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Read Letter

Knowing Your Partner

My dear Jack, in homicide, detectives are always looking for motive from three factors: money, sex and revenge. I was thinking about that and it occurred to me that these are the very same factors that destroy marriages. You of course know the role of money in a marriage. We’ve discussed this before. A marriage comes under intense strain when there’s no money. Tempers will flare, suspicions will reign. In certain contexts there’s even suspicion of witchcraft trained on the wife. There’ll be no shortage of emergency roadside prophets seeing visions and enemies. Men in particular don’t do well without money in marriage. It’s almost as if the man’s virility is wilted. A man without money in marriage often interprets innocuous acts as derision of his manhood and financial status. He’ll feel his lack of finance is causing disrespect to his person and providing political leverage to the woman. The more serious ones go into depression. It’s demoralizing when a man cannot provide for his family.

A responsible man is very sad at the prospect of not being able to provide for his family. And some people just give up. And some veer into bad habits – binging on booze and drugs. Hopelessness makes many amenable to otherwise unamenable propositions. Some then go on to “punish” the wife by sleeping around, sometimes with another hopeless situation. It’s why I advice the man should have a job before marriage. it’s important for a man to have an income. There’s something that waking up in the morning and going to work does to a man. But if you do want to be a house-husband it’s your choice. And your wife’s. It’s new sociology though. Money plays a very key role in maintaining emotional balance in a marriage. And a man with a job has respect. A striving man must be appreciated.

Let’s move on to sex. Sex is of course important in marriage. A healthy sexual life in marriage creates a buffer against predators. It robs sin of justification and excuses. If the sex in marriage is healthy and the man veers off he knows he brought it to pass by his own lust. And many times temptation is a power thing. It’s many times an exercise of authority and power over the desirable desiring. Of all the three potent factors affecting marriage however, revenge is the most dangerous. A vengeful and unforgiving spirit can never augur well for a marriage. It’s important husbands and wives learn to make up, forgive and forget. There’s that argument over whether forgiving includes forgetting. But how do you forgive someone keeping a record of wrongs? Forgiving a hurt in marriage means you don’t keep a record of wrongs. If you don’t adopt that approach when next there’s a quarrel you’re going to rehash the past. And that then calls into question the fact of whether you actually ever forgave.

If you forgive someone bury the facts in memory cemetery. Forget and move on to the rest of life. If you claim to forgive but you still have a statement of claim against someone you haven’t really forgiven. Imagine what would happen in a marriage if neither party ever forgives. Unforgiveness is manifestly unhealthy. It’s very toxic. And a spirit of unforgiveness has case files on every and anyone who’s ever offended. An unforgiving person forgets that by holding on to grudges he or she also commits a wrong against the accused. What if God never forgives or forgets! We’ll all be dead most certainly.

Marriage is an eternal learning curve. No matter how much you know about your partner you still need to know, will always need to know. There are things only circumstances will bring out in your partner. You never fully know anyone. We don’t even know ourselves. Every day you learn something new about your partner. Marriage is a knowledge program. You may think you know your partner but may not realize it’s your unawareness that is shielding you from certain knowledge. Knowing your partner is not an infantile quiz program like what’s her favourite colour. Knowing your partner is something deep. It’s knowing what would make her happy, what to avoid, and what to say. Knowing your partner is being caring about the one person who means a lot to you in this world. Knowing your partner is watching out for her, being sensitive to her emotional needs. Knowing your partner is learning to overlook things. Knowing your partner is tidying up the loose ends quietly in nobility without proclamation.

Knowing your partner is silent trust in her. Knowing your partner is caring about her fulfilment, supporting her aspirations so she is fulfilled in life. Knowing your partner is being able to read moods and nuances, conversating with the quiet pulses of the heart. Knowing your partner is devotion to the relationship. It’s a no-matter-what determination. Knowing your partner is supplicating the Almighty nothing tragic ever happens to her. Would be devastating. Knowing your partner is not being able to imagine life without her. Knowing your partner is all those pleasant surprises. Knowing your partner is when she hopes for something, only to realize you’re two steps ahead with fulfilment of desire. Knowing someone is connectivity of the intricate ventricles of the heart into corridors of haemoglobin. And when you genuinely love someone you’ll be quick to forgive. Love forgives quickly. Love does not erect tombstones on forgiven mistakes. I think you and Jil should digest this. It will help your marriage. Happiness is attainable in marriage. A marriage OUGHT to be happy. What’s the point otherwise?

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

Tags : Forgiveness, Devotion

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