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Marriage

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My dear Jack, every relationship has an equilibrium base. It’s a place of tranquillity, a place of rest. At that equilibrium there’s peace in a relationship, there’s harmony, there’s joy. Things are settled, nothing worries you, you’re happy. And you want things to continue that way. There are no fights, just love, appreciation and understanding. It’s in that state of equilibrium that you can better appreciate the great qualities of your spouse. It’s a place of deep appreciation. It’s at that point you say to yourself, “This woman is just perfect for me; she’s just made for me.” You can see her happy and contented. It’s like she’s floating in happiness. You can see the wide smile on her face. There it is lurking just beneath her skin, making her soft and tender. There’s a glow. She’s open to collaborative love, wants to hear appreciation from you. She teases you no end. You make fun of each other. Think of an afternoon at the beach, only this time the beach is located right inside your home. There’s airiness and lightness in the house, the house is suffused with a potent mixture of joy, peace and harmony. She wants to take care of you at that base, and you want to care for her. There are cuddles, and there are bubbles of quiet joy. She’ll want that stretch of moment caught in a bottle and sent off to sea, unviolated and bubbling to the dance of the waves till forever. That’s the vision of marriage everyone ought to have; it’s a vision of a weekend – easy, peaceful, happy, contented, joyful, loving, caring. You work hard to keep your relationship at that equilibrium. That’s the work cut out for you. It’s why it’s important to love the person you marry. Love makes the job unbelievably easy. You won’t be “doing” anything. Things will just be.

Your actions are motivated by love. Love gives emotion to the rational tendencies of the male species. Love softens a man, makes him go extra mile for his woman. Love makes a man protective. It makes him want to provision for his woman. Love says, “I’ve got something wonderful going on here and I want it to last forever. I don’t want to mess it up.” And sometimes the relationship slides even further to the right – positive right. There, there’s unimaginable joy. That’s when you can’t wait to get home to see her. You just want to be with her. All your inhibitions are down. You’re free and open with her. There are no walls, no pauses in your thought stream. There are no pretences or pretentiousness, no “poses.” It’s a place of nakedness, of sincerity of heart. That comes from knowing this woman is your partner, your partner for life. You’re bound together, for all of eternity. It’s the place you’re like a child. It’s a wonderful place to be in a marriage. There’s so much trust some questions don’t even arise. It’s the place of invested lives. Your issues of life are cross-invested in each other. When people see you together they can tell you’re in love with each other. And they’ll want what you have, assess their relationship by it. It doesn’t come automatically. It takes desire and a willingness to be naked with each other. It takes wanting a happy marriage. It takes wanting to trust your partner, taking the risk of being exposed as it were. It’s a place where lives are bound and the two parties are committed to the project of forever oneness. For both parties to benefit both must be committed to oneness. There are no other options.

However, relationships can also slide to the negative left. The negative left has a range from mild to extreme. You don’t want extreme. The mild left is a picture of your average disagreement, parties not wanting to talk to each other. Though mild, even at that it’s not a good place to be. There’s the pain of needed but unfulfilled love. It’s a place of misunderstanding. It’s a place of suspicion, of someone saying what hurts the other party – what should not have been said. You get out of that place by expressing your feelings to each other, not just your version of historical facts. You see, when you express your version of facts without touching on feelings, the feelings become residual pus, undrained. The disagreement will put both parties under severe stress. It’s disequilibrium. The peace in the relationship is disturbed. Both of you will dread coming back home after work. There’s that unresolved pain hanging in the air like a dead weight. Contains anger. To resolve the issue, it may be better to start texting each other about how you feel, well, well before coming home. Sometimes the work of reconciliation needs a long runway. By the time you get home the issues are at least largely known and on the table. Each party knows where the other is at. What matters is that by the time you get home you can say sorry to each other and reconcile. The focus ought to be reconciliation.

