Dear Jack, yes I know the pressure that comes with late conception. Especially in an African society. But if I were you I’ll shield and protect my wife from it all.
Let’s deal with the family angle first. They can be very pertinacious and proprietary. When you think about it you kind of understand why God says you should leave your father and mother and cling to your wife. Your family can’t be regulating family planning in your nuclear family. They’re overreaching. If you don’t draw the line and contain them they’ll destroy your marriage. You must be in control of your matrimonial agenda. And so we see the clash between the word of God and culture; of God’s viewpoint and man’s.
You’re allowing your family to turn your marriage into a publicly quoted company. And every shareholder seems to have an opinion. They’re casting their voice vote on the goings on in your home. With or without a child a marriage subsists. The child is a blessing- an addition. It is NOT the definition of the marriage. What I’m saying may not be politically correct and I recognise it’s hard truth. But I advise you pay attention. There are three likely outcomes in your marriage (I’m being stark with you): It’s either your wife is going to conceive soon, or conceive late or never conceive. These are the gruff realities but whatever the outcome is, it’s nobody’s business! You must put out this message.
You see, when YOU as a man put out that message, the snide remarks and outright demands will stop. Those demands sometimes come as “prayer”- “God will soon answer your prayer!” People can be nosey parkers! Your countenance must discourage the THOUGHT of broaching the subject of your wife’s fecundity. And you know it never occurs to these people the man may be the infertile one! They always assume it’s the woman. There’s no better way to show you love your wife than to tell everyone to back off and mind their business! Now they may talk behind your back, but what is that to you?
Your wife is already under pressure from feeling incomplete. Look back in history at women who struggled with conception. Samuel’s mum, Hannah had this yearly cycle of depression. Once she was petitioning God in church for a child with such grievous fervency the pastor thought she was drunk! Luckily she had a most loving and understanding husband- Elkanah. He proved himself to be more than ten sons to her. Rachel (Joe’s mum) threatened suicide if her husband didn’t get her pregnant. Resorted to use of an hallucinogenic (mandrakes) as fertility drug in ignorance. That’s how tough these things can be. Listen to Solomon: ‘Three things are never satisfied, no, there are four that never say, “That’s enough, thank you!” …hell, a barren womb, a parched land, a forest fire.’
You’ve got to be Elkanah to your Hannah. You’ve got to love her and spoil her. You’ve got to be understanding. You can’t be party to those putting her under pressure. You deal with YOUR pressure as a man! Give her constant reassurances that children or no children she’ll always be special. And demonstrate it through gifts and kind words, affection and special consideration.
Don’t allow your family to Peninnah your wife. Peninnah was second wife to Elkanah. She was as horrible as she was fertile. She ridiculed Hannah to no end. Probably composed taunting songs- like those women in Nollywood movies. She rubbed it in cruelly and sadistically drove her to depression. Some women are like that. It’s not enough they have in abundance what others desperately long for; they must still oppress. The pressure being exerted on your wife is enough to prevent conception. If you want that conception to have a fair chance of happening you must protect and comfort your wife. And don’t let your family pump into your head the notion of dumping her for a fertile alternative. That’s usually the logical progression. They might even have curated candidates for you. They’ll want you to impregnate someone as a first step to annihilation of your marriage. You’re being set up. Step back.
Some opine the central conflict in the world today is the product of alternative procreation advisory by Sarah to Abraham. In other words, well intended but flawed alternative procreation advice will conflict your heritage in ways you can’t imagine. There are medical treatments for infertility. There are aided conception procedures. Worse case scenario adopt a child. But don’t let them destroy your marriage through zealous “love”. The consequences are huge. Cleave to your wife. Cleave means “to adhere firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly.” Those are strong words. And we cleave because women are resources of life nourishment for men. Cleaving draws on it by osmosis. Non sexual physical intimacy has a role in marriage. Men have need of it, especially achievers.
There’s a life force inside a woman that ameliorates the peculiar coldness of loneliness men experience. That’s the lesson from the ministrations of Abishag of Shunem who served as David’s biological blanket in old age. David was often cold in old age- the kind of cold neither heat nor blanket could cure. It wasn’t physical cold therefore. Someone came up with the idea to get a beautiful woman to lie next to him, to keep him warm. No sex. And it worked.
As Solomon said, “Two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?” The life force inside her kept him warm. This hints at the compositional mystery of the woman. There are things only a woman can give you. Extraordinary issues of life emanate from her core. Enjoy your marriage, child or no child. Listen to Solomon: “Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. Let her breasts satisfy you always…May you always be captivated by her love.” “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which God has given you under the sun.. For that is your reward in this life and in your work at which you toil under the sun.”
I wish you the joy of husbandhood…child or no child.
Your mentor, LA.
© Leke Alder 2014