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Read Letter

Four Questions

Dear Jil, this marriage thing seems so simple and straightforward. But we somehow manage to complicate it. We complicate marriage with our willfulness, our stubbornness, and ignorance.

At the prospecting phase we KNOW if a marriage is going to work; it’s why we keep trying to bend the obvious. We shave off a few inches of dissonance there; add a few inches of compatibility here – trying to patch things up by force. We keep investing in the bad relationship despite the glaring eyes of the perspicuous, and keep committing. We believe we can force life to make a compulsive union for us. But the truth is, what work won’t won’t work. And we can see the tears at the seams of the fabric of the relationship, even in early stages. Those tears tell us something, but we dutifully bring out our needle and thread and keep patching. We know we can’t recoup the investments we’ve made, especially biological investments, and so we refuse to let go. We stubbornly forge ahead, forgetting we’re dealing with life and not just “issues”.

My take is, probably 70% of marriages that go sour should never have taken place in the first place. Some marry to please others: To please their pastor, their parents, friends… How do you marry just to please someone! You only have one life. Life doesn’t come in duplicates. And there are no spare parts. Once used, it’s used. You can’t redeem the time; you can’t reuse your life. Don’t marry just to boost a recommenders public relations boast – “I introduced them! KNEW they would make a good couple!” People make those recommendations for various reasons. Some out of a good heart and some with an agendum. But even a goodhearted recommendation can be founded on fallacy and ignorance. But it’s at the expense of your life. Decide for yourself who you want to marry, but make that decision with utmost wisdom.

Marriage is a fundamental institution. You don’t mess around with fundamental institutions. Not on your life. There are four questions you must at least ask yourself before you go into marriage.

Question No. 1: Do you love the gentleman, and does he love you? If you don’t love him you will make his life hell. If he doesn’t love you he’ll treat you with disdain. And it’s difficult to win the affection of a man in that state of mind. As the years widen he may cheat on you. He will go for anything but you, and I mean anything! You won’t be able to understand why. That may damage your esteem as you begin to wonder too many whys.

Question No. 2: Will you be happy in the marriage? If you’re not going to be happy in the marriage you’re playing with depression. May you not experience the darkness of depression. It’s an inky blackness, darker than the caliginous emission of an octopus. It’s a dark, dark place. A very dark place.

Question 3: Will there be peace in the marriage? If you’re already fighting over everything, perhaps life is sending you a telegram about your incompatibility. If both of you are stubborn and willful there won’t be peace in that marriage. It’s going to be a battle of wills. Both of you will have the fixation of “Someone MUST win in this argument and it has to be me!” It’s important there’s peace at home. Or you both will keep keeping each other away from home, passively. You will be trying to avoid each other, making sure your returns home don’t coincide but overlap. And there’ll be anger in that home. You can’t live in an envelope of anger. It’s highly toxic.

Question No. 4: Are we friends? Would we be friends in marriage? As a couple you must enjoy each other’s company, you must want to be together. A couple must delight in each other. It’s called phileo love, or love of delight. Every marriage must have one. Couples must be friends. Without friendship a marriage will just be dutiful. And when marriage is dutiful, then it becomes a job. Friendship is what makes you look forward to the weekend with your spouse. You just want to be in each other’s company. I know a couple, both in their sixties. They just love to spend time together. They’re each other’s friend. They talk and gist late into the night. The now grown up children still wonder what they find to talk about! Couples must derive pleasure and comfort from one another. Gist, laugh, go out together. Marriage should be fun! And so these are the four BASIC questions you must ask yourself as you consider marriage.

Also consider the economic viability of your union. What’s the income base? Don’t forget you have to rent an apartment. Staying in his family house is a no, no! You’ll fissure your marriage. There’s a reason God tells young men to move out of home when they marry. When the kids begin to come how are you going to pay their school fees? Does he have a job? Don’t confuse the emotion of love with love. And don’t confuse foolishness with love. Foolishness is, I’m in love with him, and we’re going to marry and have wonderful sex. But he doesn’t have a job! Marriage is not a management course. Stop telling people, “We’ll manage” when asked if your boyfriend has a job. When a man has no money it’s tough on his psyche. He will take it out on you. It’s why he must have a job. And if they won’t give him a job, it’s imperative he creates one for himself through entrepreneurship. You start small. With diligent application and faithfulness it will grow. Just ignore the shame of starting. Not everyone can take these truths, but truth must nonetheless be told. Even the Holy Book states that he that does not choose to work must not eat. Every man must earn his own keep.

It’s also wise to marry someone you share values with. A clash of values will rupture a marriage. I do hope this at least gives you some guideline about getting married. I do wish you a happy married life.

Your mentor, LA.

© Leke Alder |

Tags : Marriage, Choice

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