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Read Letter


I saw a wedding picture posted on Twitter the other day. Perhaps you’ve seen it too. The groom is dressed in a chiffon cape, had a silver crown on his head. His shirt, if we can still call it that, looked more like a blouse. It had a blue trimming of ribbon. To be honest the man looked more like the bride than a groom. He out-brided his own bride.

The poor bride was dressed in traditional wedding gown, clutching a bouquet of embarrassed flowers. Her body language conveyed not just embarrassment but a shy and suppressed resentment. Instead of being the center of attention, her groom was, though one of the perplexing variety. From the guy’s mien and assertive joy he must have insisted on having his way. That can’t bode well for a marriage on the way to configuration at the altar. And how does a man look like Cinderella but his bride look like Cindy’s half sisters?

Conceptually, the woman was configured to be a drawer of attention. She is an attractive and arresting spectacle. She’s her husband’s glory according to scriptures – his spot of light. How then can a man not take good care of his wife, or her appearance? She’s reflecting him! And I’m more perplexed when a woman will not take care of her own appearance, especially if she’s single. Men are visual. (And that includes the “spiritual” ones, even if they loathe to admit it). You can’t force the man-kind to operate contradictorily to the parameters of his conception and make up. The nature of a man is to be moved by what he sees. You can’t change that. Just like it’s in the nature of a woman to be moved by what she hears. It’s why toasting works!

There is some contradiction with scriptures when a man suppresses his wife into shabbiness as proof of “godliness”. Holiness has a beauty. The Bible talks about the beauty of holiness. Holiness can’t be ugly. Religion is supposed to set us free, not tie us up in bondage. The truth is supposed to make free! If he says no makeup, no jewelry, no weave on, or even no perfume, it’s your decision whether to date such a man. Some people don’t realise it but natural hair, no jewelry, no make up, no perfume, is also fashion. It’s called au naturel.

When the au naturel fashionista condemns the blinging attire-loving counterpart, she’s not intellectually discerning.  One is proud of what she wears, the other is proud of what she does not wear; but both are proud.

Underguarding every fashion (including au naturel) is a philosophy of life. Fashion is cultural expression. If a man has au naturel taste in women (whether based on religion or not) he’s part-articulating his philosophy of life. Religion is life philosophy. If you agree to marry him, you must realise you will live with the remnant of that philosophy. It’s not about clothes or jewelry. His anti-fashion anti-jewelry stand hints at larger philosophical values. And so you will be making a mistake if you think giving up jewelry will bring amity to your relationship. It will not.

The underguarding philosophy will affect the house decor, the music in the house, the social circles you move in, the places you travel to, the kind of schools your children go to, the businesses you can or cannot do… It’s way deeper than clothes and jewelry. The real issue is concord and harmony about life philosophy. Can two walk together, except they be agreed? A marriage cannot be a clash of civilisations. If you’re not ready to buy into the larger philosophy, that marriage will be full of tension and fights. Or parties will withdraw to their respective spheres, only interacting where the two circles overlap, usually children.

The fashion issue only hints at deeper and larger problems. If you force yourself into that marriage you’ll be unhappy. He’ll think you’re carnal and you’ll find him oppressive. Those two terms are not exactly endearing. There are however women who decide to forego jewelry and the like for the other qualities of the man. They deem the foregoing of jewelry and fashion nothing compared to the wonderful qualities of the man. It all depends on where they’re coming from and the qualities of the man.

The marriage will work if they’re agreed on deeper values and philosophy. If one party is generous of spirit but the other is selfish and self-centered that’s a clash of values. No one can predict the consequences of such a clash. The marriage may work and it may not work. If it works it’s because someone chose to be most forbearing, absorbent and even suffer.

Many problems in marriage begin with wrong matching. Don’t just marry to marry. And don’t marry just to marry. Marriage is potent. Marriage ought to be joyful. It’s supposed to be a haven of peace, love and happiness. In marriage, we dock our trust in our partners. Our lives are in our partners’ hands. If you’re going to live with someone for 30, 40, 50 years, shouldn’t the person be someone you can live with? A moment in a bad marriage is like a gaol of eternity. But a period in a good marriage is but a moment.

No one sets out to have a divorce. Every marriage is conceived in hope, even tenuous hope. In retrospect, the factors of the problems in a bad marriage are always apparent. Sometimes we force unworkable unions to the altar. But we later pay the price for it. Some are wary of the union but feel they can’t disembark from the conveyor belt taking them to the altar. So many people will be disappointed they genuflect, and so stick to the ride to certain matrimonial unhappiness. That’s akin to having an urgent premonition of a plane crash yet refusing to disembark for fear of embarrassment.

If it’s not going to work don’t force it to the altar. The seal of the altar cannot alter the misaligned fundamentals. Look deeper. Marriage is not surface reality.

Your mentor,


© Leke Alder 2014 |

Tags : Fashion, Marriage, Philosophy

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