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Read Letter

Pleasure, Pain And Hmn!

My dear Jack, take a piece of paper and draw a straight horizontal line. Mark the two ends, and make a halfway mark as well. On the extreme right, write “Pleasure.” On the left write “Pain.” In the middle write, “Hmn!” You’re looking at a map of the possibilities in a marriage. The signposts are pleasure, pain and hmn! You don’t want your marriage or relationship in the pain corner. You don’t want your marriage smack in the middle either.

When a marriage is neither pleasurable nor painful – that is “neutral,” it’s a very dangerous state. When a marriage becomes neutral of emotions and feelings, it signifies bottled pain, sometimes disappointment. It means someone feels he or she is not being heard or listened to; that someone is not paying attention to something. When a marriage enters the neutral zone it means there are possibilities of pain and anger. Depression might have set in. It’s always dangerous for a marriage to enter a neutral zone. It means the feelings of love are deadened or anaesthetized. When a marriage enters a neutral zone it means dangerous emotions of anger and resentment are festering. When a marriage enters a neutral zone it means affection has become a wet bread. Passion is dead. When a marriage enters a neutral zone it means there are hidden possibilities of retaliation. Or total resignation. When a marriage enters a neutral zone the sex becomes official: the legalistic fulfilling of a marital obligation. When a marriage enters a neutral zone it means the parties have drifted significantly apart. When a marriage enters a neutral zone it means the parties now occupy two different islands connected by obligations. When a marriage enters a neutral zone, one party is probably just in there for non-marriage reasons, like the kids. When a marriage enters a neutral zone, there’s a danger the parties may punish each other with ignominy, even cruelty.

Neutral affection is a very grave sign of danger in a marriage. Affections can’t be neutral in marriage. When affections are neutral in marriage there are misgivings. Neutral affection signifies, “Do your thing while I do my thing. We don’t disturb each other.” When a marriage enters a neutral zone, the parties are probably keeping up appearances. And it may signify affairs are on-going in a bid to ameliorate the emotional pain and suffering, or to sort oneself out. A marriage full of neutral affection is one that is dead but yet liveth. Of course a marriage in the pain zone is much more awful than one in the neutral zone. When a marriage is full of emotional pain it’s a horrible experience. The dangerous thing about this is the onset of acute depression, which incidentally numbs feelings, hence neutral feeling. There will be no emotional capacity in such a marriage. One or both parties may be malfunctioning. If one party is malfunctioning and the other is forbearing, the forbearing party will at some point slip into depression. The party is taking on much more than he or she is emotionally capable of, or capacitated to handle. The soul of man wasn’t designed to be resigned to depression. Mental breakdown is a high possibility. Just before that stage, a dividing wall comes up between the parties over which they peer and gaze at each other. They will live separate lives and have separate existences. The husband will have his social circle and the wife will have hers too. Those circles will repel each other. There’s that polite form of separation – some sort of amicable “divorce” within a subsisting marriage.

Where you want your marriage to be is in the pleasure corner. A marriage becomes pleasurable when there’s a cocktail of love and peace. Though finance matters too. Finance aids peace in marriage. And it can facilitate extra affection. Without money a marriage will come under severe strain. Without money in marriage tempers and suspicions arise. The parties will be on edge around each other. And a marriage forced to the altar will hardly yield the fruit of love. It will breed resentment. That’s the danger of a pregnancy-induced marriage that is forced to the altar. Marriage must not be a punitive thing. The “punishment” for pregnancy out of wedlock shouldn’t be marriage. We create disasters that way. It’s why you ought to exercise discipline as a young man. There are things we do in life that can send our lives off kilter. You must be careful about opportunistic sex. It has the potential to tie up your life, for decades. Where the other party has a clearer agenda you’ll enter a trap with opportunistic sex. People are more calculating than you realize. It’s why you have to be mindful of your liaisons.

If a marriage won’t bring you joy and peace don’t go into it. You’re setting yourself up. Marriage ought to be happy. A marriage is a life medium. If it’s full of love your life will be pleasurable. But if a marriage is full of hate and pain your life will be hard, so hard depression will make an attempt on your life. The No.1 cause of divorce is marriages that should never have taken place in the first place. Some people just want to marry. That’s a pragmatism you have to be careful about. Don’t commit emotional hara-kiri. Don’t go into a marriage you already know will be bad. And you have to know when to cut your losses in life. You have to accept that sometimes in life there are things you can’t recover, like virginity. Accept and move on! But when a marriage is good it’s heavenly! It’ll be like a private amusement park for two. You shouldn’t aim for anything less than a happy marriage. It’s your life we’re talking about. Without love marriage becomes a penal system, and without peace the atmosphere will be too harsh for your soul. A man can’t function at par without peace in the home. Emotional disharmony is enormously stressful. A marriage can’t be a hostile environment. That’s a maximum prison yard accompanied by hard labour!

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

Tags : troubled marriage, disharmony

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