My dear Jack, let me give you a simple guidance system for your marriage. I know there are so many rules on how to love a woman, so much so the rules rival the Book of Deuteronomy. But love is supposed to be quite natural. Love is not supposed to be like the Ten Commandments. When love takes on the hue of the Ten Commandments, it all becomes so artificial. Love cannot be an obligation foisted on an unwilling party. Such relationships have a liturgical quality. What you need is a general philosophy, some sort of guidance system. Nothing more than three words. Just remember, the fundamental basis of a marital relationship is love, not obligatedness. Without love all the gifts and Valentine cards are nothing but the fulfilling of obligations. It’s accusation deflecting. Doing something so no one accuses you of not doing anything. That’s not love.
In practical terms, love for your wife ought to be expressed in these three words: nourishment, protection, cherishing. Nourish her, protect her, cherish her and you’ll have loved her. You can’t nourish her without taking care of her. Take care of your woman. A haggard looking woman is not a good brand image for a man’s pride. Your wife can’t be haggard looking. And you don’t nourish her by buffeting her soul with verbal bludgeons. Both physical and emotional battery are deadly. One is no less than the other. And so when you harangue and keep accusing her, bullying her with your masculinity you destroy her from the inside. Emotional battery is as terrible as physical battery. A man must do neither to his wife. For how can you claim to love someone if you’re constantly reducing the person’s sense of worth?
The second of those words is protection. You’ve got to protect your wife, sometimes from your family. A good man protects his wife. He doesn’t leave his wife exposed to negative energy from members of his family. If for example you know you have a tough mother, then it’s your duty to be the buffer for your wife. But if your wife feels you won’t stand up for her in those family settings she’ll lose respect for you. Worse, get angry. In which case she’ll lose respect for everyone. And you’ll be singled out by her as a coward. Protect your wife. If your family claims to respect you they won’t disrespect your wife. You can’t have a separate identity from your wife. It’s an incongruous thought. You even share surname. She’s you, you’re her. What she does reflects on you, what you do reflects on her. You’re a team. You’ve got to protect your wife from unreasonable and unpalatable traditions too. When your family members know you’re protective of your wife they’ll be mindful of gratuitous offerings. The world tends to take a cue from how a man treats his woman. You’ve got to provide emotional security for your wife. It means a lot to women.
You’ve got to cherish your wife. And that has to do with your attitudinal disposition towards her. You’ve got to treat her special. You can’t do that sincerely if you don’t love her. You can’t cherish what you don’t love and value. Cherishing your wife means you place high value on her. It’s the picture of a man holding an egg. That’s what cherishing a wife is. You don’t do rough with an egg. You’ll break it. An egg is delicate. And so if you cherish your wife you won’t be rough on her. You’ll be mindful of her emotional state. You don’t want your wife crying into the pillow. That’s a vision of pain and neglect. You can’t claim to cherish your wife if you neglect her. Something can’t be right in such circumstances.
There are many dimensions of neglect in marriage – financial, social, emotional, political. If you ignore your wife at a social function for example, chatting up other women that’s social neglect for instance. All in all neglect is emotional torture for a woman. And some men do that sadistically. They instrumentalise neglect. Some sadistically refuse to sleep with their wife, and this can go on for years! That’s not love! And there’s that hypocrisy of it all – that false impression of domestic bliss projected even before God. It’s common at social functions too. To the outside world that woman is the luckiest woman alive but the truth is contrary. That neglect can come when a man is distracted on the outside. And if that catastrophe happens and the paramour disappears; then the man returns to the woman he’s neglected all this while, his tail between his legs. You don’t want your children bitter. Neither do you want to provoke them to anger for the neglect of their mum. Ultimately though, love is a decision.
I’d say keep those three words close to your chest: Nourish. Protect. Cherish. Nourish your wife, protect your wife, cherish your wife. I’ll write you on those issues you raised. I’ll need to think about them first. But don’t buy into the philosophy of marriage as pain and difficulty. There are many, many wonderful marriages. Don’t let another man’s bitter experience colour your expectations of marriage. You marriage will be what you and your wife want it to be. A good marriage takes effort but a good marriage is worth it. I’ll get back to you as promised.
Your mentor, LA
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org