Sandras Phiri

9 Things I’ve Learnt from 9 Years of Marriage

sandrasandlelembaI’m blessed to have been married to my best friend Lelemba for 9 years today. If I were to meet her for the first time today, I’d marry her again. In the 9 years we have experienced both challenge and support which I believe has lead to a lot of growth. When getting married 9 years ago, did I think we would reach 9 years together, of course I did. During the 9 years, did we always feel like we would still be together this time, hell no! It’s been a journey with ups and downs with a general direction being up.

Lelemba and I are both reluctant to write or talk about relationships because we feel that it would put pressure on us to appear perfect or to never break up. But it’s 9 years and so I’ll make an exception and share a few things that I believe help us be together and still be best friends.

1. Seek Growth Together
We are both very interested in personal development and never stop learning about ourselves and relationships among other things. Together we’ve learnt teachings such as the Demartini Method, Roger Hamilton’s Wealth Dynamics, The 5 Love Languages, the Enneagram, Myers-Briggs and many others. The point of all this is that we learn to understand why we do what we do and most importantly why my partner behaves the way he/she does. We’ve learnt to stop trying to change each other.

2. Don’t Stop Talking to Resolve issues
There were many times we felt like “this is not worth it anymore.” I believe something that has saved us is that we don’t keep quiet and let it fester. We talk. It’s difficult sometimes but I believe that the day we stop talking is the day we start drifting apart. We also give each other honest feedback even uncomfortable feedback such as you’ve gained or lost too much weight or “what’s up with your breath today?”

3. Be Genuine Friends
I love my wife but most importantly I like my wife. She’s my best friend. The same goes for her. In most scenarios it would be me, Lelemba and her female friends and we enjoy girl conversation or girl stuff. Or it would be Lelemba, me and my male friends and we enjoy guy conversation or guy stuff. She doesn’t get into trouble for saying “Wow, that’s a hot guy.” I don’t get into trouble for saying “that’s a gorgeous girl.”

4. Be On The Same Team
We realise that as much as we love similar things we are not twins and therefore we don’t exactly love the same things. We have different missions in life which are complementary. Therefore, when we are going for our individual goals, we support each other because by each achieving, the achievement contributes to our collective mission. We sit in each other’s talks or presentations and compliment each other or give each other the needed feedback. We’re not afraid to say “you were right” or “that’s a brilliant idea” because we’re on the same team.

5. Dream together
When we got married in 2007 we said “this is our decade” (learnt from Les Brown) and have been dreaming and visualizing together. Today we were reading some of the dreams we set many years ago and it’s amazing how most of those have come true. There is power in writing down your dreams and doing it together as a couple.

6. Have Fun Together
I have a lot of fun with Lelemba. We talk and laugh. We party and dance to the latest music on a dance floor somewhere whether it’s in Lang Kwai Fong in Hong Kong or Keep Time in Kalingalinga, Lusaka. We don’t force ourselves to act old in order to be “taken seriously”.

7. Be Ok On Your Own
I think our relationship is strong because we both know that as much as we’re great together, we are ok separately. If we broke up I know Lele would go on with life and be ok and she knows I would go on with life and be ok too. Hence the love is not fear or need based. It’s preference. I prefer to be with her. She prefers to be with me. We’re together and apart like “the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music” as Khalil Gibran puts it.

8. Talk Honestly About Money and Sex
They say a lot of divorces are due to money or sex. True. Therefore, we try as much as possible to be honest about these two. We talk when things are not working or need to be addressed. We talk when we feel one is not making an effort to make money or is careless about money. We talk when the sex is not working and try to find a solution. We talk about how we would react in case of one leaving with somebody else and why we would react that way and what’s important to each of us in such cases.

9. Have An “Exit” Strategy
What steps would we take before we divorce? We’ve agreed that if we ever feel that “this is it, I can’t deal with it. Let’s go separate ways” we would go for Demartini’s Breakthrough Experience again. That way if we break up, we will really see the benefit of being together and of being apart (true unconditional love). Hopefully, the Breakthrough Experience would help us see Divine Perfection as it has many times before and we would “choose” to still be with each other.

I hope you find some of the above useful. Feel free to post your own lessons or comments. All the best to you!

To Lelemba, the love of my life, my best friend, my homie, my beautiful genius, I will always love you whether we’re together or not. But my preference is to be with you. I’ve grown a lot with you. I thank God for you. Happy 9th anniversary! To 90 more!

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