When there’s negative emotion in a relationship it brings about fear. You’ll start wondering at the definition of your partner. You’ll see your partner in a new light. Who she is changes in your sight, just as who you are changes in hers. And words can be spoken in anger at this time, regrettable words. You have to be mindful in expressing your pain during disagreement. The possible redefinition of your partner is why you have to quickly get out of the place of anger. Love can be hard at that moment. Those who know a great deal about marriage know how dangerous negative emotion is. Things can quickly spiral from there. Avoid negative emotion in your marriage. Positive emotion is always better. Learn to believe the best of your partner. But then there’s the extreme negative left. You don’t ever want to get there. It’s a place of abuse – physical, mental and emotional abuse. A marriage that makes flirting with extreme negativism normative soon finds itself unrequired. The negative end of the emotional range is a place of devaluation of worth. It’s where humans are drained of value. It’s not always expressed in shouts and anger. Sometimes it’s expressed in despite. Despite is a short leap to hatred. You shouldn’t despise anyone. You don’t want to be filled with hate. It takes a lot to get rid of hate. Hate comes from potent meditation on ill will. Hate destroys.

Now that you know the ranges of emotion in a marriage, it’s up to you what you want to do with the knowledge. The positive state is obviously better. Equilibrium and happiness are better. But people sometimes want to be proven right so they go for negative emotions. Only they trap themselves in the vortex. A marriage is full of possibilities. It’s up to both parties to determine the possibilities they desire; negative or positive. I do wish you the best in your marriage.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder | talk2me@lekealder.com

Love gives emotion to the rational tendencies of the male species. Click To Tweet

Jack, there’s a balance somewhere and it’s not always easy to find. You don’t want to be isolated as a man, but at the same time you don’t want your wife feeling threatened and insecure. Both of you have to work out a balance, you have to develop and nurture mutual understanding. Put first things first – your wife has to be #1 in all you do. That’s non-negotiable. You’ve got to set your priorities right. If you truly love her, that shouldn’t be an issue. It should come naturally. Everything else proceeds from that fundamental fact. In the same manner, you should be her #1 priority. Everybody else has to be secondary. In the hierarchy of prioritisation therefore, both of you come first for each other. Then comes every other person. You’re one. This can be a hard thing for many people. But every other logic does not lead to a good place in the long term. Your job is to make your wife know in word and in deed she’s your #1. You have to constantly assure her she’s your #1 any day. That is a very important piece of job you have to do – every day by the way. She needs constant assurance. You have to let her know you love her; SAY it to her. Tell her she’s so special, she can’t be compared. Faith comes by hearing. Don’t just expect her to discern your love. Tell her. SHE needs those words of assurance. It’s a woman thing and you can’t understand. Any more she can understand why men are boastful, or like cars. Husbandry is a fulltime job. It requires emotional commitment 24/7. You have to tend to her emotional needs.

As per the other question you asked, again it’s a function of balance. Funny how much balance is required in marriage. As much as we would like, no party can be EVERYTHING to the other party in a marriage. Yes, your wife will occupy different roles in your life – mother, girlfriend, confidant, lover…but these roles are dynamic. When you’re down she’s that friend you need, the one to talk to, who’ll understand. You can pour it all out. When you need maternal assurance and comfort she’ll mother you if necessary. Like a mother she has unflinching faith in you. When you need love she’s the go to provider. Her heart is yours. Now, you work in an office environment so we don’t expect you not to talk to females. That’s unrealistic. But you have to give your wife contextual assurance and comfort. And I understand where she’s coming from. Women recognise matrimonial threat from ten miles off. As a man, you don’t. Indeed what she considers threat you may relish in. There has to be balance. It has to accommodate real world realities. In closed social systems like offices, proximity breeds possibilities of a relationship. Interaction breeds possibility of likability. It means you have to regulate yourself and your emotions. What you can’t handle don’t venture however desirable.

In fairness, some of your wife’s paranoia may turn out to be your saving grace. People are more strategic than you realise. Communication is important. You don’t want people saying you were seen with someone she has no inkling about. That will breed suspicion. And you know some people are mischievous. They’ll plant seeds of suspicion in your wife’s mind. Some people are actually evil. They’ll seek to destroy your marriage with innuendos and evil suggestions of suspicion. With such people if you and your woman are not tight, they’ll destroy your marriage. Some people are Perses the god of destruction. They’ll destroy innocent friendships with your female friends and colleagues as well. Then you become isolated socially. You want to be careful about social isolation as a man. You don’t want your social needs intensifying into something else. So maintain a healthy relationship with your female colleagues in the office but be mindful of your wife’s feelings.

