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Read Letter

Coming Late To The Marriage Party

Dear Jil, the reason you’re having these challenges is because you were used to staying alone. You married late.

You’re used to taking decisions without consultation. You’ll need to make adjustments. Don’t forget you had almost resigned yourself to spinsterhood when this man came along. Why stay out for so long only to wreck the marriage when the opportunity came along! It’s worth saving your marriage. And why shouldn’t it work! You have age on your side. With age comes appreciation of the graciousness of life. With age also comes maturity, and a considerate approach to marriage.

This maturity is one of your husband’s consolations. He didn’t marry a small girl. He married a mature woman. As I see it, the problem lies in the contest of wills and communication – a lack of it in particular. And then the tone. You’re a GM in your office. You’re used to giving orders. You’re she who must be obeyed. You can’t transfer your office function home and begin to give instructions to your husband like the GM you are. Won’t work! You have to separate Jil the General Manager from Jil the Wife. They are separate individuals.

There are of course expectations we have of the man. Having failed at marriage once we expect him to succeed this time. And honestly if both of you fail at this you’ll become a “parable in Israel” – “Remember So and So?!” If you’re working late just give your husband a call. Send him a text. It’s the considerate thing to do. If you’re out late without notification and your husband isn’t worried, we should be worried!

Uncare, carelessness, resignation, suspicion, anger, resentment are words which readily come to mind. No longer caring is often symptomatic of deep resentment. That’s a long dark alley – the valley of the shadow of death. A simple notification will not allow the imagination to prosper. It renders the accuser mute, eliminates suspicion. Communication, communication, communication. It’s one of the most important ingredients of marriage. You can’t be single in marriage.

And yes he appreciates all the beautiful gifts your earnings can buy but the biggest gift of all is your availability. You must make time to spend with your husband. All week you’re out, and tired. And now all weekend?! It’s one engagement after the other all weekend. And the few available moments you spend with your friends. What about “Us time”? What about Saturday morning cuddles? What about enjoying the company of each other? Wisdom dear! Wisdom! A man should not be neglected. You’re neglecting your husband. If you continue this way, your marriage will become an apparatus of matrimonial status, a functioning shell. And that’s how the road to divorce court is tarred – matrimonial neglect. A tar is “a black bituminous odorous viscous liquid obtained by destructive distillation of organic material” Webster. Sounds like the byproduct of a chemistry exercise by a malevolent force in a bad marriage. With your stations both of you have means to drop everything and take off for the weekend. Book into a hotel for the weekend. Forget everything and everyone. Spend time together. Live, play, love. Kill the alarm, watch movies, all day. Laugh together. Take your bath late. Dine alfresco. Sleep in. The pressure never ends. It will never end. The more you succeed, the more you need to succeed.

Prioritise. Your husband is priority. Your home is important. Don’t crash your marriage. You’ll lose more than a husband. You’ll lose more than a prefix. You’ll lose a friend, confidant, emotional comfort, encourager, lover… Do you really want to lose all that? Mature men have a certain level of forbearance, but there comes a point when a man feels he’s being taken for granted. You don’t want your husband on the periphery of your life looking in on his marriage. You must both learn to do things together. It takes conscious effort. You must unlearn singlehood. Those habits you developed were coping mechanisms. Now things have changed, why are you keeping old habits? You can’t also insist on doing things the way you used to when you were single. You’re now married.

If you want to be happy in marriage you must be accommodating. Yes, your bed was always tidy and white before you married. So tidy it looked like an asylum advert. Now you have to accommodate his dishabille. It’s called marriage! If you truly love him those complaints will become rituals of marriage – loving expressions of forbearance. Aren’t those the kind of tales you hear from your mum about your dad’s “incorrigible” ways? They’re love chapters of old age. Don’t lose your husband’s friendship. It’s invaluable. It’s what’s left after the sex and the teeth are gone in old age.

You may want to cut down on your discussions with your friends about your husband. He’s not a subject matter. At his age men value privacy a lot. He’s exposed to you and he wants what he considers secret, secret. Even if you don’t consider them secret, should you be discussing your husband in salons?

You also have to learn to receive gifts. You may be financially self sufficient but you’re not emotionally self sufficient. It’s why you married in the first place. You’ve got a great chance with this man, don’t blow it!

There’s of course the issue of children. Having married late you’re behind the curve. But you’ve got to carry him along before you book all those gynae and fertility appointments. You can’t be self-concentrated and self-centered in marriage.

And you can’t be correcting your husband in public glare, especially in your corporate social circles. If you must, do it respectfully and with love. You don’t want your husband counter-putting you down in public, do you? Men take these things more personal than women. He may not say a word but trust me, he’ll be resentful.

When two mature adults get together they ought to leverage on their maturity. What is the value of all that age and experience?

I do hope you humble yourself and make amendments. Don’t turn your “Mrs” into “Ms”.

Your mentor,



© Leke Alder 2014

Tags : Communication, Maturity, Marriage

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