I’ve realised that in marriage, it’s easy to get trapped in the web of comparison.
When my wife and I got married, we constantly got certain questions from other married couples.
Where do you live? Where do you work now? Are you still doing that? Where are you going for holiday? We didn't think much of it at first but with time, we sensed a comparison game going on.
We talked about it as we drove home one evening. We had just bumped into a couple that had openly asked us where we lived at the time.
When we responded, the woman’s husband smiled approvingly and said they just moved to a lush neighbourhood in Nairobi.
Ever since that incident, my wife and I felt that this was a trap we had to intentionally avoid.
CAN WORK YOU
The pressure of being like other couples can work against a relationship. You may buy a new car because they too bought a new car. You may be under pressure to move into a bigger house because they did so.
You will stringently use the metrics of progress of a couple whose journey you may know nothing about. The couple that traverses the continent for a holiday may not admit on their Instagram that it was a trip paid for by the employer.
You may never find out that their new house was an inheritance from a dead relative. On the flipside, you may look down upon those who are not in your calibre of progress.
We often compare another couple's happily ever after with the current storms we are facing like the unpaid bills, the infinite debt and the uncomfortable circumstances beyond one’s control.
That can be the breeding ground for envy, bitterness, ingratitude, discontentment and unnecessary complaining to your spouse.
While it's okay to be inspired by others' successes, we must not desperately imitate them trying to get our own personal fulfilment.
As a man, I often feel the pressure to compensate for my masculinity with my financial standing. A broke man in our culture struggles to believe he is man enough.
However, I often realise that it’s not that I am necessarily broke in such situations; it’s just that the bloke next door has a German machine while I seem destined to drive the car at the front, a Toyota.
In order to stop keeping up with the I must have my identity fixed on something else and not my wealth. You must too. And if you don’t, your relationship by unhealthy competition with people who may not even realise you are keeping score.
A man and a woman who get married must decide to stick in their lane guided by the purpose of their relationship.
Why are you together? What are you building as a couple? If the relationship is devoid of purpose, you will wear yourselves out trying what everyone expects you to be.
Is your relationship guided by purpose? Or are you together to just have children, make money, pay taxes and then die? Purpose will keep you focused on your story.
How do we get our eyes focused on ourselves and off the others? One way to do that is to do an honest audit of your marriage. What areas in your marriage need improvement?
Here are a few to consider: fun and leisure, finances, sex, parenting, spiritual growth, health. Sit down and ask each other how each area is doing. Find the areas that need improvement and make intentional steps to invest in that area.
The proverbial grass being greener on the other side by this simple truth - the grass that is watered often is the greenest. In the information age, there is a wealth of books, online resources, seminars, experts and self-discovery programs to get you fixated on growing your relationship and not comparing it to others.
A second way to get into purposeful matrimony is to do projects together that enrich the community around you. Find areas of mutual strength in both of you. Partner your strengths to enrich the lives of others.
My wife and I have found that partnership in offering premarital advice to couples considering marriage. helping others will keep your marriage strengthened. Love your spouse.
Stick to your lane of progress and be faithful to it no matter how different it looks.
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