The first thing you have to do in that regard is make people respect your marriage. There has to be a boundary of respect. You can’t for example allow free commentary about your wife. You don’t turn your wife into gossip fodder. That’s degradation. If you turn your wife into free fodder for people to gormandize on, it’s either a betrayal of wisdom or you don’t like her. Whichever female colleague you choose to be friends with has to respect your wife and your marriage. Or there’ll be problems. There can be no basis for competition for your affection with your wife. Neither by your female colleagues nor your sisters. She’s your wife. She’s your #1. It’s that simple and basic. Many times we don’t appreciate the role our spouses play in our lives. And I’m not just talking about administrative roles. There are those “spiritual” roles our spouses occupy. They complete “us” – they’re “us”. These are conceptual roles. Those who have been delivered from gruesome matrimonial processes appreciate those roles better than most. If you’ve had a bad marriage and you now have a wonderful spouse you tend to be more appreciative of a good marriage. Turns out those things we sometimes take for granted tend to be most important in life. And so it’s not just enough to appreciate your wife, you must make others appreciate your appreciation as well. Broadcast of spousal appreciation can be a wonderful deterrence.

The reason you communicate social outings and give your wife notification is to pre-empt malicious sightings. You don’t want some friend texting her, “Guess who I just met!” Those who devote themselves to such malice make you wonder. Just give her a heads up, especially if you’ll get home late, whether due to work or socials. These are practical things. Do everything you can to make her comfortable. Give her assurances. You won’t understand as a man. On her part, she has to avoid isolating you. It’s dangerous. Both of you have to find a balance between assurance & isolation. A woman can’t understand that isolation we speak about by the way. It’s not her paradigm. She has to give you benefit of doubt. She may not be wrong about that female colleague of yours by the way. Women just know these things. But you do everything in your conscience to give no room for suspicion. Your conscience must be clear. And if that relationship threatens your marriage you have an easy decision to make. Your wife & marriage is first & primary. Don’t let seeds of destruction be planted in your marriage. Gossips plant and water such seeds.

Your wife also has to be careful about those gossips, thoughts and fears. They can be accusatory and deeply hurtful. Love and trust go together. Do all you can to assure your wife of your love. It does take effort, sometimes a lot of effort and forbearance.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder | talk2me@lekealder.com

There can be no basis for competition for your affection with your wife. Click To Tweet

My dear Jil, I know you didn’t study law but there’s a principle in law I’d like you to note. When there’s litigation, say over an asset, the court does all it can to preserve the subject matter of the litigation. You see, if the subject matter is alienated or destroyed, there can’t be justice. It renders moot the whole purpose of litigation. That principle applies to your marriage and the subject matter that needs preservation is your life. If you lose your life to this marriage there’ll be nothing to deliberate on about the marriage. It’s effectively over. The subject matter then changes to a story – of tragedy, and funeral. We’ll be speaking in hushed tones at your funeral.

This is a most dangerous marriage you’re in. Your life has been subjected to gruesome threat the like of which no one can contemplate. When it comes to the issue of life in marriage, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Prevention of loss of life has to be uppermost. When we don’t err on the side of caution in these circumstances and the gruesome happens, we all acquire a haunted conscience. What is alarming is that your husband’s present continuous anti-connubialism constitutes an ongoing threat to your life. Your husband is most reckless and profligate in his libidinous explorations. Where will it end? Aggrieved third parties have now decided to pursue your life in retaliation for his activities. Where’s this thing going?!

There’s also the question of your dignity. (Won’t bother to elaborate.) You’re now at the mercy of third parties. As long as your husband remains unrepentant of his wrong-headed amorous pursuits, your life will continue to be in possible danger. If you die from this marriage, you die for nothing. Your life is wasted. That’s why it will be a tragedy. You obviously can’t see the tree for the forest. You need to step back. Without stepping back you cannot see the stupidity of your dogged determination to preserve this marriage at the risk of your life. Can’t you see? If you lose your life there’ll be no marriage to preserve. It’s that simple and it’s that cold.

