Hope it isn’t raining where you are, the rainmakers are having a ball here and it’s so cold…anyway before my fingers get stiff here’s the 5th personal lesson I learned from being in the marriage business for the last 5 years!
5. Have a united front in public
You and your partner have to agree early in the union that there will be no public drama and no fighting with an audience. It doesn’t mean you have to be perfect or pretend, it just means you respect your partner and your marriage enough to keep your issues private. Wounds hurt so much more and run so much deeper when there are witnesses. It’s like having someone observe you at your lowest moments increases the pain and bruising that your pride must seemingly endure. Many people react much more dramatically to issues when other people are watching than they would have if they were in the privacy of their own bedroom plus people never ever forget fights and careless words uttered between partners in public. The very next time you happen to be singing his praises they would happily open up the history books and tell you all his weaknesses as compared to his apparently limited strengths. It’s also harder to take words back when uttered in public even if you immediately realise you are wrong.
I’m a bit self conscious and arguing with le boo in public was always one of the things I swore I’d never do but there’s a great spectrum of public don’ts that encompass ‘drama’. Hubby is generally a very free person but he learned early enough that correcting me in public or worse still, chastising me would get a negative reaction that might lead to a row later on. He didn’t mind adapting because once or twice he’d been on the receiving end and he had absolutely hated it so we made a truce to either correct each other in a manner or place where there would be no third party involvements or just wait till we got home. There were also other ‘no drama’ rules like no arguing in front of family or friends, no posting ‘shades’ or outbursts on any form of social media, no obvious ‘attitudes’ when in public following a fight, no snapping at the other person or any other acts of unkindness and definitely no leaving the other person hanging for whatever reason in public. The rules weren’t written or spelt out but they were discussed and internalized usually after an episode and we both learned that treating each other well in public was just as important as treating each other well in private and that more importantly we did not need third parties in our conflict resolution whether the third parties were casual observers or played a more active role. We also realized that we did not need people forming negative impressions about us or how we handled our business especially since it wasn’t any of their concern.
Many times people are watching for signs of turbulence in your marriage to determine if you have a good marriage or not or if they can take advantage of a certain aspect of your marriage or even infiltrate it (in the case of infidelity). Having a strong, united front is so important. Knowing your partner has your back no matter what can bring so much joy and confidence to a marriage but for many couples this doesn’t come naturally and it’s something that needs to be discussed and certain boundaries put in place so that the other person doesn’t unknowingly cross those boundaries and hurt you badly. When I was in the University I noticed that my friends who had public breakups found it hard to go back to their boyfriends after a private reconciliation simply because the whole world now had an opinion about the breakup. Likewise, celebrities that have made their marital issues public have realised that it’s virtually impossible to move past it or celebrate their spouses later on. Your marriage is your personal life, nobody needs to know the intimate details. Be like a duck, look calm on the surface but paddle like mad underneath the water.
Don’t let someone be able to describe the supposed ills or weaknesses in your marriage simply by catching you and hubby at a bad time or witnessing some supposed-to-be behind the scenes footage. Protect your marriage like it was a classified document. I learned that early enough and many people wonder why hubby and I are always cool, calm and collected. It’s called having a united front. We still have our squabbles and issues but we have realised that it’s way easier to move past them when we are not performing for an audience.
So in a nutshell, keep your marriage drama away from prying eyes!
Have a lovely day, Chutzpah fam,