Recently we did what people tell you to do after you begin courting, or dating, in 2018’s terms; we became engaged. I was completely surprised when the question was popped, only because of an incident that happened a few weeks before. Nothing major, just something to consider when you commit your life to another person.
If you don’t know, I love me some Gentleman Farmer. He is everything I am not, yet everything I hope to be. I think that pairs us well. I can feed off his energy without depleting him of who he is, and he can do the same with me, I hope. Engagement season should be the happiest time in a couple’s lives, or so I’ve heard. However, there is a reason you never see what happens to the couple after the wedding. No one wants to show you the hard work of combining two separate lives to make one new life without the wacky mishaps of the ditzy wife and the bull-headed husband. What happens when the wife isn’t ditzy and has a mind of her own (me) and the husband – to be – shows his emotions more often than not about issues one never thought men shared?
This is where we are currently. Yes, engagement season has been high with sharing with our family and friends. Discussing wedding colors, decor, music, and food has been interesting to imagine, especially for a woman like me – I have thought little of what my big day visions are. Yes, I want to incorporate my Zimbabwean heritage into the mix. I also want to include my African-American heritage of being from North Carolina. And I would like the GF to add something of his family’s legacy as well – if he so chooses.
However, before we get to that big day in September, I feel like we need to set some ground rules on how to win at our marriage. I believe we have the unique opportunity to set forth what we want without outside judgment or expectations on our lives. No one tells you how hard this can be, though. For example, before we even got engaged the Gentleman Farmer and I have frequently read the latest and greatest advice from The Gotten Institute, The Five Love Languages newsletters, and Psychology Today, among many other articles on how to strengthen our relationship. Many sources give information on how to handle tough conversations. One book in particular –How Not To Hate Your Husband After Kids – mentions that even if you are in a traditional gender role marriage, that shortly after having children reverts men to believing women should do more of the housework.
I work full time outside of our home. An hour away from our home at that! Believe me when I say that is a struggle in and of itself. We had the conversation about how we envisioned the housework gets done – and we did not agree with the workload that is on each of us. We disagreed for weeks. The air was palpable with tension. We still haven’t resolved the issue, but we turned the corner and decided we didn’t want to be upset any longer.
How many conversations are we going to have that leads to disagreements before the wedding? I can tell you that I would much rather have these disagreements now than later. I don’t want the Gentleman Farmer to believe that I am angry, but I also don’t want to set poor habits now and resent him later for not doing the dishes after I have cooked or vice versa. Our relationship is on the right path; it even astonishes most days. But we strive to be better for ourselves and for our children. That means having those marriage talks right along with are we having a SnapChat filter for our wedding or not.