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Read Letter

Two Litres Of Love

Dear Jil, first, you don’t generalise about men. (Men shouldn’t generalise women too!) The statement, “All sparrows are black” has to be a presumptive fallacy since we can’t say we’ve come across all sparrows. It’s why we don’t generalise about the sexes. You can only talk about the men you know, or been told about. Even that is hearsay. Second, you don’t bring the spirit of gender unionism into your marriage. It’s not a “Men versus Women” thing. Third, other men are not your concern really. Just your husband. Marriage is very proprietary, narrow and custom. And so what you need to concern yourself with is your husband, not other people’s husbands. They’re not your worry. If others say their husbands are crazy but you know yours is sane, you don’t import non-existent insanity into your marriage. And so I understand your concern about men in general but men, in general, are not your concern. You’re not God.

Marriage is retail. What you need to be focused on is your man. Is he good to you? If he is, why judge him by the standards and deficiencies of others? Why band him with others? If you bring that gender unionism thing into your marriage you’ll damage it. Marriage is not us versus them. It’s us together. Love presupposes generosity. Love does not ration affection like the serving of Mama Put.* (*Ask a Nigerian about this). You can’t be measuring how much love you should scoop to your husband. It’s inherently contradictory. Love doesn’t come in centilitres. It comes in the size of a heart. And so by the time you’re rationing affection to your husband whatever you’re rationing cannot be love. Rationing of affection presupposes something is being held back, deliberately. If you’re holding back affection from your husband then you’ve stepped into control. There’s going to be insincerity. The critical question then is, can love be insincere? Is insincere love not inherently contradictory? Insincerity is actually very manipulative in a relationship. But of course you don’t see it that way, which is the point I want to make to you.

Insincerity blinds you to the feelings of the other party. It’s “smartness” by other means. He knows you’re insincere by the way. You’re only thinking of yourself. What if your insincerity leads to equal and opposite reaction? Suppose he begins to hold back affection from you too, becomes insincere in his expressions? How would you feel if every time your man calls you, you know it’s insincere? Manipulation is another name for controlling lie. And if you’re doing all this stuff then there’s a trust issue in your relationship. I’ve found out that those who dish out this behaviour can’t take it themselves. They don’t even imagine it being dished back. They can’t even imagine reciprocity. They always think they’re in the control seat, many times presumptuous. At some time the guy is going to get annoyed with all that manipulation and insincerity. The first time you did what you did he probably thought it was an accident. The second time, he said let’s give benefit of doubt. But by the third time he’d realised you’re doing it deliberately, that it’s your modus operandi. Which is why he pulled back from you emotionally. It’s how the relationship entered tit for tat mode. A tit for tat relationship is not a good relationship. It’s a minor vengeance soap opera. And it can escalate. You can’t be in a relationship and you guys are researching ways to hurt each other. That’s not a relationship. And then all that calculation comes in – who will call or text first. You ignore WhatsApp messages, though online. I’ll ask you think twice about this withholding of affection, this scooping of emotions. You can’t deal with the reciprocity.

On some level withholding of affection is actually selfishness careering into self-centeredness. And so the philosophy of the dispensation of affection in litres is not something you should practice. You’re not thinking through. The outcome cannot be good. It leads to places relationships shouldn’t go. It can easily become a man’s justification for cheating on you. You see it’s a Pandora box. You can’t love without giving. And in love you give of yourself, your emotions, material, economic and spiritual substance. Love doesn’t come as a menu – two scoops of affection, three servings of hug, one conditional birthday present… If you feel you can’t trust your partner enough to love him, why be in the relationship. This relationship is a potential marriage. Has to have trust. In marriage you’re committing your life and wellbeing into someone’s hand. Whether you like it or not, your partner will determine your emotional health and wellbeing. Emotional wellbeing can slide to the right or left. Depression and happiness are opposite ends of the spectrum. You don’t go into marriage with a mind-set against men. That marriage is already broken. Everything the guy does you’ll judge. If the coin were flipped, would you like someone judging all your actions?

You can’t use your mother’s bad experience as a template for your marriage. She made her choice, make yours. Your husband is not your father. You can’t judge him based on the deficiencies of your father. Don’t lose your marriage before it’s even started. In the same vein don’t marry someone who’s controlling and withholding affection from you. He’ll punish you emotionally. He’ll want you to be at his mercy. You’re even in a worse scenario if you’re sleeping with him. In a relationship don’t dish what you can’t take, don’t dish what you don’t want. Think through before you embark on a deliberate course of action. Selfishness prevents the imagining of reverse scenario. Withholding of affection is not the way to go. It’s a terrible operating philosophy for marriage. Date someone you can trust with your emotions. Character matters. I do hope you see the fuller picture.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

Rationing of affection presupposes something is being held back, deliberately. Click To Tweet
Tags : growing up, love in marriage, Value, Peace, Sincerity, Emotional, Jealousy, expressiveness

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