Of course you have to bear responsibility for some of the stuff. You must accept responsibility for your choice. You knew he was like this but like many women determined to marry, you thought marriage would change him. And you thought you could wing it, handle it. You thought all those women would step back once you step in. The truth as any man will tell you is, unless he wants those women to step back there can’t be deterrence because you stepped in. And you’re just going to find yourself fighting endless battles. His amorous productivity is more efficient than your deterrence. This man has become so reckless he’s lost control. He’s looking for something you don’t have and can’t have. Whatever he’s looking for is not native to you. That’s why he doesn’t consider your offerings authentic. Wear all the lingerie you can, if you like charter the whole of Victoria Secret, it won’t satisfy him. Sin prefers native authenticity. Saliva as glue can’t do much. You’re trying to patch up this marriage with saliva as it were.

On top of it all, he doesn’t seem to care despite threat to your life. He just keeps on like Energizer bunny. He’s abdicated all responsibility for his recklessness and that is troubling. Day by day he’s becoming more and more reckless. Those who insist you stay to work things out are not risking their lives, or the life of their daughter. It’s your life that’s at stake. A marriage that threatens to exterminate life is no marriage. Marriage is the celebration of life. By the sheer fact this marriage threatens to snuff out your life, it loses essence. Without your life no marriage! You don’t wait to see what happens in this type of circumstances. That’s dangerous. There is no remedy after death. If you die from this marriage, you’ll just become digitised gossip – a news item circulated and floating all over social media. We’ll all be talking about what could have been, what should have been…you know, woulda, coulda, shoulda… But you’ll be gone! And your husband will shed some crocodile tears, thereafter, he’ll be free to continue his pursuit of strange flesh. Less than a year after you’re gone, he’ll remarry. Now up to your family to be putting in memoriams in the newspapers. They’ll talk about their loss – for which they’ll bear moral responsibility since they didn’t advise you wisely; they’ll wish you were here. But all that is platitude – medicine after death. You had no business losing your life in the first place. Of what use is Coca-Cola advertisement to those in the grave? So I’m asking you to take responsibility for your own life, to look at extant facts.

You have to sit down and re-evaluate this marriage. Is this man worth dying for? You have to determine what risks are reasonable in the circumstances and which risks are not. You have to draw a line somewhere. If he’s unwilling to alter the aggressive course of his life, you have YOUR decision to make. Especially when those pursuits constitute a threat to your life and the life of your baby. Truth is, he really doesn’t care either way. It takes two to have a wonderful marriage but it requires only one party to destroy a marriage. No matter the wonderful qualities of one party there are marriages that can’t hold up on the strength of that one party. If one party is dedicated to the destruction of a marriage, he or she rubbishes the constructive effort of the other party. The labour is in vain. You can’t clap with one hand. That’s an analogy of the binary necessity of marriage. There has to be that essential willingness to forge a successful union in a marriage. Without that desire, that willingness, a marriage will become an emotional burden. When a marriage becomes a death threat, that is something out of the contemplation of even God.

Your husband is suffering from an inability to handle wealth. Access to money, as well as a glamorous profession is making him lose his head. That can happen to young men easily. It’s why discipline must be cultivated. Ingrained discipline functions like a gyroscope. The ship may bob but it will somehow right itself. It will seek to regain balance. Why don’t you sit down with your family and explain the situation to them. Tell them the truth. No parent who loves his or her child will insist on continuation given these facts. There’s doctrinal ideology and there’s commonsense. Sometimes, commonsense is what’s required. Or why would God give us sense!

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder | talk2me@lekealder.com

When a marriage becomes a death threat, that is something out of the contemplation of even God. Click To Tweet

Dear Jack, inter-tribal marriage shouldn’t be an issue. There are many thriving and successful inter-tribal marriages. You can’t focus on someone’s tribal identity and totally ignore the person’s qualities. She has no control over her tribal identity. And you can’t hold someone responsible for what someone from her tribe did to your uncle thirty years ago. How does that make sense! If we go by that standard who’ll ever qualify to marry anyone in the cultural and historical cauldron your country is. It’s almost like setting up an excuse to permanently bar inter-tribal marriage. That’s not saying tribes don’t have psychological and cultural traits. It’s why they’re called tribe. It’s a cultural and psychological subset. But every tribe has a grouse against the other tribe in your country. Even INTRA-tribally there are issues. Humans just haven’t learnt to live and let live, to get on with each other as subsets. It’s why there’s ennui for inter-tribal marriage.

