Dear Jil, I really don’t blame your parents for insisting your boyfriend must have a job before marriage. You may not understand because your experience of life is little. And your knowledge of men is limited. But your parents know, and they’re actually trying to protect you though you may not see it. The makeup of men is radically different from that of women. Both sexes react to lack differently. I’ll talk to you in a bit about that, but truth is you don’t even know how you will react when there’s acute lack.Many marriages have been broken unnecessarily by preventable economic pressure. It’s not as if the parties don’t love each other; it’s just that lack exerts such a heavy gravitational pressure it pulverizes love. Lack is easy to bear when marriage starts. But when the status portends permanence, then the trouble begins. Reality intrudes the rose tinted view of life. There’ll be despair and frustration because of the lack. And you’ll soon hold him responsible for everything imaginable, including even the fluctuating currency exchange rate. You think you know yourself. Until pressure comes. That’s when you realise you have an unexploited part. You won’t believe yourself. I’ve had letters from people who were shocked at what they became under pressure. The hurling of invectives, barbaric insults, denudating expletives…these things find their way from the bottom up under pressure.
Even if the marriage doesn’t break under economic pressure, internal fissures would have developed. The words spoken, the invectives hurled, insults, gratuitous abuses…they can’t be taken back. And men are fragile. This, despite general belief. When a man is broken on the inside it takes God to patch him up. Once you start behaving like he never expected, he’ll withdraw from you though still with you. You’ll feel that sense of withdrawal. But he’s just trying to protect his heart. He won’t trust you emotionally.
Meanwhile, your self-esteem may become shattered through the shame that comes from a marriage in lack. Marriage is announcement of independence. It’s why we feel so ashamed when we’re not self-sufficient in marriage. You won’t want to go back to your parents for food or money under the circumstance. You won’t want your parents to say “we told you so”, so you’ll avoid their doorstep, until they’re your last option. That’s the prodigal son’s narrative. He had no other option but to go home to his father. You may end up a prodigal daughter.
Then there’s the issue of social shame. There are functions you won’t be able to go, because you don’t want questions, and also because you may not have what to wear to those functions. Social functions require attire. And you won’t want your colleagues asking about where you live, or where he works. “He’s in between jobs” is hardly a magnificent answer about a husband’s profession. Everybody knows what that means and you’ll have to give a nervous laugh just to cover things up. That’s when you’ll discover men can lie with laughter. Your laughter will speak a lie! As for him he won’t want to go to those functions too. He’ll feel ashamed. (If he’s not ashamed, you should be worried!) Those functions will rob him of his confidence. He won’t be able to talk like a man ought to. He’ll have a nervous confidence, which is shaky confidence, which is no confidence at all. In those functions he’ll move to the fringes of society, escaping to tangential spaces out of focus and out of engagement. Otherwise, he’ll have to make stuff up, and of course he’ll over-compensate, which will give him up.
He’ll resent not being accepted for his intelligence or being judged for his obvious lack. He’ll be angry after those functions and he’ll take it out on you unfairly. You won’t understand. You’ll deem him cruel for his behavior and foul countenance; after all, you’re trying your best for him. You’re the one bearing the bills, making up for gaps, creatively stretching the food basket. In fact, you won’t believe how creative you’ve become because of the hardship. You’ll be inventive in the kitchen. And then you’ll have to manage credit situations. You’ll buy supplies in the currency of hope. You’re the only one carrying the family. He’s not contributing. That can be very heavy and discouraging when you have little. The fervency of your prayers will of course intensify to say the least, but he may not share your passion for supplication. Indeed chances are he’ll blame God! For not answering him, for allowing him to be in his economic condition. And that apart from the fact his ego will become very brittle. Men’s ego become brittle with little or no cash. He’ll start snapping in the house, or go morose, complaining about your “control” of the things you bought. Innocuous things you do may get extreme reaction, very surprising reaction. You won’t get it!
What’s happening is that he’s depressed. He’s at home when his mates are at work. That can be debilitating. Work is a gift. But not an easily appreciated gift. There’s the joy of waking up in the morning and having something to do, somewhere to go. Work is a gift. And may God help you if the spiritual diagnostic people don’t move in, seeking to divine why things are the way they are. There’s always one charlatan in this kind of situation who sees visions that pinpoint you as the cause of his misfortune. May God help you if your mother-in-law is not the procurer of the spiritualist. She’ll seek custody of her son. She may not be appreciative of all – your input and contribution. “Is he not your husband?!” she’ll tell you. And that will hurt. And that is when YOUR mum moves into the situation. It’s now mum versus mum. Why don’t you just be patient and let him get a job before you marry? You’ll spare yourself the difficulties. You want to avoid as much pressure as possible on your young marriage. It’s breakable. It’s so easy for emotional love to become hatred. Economic pressure is a conversion mechanism. And when a young marriage is put unduly under economic pressure, it can portend divorce a few streets down the line.
Oh, I forgot to tell you he won’t be able to buy you a birthday gift, or Valentine gift. We don’t want that, do we? It’s good for a man to have a job, a source of regular income before he marries. But if you insist on going on despite his joblessness, why we have to start fasting and praying for your marriage in advance!
Your mentor, LA
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.orgMarriages have been broken unnecessarily by preventable economic pressure. Click To Tweet