Bayo, a 32 year old management consultant and Joko, a 27 year old accountant have been married for two years and they are now expecting their first child. Joko is in her second trimester and they are both excited as they look forward to becoming the best parents possible to their little one. Prior to getting pregnant Joko has been working with an accounting firm, while also writing the ICAN Exams. She set a goal to complete the exams by 30 and also to have risen to the next level of her career by then. While discussing their plans for the baby, Bayo states that he would want Joko to put her career on hold from the time when the baby is born, until she turns 3 and then starts school. According to him, his income will be sufficient to sustain the family during that period. This did not go down well with Joko, because it is conflicting with her career plans. She attempts to explain this to her husband, but he gets upset saying that Joko is being selfish and does not have their child’s best interest at heart. This statement segued into a heated argument between Bayo and Joko.
Do you think Bayo and Joko could have avoided ruining this precious moment if this matter had been discussed way ahead? Marriage is a partnership in which both parties have to work together to protect the interests involved.
Having a strong marriage requires both partners to be in sync. They have to find their rhythm and consistently dance to it. This is evident when the husband and wife share a deep meaning; they honor and respect each other by supporting each other’s dreams and aspirations, and submerging into each other’s vision. Together, they work at building a sense of purpose into their lives. As the saying goes, when purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable. Therefore, a husband and wife have to agree on the purpose for which they are coming together and jointly set the goals for their marriage. Goal setting is unique to each couple, however, possible general areas for setting goals may include: financial management, parenting, spirituality/religion, relationships with friends and extended family members, conflict resolution and so on. Both parties should be able to lovingly develop and nurture a vision for their future together.
Setting goals as a couple does not equal rigidity or undermine the place of spontaneity and flavor in a marriage. It just helps both parties to be on the same page and gives them a sense of belonging. Each partner operates with the understanding that “we are a team” and I have to look out for what’s best for the team and not just my own selfish interests. By doing this, no one is seeking to outshine the other, rather they are both focused on perfecting their steps as a team.
Various factors may hinder the flow of the dance, such as unrealistic expectations of your spouse, conflicting philosophies about marriage, conflicting life/career goals, conflicting parenting styles, conflicting values, different upbringings, and so on. Therefore, both husband and wife need to ensure that they work these differences out.
Now, taking an objective look at your marriage, are you and your spouse dancing to the same rhythm or do you need some fine tuning? Do you need to change your steps or do you just simply need to work on them? Lastly, do you have a strong chemistry as a duo or do you need to work on strengthening it. Here are some suggestions below:
- Have a sit down with your spouse and both of you assess your individual philosophies about marriage. Are there any similarities/differences? How might this help you understand each other better?
- Engage in some soul searching, how reasonable are the expectations you have of your spouse? Is it possible to cut him/her some slack?
- What are the goals for your marriage? Are you both on the same page? Do you share a deep meaning; do you respect and honor each other? Do you support each other’s dreams and aspirations? What do you both see in your future together?
- Are there any role model couples that you both admire and would like to learn from?
- Ask your spouse how he/she would like you to be supportive in the achievement of his/her dreams and aspirations and show genuine interest.