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Dear Jil, I present lessons from my letters to you in 2016. I hope you take them to heart as you enter the new year.Marriage is meant to be loving and supportive. Marriage is meant to be full of kindness and consideration. There are many wonderful relationships, many wonderful marriages. Don’t believe those who say none exists. When you do good in life, you do good because it’s the right thing to do, not because you want appreciation. Society is one huge drama cast. It’s full of actors and actresses, pretenders and pretentious. Our reaction to provocation is the test of our nobility and virtue.

The best way to receive love is to give love. A generous love begets generous love. The most important factor about loving your enemies is that you don’t become filled with hatred like them. One has to be careful about developing a philosophy of life from one instance of experience. The silent vow to not tolerate what a parent tolerated can lead to overreaction to anything seemingly close. Life is in chapters. Learn to turn the chapter of your life from the pain of the past. There’s always another chapter. Life is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. If you’re not willing to learn and unlearn, you won’t go far in life. You’ll be stuck. The best revenge for life’s circumstances is the emergence of a beautiful you – the woman whose spirit can’t be broken.

The quality of a relationship in marriage is determined by the sincerity of the parties. It’s hard to have a good relationship with an insincere person. There’ll be suspicions, pretences and manipulation. A casual attitude towards other people’s feelings will lose you many friends, even your future spouse. Temperamental lashing is emotional abuse. Nagging is emotional abuse. Constant accusation is emotional abuse. If there’s something you should be mindful of in marriage, it’s words. That a word comes into your mind doesn’t mean you have to say it.

Beware of one-sided commitment in a relationship. To be self-centred in a relationship negates the very essence of a relationship. A relationship is “we”. If you realise you have a problem in an area, humility demands you admit it in order to take a corrective course. When a fight is prolonged in marriage pride steps in. Pride is what prevents you from admitting wrong. It’s what makes you want to behave as if nothing ever happened.

The opposite of happiness is not unhappiness when it comes to marriage; it’s depression. There are break-ups that are actually deliverances. We should be thankful for them, not keep complaining. You’ve got to be able to absorb the faults of your partner and he’s got to be able to absorb yours. That’s how marriage works. It’s important couples appreciate each other’s imperfections. You love despite them, and because of them. Without peace in marriage happiness can’t find expression. Neither can love find consistency of expression.

A good marriage makes us desire eternity. A bad marriage makes us wonder about eternity. A good man cherishes a loving woman and vice versa. When God gives you a wonderful thing, express appreciation by cherishing it. A loving and dedicated spouse should never be taken for granted. Never betray trust. Love is not always going to be convenient. It’s why it’s called love. A good relationship recognizes individuality and differences in nature, but nonetheless loves unconditionally. A good relationship is not one in which parties are perfect but one in which parties are accommodating. A good relationship says faults are there, but so are the graces and virtues. Concentrate on those. All those wonderful marriages you see, they are riddled with imperfections. But the parties make it work.

Peace in a home is not the absence of fights. It’s the inner state of someone’s heart. Appreciate that someone. It’s not the joining together that’s the marriage; it’s the quality of happiness. You’ve got to let go of insecurities, enjoy simple friendships. Be open to being loved, being appreciated. Relationships ought to be natural. If it’s artificially induced it will require unavailable energy. When the right man comes everything will just click. You won’t need to seek to make it click. In a relationship you look before you leap. You check that there are no crocodiles in the water. It’s not Discovery Channel. You don’t marry a promissory note, you marry facts. Better to marry what you want rather than hoping to convert someone after marriage. That’s presumptuous. Don’t place your heart and faith in the hands of the undeserving. Find a man worthy of your trust, your love, your heart and faith. Date a sincere and honest man. It’s not about the wedding gown, it’s about the wedding crown. Will he treat you like his queen?

Don’t commit to a man you hardly know. Or you’ll find out what you should have found out when the relationship breaks. Please don’t marry someone you don’t love, or who you don’t know, or who doesn’t love you. He’s handsome is just aesthetic value. What lies beneath the façade? That’s the man. That you love someone doesn’t mean the relationship will work. Emotion and practical reality can be two different things. Truth is no one can change anyone except God.

Learn to use the delete button for those who add no value whatsoever to your life, who bring you anger and disappointment. The best way to move on from a trauma is to first cut yourself off completely from the source code. Run from an abusive relationship. Forgive, let go of the past, move on. I recommend you depend on God’s grace in the New Year instead of your willpower. Grace will empower you.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder | talk2me@lekealder.com

The quality of a relationship in marriage is determined by the sincerity of the parties. Click To Tweet A loving and dedicated spouse should never be taken for granted. Click To Tweet
Tags : Marriage, Advice
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