I’m getting married soon. It still sounds weird to say in an “I can’t believe it’s happening” kind of way. It feels like we just started dating, although we have been together for six years. As we approach the day, I find myself in my head a lot – thinking about what it is going to be like to be someone’s wife. Will his expectations of me change? Is there a handbook to teach me how to fulfill my wifely duties? There are plenty of things to look forward to, like becoming Mrs. Okoya and learning more about him that I have yet to discover. I’m sure we will find new ways to love each other, and perhaps new ways to make each other smile, too.
As we move another piece on The Game of Life board to walk down the aisle, we must reset our relationship for success. It is not the time for either of us to sit on the bench when we need to be in the game, fighting to keep the fire lit and burning brightly. Resetting a relationship can provide a fresh perspective on the direction you want the relationship to go, defining wants, needs, and boundaries, and allows you to let go of the hurt and the pain associated with resentment.
Hitting the reset button requires us to be vulnerable and acknowledge some of the ways we failed each other in the past. Love takes action. It takes an effort to communicate and understand each other.
Remembering the why
Sometimes, resetting a relationship means remembering why you got together in the first place. When two people fall in love, there’s a chemical reaction that happens that changes how our brain works. A study from the Stanford University School of Medicine found love activates the same neural receptors in the brain as pain-soothing drugs. That’s why the beginning of every relationship — otherwise known as the honeymoon phase — can seem like your partner can do no wrong, and everything is fun and romantic.
But, when the allure starts to wear off, you can see the relationship differently, including what you like and dislike about each other. Some of those things are annoying, but there are other issues that need to be addressed, like a cancerous cell before it spreads. Like, how we approach disagreements, money, and even housekeeping. Leaving the toilet seat up is a trigger for me. If separate bathrooms were a requirement of marriage, I’m sure it would solve lots of problems.
Catching more bees with honey
One of the things I want to work on is not being so temperamental. I’ll admit that I can be a bit spicy. Maybe, it’s because I’m a Sagittarius, or it’s just Tuesday. Either way, I can do better. You can get more bees with honey anyway. I’ve also shared the need to feel safe; I want to be soft(er) around him. Being raised by a single mother made me guarded, and when I became a single mother myself, that feeling increased. I know that my past doesn’t have to define me, so I’m choosing to let love in because I deserve to be cared for in the way I desire.
I hope that he can recognize my need for connection. I enjoy the nuances of love that make it more abundant and restorative. Truthfully, a good relationship isn’t good enough for me. I expressed my desire for partnership and a dynamic relationship. I want to be energized during our time together. And to him, I offer a listening ear and the willingness to compromise.
Honoring our personal needs
The final thing I hope for us to hit the reset button on is putting more focus on our personal needs. Crazy, right? Our hopes and dreams are so intertwined that we have to leave room for ourselves to grow as individuals. Two happy people mean a happy and healthier relationship. I don’t want to lose myself while loving another, and I have to remember that before there was an us, there was me. I’ve been disappointed by expectations of him doing for me what I needed to do myself. Those were hard lessons, but necessary ones. The reality is putting more focus on ourselves will always be a challenge, but we have to try.
I’m thinking about my grandparent’s marriage that spanned decades and their unwavering love for each other. I’m reminded that you can’t make a relationship last off pure love alone. That would be naive. Our love brought us together, but it is the commitment to respect, companionship, and taking care of each other’s needs, among other things, that will keep us together. I hope we can adopt some of their positive attributes, like a commitment to spirituality and praying together.
The journey of marriage is going to be interesting. But, I don’t care about the destination, as long as he is by my side. As I type these final words at 2 am, I’m watching him sleep from across the room. I feel at peace knowing I’ll get to snuggle next to him. Those are the perks of sharing a room and a life.