The F word
Pretty soon, she will look to us and seek some advice on how to forge ahead, then we will be forced to step up.
This young girl who is constantly thinking about her dream wedding. She pictures herself in that white flowing dress, veil intact, walking towards this breathtaking hunk of a guy (the ultimate prince charming in her young eyes) her young innocent heart brimming with love that she can barely contain.
The wedding has been planned in her head from when she was a little girl. From the yellow flowers that will blend in with the décor, to the blue bridal dresses, to the humongous scrumptious cake, to the limo that’ll ferry the bridal party to the heaven-on-earth venue. It has all been planned. What only remains is for the man to go down on one knee, the two families to come together in talks, the wedding date to be set and voila!
The man will go down on one knee alright. Sooner than you think – come on, look at our girl. Who wouldn’t want to spend the rest of their lives with her? Once that knee touches the ground, you and I will need to step up.
The bride-to-be will sit pretty, in all her ‘bridal shower’ glory, accepting (naughty honeymoon) gifts from girlfriends and giggling at the thought of using them on her groom. Who says marriage isn’t fun, she will think. She will then look at us expectantly, pose the question and this time wait eagerly to hear what we have to say about fun in marriage (or lack thereof). She will want to soak in any advice we might have on how to make marriage work since (God knows) she does not want to end up divorced like every other couple around her.
Her’s will be a quest to discover the secret to a happy marriage. She will want the key to finding the increasingly elusive happily ever after. She will want to understand how to make her husband happy and what to expect from the union.
O girl! (That will be us sighing) Our hearts will reach out to hers. Her desire for happiness will be so tangible, we will want to touch her cheek and in that moment, we will wish we had the power to just make that desire a reality, there and then.
We will commend her for having her heart in the right place, won’t we? We will put our thoughts together, me and you, rack our brains for good advice to spare, and we will share this with her, won’t we now?
While others will advise her to never be angry at her husband which technically means that she should act more angelic than human, we will beseech her to never stop being herself because happiness can never be achieved by transferring the war from her marriage to her inner person.
While others insist that she respect her husband, we will chime in to remind her to demand to be respected as well because a man who loves her should respect her. We will caution her against thinking of herself as the lesser equation in the union. We will insist that her needs matter just as much as her man’s. That even as she ponders on how to make her marriage work that she should only do her part and allow her man to do his.
We will then caution her against using the F word. Of course she will think we are twisted to even think that she uses the word. She might respond by saying; “O, but that word has never left my mouth, let alone occupied space in my mind!” We will go ahead you and I, to explain that the F word we are referring to is not the same one she has in mind, but in fact the word FINE.
Maybe this will be a good a time as any to confess to her that we all throw around the same word ourselves. That when asked how we’re doing, we blurt it out without giving it much thought. We will however be quick to admit that it is not of much consequence when used with friends and colleagues. But when it comes to a spouse, a husband, the one true love, love of one’s life, one should never claim to be fine when indeed they are not.
Fine is a four-letter word that has the real potential of destroying marriages, we will explain. Through it, anger and pain and resentment have been effortfully buried only for them to claw out and eat couples alive. Infidelity has crept into bed and lay with them and they have shockingly turned towards it (and embraced it!) in the name of Fine. Through this filthy word, emotions have been suppressed – we all know that emotions should never be suppressed, don’t we? Emotions demand to be felt, and they will stay with us until we acknowledge them.
We will break it down to her: When you are angry at him for coming home late every day, you are not fine. When you are disappointed that he is not making an effort to get you to cloud nine like he used to, then of course you are not fine. If you are not amused by his spending habits – maybe he is buying drinks for the boys on a regular basis instead of investing – then by George you are not fine! You are not fine if something as ‘childish’ (they call it that just to shut you up fyi) as him not picking your calls irks you. If your instincts tell you that something’s up, trust me (and your instincts of course) something is up. Don’t insist on being fine!
We will tell our beautiful bride to speak up when she is not fine because marriage is not just about how to make her man happy. It is also about her happiness.
We will go to great pains to explain to her that one doesn’t earn brownie points by keeping up a façade of a perfect marriage. We will break it to her, ever so gently, that there is no such thing as a perfect marriage, and no mature person buys into that lie. That every healthy marriage has problems.
As we wish her every happiness in the marriage book, and as we plead with her to stay beautiful, we will try to make her understand that a marriage that overcomes problems is one where the couple purposes to address them.
Our parting shot as we send her off to her man will be: when he asks you how you are, only say you are fine if you are really really fine. If you are not, tell him why.
It is ok not to be fine.