Marriage isn’t always pretty!

When Amanda Shivamba, 32, from Centurion said “I do” to the love of her life, Humphrey Shivamba, 33, she thought marriage would be a breeze.

But her life and perceptions changed when she had her four beautiful kids Lelo, 5, Lelani, 4 and twins Langavi and Luvani, 8 months, who she admits turned her marriage into an “emotional rollercoaster”.

Although the mom of four, who started a blog called MotheringMe, went through her highs and lows, she and her Prince Charming are still head over heels with each other.

This is her story:

“My husband and I have been married for five years six months and 24 days... but who’s counting?

I must admit, when I got married, I thought how hard can this be? Waking up next to your best friend every day, splitting the bills and making some babies.

Sure, there would be the occasional disagreement here and there but this sounded like it was going to be a walk in the park.

I imagined our 50th wedding anniversary celebration even before we’d walked down the aisle!

I was sure it wasn’t as bad as people made it out to be, I was sure people who got divorced maybe just didn’t try hard enough, or maybe they just married the wrong person, or maybe they just didn’t know what they were doing.

But me and my boo thang, we were in it for the long haul, we had this marriage thing in the bag, or so I thought...

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No one told me that when you get married, you’ll come face to face with parts of yourself you didn’t know existed. No one told me that when you throw a bunch of kids into the mix, marriage can turn into an emotional rollercoaster. No one told me that your spouse will hurt you more than anyone in this world because you have given them the deepest and most vulnerable parts of your soul.

No one told me you’ll have moments where you doubt yourself and your decision to get married and that every now and again you may even contemplate chopping your husband into tiny pieces and burying them in the backyard.

Amanda Shivamba and her family

A few years into marriage, after several disagreements, deadlock silent treatments and an insurmountable array of kissing and making up, I realised that marriage isn’t just a choice I made one fateful day, it was a decision I had to make every day, a decision to love even when my husband wasn’t loveable.

A decision to forgive when resenting was so much easier. A decision to compromise even when I desired a different outcome, a decision to communicate when silence seemed to be the better option.

A decision to be vulnerable with my emotions every single day. A decision to learn and to teach, a decision to challenge yourself to grow into a bigger and better person. It was a decision to be a wife, a friend, a nurse, a mother, a prayer warrior, a business partner and a companion to someone in this journey of life.

My husband has seen the not so good, the bad and the ugly side of me and has access to my deepest insecurities and my biggest fears. He has carried me through some of the darkest times in my life and he has helped me to heal wounds that formed years before he even knew me.

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No one told me I could be this open and vulnerable with another human being. He consciously chooses me every day despite my shortcomings and my occasional short-circuiting!

We have challenged each other to be better versions of ourselves and to confront our inner demons. We choose to see the best in each other and to regularly encourage the other that we can move mountains and that we have the strength within us to fly. I’m his biggest cheerleader and he’s mine!

I always thought soulmates meant that you were kindred spirits, two peas in a pod, a relationship that was meant to be!

Amanda and Humphrey

But I now know that my husband is my soulmate, not because we were meant for each other, but because we choose each other’s souls every day, we choose to love, we choose to forgive and we choose to stay.

My husband and I both know we’re a constant work in progress.

We both understand that we’ll make mistakes, but we have already forgiven each other for mistakes that we haven’t yet made. We understand that we’re two very different individuals who have chosen to walk this journey together.

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So I get why no one told me certain things about marriage, it’s because a spiritual journey can’t be taught, it must be experienced.

What I do know is that you create the marriage that you want, you invest in it, you learn from it and you put your blood, sweat and tears into it. It will expand you in ways you never imagined, and it will fulfil the deepest crevices of your soul.

Amanda Shivamba and her husband

You’re the architect of your own marriage, and every now and again you get to look around and marvel at the beautiful complexity of it all.”