Well it turns out that thi s day of the year, October 16th, has historically been a very prolific date in the history of this blog!
What I mean is that I have published many blog posts on October 16th, throughout the different years. Last year, 2016, I published no fewer than 3 blog posts! However, that was probably because I was conscious that I had not posted in a while before then.
So if you have a bit of time, please feel free to check out the posts published on October 16th in previous years:
2013 – No posts published this year!
2012 – Nor this year!
Looking back at all these posts makes me so mindful of all these years that I have been writing this blog, and caused me to think a bit about the purpose of this blog.
Who is this blog for?
I have said it before many times that I write this blog largely for myself. I am possibly the single biggest consumer of the ideas on this blog. I write the blog to try to get understanding on various issues and then I also re-read posts that I have already written, constantly challenging myself as to whether I still agree with what I wrote previously, what new insights I could use to amend existing thoughts, and then also trying to get the ideas established in my mind. If no-one else ever read this blog, I would continue writing it, for these reasons.
However this blog is not only for myself. It is also for you the reader, and other people out there. I believe that these issues are so important, and marriage is so final, that I would love it if every person took serious time to think beforehand about what they could do to avoid a disastrous marriage and instead work towards a glorious one. I want to make it extremely clear that I am not trying to say that people need to be reading my ideas, or absorbing my own opinions. I think that the opinions expressed on this blog are reliable and trustworthy. However my main concern is that people should at least find some way of thinking ahead to their future marriage, and trying to anticipate issues, and also trying to find a way of building an excellent foundation for their marriage.
I think that if you try to start working towards a great foundation for your marriage after you are already engaged or you have already made the choice of life partner, that will often be too late. That is because thinking through these things might help ensure that you are choosing an appropriate partner in the first place. If you are only going to start thinking through these things after you are already committed to a poor choice of spouse then that poor choice of spouse will already have impacted severely on your chances of success and happiness, no matter what you may try to do afterwards.
So I write this blog for myself, I also write it for the general reader “out there”, and I hope you find it useful. And then I also write it for people I actually know. I have been thinking about these issues for so long, that it pains me severely to think that anyone I know could enter into what could very predictably be a bad marriage. But you know what?! People just don’t listen! Out of my strong self-preservation instinct, I have a policy of not directly interfering in people’s relationships, even when it seems that people could be making a glaring mistake. Because what would happen is this: when the relationship does eventually fail (as it is almost guaranteed to do) guess who they will blame?! Not themselves, for embarking upon this crazy and ill-advised idea, not their spouse who very quickly proved themselves to have poor character. Oh no! Rather they will direct their spleen and their frustration at me, the one who tried my absolute damndest to advise them against it! They will say “Tosin, you never wanted it to work – you were secretly wishing that it would fail!” So for this reason, I just don’t say anything, unless we are that close, and they honestly ask me for my opinion.
What I will do instead though, is that I will write these blog posts, without specifically referring to anyone, and then I will promote it widely, and trust that they will see. And even with that, people don’t listen! I have been nothing short of amazed! OK, let’s concede that the two year thing might seem a little extreme for some people, possibly most people. Let’s also concede that I have never been married myself and I “don’t know what I am talking about“. But at least please listen to someone! And then I will go to the trouble of spelling out all the different possible ramifications and yet people still rush right in.
So I was thinking to myself – hmm, many people apparently think that to get married in and of itself constitutes marital success. I am sure that when people think about it with their minds they will see or know that this is not true. But I’m guessing that many people think about it with their emotions rather than their logical minds. And I believe that for many people, for whatever reason, the huge prize that they have been dreaming of is to actually walk down the aisle itself, in the first place. I’m guessing that this is what has been exciting their thoughts so that even when alternative thoughts are presented to them to encourage them to think through this thing very carefully, they just cannot hear. It is just like falling in love itself, or perhaps infatuation, that you are so fixated on the wonders of this person that you simply cannot see flaws that might be right under your nose. Except that in this case what they may have fallen in love with is the idea of getting married itself. This amazes me because I so greatly want to get married myself. And yet my desire in getting married is to have a great marriage, not just to get married as an end in and of itself.
So some of these people go ahead and throw themselves into these marriages which just make me wince. And then afterwards they will come and actually brag at me, because I am obviously still single. And then they will start saying “My husband my husband my husband…” as if to emphasise that “Yes, I am married!”
You know what I feel like saying to them? Please come back after you’ve been married to this “your husband” for five years. And then we can start talking. And if you still consider yourself to be in a position to brag, then yes, I will happily concede that you have been very successful. And it would sincerely make me happy.
The thoughts expressed on this blog really come into their own, or really demonstrate their relevance after the honeymoon period of your marriage.
Everyone gets married in a blaze of glory, right?! As far as they can afford it, every couple will have a beautiful wedding, and watching their ceremony you will declare that they are the most in love couple that you have witnessed, and afterwards everyone will talk about how much love there was in the room. This is what most marriages will look like in the early days – (as I write this it occurs to me that there there some couples where even from the wedding day it is obvious to everyone that they are not very deeply in love.)
However the point of this blog is for those years, 5 years plus and onwards, when the glories of your wedding day seem like a million years ago, and you are having to live with who you truly are married to who he truly is. That is when issues of character are going to be desperately pertinent. (Oh yeah baby!) When you are going to be frustrated at one another’s level of commitment or sincerity to everyday issues. Or sheer indiscipline. (Men complain that women nag, yes?! Trust me I don’t want to have to nag! I would rather just say something just the once, and have the issue dealt with conclusively, once and for all!) Maybe by 5 years time you will have started having children, and children bring their own stress and then that will be compounded by work stress, and colleagues and financial pressures. Please come back then in 5 years time after your wedding and by then I daresay that you too will understand why so many long-married people complain rather than brag about their spouses. And it is exactly this type of very very predictable marital frustration that this blog is trying to prevent.
For those of you who are not married yet, please please listen while you can! Please do not wait for the 5 year itch, or the seven year itch to bite you before you take actions to prevent it! Please please listen to me when I tell you that the period when you are completely single is the best time to think about these issues, to make sure that you choose the best spouse you can. As hard as it may be, think beyond the lovey dovey stage and insist for your own sake, and the sake of your ongoing happiness, on outstanding character from your spouse. But remember that that means that you also have to demonstrate outstanding character!