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Tag Archives: Peace

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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

My dear Jil, you’ve got to get rid of all those munched conversations on your phone. Love does not keep record of wrongs. In your case, you’re not only keeping record of wrongs, but evidence to be used in future prosecution of your boyfriend. And so when he says something in the future, you’ll go into that file drawer, pull out what he had said, annotated with date and time. If the reverse were the case, you won’t want to date such a man – a man who annotates texts for future reference and accusation. Nobody will want to date such a person – someone who files potential claims and evidence against you. That’s a sophisticated spirit of accusation and unforgiveness, the literal holding of grudges. At the back of your mind somewhere, you’re rummaging through those files as he’s talking. Some of those files are years old. You’re literally holding him up to conversations you had as far back as two years ago. You filed them away “just in case”. But just in case what? It’s accusatory.

You’ve built in potential turmoil into your relationship and you’ve branded your boyfriend even if you claim that’s not your intention. Worse you’ve branded yourself. Means one has to be careful what one texts you. You file texts away and can pull out a file anytime. It’s a spirit of meticulous accusation. That’s what those munches are. Means you held those conversations with a view. While your boyfriend was texting freely, you were responding with a view. You were responding with the view to bringing up evidence in the near future that will vindicate you before third parties. It’s either that or you’ve branded him “prone to forget what was said” – which is another euphemism for articulate accusation. It means you never forget, and you don’t want to forgive and forget. There’s a stubborn insistence on bringing faults to remembrance, a lack of forbearance. The ideals of love state that love does not keep a score of the sins of others. Love keeps no record of being wronged. The moment you keep a record of wrongs, you’re already in the wrong yourself. Once you start digitally archiving a record of wrongs, you’re already in the wrong yourself.

You see, that digital archive of evidence of wrong of others also constitutes digital evidence of your own wrongdoing. The very nature of humans means in a relationship once every while, you’ll offend each other. In a relationship, you’re bound to do something wrong, something irritable to your partner – something that needs forbearance. But when you set up yourself as the standard you’ll never see your own wrongdoing. You’re after all the standard. A tape measures everything except herself. But the ability of the tape to measure other things implies the measurement of the tape itself. And so the moment you set up yourself as the standard in a relationship you determine your own limitation. If a 6ft long tape is used to measure a 30ft long wall, we not only know the length of the wall but also the limitation of the tape. That your boyfriend doesn’t vocalise your limitations doesn’t mean you have no limitations. I’m sure there are things he wishes for that you’re not, things he wishes you’d do you don’t do. That may be his quiet pain. But because he loves you he makes a determination those things don’t matter, that every other thing you are is what matters. That we’re deeply loved is not the absence of faults in us, it’s proof of frailties, needfulness and shortcomings. That’s what love does – love swallows shortcomings, focuses on what really matters. In a manner of speaking, love is wilful ignorance. It’s a perseverance inoculation.

There’s just something so negative about keeping record of old conversations of disagreement in a relationship. It’s somehow reminiscent of the defunct Stasi secret police in East Germany. They had files upon files on people. Those files later became public record when the communist regime fell. You can imagine the anger and recrimination when people discovered their neighbours had been spying on them. There’s just something so negative about such filing. Delete all those munched conversations. You’ll feel a burden lift off you. When you imprison others with unforgiveness, you’re imprisoned too. Both the jailed and the jailer stay in the same prison. And no relationship will endure in happiness with a record of accusations. There’s something off-putting and adversarial about a partner who keeps record of wrongs. When you settle a quarrel, let it go. Forget it and move on. Or you’re going to need a lot of filing cabinets. One does not want to imagine what a relationship in which both parties are record-keeping wrongs will be like. That will be some relationship! There’ll be accusations and counter-accusations, both sides tendering evidence. Words that should have been forgotten are dredged up – including words spoken in anger that should never have been spoken.

The most damaging part is those record of wrongs erode trust and faith. And you graduate into an accuser. Accusations wear out the fabric of the soul, rends the garment of a relationship in tatters. Accusation is an adversarial equipment, a prosecutorial technology. In the normal course of life people run from the accuser. Should you give your boyfriend cause to run from you? Most times anyway we’re deflecting our own issues when we accuse others. And it’s worse when we presume the worst of others and expect them to defend themselves and prove their worth. You’re not going to get a lasting relationship doing that. It’s emotionally draining. Your boyfriend is going to be a sad man. Of course there are also men who do these things. They dredge up accusations with diaristic meticulousness. Either way, you have to drop evidentiary and prosecutorial munching. If you want a healthy relationship that is. You have to believe the best of your partner. It’s an expression of love and goodwill. Then he’s forced to rise to the occasion. Your faith in him becomes aspirational. I do hope you listen to counsel.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder | talk2me@lekealder.com

There’s something off-putting and adversarial about a partner who keeps record of wrongs. 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

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 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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Dear Jil, I want you to be sensitive in your marriage. It’s the seeming lack of sensitivity that is causing the problems you have in your marriage. Of course, you’re not a selfish person. Forgive your husband for saying that in anger. He ought to have been careful about what he said. He’s going through some tough time in his business. You need to be sensitive about that. To his credit, he’s still meeting all the obligations at home, though he sometimes strains himself. Of course, he knows you’ve been a solid partner, picking up the slacks, doing your bit quietly. He knows you’re understanding, fundamentally. And that’s good.
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Dear Jack, she isn’t the prettiest of girls but she’s kind. Something about her drew him to her. She is not in his social class either. Very few would be. His father is rich. Very rich. She recognized early on he could date other women – very beautiful women, and yet it was her he chose. He trusts her implicitly. She’s selfless. It was that selflessness that created the trust. Selflessness creates trust. There are no airs about her. She’s as basic as a piece of pancake. No, not American pancake with all its embellishments and retinue of excesses. She’s just a basic person, a good soul. She couldn’t even dress well. Her sartorial taste was terrible and passable in equal measure. She is a friend, a girlfriend and mother all rolled into one. It was to her he turned at the critical juncture of his life. He trusted her with his data and emotions. Not that she totally understands him. But she loves him and cares for him.
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