'Son, the day you marry is the day you begin to die.'
This may seem a trifle contrived (not the statement, but using the same source to begin another controversial blog...but the truth is the truth). This was from my friend Obi (again) and it was told to him by his dad. Some advice huh? Going by that logic he should be deep in death's throes now since he has a lovely wife and four lovely kids to boot. (Meanwhile, Obi, If u ever read these write-ups, no vex. Anyway I don't care and you know it). I have heard so many married people, especially men, moan ad-nauseam so much so that you want to seal their lips with glue, the one in the tv ad - guaranteed to stick forever, that marriage would be stricken off the agenda if they were to ever return to life. Why their whines get my goat is that I am a bachelor who has never experienced the other side of the fence and I do not appreciate being told that the pool I am looking forward to plunging into for my 'exhilarating' swim is really shark infested. I am at the edge of the cliff looking down and willing to dive but peering in to see if those monsters I am being warned about would bare their teeth and keep me away. No dice. Not yet. Around me everyone is already swimming in marriage. Indeed I am like an Island standing amidst married friends and family, elder and younger, swirling about, taking care of day to day marital obligations. I don't think anyone one enjoys being alone - Now I know there is a difference between being alone and being unmarried but one (I speak for myself) does get tired of starting on a journey down a road you know leads to nowhere - So I use the word 'alone.' If that is true, why would anyone, especially the married, deter others? Admittedly Obi's mother had given her husband a little more dosage than he could conveniently digest but his words, to anyone but the hard headed friend I have, could have had irreparable damage. And if he could tell that to his son just think what he would to young men who defer to him for advice. Now to put things in perspective I am not saying marriage is a hero-charging-through-unimaginable-horrors-to-save-the-princess-and-in-love-happily-ever-after. I am a bit past that age. But I don't think there is much a bachelor (or a spinster for that matter) can cook up to beat the feeling of returning home to find someone waiting (no, not the landlord you owe two months rent). Companionship, if gotten right, is sheer bliss - with some blisters to balance it (How could we appreciate daylight if there was no night?). There are loads of horror marriage stories out there and I have been way too close to a few but they are not the rule. One bad apple does not spoil the whole bunch. Some of you who have been bitten would shake your head at this point at the naivete of someone who has never played the game (for want of a better description) yet declared himself a guru. I try hard to learn from others' mistakes. Ok I know, till you taste it, you have never had pudding...lets just move on. Marriage is like the army - so many people complain about it but you would be amazed at the number signing up to enlist. Well, count me in those ranks. So what is there to fear in marriage? Nothing if you can remember the golden rules - Women go into marriage hoping the men will change. They don't. Men go into marriage hoping the women won't change. They do. Adjust your mind thus, sprinkle a bit of friendship, financial security, love (this is a topic in itself), and God and you got the recipe for a pass mark. It all has to be sustained though, through to your dying day. So I know all this and still I stand at the edge, looking in, analyzing the swimmers, trying to learn from their strokes while time ticks and their babies take first steps. If I have learnt anything it is that there is no perfect spouse or partner. No matter who it is I jump in with, there will always be challenges so why focus on the reasons not to instead of the reasons to. There will be tears but do it for the laughter. There will be fights but do it for the hugs and kisses. There will be nagging from a disgruntled wife but...what? Ok, do your utmost to make her happy and hope to God your happiness is on her agenda. That is me fully armed. No more waiting, no more gazing into the pool. I am finally jumping in - sentencing myself to 'death'...Now where is that girl?