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Dear Jack, when I visited him, he spoke about puttering around, looking for remote control of the air-conditioning unit. She doesn’t know this, he said, but each time she leaves for work before him, he has to search for so many things. And she never puts off her side-lamp when she leaves for work. She leaves it on. He switches off the appliance.
The ‘him’ before marriage was an extremely tidy person. The white sheet they use is a relic of that era. She’s not that fastidious. The extremities of his neat disposition might even deem her untidy in some respects though she’s not. He couldn’t stand unmade beds for instance, or rumpled environments, or crumpled laundry. But since he married her he’s had to be accommodating of her, had to be accepting of her, because he loves her. And that’s the point. Love is forbearing.

Of course she has her own issues with him. She can’t understand why he likes an existence with no visitors. She’s a people person, revels in plural company- family, friends… To him the house is crowded beyond where two or three are gathered. And that’s just one of the many differences between them that don’t matter to them, differences they determine not to matter.

Because of her love for him every of his deficiencies is a quirk. That’s her interpretation. And because of his love for her, her deficiencies are mere peculiarities. That’s his interpretation. She thinks he’s strange, he thinks she’s the strange one. How does one watch endless reruns of Friends? To which she counters, How can one EVEN think of watching the Bourne series well over sixty times!

She’s very emotional, he’s not cried in years though empathetic. She’s good at repetitiveness, he can’t stand reiterative chores. They’re emotionally burdensome to him. He’s more spontaneous, creative in approach whilst she’s administrative. He’s into abstract reasoning, science and the likes. She can’t differentiate a black hole from a borehole. She can’t understand his fanatical devotion to knowledge acquisition and the quest to understand nature. He doesn’t understand her devotion to fashion though he has an incredibly acute fashion sense.

But what a marriage they have! They are friends, real friends. They enjoy being in each other’s company. He thinks she has too many clothes yet he keeps buying her more. Call it a sartorial extension of his love for her. They have this incredible bond. It’s not so obvious until you move closer. Then it comes alive in 4D.

She puts him first in every thing. He sacrifices for her too, goes out of his way to make her happy and feel loved. She knows she’s lucky to have him. Her friends say it. He has this incredible heart, is extremely generous. But he tells everyone he’s so grateful to have her. She’s a most loving person and a thanksgiving prayer bulletin. She’s easy, non-argumentative, simple. Argumentativeness wearies men down. It’s debilitating. He spoke about his cousin to me. She’s the argumentative type. Will argue over basic instruction. By the time she finally comes round to the obvious, it’s been 30 minutes of weariness of spirit. You’re thoroughly irritated, avoiding the temptation to get angry by skipping the cues. You know she doesn’t mean harm. There are no arguments in THEIR home he says. And so they have peace at home.

Don’t ever think matrimonial peace is absence of fights. There are homes without quarrels but lacking in peace. Matrimonial peace is absence of fear of weariness of soul. Marital quarrels tend to be invariably escalations of natures and dispositions – the clashing of wills and viewpoints. What really wearies men is disposition. Going against a willful disposition every time is very wearisome.

If there’s nothing I learnt from him it’s forbearance, and the wonder of love. Love forbears the inadequacies of the other party. Love CHOOSES to forbear, to absorb those minor irritabilities that create impatience and mini anger. If you’re going to have a shot at marital joy you’ll have to forbear, and learn to forbear, and choose to forbear. After all, in the overall scheme of things what really is misplacement of remote control devices or keys! Or beds not properly made, or eternally misplaced phones that ring without attention… What is important though is that both parties appreciate the sacrifices of accommodation made. Love is sacrificial. But we hardly get to know the many sacrifices our partners make on a daily basis… how far they go to accommodate us. If our partners list their sacrifices and accommodation to us on a daily basis it will become a nagging experience.

Appreciate your partner. When you appreciate someone you will appreciate their efforts and sacrifices. If you don’t appreciate someone you will devalue their contributions and sacrifices. And so appreciation of contribution in marriage begins with appreciation of your partner. You’ve got to appreciate her as a person. Her character, her love, her devotion… She’ll offend you sometimes, just as you do. She’ll do things you’ll rather she doesn’t; may forget to carry you along. But because she loves you, and you know her motivation is pure, you know she means no harm or hurt. Of course she must improve on her deficiencies, as should you. But there are fundamental things that bind you together and the greatest fundamental is love.

By love, I don’t just mean emotional love. I mean something bigger, tighter, stronger… an indefinable essence that cannot be explained in words because of the poverty of human language. It’s why you look forward to seeing her. It’s why she never tires of you. It’s why you give her her freedom. It’s because you’re sure. Sure of her, sure of her commitment, sure of her heart, sure of her devotion. We all pray for this kind of love: an uncalculating, selfless, fundamental love.

Marriage is an amazing thing. But it requires wholehearted commitment to work. It’s 120% or nothing. There are the little fears that gnaw at the heart but even those bow in the presence of overwhelming trust. If you don’t trust someone, why marry the someone? Marriage is a trusteeship. Forbearance. Without it no marriage can work.

Your mentor LA

© Leke Alder |

Tags : Love, Life, Marriage

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