Lessons learnt from Gary Chapman’s Things I wish I’d Known before We got Married

Like I said in my previous book review and mentioned on WhatsApp, this is the most practical book I’ve ever read on marriage. Marriage and relationships is an over-flogged topic especially in Christian circles, for valid reasons too, so it can feel like you already know all there is to it. Sometimes you even find yourself echoing the words of the speaker after them as they talk. Haha. I love that this book pulled back all the curtains and went straight to all the hard and rough parts! I loved it. I didn’t want it to end.

I’ll be sharing a few things I learnt and don’t want to forget. Of course it doesn’t cover the whole scope of the book, but these are things that stood out to me and I’d like to document.

Love is not enough

Love is great, we all know. And by love here, I mean the warm fussy feeling we get when we are around someone we are attracted to or we care deeply about. I know the scholars in the house will say that that is not love. That love is a decision, that love is not a feeling, that love is … ehn, ehn we know. Still, part of love is the cloud nine feeling. We like that stuff too, that stuff is love too abeg. Anyway that side of the love thing is what I’m talking about here. Just loving someone is not quite enough to get married. And I’m thankful that the author actually explained this, stating what marriage entails and why love will not be enough.

No matter how much you think you love this person, the love that you are feeling we will run out and like Nigerians will say, your eyes will clear. So much more than the warm fussy wild love is another more concrete part which is commitment. When the lovey dovey, ghim ghim finishes, you are going to have to decide whether or not you’re going to commit either way to making it work and serving this person. It’s not sexy but the irony is that it produces the fluffy lovey dovey feeling that we all like, eventually. Lol. You can’t have the mountains without the valleys.

Pay attention to your partner’s family.

I liked this point in the book because I don’t hear a lot of people talk about it often. The only time I’ve probably heard someone mention it was in one of late Pastor Bimbo Odukoya’s sermons and she only mentioned it in passing.

Here’s the thing, family is more important than we think. Most especially, your partner’s parents. We pick things up subconsciously from our parents all through life without even noticing sometimes. The truth is that if you look at your guy’s dad, you’re probably getting a picture of what your husband will be like in a couple of years and even what he will look like. The wise thing to do is not to get too carried away and actually study your in-laws to be; what do you like? What don’t you like? Are there things you can make compromises on, are there not? Be open to rethinking marriage. I’m not saying and the author was not also implying that one should be superficial. It only pays to see where you’re headed so that you’ll be prepared and not have impossible expectations of your partner, you can easily just learn to accept them if need be.

Discuss expectations and roles, explicitly.

Talk about what each person expects of the other. Explicitly. The author even suggested writing these things down so you’ll be clear. Also who likes doing what? Who doesn’t know how to do what? So many hot arguments and intense conversations in the first few years of marriage can be completely avoided, if people just discussed what they expected of each other and are open to change and reviewing from time to time.

Have a financial plan.

Get a legit plan. Draw it up. Talk about it. What do you think about money? Are you okay with debt? Should we run a joint account? How much can we give? Are we giving tithe? How about saving? Is this person ready to do away with bad money habits?

The author said if you’re not ready to turn “my money” to “our money” then you’re not ready to get married. And yes ladies, they are talking to you too. Talk aborrrit dears, okay?

Learn a thing or two about sex; it is not automatic.

So for those of us that are clueless about sex like this and think that once we get married, heaven will just download the manual into our brain. Hahaha. We are in for a rude shock o. Don’t assume that you will just know or that you already know. Men and women are different sexually, read books and ask questions. There are clean resources that teach on sex and sexuality God’s way. Not that I know them though, maybe ask married couples you respect? Someone said sex is a skill, you can learn it. It’s not as if those that are supposedly great at it were born with the innate ability. Nah, no such thing. So people, like it says in Proverbs 4:7; wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

If you see this book, just read it. I highly recommend it. I’ll definitely read it again with bae (once he arrives. Lol).

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