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Before you marry

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By Mankhokwe Namusanya:

Have you ever fought with your partner?

Not this fighting over ‘babe shall we have pizza or a burger?’

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And, long before you know it, she is throwing tantrums, saying she does not want this or that and is shocked that you cannot make her food.

“God, what did I do wrong to deserve this caveman?”

And when she says caveman, you pretend to foam. Act really like a caveman. Fire her a red eye and, when she smiles at you, everything ends. You drift closer. Embrace. Give her a pet on the cheek and say: “Who did you call a caveman?”

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She giggles – in your arms – and says you are her caveman. Then, you make out. Passionately. With tears of love.

I mean: a real fight. Have you ever had it with your partner?

Something like a deal breaker. Like you really offended your partner. Or they really offended you. And you said, under your breath: “I can’t do this. I am out. This idiot…”

You failed to finish because you were consumed with anger. You wished them death. Like actually prayed to the God of the Old Testament to open up the earth and swallow them.

And they tried to apologise but you could not forgive them. You wanted to forgive but every memory of their sins had you back to that non-forgiving spot. You thought you should move on.

They, as well, after seeing that their apologies were hitting a wall, decided to move on.

In between, maybe the two of you dated other people. Or just flirted with them.

However, even after three months, a part of you missed them. You silenced that with alcohol but the hangover each morning reminded you of the pain – of loss, of missing a part, of hurting.

And some day something good – or bad – happened. You dialled your current flirt and they were quick to pick up the call. Yet, you just did not feel like talking to them about that. Because, only your ex-partner – that monster that offended you – would understand that. Would know the right words to say.

So you said this and that to your flirt and ended the call. After pretending you did not hear them say ‘I love you’.

After that call, you started punching in the number of that ex. Then, you stopped. You repeated the ritual nine times and, on the tenth – like it is some lucky number – you got the courage. You called.

They responded.

You felt like ending the call but when you heard their breath on the other end, your nerves calmed. A new old world unfurled. You started ranting. Not the good – or bad – news but just things. Everything.

And they ranted back.

Before you understood what was happening, you were back together. In love. In fear. In anger, at times, and frustration.

More than once, after that huge get back together, you regretted your decision. But there were also uncountable moments when they served you love and happiness that you felt proud of your decision.

What is worse? The reaction from that flirt you were entertaining after they had learnt that you were trying to get back with your ex was not dignified. It was childish. Like who really thinks ranting on Twitter would help them get back love?

If you have ever been in that sort of fight, he says, then you are ready for marriage.

“You do not marry a person you have never seen angry,” he says – paraphrased.

I want to protest, say that there are some people who are just born with a sweet soul, they never get angry, they were created simply to assure us that good exists, they are human, and they should also be married.

Before I protest, as if he has been reading my thoughts, he adds:

“The day you see your partner angry must be the day you should know if you can marry them or not.”

He says one needs to know how their partners react when they are angry and, from that reaction, one can tell if they can live with such a person.

“What if your partner has to chew off rats’ heads when angry, can you live with that?” he does not say that. I just think it would add icing on the first rule one should consider before marrying: knowing how your partner acts when angry.

I ask him about his relationship and marriage, if he got his partner angry before marrying her. He tells me. His story is so shocking that I get angry on his partner’s behalf. I tell myself: I will not tell it.

However, from that discussion, I develop an idea for this month of March. It should be about marriage. In the 21st Century.

I want to hear from married people, mostly young couples who are married, on what they wish they had known before they had married and what they can advise others to consider before marrying.

It is March, the season of weddings starts again, and I know how it feels like to be feeling that you are the odd one out while, around you, age mates, exs and crushes are marrying. You just feel like you should just marry the other day – you know to spite your rude exs.

But maybe I might help you make the right choice, from the stories I will hear and tell.

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