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Read Letter

Silent Hell

Dear Jack, what I’m trying so hard to help you avoid is the “20year Mistake.” You see, there are some relationship mistakes we make in life that take twenty years to get out of. I know it sounds incredible but it’s the truth.There are many “20yr” veterans all over life. You’re just not aware. A typical mistake that can cost you 20yrs of your life is impregnating someone you don’t love who becomes mother of your child. You can’t wish the child away. It matters little whether you marry her or not. Opportunistic sex has consequences, and once a child is produced you step into unplanned history. That woman will be in your life for the duration of the life of that child, meaning till you die, other things being equal. No young man plans for that. It was opportunistic sex, remember! Just lust finding a partner. But life insists if you go that way, it means you planned for the consequences. You can’t complain. You have to adjust your life accordingly for having a child out of wedlock.

And it’s not just opportunistic sex that can produce the “20yr” problem. Marrying someone you shouldn’t does the same. The warning signs are always there. Better to have a broken engagement than to have a broken marriage. If your girlfriend is a serial cheat for example, you can’t complain of unfaithfulness in marriage if you go ahead with it. The signs were there, but you chose to ignore the facts. She already showed you she wasn’t going to be faithful. What usually happens is that some people take on the mantle of messiah, seeking to “save” their girlfriends. And they seek to prove their goodness by insisting on pursuing marriage to someone who’ll bring them sorrow. These are insistent do-gooders who want the praise of the world for marrying the wrong woman. There’s some psychological reward they get for insisting on going into marriage with someone with questionable tendencies. Having been rewarded for bad behavior, the woman of course continues with those morals and they begin to suffer. Having forgiven so much, they then get annoyed at discovery of one more instance of cheating after marriage. They become mean to the woman, terribly mean. Their character changes. They’re angry. The reason they’re angry is because they feel they should be rewarded with fidelity for enduring so much. They feel the woman should reward them for overlooking the past and ignoring the facts of infidelity during courtship. That kind of marriage is essentially over. The condition precedent needed to make it successful is out of the man’s control. The marriage can only work if the woman reforms, and the man can’t control that factor. It’s up to the woman.

When the success of a marriage is dependent on reformation of a partner’s character that’s a difficult one. Why marry a thief hoping for reformation of character? What if he refuses to reform? What becomes of the marriage? The normal challenges of a young marriage are thus compounded and burdened with major character issues. How does a young man cope in a marriage with such reformational character challenge? It’s tough. Always deal with facts in your relationship, not wishful thinking. If your girlfriend is a thief, you’re dating a thief not someone who “can change.” If you want to marry a non-thief, date a non-thief. Why go for a thief you hope will become a non-thief? It’s like all those guys who want to marry a civil servant but then go for a businesswoman hoping to convert her. Why?! A lot of people make this mistake. They don’t deal with the facts in front of them, they don’t acknowledge the facts. If a woman dates a man without drive for instance, she has to accept the high possibility of an unmotivated husband. Going into marriage with such a person with a view to changing him is rather presumptuous! If you can’t accept the man or woman in front of you don’t go into the marriage.

Deal with facts. If you date a lazy person you have to accept the very high probability you’ll have a lazy spouse if you marry. Ditto if you date the unhygienic, someone with similar standards of hygiene as that improbably named character from Asterix. Does that mean we’re saying people can’t change? Of course not. There’s always the possibility of redemption. But when you approach marriage you must take a pragmatic view. You deal with the facts in front of you. I’m just saying that simple mistake as per marital choice can cost you 20yrs of your life. But the time you finally come out of it, you’ll be shocked twenty years have gone. And then you’re going to have years you can’t account for – years in depression, years in battle. The depression and those battles are huge distractions. They divert your energy.

Marry right. If you choose to marry someone you don’t love or who doesn’t love you, you married a stranger essentially. Without love couples are emotional strangers in cohabitation. The lack of love and affection will of course produce indifference, which then produces emotional torture. That emotional indifference can easily lead to adultery and hatred. Then the home becomes hell. And couples don’t have to have a shouting match before a marriage becomes hell. There are silent hells. When your spouse quietly tolerates you, you know you’re in a silent hell. When your spouse makes no complaint but won’t touch you, you know you’re in silent hell. When you and your spouse don’t quarrel but your marriage is essentially functional, you’re in silent hell. When the state of the marriage makes even the food stale and you have to swallow it, you’re in silent hell. And when you can’t solve a marriage problem however you wish or try, you’re in silent hell. When to all appearances you’re a “wonderful couple” but can’t stand each other you’re in silent hell. A good marriage is heaven. A bad marriage is hell. It’s that simple. Why risk putting yourself in jail for twenty years. If it’s obvious it can’t work let it be. “I want it to work” is sometimes an expression of foolishness. Don’t put yourself in silent hell. That’s not an accommodation you should go for.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

Tags : choosing a spouse

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