to you!” Yes, I was trying to avoid all that yata-yata but I’m a bold spirit and I’m here for it!
To be honest, I was deeply committed to the marriage with every fiber of my being so much so that I had gotten so out of touch with myself. I was overly sacrificial and dedicated to every part of the duty as “his” wife. My dedication held fast to what had lived before me; a strong family legacy of marriage which had endured until death’s departure. Furthermore, my personal vow to not repeat the same mistakes my parents had made. That mission intertwined with such a fierce love taught me so many valuable lessons about myself within the marriage.
With every intent to avoid boredom or volunteer the intricacies of my personal life (unless you’re buying my future best selling book, lol), I want to enlighten you on five major things I’ve learned over the course of 16 years of marriage and commitment (combined). My sincere desire is to offer basic self-help points that I wish someone would have respectfully shared with me:
1). FIRST UNDERSTAND YOURSELF!
Many people get completely lost in marriage title! No doubt, I was fully equipped to function as “his” wife but I believe I had become so entrapped in my role with the goal of being the perfect wife that I had lost track of my own identity.
In order to stand fully united with someone you must be completely in tuned with self: Your likes, dislikes, strengths, weakness, mishaps, shortcomings, emotions etc. If you aren‘t self-aware, how can you ever fully understand what it is you need, how you love and better yet how to demonstrate that love to yourself or another? It’s imperative that you completely know what it is that makes you YOU as an individual and never let that die.
2). YOU CAN’T FIX IT ALL!
Just because we can multitask pretty much everything as humans(especially women), it still doesn’t give us the audacity to try to fix everything in marriage. First of all, that’s controlling and as much as you think it’s backed by a positive intention, it doesn’t mean that it will be received in that manner nor produce a successful outcome. Knowing what you shouldn’t place your hands on is just as imperative as knowing yourself. Also, if you think you can fix your husband‘s (or spouse’s) issues in hopes of pacifying your own insecurities, you are sure to cook up a recipe for disaster.
Now, I’m not saying let things fall apart and ignore them but know that you are not Superwoman or a magician! You can‘t rescue nor “hocus pocus” away the process that marriage takes you through individually or collectively. Yes, marriage is a journey and a process that no one person can mechanically fix. It requires love, patience, reasonable compromise, forgiveness, and diligent dual efforts (with God’s guide and sometimes professional counseling) to fix and restore whatever has malfunctioned.
3). SACRAFICING TOO MUCH WILL COST YOU EVERYTHING
Each of these previously stated points build upon themselves. You need to have a firm knowledge of self and understand that seeking to please or overly give to your spouse (or anyone) without proper reciprocation will only drain you, create emotional instability and cause complete chaos inside the union. This all goes back to that control piece mentioned. Balance is key and so is mutual reciprocity within any union.
4). STOP TAKING EVERYONE’S ADVICE
Yes, lol! I’m saying this although I’m blogging my butt off with these points on how to maintain your foundation within matrimony (or thereafter). What this point means is that you have to avoid advice from people who don’t seek to offer peaceful and meaningful solutions! To be frank, they don’t have the solutions...You do! My ex-spouse always told me this and I truly believe it now! No one knows the root to your problems like you. Therefore, in order to change whatever it is you are seeking to change, you have to do the neccessary self-work or (if desired) seek professional advice to transform your issue(s) irrespective of what your spouse intends to do about their own.
5). SELF-CARE =WELFARE!
As mentioned, self-sacrificing can cost you everything! Having a healthy relationship with yourself is vital! I can attest to this because during the start of my separation I was headed toward depression and it wasn’t until I deeply immersed myself into self-care practices like guided-meditation, spiritual reading, painting, fitness, and healthy eating habits that I started to have an overall better attitude about my circumstances. I’m not here to suggest that my self-care strategies work for you or anyone. Find out what works for you and promotes your personal wellness and apply it as often as possible.
The YOU Vow-To never lose your identity, drain oneself in total sacrifice to another, seek solutions in others outside of your spiritual source or forget to take care of your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being while married. These are the first vows I wish I could have made to myself before the officials. However, I humbly leave my offerings on the alter with belief that the latter coupled with sincere commitment to carryout the vows declared in matrimony can aid in strengthening the core of any sacred union.
A Reflective Photo Taken in October 2017 of Dr. Bionca W. Shy