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Commercial Marriage

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My dear Jil, you know I’ve always expressed my doubts about your money-denominated relationship. Your marriage is now at an impasse, and if you don’t make a radical shift in values and philosophy, it will unravel. The record of your marriage almost reads like a bank ledger. The marriage is totally transactional. It’s all about who bought what, who didn’t buy what, who’s owing whom and who, what’s outstanding… That doesn’t feel like marriage. It sounds like commerce – marital commerce. And now the families have moved in. His family is incensed you seem to be suggestionizing he’s dependent on you financially. The man himself is peeved, worried about degradation of his manhood in the market place. Feels you did a number on him. There are now demands and counter-demands, accusations and counter-accusations. I don’t get it!

If you guys want to have a commercial partnership that’s okay, but know it’s marriage in name only. My challenge comes when you now expect the full benefits of proper marriage in something not resembling marriage. By nature a transactional relationship is very cold and matter-of-factly. It’s about, you do something financial for me, in exchange for something I do for you. Ledger balanced. It’s a quid pro quo relationship. The feeling of being cheated only comes when the ledger is not balanced. It’s essentially a “for everything I buy for you or that I give you I expect a reciprocation, or repayment” relationship. It’s about borrowed monies and terms of repayment. And so when loans are not repaid, BIG PROBLEM!

The truth is, the REAL issue in this marriage is a lack of trust. Both of you don’t trust each other. It’s why you treat yourselves like banking clients with unsavory reputations. Your marriage is full of suspicions. There is no trust credit in this marriage. (Sorry about the banking pun). In a good marriage, partners credit each other’s account with trust. Trust is about character, and belief in that character. Trust is about self-regulated boundaries. What you don’t realise is that both of you have essentially castigated yourselves as lacking in character. Trust is important in marriage – the building of trust, the keeping of trust. It’s when you don’t trust your partner (or yourself) that you snoop into your partner’s phone. It’s when you don’t trust your partner (or yourself) that you demand photographic evidence of where your partner is. It’s when you don’t trust your partner (or yourself) that you make false declarations about money. When there’s no trust in a marriage the parties become paranoid. Without trust, every phone call arouses suspicion; every lateness home is suspicioned. Without trust an ordinary civic smile at someone at a social function can lead to very serious altercation. And some women have lost their lives to violence simply because their partners are suspicious of a simple smile.

If you can’t trust someone, why go into marriage with him or her? You’ll become holy police! And it’s not a healthy lifestyle. You’ll always be on edge. The temperament of your blood pressure is not guaranteed. It’s lack of trust that makes a partner sniff shirts and undies… to watch out for forensic evidence of lipstick stains. A marriage without trust is a sad reality. Lack of trust in a marriage leads to isolation, which is not healthy since the soul needs companionship. When there’s no trust, simple things are amplified. Suspicion becomes the order of the day. Even bank accounts become suspect. Bank balances are monitored.

My problem with your commercial marriage is that love was never part of the equation. But you want love. It’s more like buying a wedding ring, or buying the opportunity to procreate, or to have security. And because there’s no love in the marriage, the cushion for mistakes is lacking. Every accusation, every mistake lands with a thud. There’s no cushion of love. Your challenge is how to re-denominate this marriage with love. And it’s going to be a hard challenge. And please keep the families out. They’ll only worsen the situation. Call off your supporters’ club, both of you. They’re just inciting trouble, thinking they’re doing either of you a favour. Both of you need to go away by yourselves and resolve the issues between you. There’s a child now. Say what’s on your mind, and let him say what’s on his mind. It’s important to have that conversation. It’s not going to be a pretty session, especially the first few hours.

Also, he has to withdraw his conditions for reconciliation. You have to withdraw your conditions too. The idea of conditional reconciliation in marriage defeats the very purpose. Why are you guys behaving like American government negotiating with Iran? Remove the conditions. If you guys won’t take this suggestion then be ready for continuation of your transactional marriage; which is not really marriage, since it can’t satisfy the terms of marriage. It’s just a wedding union. A transactional marriage can’t fulfill those yearnings you have – the yearning for love and affection.

Again, you need to stop being proud. Pride in marriage never leads to a nice place. You’ve made horrible mistakes, he’s made horrible mistakes. Both of you are matrimonial sinners. The starting point for both of you is, Do you want the marriage? If you can’t answer in the affirmative, then there’s no point going over the issues. So I’m asking: Do you want the marriage or not? Or do you want divorce? Like the stark alternatives of Moses of old, I lay before you marriage or divorce. Choose you this day. I wish you wise choice in your matrimonial endeavour.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

Tags : Trust, Romance and Finance
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