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Read Letter

Parameters of Choice

My dear Jil, let me simplify things for you. Let me concretise the basic parameters of choice for you. Seems you are not getting it. Perhaps it’s because it’s in prose form. Let’s do an exercise. This should help. 

Take a piece of paper, an A4 paper preferably. Gives you space. Now get your pen or pencil. On the piece of paper, draw a big square. Divide the square into four. So now you have four boxes in the square. Letter the boxes A, B, C and D. Have you done that? In Box A write, “SPIRITUAL”. Caps. Don’t preempt me, just write. In Box B write “SOCIAL”. In Box “C” write “CULTURAL”. And in Box D write “ECONOMIC”. I hope you wrote all in caps. These four boxes- Spiritual, Social, Cultural and Economic are your four BASIC parameters in the choice of life partner. I will explain. Let’s itemize each parameter. Now write, this time in caps and low: In the SPIRITUAL box write: Philosophy, Values, Faith, Peace, Harmony, Character. Have you got that? In the SOCIAL box write: Love, Friendship, Happiness. In the CULTURAL box write: Image, Beauty/Handsomeness, Exposure, Education, Hygiene. In the ECONOMIC box write: Job/Business.

Now let’s break it all down. Let’s start with the SPIRITUAL box. Let’s ask certain questions: Do you share the same philosophy of life with this gentleman? Philosophy of life is often predicated on religion. For example, your Christian faith mandates you must be generous, compassionate, not vengeful. It means you cannot propagate evil, even against those who do you evil against you. You’re to love your enemies. It means you must care for the disadvantaged in society, honour your father and mother. Are you agreed on this philosophy of life, or in your case the teachings of Jesus, to be particular. Then we need to ask questions about values, and morals: Do your values agree? Does he have character? Then we need to go further: Will there be peace in your marriage? Are you harmonious? Faith also matters. Some religions forbid inter-marriage with people of non-faith or different faith. And even if you’re of the same faith does he agree with the essence of your faith, or is it nominalism.

Now, let’s go to the SOCIAL box. We’re through with the SPIRITUAL box. Again let’s ask some simple questions: Do you love him? Does he love you? Are you friends? Are you happy? Will you be happy in the marriage? Do you love being together, delight in each other’s company, want to be with each other, go out together? Can you call him your friend? Friendship matters in marriage.

Now, let’s go to the CULTURAL box. Does he care about image and beauty? If he does, does he think you’re pretty to HIM? It’s better to confront this question early on. It’s an important issue because of the vanity of men. Does he want you physically? Are you desirable to him? (Don’t get too “spiritual” here, it matters). You’ll be shocked how much damage an inability to face this question early on has caused in marriages. Let’s continue. Does cultural exposure matter to you, or him? If so, does he have it? Is he culturally literate? How about the issue of diction, does it matters to you? Sense of fashion? Does social value mean a lot to you? How about hygiene? Does it mean a lot to you? Educational standard?

Now let’s look at the ECONOMICS box. Does he have a job? Or is he running his own business? Is he economically responsible? Or does he keep “borrowing” from you, perpetually promising to repay?

I devised this 4Square Compatibility Grid to make it easier for you to ask yourself the right questions. If you want a happy marriage, the Spiritual, Social and Economic parameters are mandatory. But you have wiggle room in the CULTURAL box- it’s really up to you what you want to trade. You may for example decide that his sense of economic responsibility far outweighs his lack of diction. Up to you! But if your philosophy of life and values don’t agree, or if there’s no love or friendship you’ll have a difficult marriage. Same if there’s no economic base. A lack of money can cripple a marriage. It’s why he must have a job. I get letters regularly about the difficulties of marriages without economic base. Deep frustrations. And when disagreement on values meets absence of love and economic irresponsibility you have a perfect storm. If you ignore the factors listed you’re only pushing the issues into the future, postponing the evil day. And when they show up they’ll create so much unhappiness, even civilized hatred. Civilized hatred is what happens when a couple can’t stand each other yet keep going through the ablutions of marriage. They may keep having children together but the marriage is all gone. Intimacy is nonexistent. Such marriage is held together by social glue- the need to create appearances. That’s not marriage, it’s a sham! The parties have hardened their positions. They have definitive viewpoints concerning their partners. Marital unhappiness is at least preventable if you refuse to go into a potentially unhappy marriage. A mistake of choice in marriage partner is so fundamental it’s hard to escape its consequences.

I know you’re feeling lonely and all that, and I know people are talking. They’ve turned you into a parable. But being single and lonely is a better fare than being trapped and depressed in a loveless marriage. One can assuage loneliness, but being trapped in a loveless marriage requires prison break. Prison breaks are not easy. Wait for the right man. Faith works by patience. When you meet him you’ll know. It will be effortless, no contrivances, no forced fittings, or managing. The fact that some married men have been applying at least shows you’re attractive, even if they’re the wrong lot. Maybe you need to open your eyes to yourself, in order to see what these men see. Appreciate yourself and your qualities. There are many wonderful men out there. You just haven’t met the one.

Your mentor, LA.

© Leke Alder

Tags : Relationship, Life, Marriage

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