Hey there! Hope all is well. For today’s hang out I’m going to switch it up a bit. I’ve connected with an amazing blogger on the other side of the world and we have teamed up to bring you a 7 part series about marriage.
“This is the best feeling in the world. How did I ever live before?”
“I can’t breathe – something is not right.”
“I feel like throwing up. Things are going to change, and I’m scared.”
“I’m not the person who I used to be.”
“Wait, things are different… in a good way.”
“I can do this forever… I think…”
These are just a few (of many) comments associated with ‘marriage’ because let’s face it, perfection in relationships is something only Hollywood can create. Like everything, there is always an exception to that rule. In this case, it is that person. You know, that one perfect lady who makes it a habit to mention how wonderful her life is with her romantic, muscular, and ever-so-polite Prince Charming. You all know exactly who I am talking about… but guess what – she’s lying.
It is 2020; even though this year was canceled quite a few times, it’s about time we replaced the lies and unfulfilled dreams with reality. While some have thrived during this pandemic, using the lockdown period to learn new skills and bond with their loved ones, others have found spending so many hours with their partner quite difficult. Well, friends, I am here to tell you that marriage is not perfect, nor is it meant to be easy. Michelle Panzo, aka Shelly (from https://growingwithspawn.com), and I have decided to dig a little deeper into what marriage looks like, covering several topics through a 7 part series.
What makes this quite interesting is that our views reflect that of an American marriage that has lasted for almost two decades vs. that of an African marriage in its early stages. We are excited to announce that this series will be covered on both blogs over the next seven Thursdays, so make sure you visit both pages to keep up.
Before we kick things off, we thought it would be fun to interview each other – here is what Shelly had to say.
1. Even though you are a wife, you are also your own person. Could you please tell us a little about yourself?
For the benefit of anyone reading this, just imagine that I am twisting my fake moustache with my legs crossed. Had you asked me this question just four years ago, my answer would be completely different, but today I can say that I’m an introverted yet goofy kid trapped in a woman’s body. I was born in Zimbabwe but spent nearly ten years of my late teens/ early adulthood in Asia (China and Japan), and that threw off my self-discovery process quite a bit. After university, I moved back to Africa and finally settled in South Africa, which has been my dream location all my life. I love romance movies, good books, writing (obviously), and my family.
2. How long were you dating your husband before you decided to get married? Were you living together before tying the knot?
This one is actually a funny question for me to answer because everyone gets quite shocked when I explain that my husband and I were dating for seven months before the actual wedding. What people don’t stick around to hear or purposely ignore is the fact that we were good friends for two years before that and spent quite a bit of time getting to know each other’s virtues and morals. By the time we started dating, it was with the intention to get married.
3. How long have you been married?
Compared to Lady B, we are basically newlyweds, but I think with two years and seven months under our belt, I definitely have learnt a thing or two about marriage. The honeymoon phase has passed, and now is the time that compromise and respect are becoming more important.
4. What were the biggest adjustments that you had to make after you said your vows?
My mother raised me to be a very independent and self-sufficient woman, so in every relationship I was in prior to meeting my husband, no one was allowed to question my finances or complain when I chose to spend on international shopping sprees. I know it sounds like I was quite foolish with my income, but I worked very hard for every penny, didn’t spend more than a fifth of it each month for everything that I needed, and was able to make quite a few investments before treating myself to relaxing trips. Marrying Nuno – that’s my husband’s name by the way – made me realise that it was no longer just about me. We needed to make decisions together, budget together, and discuss big purchases before either of us went ahead. It wasn’t easy, and when he suggested that we have one bank account, which we both access, I nearly had a heart attack. It took a while to realise that he wasn’t just my boyfriend/ fiancé anymore; we were life partners.
5. Have you noticed a change in behaviour (both in him and yourself) from when you were first married till now?
Interestingly enough, his behaviour hasn’t changed at all. He is exactly the same man I fell in love with back in 2016, but his character has gotten more depth. I do believe that my behaviour has changed, though. I have become more trusting, patient, and forgiving.
6. What advice would you give yourself on your wedding day knowing everything you know now?
Hmmm, this is an interesting one. “Shelly, take everything in its stride and trust the man that you are committing to. All of your previous experiences should never impact the way you love him, the respect you give, and the decisions you make. You prayed for this man, and God brought him to you. Now let God be the centre of your marriage, and that includes letting your husband be the leader.
7. Children… without sharing too much, how has having children affected your marriage?
I’ll just throw a few words out there because this is one topic I can rant about for hours. No sleep. Tested patience. Limited intimacy. Need I say more?
8. We’ll dive into this deeper as the series progresses, so for now, please just answer with a yes or no. Different sex friends, yay or nay?
9. Is religion a big factor in your marriage? If yes, how does that translate into your values?
Yes, it really is. Firstly, this is the first man that I ever prayed for. I remember writing his name at the top of my prayer list and crying to the Lord over the things I wanted his intervention and guidance on. I promised him that I wouldn’t chase Nuno, and then I let go of all prospects of a relationship. We became great friends, and I just allowed him to get to know the real me, both good and bad. Next thing I know, he was telling me that he wanted to marry me one day. In our decisions, we also make sure to pray about things and let God show us His way.
10. Before we dive into the series, what would you like our readers to keep in mind as they go along the journey?
I’m not perfect and still make mistakes each day, but what I have learnt is that as long as your intentions are good and you are willing to do better, there will be a solution. A lot of the lessons I’ve learnt are still being shaped because people are constantly changing, even within a relationship. I’ll do my best to share my lessons with you and hope you keep an open mind.
Until next time, I’ll leave you with this. Please be sure to follow along on this fantastic voyage! For the next seven weeks, we will share great content about the different stages of marriage and ways to ensure your relationship thrives. We’ll also highlight things you should consider before taking on this commitment! In the meantime, check out my interview on Shelly’s site at https://growingwithspawn.com/2020/09/17/now-that-the-honeymoon-is-over-intro/ and stay tuned for next week’s post where I will be discussing “Things You Should Ask Yourself Before Getting Married.” You don’t want to miss this!
If you liked this post, please leave a comment below and also share it on your social media account(s). I would love to hear your feedback. Thanks again for Hanging With Lady B!