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My dear Jack, you have to be careful about escalation. Escalation is always potent in marriage. The thing about escalation is, what started out as something trite that can be swiped like a fly might end up growing into a movie monster. And it starts with hardening of positions, often preceded by silences and disregard. Instead of discussing the issue both of you withdrew into silence, each not talking to the other. Be fearful of escalation of small quarrels in your marriage my friend. Be fearful of escalation.

Escalation is a product of imagination. It’s the imagining of vengeful scenarios and retaliations. A simple slight grows wings, becomes a monster dragon with buzzing wings. Pain soon begins to emanate from what should have been said to placate the other party that wasn’t said. Even when those things are said, escalation demands a higher oblation. The quarrel transmogrifies into grotesque. Hurt and pride are a dangerous cocktail in marriage. One feeds the other, creating justification. And pride sometimes camouflages as self-esteem. We do not prove our sense of worth by seeking to diminish others. Sense of worth cannot be Darwinian. Cold silence in a marriage is altercation by passive means. In truth, it’s no different from a hot argument, only the thermometer registers a different temperature. And sometimes cold treatment is worse than verbal altercation. It’s the ignoring of somebody, the making of somebody nobody.

Silent cold treatment is turning your spouse into a ghost, without materiality. Women understandably hate that. What cold treatment does is that it deepens the sense of hurt of the other party. The mind goes into fevered state. Nobody likes to be treated like nobody. In a fevered state revenge permutations ensue. And things further escalate. The choice of revenge is then determined by what can hurt the other party the most, according to one’s capability. Which can mean packing out of the house and in some cases violence. Exposing confidential information is then fair game. And so the man then begins to come home late. Or he refuses to eat at home. The woman resorts to reporting the man to a third party knowing he hates such. You can see escalation escalating, each party feeling justified about hurting the other party. Tit is tatting. Things can easily go south from there. The marriage can easily become a functioning non-marriage. A functioning non-marriage is one with a veneer of marriage but which to all intents and purposes is breaking down. Sex of course ceases in such a marriage and this can go on for years. This soon becomes a grievance, not a consequence.

Truth is, the man suffers most in such a scenario though he imagines himself punishing his wife. He soon begins an affair outside, claiming justification based on the state of his marriage. But he’ll discover the justification is an excuse when he continues his search for strange flesh after things have cleared up. And so both parties set themselves up. And they soon drift apart, living in different worlds. Someone soon moves out of the master bedroom. The veneer of marriage now fully replaces the marriage. The marriage becomes a sham, each party tolerating the other. By this time either of the parties begins to contemplate divorce, calculating the cost. In this calculation is also the question of who will approach the divorce court first, the whole idea being to establish it was the other party who asked for divorce first as if it really matters. Divorce is divorce whoever asked for it first. It’s the same pain and anguish. The end is the same even if you win the PR war. At the end of the day, there’s no marriage. At the end of the day, there’s still bitterness and anger. That anger, that pain may take years to dissolve. In some cases, it never dissolves. And that is how people become bitter victims of life. All because of escalation.

That is how two young people who fell in love with each other end up ruining a beautiful thing. Lack of wisdom and pride. It’s never wise to allow simple quarrels to escalate in a marriage. Even if you’re right, how right can you be with a wonderful marriage destroyed? If you have a problem about an issue in marriage, it’s better to broach the subject than to impute motives. You might just be wrong about why you think your spouse did what he did. It might have been an innocent mistake. It still boils down to communication. Communication is critical in marriage. A marriage without communication flirts with danger. And not just communication, there has to be a desire to be understanding and accommodating in marriage. Without that desire “understanding” will be grudging. Which really is no understanding. Understanding in marriage is absorbent of the other party’s imperfections. Who is perfect?!

I’m just saying, don’t let this little issue in your marriage become a monster no one can tame. Don’t let a simple disagreement in your marriage become a runaway train. Spouses offend each other all the time. The weight attached to those imperfections determines the future of the marriage. Offences in marriage can be as simple as dropping cotton buds or face oil absorbers. They can be irritants if you allow. But those things are nothing. Just pick up after your spouse. God forbid a cotton bud destroys a marriage. And yet cotton buds do destroy marriages. As well as pressing toothpaste in the middle. Amazing isn’t it? You guys have got something wonderful going. Why destroy it? Why let things escalate? Divorce is not what happens in court. It’s the lifelong pain we inflict on ourselves for our inability to love one another. Love does not allow simple quarrels to escalate and become monsters. Nip this thing in the bud. Swallow your pride.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

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Tags : compromise, Conflict, Pride, Respect, Hurt, Communication, Quarrel, misunderstanding

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