Dear Jack, if you study the pattern of my missives you’ll discover two things: One, I’m trying to make sure that subsisting marriages work out, that they’re imbued with love, joy and happiness. But more critically, I’m trying to prevent intending marriages from becoming incubators of pain and sorrow. A bad marriage starts with a wrong choice of partner. And such partners are not necessarily bad people. They may just be bad for each other. When partners don’t gel, or come from incongruent dimensions, it can lead to disinterest and frustration. And a marriage created in the crucible of compulsion is a recipe for disaster and unhappiness.
It doesn’t matter how much you have invested in a bad relationship, if it’s a bad match, write off your investment. The price of marital unhappiness is always higher than whatever has been invested in the courting stage. But insisting on proceeding a bad relationship into marriage just because of massive investment is not prudent. If you’re going to New York but your piloting is off course and taking you to Moscow, you don’t insist on Moscow just because you’ve spent money on aviation fuel. You correct course. Same with marriage. So you invested in her education, you have emotional investment, you’ve spent some of your life. But all those expenses will pale in contrast to the cost of a terrible and difficult marriage. The opposite of marital happiness is not unhappiness. It is depression. Never ever joke with marital depression. You have no idea! When two people who shouldn’t have married are confined to a marital space, the space can be quite claustrophobic. There is the constancy of mental pressure and emotional agony. The marriage will seem like a dungeon. And marital prison doors are quite resilient, if you can even locate the door. So why don’t you avoid going into prison in the first place! Why don’t you just choose right!
People often assume that all divorces are caused by quarrels. And so they naively seek to settle disputes. It’s a one-way track approach to sorting out marital issues, a patent exhibition of sometimes well-intended ignorance. Not all marital problems are caused by quarrels. Sometimes it’s just unhappiness from a wrong match. There are marriages in which the individuals are great but the combination just produces the worst in them. When someone becomes unhappy in a marriage, the unhappiness will seek to destroy the emotional health of the other party. And so parties are not always seeking to leave a marriage because of quarrel. There are bad marriages without quarrel. When you’re trapped in a bad marriage, depression results. A marriage should not be a dark dungeon – wet with unhappiness, rats of irritability nibbling at feet, dank and sorrowful. Those who have good marriages cannot IMAGINE the pain of a man or woman trapped in a loveless marriage. That pain is beyond the threshold of comprehension. It is not given to them to know. It’s why there’s so much judgmental disposition when two people can’t work out their marriage. So much gossip and bile. And so much presumption floating in a sea of arrogance. So much viciousness. And the religious folk who should know better are worse in this regard. So much self-righteous posturing. Malice!
When our friends are in marital trouble what they need from us is not sermonizing. Just compassion. They’re in pain! They need our prayers, and emotional support even if they’re at fault! Not all that legalistic callousness. You can’t sit in judgment over human pain. It’s inhuman. The reason God saves some of us from certain traumatic experiences is because we can’t handle it, not because we’re good! Sometimes in life it’s best to shut up. If you can’t help don’t exacerbate the pain of others with verbal incontinence. And so if only to avoid the condemnation of the world, I’d advise you do your choosing right. The world is vicious.
The problem sometimes for men is that the libido does the partner choosing, not commonsense. Sex can be blinding. Puts young men in an unexplainable dimension. The titillation obscures seeing, glorifies arrant. If you concentrate on sex you can almost marry anybody, until you discover you can’t marry almost anybody. There are people you naturally gel with – there’s synergy. The relationship is unforced, no trying to make it work. Trying to make it work can be a warning sign it shouldn’t work. It’s a tragedy when as you pronounce “I do” you realize you just made the biggest mistake in your life. Truth is, the mistake has been long in making. It only found commitment at the altar.
One place to look for compatibility is values. When values are shared, a marriage has a greater chance of success. Some marriages work seamlessly because the partners were brought up by respective fathers with same values. There’s thus a commonality in upbringing. The values of their fathers are ingrained in them. Those values become the bedrock of the marriage, making them gel in places deep and unknown. But when parties have disparate values someone will suffer in the marriage. Someone is going to be frustrated. Go for someone you have a compatibility of spirit with. It doesn’t mean both of you must watch the same television programs, or share same interests. That you both watch Desperate Housewives is not a compatibility pointer. Just that you share programming interest. If you’re honest and you marry a dishonest person for example, no shared interest in Desperate Housewives will cure that. When there’s a fundamental philosophical disagreement about life in a marriage, it will experience tensile strain. I know this letter contains hard truths, but truth must be told. I hope you’re not truth averse. Prevention is cheaper than cure.
Your mentor, LA
© Leke Alder | email@example.com