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Read Letter

Expectations and Wrong Expectations

My dear Jil, the problem sometimes is that we think successful relationships are auto-regulated. Nothing could be farther from the truth and such notions are a mirage. It explains why it seems people are expecting in relationships and not giving. They expect things to happen to them and so the relationship becomes one-sided, one party doing the giving. As long as the other party is putting effort into the relationship, the relationship will seemingly work; until the counter-party begins to expect some reciprocity for all his investment, emotional and material.

Unfortunately, by that time the other party has been trained to expect and not to give. There’s bound to be problems in that kind of relationship. High expectations on both sides but at cross purposes. The giving party soon begins to level silent accusations of selfishness and begins to slow down his giving. He reads his girlfriend’s behavior as selfishness. (It is! And it can also be the other way round). Unfortunately the girl reads all the giving as “being spoilt”. And so you have cross interpretation of facts in the relationship.

To succeed in your relationship you must put in effort. A successful relationship requires the taking of initiative. You’ve got to really try, to consciously do things for your partner, to consciously care. But you don’t get to that position without trust and faith. You must be able to trust his affection, and you must have faith in the future of the relationship. His love, character and commitment is your security deposit upon which you advance a massive emotional credit. Faith is classically defined as the evidence of things not seen, the substance of things hoped for. It is therefore those things you do that give us belief in the relationship and paint a picture of the hope you have.

But if you have no faith in the future of the relationship, that will explain the under-investment of emotions. You’ll be cautionary, watch out for what the other person is putting in before reciprocating correspondent gestures. Your birthday gift for him in such circumstances will be dependent on his birthday gift to you. The relationship will become a calculated sequence – a titting for tatting of affection. No one will want to commit more than the other party. Everyone will seek to commit less to have the edge. These are pseudo relationships, they’re not really affectionate relationships. It may proceed to wedding but there’s something inherently wrong in the disposition of the parties to one another. Such disposition does not augur well for marriage. It’s a matter of time before the marriage fractures inside. And it can easily break up if either party meets someone outside the relationship ready to commit significantly. Whoever that is will show off the less forthcoming party in the marriage.

Successful marriages require significant investment of effort. The more irrevocably committed the parties are to the marriage the higher the chances of success. Marriage is equitable. You can’t put in 10% and expect 100% return. It doesn’t work that way. In a marriage there must be no other option on the table except the unity and union of the parties.

For the marriage to be successful the parties must subscribe to bound destinies. Your success must be his success, his success must be your success; or there’ll be envy. A couple envious of each other is the height of marital illogicality. Without disaffection there cannot be envy in a relationship or marriage. Disaffection comes first. Envy then proceeds to emotional disassociation. Once that disassociation begins the dissociating party will display no kindness towards the other party. He or she will begin to do the unimaginable and the illogical. The other party begins to suffer massively. From that point on emotional health will suffer. The inherent contradiction in the relationship cannot be reconciled.

The suffering spouse won’t understand the goings on in the marriage. He or she will be confused. The disaffected party will be angry and that anger becomes justification for the doing of evil. Intimacy will of course suffer; communion will suffer, duties will fail. These are signposts of big trouble. There will be no care. Lack of affection will be dutifully offered. Sex will be perfunctory. The parties will barely afford to speak to each other. The marriage will just exist. They will hardly go to socials or functions together. Excuses will be found. Such outings will be torture. They will develop different social circles. These social circles will overlap but hardly intersect. The parties will seek to maintain minimal contact. The man will stay out and the wife will stay in. The unhappiness in the union will be rather depressive. And the unhappiness will be palpable. The observant will notice the dissociative tendencies in the relationship. The parties will share the schedules very close to the time. They will begin to travel separately. Each will wish the other away so they can have reprieve from each other, and privacy. But the pains will be deep, the emotional wounds very, very deep. I’m just trying to show you how innocuous selfishness in a marriage can facilitate high status unhappiness.

A marriage is a sharing platform: of love, life and emotions. If you’re not giving and he’s not giving, the marriage will suffer emotional malnutrition. If you want a happy marriage, give one to another, without measure and without calculation.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

Tags : Giving, Selfishness

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