I read a tweet last week from someone who had a rather unconventional thought about marriage. How about married couples living apart, in different towns or even the same towns but different apartments out of choice, but still married? Like, they have an arrangement when to stay together, see each other, the kids, and how often?
Sounds weird and so unAfrican, no? As a norm, the conventional idea of marriage is moving in together as the major step towards a happy marriage. Traditionally, this is how marriage has always been, and should be. The woman to move in with the love of her life. Kids. And other important things, property, assets and events done by the couple, together as one.
Well. Something that we should try out as a people is giving each other space while still married. Loving someone doesn’t necessarily translate to wanting to be with them always, every day. We can love deeply but live apart, and still be committed to them. Each one values their personal space and ‘me time’. Also, there are those habits that we can’t just put up with, much as we choose to love whomever we love. Proximity and support are not one and the same thing. Someone can support their family from a distance, si we have people around us who co-parent and some just do it so well and have good relationships?
The basic concept here is, people can focus on what works for them and love each other while respecting their patner’s time and space. They’re actually in love but there’s something about their lifestyles that doesn’t seem to mesh and blend so as to live together in one household. Finances, infidelity, different preferences, children bla bla, mix up a lot of things in a marriage. Love also fades.
It’s not easy to love someone daily, to wake up to the same face seven days in a week. We can’t be consistent with love bana! Living with another person adds up a whole new dimension to a relationship. Moving into one apartment for marriage and kids makes sense; it cuts down costs. But from an emotional perspective, it can be draining. We’ve so many times read or heard about ‘irreconcilable reasons’ when a couple splits.
Many marriages have fallen apart because not everyone has the patience that’s needed for a marriage. People are poor communicators. People are intolerant. Rude. Impatient. Temperamental. Humans change, especially after marriage. What would you do with a live-in partner who drinks too much when you don’t? Or becomes abusive when you two have a disagreement? Breaks things in the house or goes silent for 21 days when they’re upset?
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Those small small habits that we overlook but really piss off our significant others, could be solved by living apart while still very married. Let people who don’t flush after using loos stay with themselves. We love them still. Those who scatter socks all over the place, don’t unbutton their shirts before removing them, chew or snore loudly plus all those harmlessly annoying habits.
Love them. But give them their space. We can’t be reminding each other how to keep socks together forever bana! Choosing to stay apart can surprisingly rekindle the lost spark in a marriage. Remember the dating days when you’d really look forward to meeting each other on a weekend? Intimacy gets better when you don’t see each other daily, you know this is true! Sex would become much better because when you meet after days or weeks apart, you’d really want to make the best use of those two nights in a week. See?
What about the chances of infidelity? I know this is a question y’all are asking as you read this article. But again, si people cheat while living with their partners, no? Come on! Sexapades and situationships happen daily, with people we live with. So that shouldn’t be the fear even. A cheat is a cheat, they’ll always find a way and an excuse to jolly do it under the same roof!
Nosy in-laws and gossipy friends: Living apart as a couple can save us from these kinds of humans who sometimes most times, make a marriage shaky and difficult. This is an arrangement that would allow for people to just have their people of preference around without making a fuss about always serves five pieces of chicken during dinner.
We can share our hearts but not necessarily share houses, as a way of bringing sanity in a marriage, as well as preserving respect for space and individual time. Freedom is a good thing. I know this sounds so unconventional and Western, but on second thought, this could be the only way to a happily-ever-after kind of marriage.