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Read Letter

Can He Be The One?

My dear Jil, my belated New Year greetings! Was out of town. How are you and how are you doing? Apart from the issues you raised in your letter.

First, it’s important you choose your own partner. Don’t let anyone choose for you – they neither know you, nor know the person they’re recommending. All they have is situational knowledge about the person. If they know him in church for example, that’s a limited knowledge sphere. Everyone tries to be their best in church. You should find out for yourself whether the person is compatible, or close to your ideals. You may not get everything you want but at least things should be close.

You’re going to be in the marriage, not your recommenders. If it’s a terrible choice you suffer the consequences alone. And you can’t turn around to say they chose the man for you if things turn sour. The moment you abide by their choice it becomes yours. Though I think you’re putting yourself under terrible strain on this marriage thing. You’re only twenty-six! That your mates are getting married doesn’t mean you should put yourself under pressure. Everyone in her time.

You shouldn’t subject yourself to Hobson’s choice either – two unwanted options. There’s always a third option. It’s called “Neither”. When you become so desperate to hook up you’re bound to make some mistakes. In fact, you’ll be sending wrong signals on dates. You may even scare off the guys with such level of desperation. It will show. Guys are sensitive to such things. He’ll feel rushed or feel being trapped. You’re proceeding from a form of fait accompli. You’ve already made a determination to marry the person you’re meeting before knowing the person. That can prove ill-advised. Relax. It will come. And you’re an attractive young lady, only you’ve put yourself under artificial pressure. You’ve set a marriage date like marriage is some procurement assignment.

Yeah, it’s good to have goals at the beginning of the year, and there’s nothing wrong in having marriage goals; but not at the expense of your future happiness. When the right man comes you’ll know. It will be natural. You’ll get along with the person just fine. Both of you will know you like each other. You’ll just want to be together. But if it’s a forced relationship, you’ll be trying to do something, trying to make it work. It will be like forcing a square into a triangular hole. If he’s not the right one, something will just not feel right, and you won’t be able to shake off the feeling. Your efforts will seem “baseless.” Both of you will be TRYING to date each other but something just won’t gel if he’s not right for you. And you’ll have a knowing. Oh, you’ll go through all the motions but both of you will know something just doesn’t fit, that something is not alright. And when he seeks a commitment from you by introducing you to his parents, you won’t feel okay. You’ll know you’re ahead of yourself. You will have worries, bounce your worries off your friends, who unfortunately may be too giddy about the prospect to give you the right advice. You will go to such family meeting tentatively but in going, you over-commit yourself to what you don’t want. And from that point on the relationship goes on auto pilot. You will be marching to the altar though not convinced. The only thing propelling the relationship will be all the activities and plans towards wedding. They’re now your convincers, wearing away your hold-out.

That he’s not the right man for you doesn’t mean he’s not a good man. That he’s a good man doesn’t mean he’s the right man for you. He may be a very fine gentleman but not okay for you. He may be a fine gentleman but just not okay for you. And he may be a fine gentleman but not just okay for you. Those are three different statements. Think.

Marriage requires custom fit. Therefore a marital partner must necessarily be a proprietary acquisition. His history must gel with your history, his exposure with your exposure, his outlook with your outlook, his values with your values. Your experiences cannot be the same but you must be able to relate to his experiences, even identify with them. If marriage is not a custom fit, it means you can marry just about anybody, and that’s a fallacy – even dangerous. Means he can just leave you for any woman. There’s a reason we like people, there’s a reason we want people. Some of these things are a knowing on the inside, they can’t be expressed in words. The knowings are so deep. It’s the reason no one can really define what you want in a man. Truth is, only you can know. Who can know what is inside a person!

Your pastor cannot be the one choosing a spouse for you. That is fraught with serious assumptions on many levels. First is the assumption your pastor knows you well. Then there’s the assumption he knows the other party well. And then there’s the assumption he knows himself well. For all you know, his motivation may be to do the other party a favour by giving you away. Your interest may be secondary. Now, that’s not necessarily saying he has ill-motivation towards you. He may just want the guy to “settle down” and you’re a good catch. And this is not saying your pastor cannot recommend someone. All I’m saying is that the choice has to be yours. You’re under no obligation to accept the recommendation.

Now it can be hard to turn down such a recommendation because of the moral authority of the pastor, but you should if you don’t feel the person is right for you. And it doesn’t matter who’s doing the recommending… your parents, pastor, mentor, boss, aunty, parents, whoever… If it doesn’t feel right don’t march down the aisle. Once you march down the aisle and “I do” is exchanged, the potency of marriage kicks in. Saying “I do” automatically creates a set of obligations, responsibilities, rights and privileges. It’s why your choice has to be right. You must want to owe your partner those marital obligations, responsibilities and duties.

One of those responsibilities is sex for example. If you don’t want him physically or you cringe at the thought of being with him, how can you want to go into marriage with him? And of course some people will consider such thoughts carnal, elevating some other yardstick of choice but they’re talking about themselves, not you. You have a right to your parameters. Marriage is a 360-degree consideration. You have to think through all the dimensions including respect, money, physical attractiveness, habits, drive and ambition. Marriage is intensely personal. Your choice must be proprietary and custom. Is he good for YOU? Though you must also ask, is he good, and is he good? In other words, is he generally okay and is he a good man? If he’s a temperamental guy and prone to violence you already know the possibilities. And women have intuitive ability. You can sense things that can’t be rationally iterated. Use your gift. But bottom line, don’t put yourself under any marriage pressure. You’re prone to obtuse recommendations under such condition. It will come when it will come. That should be your attitude towards marriage. Don’t put yourself under undue pressure.

As per your friend’s issue, I’d rather she writes me herself. Discussing her without her knowledge or consent is tantamount to gossip. I don’t do that.

I wish you success and happiness this new year.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

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