First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the crushing realization that, sheesh, this whole ’til death do us part thing takes a lot of work.
September this year, Kenyan celebrity couple Nameless and Wahu will be celebrating their 14th wedding anniversary since they exchanged their wedding vows.
The colorful ceremony, which was held on the shores of Lake Naivasha, was reported to have cost Sh1 million at the time.
However, many may not be aware of the fact that Nameless almost walked out of the marriage after Wahu got pregnant.
In a recent interview with a local radio station, Nameless disclosed that his marriage life to Wahu hasn’t been a bed of roses and that it has taken them a lot of effort to remain together.
Nameless also revealed that the beginning of their marriage was the toughest moment and he almost quit after Wahu got pregnant.
“In the beginning of marriage two or three years after, nilikuwa nashindwa what is not happening. Then ujue just when we got married she got pregnant. Sasa unajua pregnancy inakujanga na vitu zingine huzielewi. I almost left at that time,” Nameless said.
Nameless, who has been publicizing his latest single Megarider, a remix of the song which catapulted him to fame 20 years ago, also revealed how they have been able to overcome marriage challenges.
“Hatuko na siri ati tuliget married tukalearn ati hii ndo plan yetu. Hakuna kitu kama hiyo, mna learn along the way as you try to have an understanding,” Nameless explained.
However, Nameless admitted that he still struggles to understand his wife’s mood swings.
Nameless and Wahu’s situation is nothing unique as the first five years of marriage are usually the most critical; nearly 20 percent of couples divorce within the first five years. Here is exactly why that is the case:
1. In-Law Troubles
Overbearing in-laws are something of a marital cliché, but if you’re not prepared for the type of relationship your spouse wants to have with his or her parents, or the kind of relationship his or her parents want to have with you, you could be in for a rude awakening once the vows have been said.
“When you’re dating, you’re kind of treading lightly. You’re to some degree walking on eggshells, especially with family,” says Olson. “So you don’t really state your opinion or get involved in things like that. But when it’s happening to you every day in your new married life? I’ve seen that cause a lot of friction.”
2. Undiscussed Debt
Finances, in general, can be a source of contention in marriage, whether it’s in the first five years or the next 20. However, student loans, something many young couples are saddled with, can prove to be a large burden in a marriage’s early stages.
“At the beginning of a romance, student loan debt obligations don’t come up,” says Devon Rood Slovensky, a divorce and family lawyer from Roanoke, VA. “However, once the honeymoon phase is over, the reality that loans have to be paid back, and that it can take time for an educational investment to pay off comes to the forefront. When a couple starts talking about buying a house or having children, student loan debt, can cause feelings of resentment and overwhelm.”
3. Religious Differences
When couples are dating, religion isn’t always brought up or talked about. Holidays are often spent apart and family traditions don’t play as much of a role in the couple’s daily lives. However, once things become more serious, religion and tradition tend to become more important and, if both couples aren’t on the same page, trouble can arise.
“I’ve seen a lot of younger couples where religion has become a significant issue in their marital relationship,” says Doreen Olson, a family law attorney and a partner at Meyer, Olson, Lowy & Meyers.
4. Not Speaking Up
Marriage, and life, can be hard. And if one person or the other feels as though they’re taking on too much of the burden, that can lead to discord. This is doubled when that person feels the need to keep those burdens quiet.
“More often than not, when the other party hears about how the burdened party feels, the response is ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ or ‘I would have helped had I known,’” says James. “So, speak up. If you feel like you are drowning, say something. Let your partner know.”
5. Differing Plans
Just like with anything in life, if you want your marriage to succeed, you’d better have a plan, and it had better be one that you both agree on. “Wildly different plans for the new family do not end well,” cautions Mitassov.
He recommends that, before marrying, couples should come to an agreement on important things like how many children they will have, finances, religion, education and, of course, how much contact you’ll have with your new in-laws.