Clearly the problem is not your girlfriend. By your own account she’s a wonderful person, someone any sensible man would want. You’re going to lose her because of her tribal identity? What exactly do you want her to do about her tribe? It’s what it is! If we scale things up a little would you like someone to condemn you for your racial identity despite your sterling qualities? How can you rave against racial discrimination but enforce tribal discrimination? The problem with inter-tribal liaison is many times not the parties themselves but the prejudice of third parties. If you do find something terrible in this lady I can understand. But to lose what’s good for you to someone’s prejudice? And you’re working totally from anecdotes. You don’t have factual data on the issues in question. Even if you do it’s narrow data. How many marriages in your tribe succeeded solely based on tribal identity? Give statistics.

The advantage of intra-tribal marriage of course is common cultural philosophy and psychological profile. Beyond that there’s no other advantage. And that advantage is wiped off if the other party is disagreeable. If you marry someone from your tribe who gives you no peace what benefit common cultural origin? If someone from another tribe makes you happy but the lady from your tribe makes you unhappy what advantage tribal unison? When it comes to picking a spouse, we’re individuals first before our tribal identity. If you’re a terrible individual, that’s who you are even if you’re from a “wonderful” tribe. You’re still who you are! And who marries tribe? You marry an individual. If the individual is terrible you have a terrible spouse, tribal or no tribal identity. We are who we are. As individuals we have been conditioned by sociological, economic, psychological, cultural and political factors.

This prejudice against your lady’s tribe has nothing to do with her. It’s so obvious. It’s a prejudice carried by someone in your family based on another person’s experience, someone you hardly even know. And you don’t know the full story. All you have is somebody’s colouration, which at best is hearsay. What makes for successful inter-tribal marriage is first of all the qualities of the individuals not the tribal identity. The desire and ability of the couple to mesh and forge a union goes a long way in determining their marital success. I’m sure you know there are terrible marriages in your tribe, just as there are good ones. Prejudice defies scientific rigour. What’s amazing is how someone can formulate a philosophy about an entire tribe based on interaction with just one individual. Those with working inter-tribal unions are very accommodative of the other person’s cultural conditioning, or they buy into it. Many times however those inter-tribal marriages succeed because they agree to be regulated by neutral or higher code. For some that code is the Bible (or some other religious tome). And yet for others secular humanism. If you lose this wonderful lady to the prejudicial disposition of your family, you’ll have regrets. You’ll always be thinking back to what could have been. If you ditch her I hope you find her equivalence. It may be hard. Why can’t you for once stand up for what you believe and help to educate these people with the success of your marriage? You forget most of these prejudices were bred in the cauldron of internecine conflict that consumed your nation even before you were born!

If you insist on judging her by the cultural rules of yesteryears, have the nobility to be consistent. Allow the same rules to govern your life. You should throw away your mobile phone and log around a rotary phone for instance. You have to live in the 1960s. What if her parents also reject you on the basis of your tribe, would you consider that fair? You better concentrate on the most important things in marriage – peace and joy! A young man can’t easily appreciate those spiritual quantities until he’s married the wrong person and for all the wrong reasons. Tribal identity CANNOT be the basis of your union. It has to be your individual qualities. Now, if you’re from the same tribe all well and good. But if you’re going to go ahead with her despite these prejudices, you’ll have to be strong. You have to protect her. Something as basic as deliberate late conception will be attributed to witchcraft from her tribal enclave. If your mum dreams she’s being chased by a rat it will be attributed to her tribal identity. Even if she chased a rat during the day! Such is the power of prejudice. And we’re not yet talking about naming the child that is even yet to be conceived! Your peace and happiness should be paramount concern when choosing a spouse. You won’t do well without marital peace as a man. Men don’t do well without peace. Your health will suffer.

