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Read Letter

The Great Processor

Dear Jack, I’ve sometimes wondered why marriage is so powerful. Marriage is such a powerful institution! I’m not sure the average young man or woman knows how powerful marriage is – how very consequential marital decisions are. No one goes into marriage and remains the same. It’s impossible. It has such power!

It has the ability to transport us to exhilarated heights unknown, and to depths below. Some have gone in dewy eyed but come out with lines of sorrow furrowed on their souls in a permanent etch. Marriage is a processor, a very powerful processor.

We know its spiritual signification – the union between Christ and the Church; but it has dimensions. The answer is contained in one of those sayings of Solomon. Listen to the classic rendition: “Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.” A modern translation reads: “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” And yet another modern translation reads, “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” Because love and marriage are heart phenomena they’re extremely potent. Heart phenomena are potent. Don’t let people toy with your heart. That’s your core, the center of your being. Assiduously guard it. Your heart is the most valuable thing you have.

Solomon says guard your heart because it determines the course of your life. Means it also determines your destination. By that very fact, the people we date, our spousal choices have the capacity to determine the course of our lives. Marriage is a life determinant. Your spouse is a door of destiny. To explain further let’s use Mike as illustration.

Mike is one of those brilliant young men, a socialized intellectual. Women are drawn to Mike. No, he’s not a playboy, just a kind, nice guy. But he’s lonely. You know how that is! Mike has options of who to marry. Not all young men are that lucky. There’s kind Bimbo. Short, thick but glandular. He’s too strong for her conceptually but he doesn’t know it. They’re proximate at work and since proximity breeds affection, he’s affectioned towards her. He sees her everyday. Her fashion sense is elementary. To put things in perspective, he’s a man imbued with sartorial intelligence. Beauty is not her strong forte, though some will add, “Obviously!” But she’s the only one competing on the combination of her parameters. And she volunteered for him. Because of his loneliness he can’t see that that lack of fashion sense, or beauty will starve his alimentary needs.

Then there’s Bisi. She’s clingy physically, which he likes; but she’s also clingy emotionally, which he doesn’t realise. His loneliness absorbs her excess emotion. Under a different set of facts he won’t be able to cope. But he enjoys those minor touches, and her kindness and care. Her tactility assuages his loneliness. She’s cultural however. It’s embedded in her psyche. It’s her philosophy of life. Controls her thought process. He doesn’t know this but they’ll grow divergent with time. Their life philosophies differ.

Then there’s beautiful but sensitive Ngozi. She’s controller-general. Everyone steps gingerly around her exposed nerve endings. So does Mike, though he genuinely likes her. But her beauty distorts the signal strength of her character flaws. She’s highly opinionated and insecure.

Then there is the stubborn and temperamental Justina. She’s intelligent and loyal. Very. But then that temper! And unwillingness to listen to any opinion, except her own. Those are moments!

Then there’s the rich and strong Jane. She has his life planned out, knows what he should do, what he should become. She’s generous. But Mike can’t see she’ll subsume his life. The wealth is an obscuration.

Then there’s the big and forceful Nike. Area Mama. She likes to be in charge, must be the center of the universe. He doesn’t know it but Mike’s gentle soul won’t be able to handle her in full glory. She can be quite aggressive. He doesn’t know it, she doesn’t know it, but if she feels scorned she will be capricious. Otherwise she’s a wonderful, loyal, sacrificial and dedicated woman.

Then there’s Grace. It’s not so obvious she’s good for him, possibly because she’s self-effacing. She really loves him, but Mike doesn’t know. Her spirit is kind. And she has a good fashion sense.

How would Mike choose? Each of these women represents a path of destiny. Each will produce a life outcome. His wife will determine what he eventually becomes, how far he goes in life, his health, and peace of mind… She will determine things as basic as travel, and whether he’s going to have to always travel. She will determine who comes to their home, who doesn’t, who’s welcome, who’s not. She will determine the vision of his life, his level of happiness, his blood pressure. These are serious stuff.

Marriage is not to be trivialized with. It’s not a ceremony. It’s a potent life determinant. It therefore makes sense to project in a relationship, to deduce the future from present facts. Ten, twenty years from now, will you be happy in a marriage to that woman, or that man? If you don’t see happiness down the line re-evaluate your relationship. The issues are always apparent during courtship. Happiness is important in marriage. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

If it’s not looking good, if you have no peace, if it’s debilitating or distressing, please rethink. I would hate to look back one day and say, I told you so!

Your mentor, LA.

© Leke Alder 2014


Tags : Heart, Women, Marriage

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