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Written by Eng. Frederick Semakula Musisi on his daughter Esther Musisi Chanelle's wedding
To my daughter Esther and my new son Ronnie on your wedding day,
I want to use this opportunity to share with you some things I have observed and learned from my own experience as a married man over the last 26 years. I am going to be very practical. I know without a doubt that these things will help you to build a strong marriage.
Marriage is like a journey. You often have people escorting you in the early stages of a journey. But then a time comes when they must bid you farewell, leaving you to walk alone for the rest of the journey.
We have come here today to bid you farewell. From now on the two of you are on your own, THANKFULLY WITH YOUR GOD. And it’s biblical; God says in Genesis 2:24 that: For this reason, shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.
At this point, I would like to appeal to us the parents on both sides, and to you all the friends of Ronnie and of Esther, to accept the fact that Ronnie and Esther have left. Thankfully, we shall still be able to see them and they will visit; but they must be given the space they need to bond with each other.
They might make a few mistakes as all couples do, but with God's help they will figure things out as they learn from those mistakes.
One of the questions you must settle once and for all, from this day forward; is the question of whether your spouse loves you.
This day, you both have demonstrated to each other, before all of us and before God, that you love each other and that you are serious and committed to be married and to live together as husband and wife for the rest of your lives. You should seek no other proof from each other as to whether your spouse loves you. If, one day, your spouse should forget your birthday or, if they come home not smiling and you begin to develop doubts; always remember this day. If you ever get into any conflict; look elsewhere for the cause of the problem. Never doubt each other’s commitment.
You are a Christian couple. The Christian idea of marriage is that it is permanent. Therefore, the word divorce must never be heard from either of you. It must cease to exist in the language you speak.
This does not mean that marriage is a bed of roses. However, when challenges come (as they must), you must remember that all married people (including we ourselves) have had to deal with the same difficulties to stay married.
There are many good things in marriage. But I cannot talk about them right now, because I have never met anyone who ever got disappointed for finding good things they hadn't anticipated. But I have met people who quit marriage because they found things there which they hadn't expected.
Build your marriage to last. Do not make any provisions for escape; saying just in case things don't work out. The bible says that you have now become one flesh. You must practically reinforce this oneness in everything you do.
Beware of money: NEVER ALLOW MONEY TO COME BETWEEN YOU TWO. You must become one even in your financial dealings.
There must not be “his money” or “her money’’ between you two.
Own everything jointly; especially the assets.
I do not necessarily mean that you cannot operate separate individual bank accounts.
But you must practice full disclosure of ALL your incomes to each other.
You must plan together and invest jointly.
This is one practical way of building your marriage with very few escape routes.
You must always trust each other. TRUST IS A CHOICE. Decide that you will believe what your spouse tells you. 1 Corinthians 13:7 tells us that “Love believes all things.”
What your spouse tells you is the truth. If they tell you that they have delayed at work; then they have delayed at work. If they tell you that they are delayed in the traffic jam; then they are delayed in the traffic jam. Do not try to verify it; it will only mean that you do not trust them. Most people will give their best only if they are trusted. Even if your spouse lied, in most cases you will be better off not to find out that they lied. It will almost always do more harm than good to your relationship if you ever found out that your spouse lied to you.
Maybe that’s why our fathers would never look in their wives’ bags.
For example, I do not think it a good habit to search your spouse’s phone to see who they are communicating with; it will be a sign that you do not trust them.
5). ACCEPT ONE ANOTHER AS YOU ARE
Do not try to change your spouse, because it is an impossible task. Only God can change a person. Focus on the good and accept and respect and love one another as you are. God has been changing each of you for years and what you are today is the best God has been able to achieve so far; and each of you is what the other needs.
Remember that you are different from each other. It is God who made you differently, and it's not expected to change. It is this difference between you that made your attraction to each other possible.
Be careful that the personality traits which have attracted you to each other, do not become the same ones to repel you against each other in future.
—You may have been attracted to your spouse's open and candid way of discussing issues; you must refuse to begin seeing this as being argumentative or even as not being submissive, in future.
