On Saturday, 23rd April 2022, my daughter, Kate, and her sweetheart, Harrison, were joined in Holy Matrimony at a beautiful wedding. I told you all about it in my presentation on Monday. Now, I have made it my mission to help couples make a success of their marriages and so for my own daughter, I thought I owed it to her to share some tidbits with her on the secrets to building a great marriage. I decided to put it in the form of a letter to her and since the insights may be useful to other married couples, I am going to share the contents of the letter with you as well. So, here then is a letter from the father of the bride, that’s me, to my daughter, Kate, the new bride, as she begins life as someone’s wife. Here we go:
Congratulations on your beautiful wedding to Harrison. You looked gorgeous and beautiful on the day. I am so happy for you and for Harrison. He is fortunate and blessed to have you for his wife. I say this because I know how well you have been raised; I know how intelligent and resourceful you are and I know how devoted you are. So, I say it again that Harrison is blessed to have you as his wife.
But that statement will not be complete unless it can also be said that you are also blessed to have Harrison for husband. You see, marriage is not a solo performance. Marriage is a duet and no matter how excellent a singer one party is, if the other party does not hold his own, the duet will disappoint.
So, I want you to be the kind of wife Harrison needs and I pray that he will be the kind of husband you need. Note that I said, the kind of wife he needs and the kind of husband you need; I did not say that you will be the kind of wife you can be or that he will be the kind of husband he can be.
In marriage the important thing is to focus on the needs of your partner. There are too many people in a marriage who insist on being the kind of spouse they want to be and are often hurt that their partners do not seem to appreciate their efforts. The thing is that unless you are satisfying or meeting the needs of your partner as defined by your partner, you are nothing but a vexation to him and he would be to you too if he is not meeting your needs.
Let me make this concept clear with an illustration. Have you had an itch at your back before and you asked someone to scratch it for you? Do you remember how irritating it was for that person to decide where he wants to scratch instead of the spot you directed him to scratch?
Marriage is like that itch. If you are not scratching where your partner is itching you will only irritate him. So, don’t decide where you think your partner is itching. Communicate with him to be sure you’ve got the spot right before you start scratching.
And that is the key to a successful marriage – communication. You and Harrison will have to develop an effective way of communicating and to keep it going every day. He is not a mind reader so master the art of communicating with him.
There is something else I need you to note in your marriage, Kate dear. You have been a close and keen witness to the marriage between your mother and I. Please don’t insist that your marriage should mirror ours in every detail. The point is that every marriage is different. You are not your mother and Harrison is not me and so your marriage would be different. I pray that it would be as successful and long-lasting as ours have been but I want the two of you to give yourselves the freedom to create your own marriage. Be free to make your mistakes; be free to learn and unlearn and relearn; be free to explore until you discover what works for you two and what does not.
I guess what I am trying to say is that manage your expectations. Please don’t compare Harrison to me. He is a wonderful young man; hardworking and courageous. He has a lot of my qualities and his background is as humble as mine but and it is a big but, he is not me. Please don’t expect him to be like me. It will be unfair to him. But if you must compare the two of us then you should compare the Harrison you married on Saturday, 23rd April, 2022, with the Ebo Whyte your mother married on 23rd July, 1983. But I know that you cannot do that because you never met the Ebo Whyte of 1983; you had not been born yet.
I have come a long way and I am sure Harrison has his own maturing to do. So, be patient with one another. He is a good boy and so I have no doubt that he will mature into the kind of man he needs to be but give him room to grow.
The truth is, women are born; men are made; wives are born; husbands are made. Girls make the transition from girls to women much easier than boys make their transition from boys to men. I am the husband I am today because of the understanding and patience of your mother. I am sure that Harrison will become the husband you need him to be with your understanding and patience.
Remember, the name of the marriage game is patience; add understanding and realistic expectations to that and you are ahead of the game.
You and Harrison will have conflicts. It is inevitable and unavoidable. When you do, please don’t be discouraged. It is normal but don’t let the conflicts define your relationship. And don’t let any conflict remain unresolved or at the very least, unaddressed. Openness and honesty create the fertile grounds for a marriage to flourish and prosper.
Stay attractive for Harrison, Kate. It will not be easy but give it your best shot. Take good care of your looks and your health. Watch your diet and your weight. It will be a battle but don’t give up the fight.
Watch what you wear at home and how you groom or present yourself at home. Men function with images. So don’t let your husband’s image of you be a woman who dresses shabbily at home. I am not saying dress at home as if you are going on an outing or going to church but I want you to be mindful that you are dealing with a man who should continue to find you attractive. All I am asking is, give it your best shot.
Don’t compromise on keeping your hair and your nails in good order. Invest in seductive nighties; make sure you have good fragrances around. Always smell nice because men are aroused by sweet scent.
Watch your words. Never lash at Harrison in anger. Let your words always be respectful and soft.
Finally, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with him. You won’t win with Harrison if you come across as a strong woman who will not take any nonsense. Such women are made to swallow nonsense. Instead be the wise woman who knows how to get through to her husband without burning the house and the marriage down.
I wish you nothing but bliss, Kate. Make Harrison happy and he will make you happy but don’t depend on him for your happiness. So, don’t stop or suspend living; don’t lose yourself in him. Have a life so your life with him will be all the more richer.
Once again, congratulations and may you and Harrison live happily ever after. And by that I mean may you find ways of overcoming anything life can throw at your marriage.
Kate dear, I am proud of you and Harrison and I am praying for you.
My love to Harrison. I hope he is still kissing you and more. Dad.