You need to sit down with your parents and explain to them this lady makes you happy, gives you peace in your heart and mind. Many times in these circumstances there’s another lady being put up for consideration by the family. In other words, your mum’s happiness is the issue, not yours. And she may want to forge a marital union with her friend’s family. You can’t be rude during this discussion with your parents. You honour your father and mother despite divergence of opinion. Given the facts, your parents at the end of the day want your happiness, at least their version of it. It’s why their own prescription. But you don’t abdicate responsibility for your marital choice to prejudices and biases. You’re the one who’ll suffer from bad choice. We’ve spoken about this tribal issue before. Go to http://jacknjillive.com/2014/07/inter-tribal-marriage/

I do wish you backbone.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder | talk2me@lekealder.com

You don’t abdicate responsibility for your marital choice to prejudices and biases. Click To Tweet

My dear Jack, I think you need to sit down and ask yourself what this woman means to you. It’s something every couple should do – both the man and the woman should ask what they mean to each other. Such an appraisal helps one uncover the true value of a partner. We tend to get lost in all those “husband” and “wife” titular stuff. We use the phrases so much they hardly mean a thing anymore. A “wife” (or “husband”) is after all someone you married. It’s taken as the result of an activity – the taking of an oath. It’s like “Mr. & Mrs.” It’s what you write on an envelope. Simply identifies sexes and marital status, nothing more. It can’t and doesn’t give depth to marriage. In fact, it has no usage inside marriage. In the same vein, “husband and wife” has come to represent co-joined status. If care is not taken it can be devoid of depth.
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Dear Jil, first, you don’t generalise about men. (Men shouldn’t generalise women too!) The statement, “All sparrows are black” has to be a presumptive fallacy since we can’t say we’ve come across all sparrows. It’s why we don’t generalise about the sexes. You can only talk about the men you know, or been told about. Even that is hearsay. Second, you don’t bring the spirit of gender unionism into your marriage. It’s not a “Men versus Women” thing. Third, other men are not your concern really. Just your husband. Marriage is very proprietary, narrow and custom. And so what you need to concern yourself with is your husband, not other people’s husbands. They’re not your worry. If others say their husbands are crazy but you know yours is sane, you don’t import non-existent insanity into your marriage. And so I understand your concern about men in general but men, in general, are not your concern. You’re not God.
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My dear Jack, you can’t marry on another person’s timetable. You marry when you know you’re ready. The problem you have is that you’re dating someone four years older than you. That has its own pressure. To be sure, she’s also under pressure from her family. They want her to marry fast. What she’s simply done is transfer the pressure to you, but you’re nowhere near ready.
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My dear Jack, you shouldn’t be careless with your marriage. Your wife is at an emotional inflection point and you’re not even aware. That’s careless. Yes, I know you’re working so hard to take care of the family but if you lose the family, what’s the point? If you keep going this way you’re going to get blindsided by life. You’re setting yourself up for a nasty surprise. I know you love her but you’re not paying attention to those things we spoke about.
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My dear Jil, it’s important you distinguish between love and sentimental expression of love. The two are not the same and if you don’t distinguish them you may break your marriage. A man may deeply and sincerely love you but may be poor at sentimental expression. That he is lacking in the sentimental department doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you, he just needs to work on that. Of course, your feelings are legitimate, a man ought to express his love and appreciation to his wife. But you can’t say a man who works so hard to take care of you doesn’t love you. That will be unfair.
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Dear Jack, a marriage can quickly become stale as a couple “settles down.” Anything stale and mouldy can’t be good. As with bread so is marriage. Yes, the courtship stage is over but it’s important to keep the momentum in marriage, even if it’s not exactly same quality. Life can be terribly busy but you have to create special occasions. You have to enjoy yourselves as a couple. Life will never end. It just keeps going and it will outlast you. You can’t overtake life. So sometimes, it’s best to get off the bus as a couple, get away from the chores of life and enjoy yourselves. The responsibilities of life never end. You have to create space to be a couple. It can be anything from going to the movies, to going for a drink together, to going to an informal party or hosting one.
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