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Read Letter

Managing Expectations

My dear Jil,

Happy New Year and how are you! I do hope you had a nice vacation. Mine was wonderful as you can see from the pictures I posted. Had a wonderful time with my family. My expectations are high for this year. I hope you’ve ramped up yours too. Without desire we cannot attain.
As to what we discussed when we met at the airport, let me elaborate a bit. We didn’t have much time to talk. You see, every relationship has an inherent logic. The logic of a relationship is the combination of critical factors that bend a relationship in a specific direction. If for example you marry a tenured professor, the simple logic is that your existence will be defined by academia. And your acquaintances will likely be academic staff, or those affiliated one way or another with academia. Thus your social life is defined. Your party will likely be populated by radicals, nerds, thinkers and theorists. If you marry an actor, there is a logic progression as well: red carpets, shooting absences. Same if you marry a pastor. Fastings and prayers will regulate your kitchen output.

The problems in relationship often arise when we refuse to reconcile ourselves to the natural logic; when we seek to edit and reconfigure the logic of the relationship, after the fact. Making demands of the accrual of entrepreneurship from a civil servant for example is asking a lot. It’s either the civil servant will become bent or resign from that job, or there’ll be no peace at home. If you marry an entrepreneur on the other hand you have to be accommodating of risk. He’s a natural risk taker. Your financial security will be affected by his appetite for risk. Savings will be impacted.

As a wife you’ll need to learn how to mitigate such risk to avoid over-exposure of the family. On the other hand if you marry a salaried individual, that carries the advantage of predictability of income. Of course he may not earn as much as the entrepreneur unless he’s at a certain level. But there’s income guarantee. The downside of course is less disposable income to finance etceteras of whimsical lust and social mountaineering.

And so you have to choose between income predictability on one hand, and risky abundance on the other. You can’t have it both ways: it’s either you embrace the risk, or you embrace capped income. The dividend of entrepreneurial risk is feasible abundance. The dividend of predictable income is peace of heart. But when expectations are crossed and mismatched there will be angst and disappointments in a relationship. If your boyfriend is the laid back type you ought to limit your expectations. He’s laid back! You should be aware of what you’re getting into if you marry him. You can’t change him ex post facto. A laid back individual won’t assign enough urgency to certain things, or even take some things seriously. It means certain deadlines will be missed, and some things will be left to chance and auguries of grace. You can’t complain he lacks drive. You should expect to pick up his slack. If you can’t, don’t marry him. Ditto marrying an alcoholic. His favourite passage in scriptures will be Jesus turning water into wine.

Marriage is not a transformer. It doesn’t transfigure people into X-Men or other supernatural variants. You have to marry on the assumption your partner may not change. You must be realistic about marrying the facts about your boyfriend. That’s not saying he may not change to meet certain expectations, but what if he does not! Can you live with the realities about your boyfriend as is now? If you can’t think twice about marriage. Or you’ll be frustrated trying to change him. And he’ll be frustrated trying to please you. We all pray to change for the better, improve on our deficiencies, develop bigger capacities, but in a marriage context it’s not just what you see is what you get, it’s also buyer beware!

There are things you’ll discover in a marriage you didn’t bargain for, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on the sincerity of the parties involved and the level of honesty. The two not the same. Honesty is not the same as sincerity. It’s why I warn you about manipulativeness and insincerity in relationship. You’re sowing the wrong seeds. It’s important to have realistic expectations about one’s partner.

Often times we go into marriage with a wish list that is unmatched with the facts of a relationship. And that’s how disappointments set in and become consolidated. False expectations, unrealistic expectations. If a woman has never cooked in life, it will be unrealistic to expect culinary miracles post nuptial. To then expect the artistic conversion of yam into pounded yam and beef cohort must be an expedition in fantasy. Like I always say to you, deal with the facts. The reason we need romance in a relationship is to escape the rather ugly realities of life.

Manage your expectations in marriage. Be it fashion inclination, socials, sexual congress, spirituality or the like. The aesthetic standard of a bohemian cannot reasonably be matched to that of a fashionista. Same goes for sex. A conservative individual is likely to be conservative in that department. And if you date a very troublesome fellow it is reasonable to expect trouble in marriage. Some people relish in controversy. They like attention. “I do” won’t change that fact. Some are so extroverted they are a complete drama cast. Expect drama presentations in marriage. Take your boyfriend for who he is and what he is. Marriage is not abracadabraic.

If a man marries a plus size girlfriend it must be reasonably assumed he wanted a plus size wife. To then seek to alter the adipose ratio after marriage is to seek to introduce another factor into the relationship. If she chooses to lose weight all well and good but if not, the facts must be deemed consistent.
All I’m saying is, reconcile yourself to the facts of your relationship. We’ll talk again next week.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |


Tags : Love, Marriage, Expectation

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