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All Letters

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Dear Jack, it’s important you discern the spirit of someone you’re considering dating. Rather than just being moved by superficial realities. What’s on the surface is being projected. The nice dress, makeup, the affectations, the sexiness…all those are projections. Those projections won’t give you a true picture of somebody, just an impression. Projections are independent of character. Projections won’t give you insight into the spirit or real nature of someone. A devious person can wear fitted skirt and look attractive. The prettiness of the skirt is not the true knowledge of the person. And anyway mass media has sold us an imagery of a cosmopolitan woman. You’ve been programmed by reality TV. That someone looks fine, dresses fine can’t tell you the character of the person. You have to discover that. The character is independent of the dressing. The dress is mere fashion, an artistic endeavour. So you may find yourself appreciating a dress rather than evaluating the character of the model you’re considering dating.
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Dear Jil, I do understand how you feel. Not being approached by any male can make one feel underappreciated. I think you need to change one or two things. Let’s try that and see the result. You see, I’ve always been intrigued by one particular statement of Solomon: “He that hath friends must show himself friendly.” It’s a very powerful and loaded statement. The depth is not that obvious. The statement posits two things. First, if you want friends you have to have a friendly disposition. That’s attitudinal. Second, if you want to have friends you must be proactive. Friendship is thus conditional.
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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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Dear Jil, surely you can see these plans are asinine. I mean, how does it make it sense?! You’re dating a guy who lives abroad and hardly comes to town – may be once a year. So you don’t see him much. You face the typical challenge of long distance relationship. However much you do Facetime it’s never like being together. But instead of talking marriage, this man is talking about making you a baby mama. Why would you want to be baby mama instead of wife? And according to him you’ll have to stay here for two years after you’ve had the baby. You can’t travel to stay with him immediately. This allegedly is to ensure you don’t do menial job when you travel to meet him in UK! I’m lost and confused over this logic. So you stay two years apart so you don’t do menial job in the UK. Don’t get it, what’s the link?
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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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My dear Jil, you’re not going to have everything you want in a man, any more than you can be everything a man wants. The man who is EVERYTHING you want has to be someone you made. In which case you’re divinity. Man is the sum total of his genetic ancestry, nurture, knowledge, environment, cultural and spiritual influences. It’s hard to therefore, imagine that a man will be 100% of your requirement. You have no influence on any of those factors. By the time you arrived on the scene the man was already “formed.” Every other modification is now voluntary. And so we marry those who are largely what we want, not everything we’d desired. Or we’ll never marry. That man you want doesn’t exist and can’t exist. You’ll have to create him yourself. And you have to be afraid of creating such a man for yourself considering flaws in your judgment, character and make up. That means whatever you create must necessarily be a flawed individual. You’re flawed in your thinking.
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