While going up the marriage building, somewhere between some floors, I stopped reading marriage books. There was nothing new happening inside those pages, and they all seemed to sing the same song. They also seemed to have been written by writers seated in the clouds and when I read them while wading through a swamp and when I was swimming upstream, they were as helpful as a plastic spoon in hot oil.
I started listening to and taking note of real stories, stories told by people with the dirt under their nails from working the marriage garden. Stories of marriage airplanes that encountered gut-wrenching turbulences; flew in circles for years or even went back to the place they started, but they are still in flight.
Like this story I read in the comments section of a blog I follow.
The smells in the doctor’s waiting room was a mixture of talcum powder, sweat from tens of bodies that were sweating for two and that disinfectant smell that’s typical of hospitals. She was number 17 in the queue, and no one was about to give her their spot because everyone was dealing with nausea, stomachs the size of Madagascar and a bad case of hormone-induced irritability.
She felt the puke coming up. She fanned herself with her hands as if that would keep it down. She breathed in and out faster like a man with pneumonia. Despite all efforts, she knew the puke game was going to go down like a fat kid on a seesaw. Right there on the doctor’s reception.
He was the only man in the gynaecologist’s waiting room, he stuck out like a penguin in a desert. He soon realised she was in distress and as she heaved one more time, he cupped his hands and extended them towards her mouth, ready to collect whatever her stomach was going to give.
I added the details as I thought they may have happened. It was told by the baby bump itself, now a grown man. But the mom has never stopped narrating it.
After seven years in marriage, I have it asked many times, “What is love?”.
The world today is awash with influencers doing ridiculously expensive gestures to show their significant others that they love them. If they are not putting them on billboards, they are flying them to exotic destinations and buying them monsters on wheels.
I read the comments sections of these posts and my heart bleeds. Most of them are just Kenyans being Kenyans and sharing jokes and the ‘Kamati ya Roho chafu’ members reminding them that it will end in premium tears. Which is the first lesson in the school of wizardly and witchcraft – wishing others downfall because they seem happy.
Underneath all that jest, though, are many who ask, “Will I ever have that?” And many who are in marriages and relationships that aren’t filled with so much pizzazz and don’t look like they feel right out of Venus. Why do most relationships look transcendental while yours looks like a cheese recipe that backfired?
I remember my 30th birthday because I had been anticipating turning 30. 30 is the jump off the cliff that has been scaring you all your life. It’s the moment when you realise, I’m going to jump; I may fall, or I may fly, but unless I jump I’ll never find out. 30 is the year you wake up to the scaing fact that you’re done rehearsing adulting, the internship is over, you’ve completed your ground school lessons, and you’re finally taking this life plane to the skies,
I had planned this whole party in my head, it was going to be epic. There would be lots of roses and chocolate and little gifts badly wrapped by a grumpy, underpaid guy in a supermarket. It wouldn’t matter, I’d enjoy unwrapping them because it’s the thought that would matter. We would go to an exotic place on the coast (where we had moved to a couple of years before) and I’d have the best time of my life. I was going to paint this hot town red and no heat was going to stop me.
On my 30th birthday, though, we didn’t even have Ksh. 500 to buy a cake. We barely had enough to buy vegetables for that day, anyway. So we wore our sandals and walked to the beach. We didn’t exactly live near the beach but we couldn’t afford to take any form of transport there. It was a distance that we could walk without wearing out the soles of our feet, and we didn’t want to stay in the roasting November sun the whole day.
So we made it look like a romantic walk and just walked slowly, kicking sand with our toes and getting our foreheads roasted. We played in the water and forgot that we were more broke than a pauper’s child. And that’s very few years ago, if you’re wondering, 🙂 .
Fun is good. Money is excellent. I’d rather have money than not have it. The birthdays and anniversaries I have celebrated in hotels have honestly been better than those that I did not. But we have also walked into a hotel while barely speaking and taken cute selfies then gone back to sulking at each other.
we should all learn to give love away from the cameras. Does your spouse know you think they are the most important person in the world? Do you put them first? Are you good to them or do you treat everyone else with respect and etiquette while your better half gets the crumbs that fall from your table of niceness?
I’m far from perfect. Our marriage is far from perfect. But I can tell you that #Marriagegoals doesn’t have to be the flashy stuff. It’s the little things you see and you hold in your heart and tell your baby when she’s 20. It’s the stuff that confirms in your hearts of hearts that they love you – like when your partner inconveniences themselves for you, go without for you and makes effort to be with you and there for you when you need it, especially when you’re not asking for it.
Love is when they wants to play with you and be silly with you. Or when they leave the last bar of chocolate in the fridge for you because they knows you like it. It’s when your opinion matters and they take time to listen to you, and although they might not do what you wanted in the first place, you’ll always know they took the time to understand you.
As you grow older and build empires, it’s so easy to see things as important and your significant other as needy and clingy and annoying. But can you give them the same amount of your time and energy as you do your business?
Love is all about the things you do without thinking much about it, the spontaneity of the good actions and good thoughts. Don’t say, “I love you,” to someone unless when you mean it. When you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget, remind them.
Love is when he’s ready to collect your vomit in his hands at the hospital reception.