— If you have been attracted to your spouse's careful and cautious approach to life; please do not begin to regard it as being slow or indecisive in future.
— If you have been attracted to your spouse because they are a quick decision maker; do not begin to see it as recklessness in future.
— If you have been attracted by the way your spouse makes friends easily; do not begin to see it as being too social in future.
— If you have been attracted to your spouse's "western world's way" of relating with you; please refuse to begin seeing it as being disrespectful in future.
— If you have been attracted to the way your spouse carries themselves in a cool and dignified way; be careful that you do not begin to see it as arrogance or coldness in future.
If there’s any one word you must never forget, it is communication.
I may talk on this subject for days and still not exhaust it on its importance.
Communication is important for the following reasons:-
i). In order to affirm and assure your spouse.
No matter who we are, we all need affirmation and assurance from our spouse that we are still loved, treasured and needed. It is not enough that you discharge all your responsibilities at home. You must also affirm your spouse with words. This will encourage them and even console them if they have something difficult they are going through.
ii). To prevent speculation and suspicion.
Do not leave your spouse guessing. And do not think that you can always figure out what your spouse is up to — ASK THEM.
iii). In order to maximise and get the most out of your relationship.
When you tell your spouse what you like and enjoy; then you have made their work easy.
iv). To prevent wastage i.e. ‘’good things’’ done for your spouse but which add no value.
E.g. If you tell your spouse that you do not like high heeled shoes; then you have saved money.
v). Be careful when communicating the things which offend you.
First of all, it would be a great virtue if you can ignore an offence and move on without any hard feelings.
You two are different from each other.
There are very few things, if any, that your spouse will do with the express intention to hurt you.
You will be amazed (at how many times your spouse is surprised) when you raise something about them which hurt you.
Many hurts in marriage relationships are a result of personality differences.
That is why communication is very important. Please do not assume that you know why your spouse did what they did — ASK THEM. It is the least costly way to solve a problem. But you must always remember that there’s a proper time and a right place and a proper way to raise such issues.
8). DECISION MAKING.
Men tend to depend on logic, facts, and sometimes even figures to make their decisions.
Women tend to depend on intuition and, sometimes emotion to make their decisions. Not many women can show you on paper how they arrived at their decisions.
I have learnt over time that none of these two methods is the right or wrong one. But each has circumstances where it applies; God uses both in His dealings with us. And do not think that it is always easy to tell when and which to go by.
Ronnie, you must therefore always remember to listen very carefully so you can pick what Esther is feeling down in her belly. You must learn how to appeal to her emotions when you are trying to convince her about something.
Likewise, Esther, you must always remember to follow very carefully what Ronnie is considering in his mind so you can understand him. You must learn to appeal to his logic when you are trying to convince him about something.
9). ANOTHER CONTRAST
Men tend to gloss over things when communicating. They tend to go straight to the point or the content.
Women tend to delve into a lot of details.
You need to be aware of these contrasts.
10). KEEP THE FAMILY HONOUR
There’s no marriage without challenges. The difference lies in how any two married people decide to handle their issues.
Never take your issues outside of your bedroom – with prayer and discussion resolve those issues.
Preserve the honour of your family. Even your children should not know that there’s a problem between you.
All problems can eventually get resolved somehow, as long as separation is not an option. However, after solving a problem you discussed with third parties, you may never get a chance to go back to tell all those people that things are now okay. Even if you did, they will most likely not be interested because "things being okay" does not make news.
11). FINALLY; ONE VERY IMPORTANT DAILY COMMUNICATION
You can afford to forget to say goodbye to your spouse in the morning; but you must never forget to make them feel welcome at the end of the day when they come home. This can be expressed in many ways.
This is my counsel to you this day. Please use it as your marriage manual and refer to it as often as you can. You will experience all the happiness and blessings that come out of a strong marriage; WITH GOD AS YOUR HELPER.
With my love and prayers,
Eng. Frederick Semakula Musisi.
August 24th, 2019.