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Terms of Engagement

My dear Jil, I’ll try and answer your questions and address those issues. The definition of beauty from a man’s perspective is actually more complicated than even men realise. It’s why it seems we don’t know what we want sometimes. In practical terms, we tend to separate attraction quality beauty from relationship quality beauty, from ogling quality beauty. These are complicated mechanics. I’m just trying to break them down artificially. It’s actually a mesh of overlapping and integrated gears.

The first, the ogling quality beauty… It’s largely sexual, based on sexiness. Think of young men poring over curvaceous babes on Instagram. It’s why they make those music videos. Ever wondered what those girls are doing in the videos! Most times ogling quality beauty is beauty beyond reach, at least to John G. Public or Average Joe. It’s more like an artwork in a gallery: you can look but can’t have. This type of beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. The standard of evaluation is not subjective, it’s objective. Everyone agrees on the quality of the fleshly artwork. But that statement itself, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, duly lends credence to the fact that objective beauty is not fully appreciated by all segments of the “market.” The strength of physical beauty is its attractive factor. Which is why you need to take care of yourself in marriage. Groom yourself. Maintain visual attractiveness.

Then there’s the beauty of personality. Some people are not what you’ll call “beautiful,” yet they’re powerfully attractive. It’s some sort of aura and it’s soulish. Such people tend to be free and expressive, many times easy, sometimes vivacious. There’s just something about them that draws people. They have a good vibe about them. Everyone wants to be around them. In a roomful of physically beautiful women, they’ll somehow stand out. We don’t know why. And that’s a pointer to the fact that we really don’t know the full properties of human make-up. This kind of beauty is wonderful for friendship. Such people have an outgoing and generous spirit. They keep conversations going, can do so even with a man with interactivity deficiency. They tend to be fast, witty, and knowledgeable. Friendly of course. It is personality based beauty. Will do well for friendship in marriage.

Then there’s character-based beauty. There’s a peace about this kind of beauty. It is well-mannered, generous in spirit, kind, patient, absorbent, and sacrificial. There’s just something wholesome about people like this. Their character just draws people. They’re kind people, and kindness creates attractiveness. Of the three types of beauty it’s the least subject to vagaries. That’s because it’s character-based. It’s constant therefore. This beauty gives peace in marriage, makes the home stable, welcoming and calm. No tension in the house. The people who tend to appreciate this beauty the most are those who have had bad experiences in previous relationships or marriage. Sometimes it takes lack of peace to appreciate the value of peace. To the man who’s hungry the blandest offering tastes incredibly delicious. Sometimes the young men who marry such women can’t fully appreciate their peaceful quality. That’s because they’ve not experienced the otherwise. There’s just something rounded about this kind of beauty – inner beauty it’s called. It eventually trounces physical beauty as desirable as that is.

The average young man is somehow looking for a combination of at least two of these beauties – though he can’t really analyse things as we’re doing here. The physical version can’t hold a relationship but many young men fasten on it believing it does. Like I said make sure you take care of yourself in marriage. Attractiveness must remain strong in marriage. You don’t want to be careless in that area. Up to you how you interpret “attractiveness.” In interpreting attractiveness however, make sure you factor in the likes and dislikes of your husband. He’s the primary “market.” No other person is. He ought to be the one, not your friends or any other man. Of course, he must compliment you when you make such efforts. He’s after all the primary beneficiary of the compliments that accrue to you for looking good. He’s the one to whom the praise belongs. People will praise him for “opening his eyes wide as he approached market,” to quote an African proverb. And men love such compliments. They like to be complimented on the beauty of their wives though they pretend it’s all so common, basic and natural. Note however that not all men fall into this category. There are exceptions. There are always exceptions to general rules. But the basic principle is, men love the praise of the endowments and qualities of their wives. Now, some men feel threatened by compliments to their wife. They’re not maximised men. They constitute another level of exception, and yet another proof of the convoluted nature of human make-up. What gladdens the heart of some constitutes a threat to others.

If you want deep appreciation however, concentrate on the qualities of inner beauty. It’s what makes men truly appreciative. Now of course, young men do stupid things once every while, say stupid things sometimes… But in his sober moments, he’ll truly appreciate you for those qualities you have. Those are his reflective moments, when he’s by himself wandering inside himself, ruminating about this animal called life. If things are tough he’d know you’re the bright spot in his life…that one consolation he has. He knows you’re constant; he can count on that constancy. He knows no matter what, you’ll encourage him, that life is a better fare with you beside him. He knows he has a friend in you. He knows you’re stable… Knows those other girls he sometimes ruminates about don’t have your quality. He knows he can’t count on them. He knows you’re a giving and generous spirit, that you’re fully invested in the relationship. The relationship is you. Just knowing you’re there… that’s a lot of fortitude material, that’s a lot of reinforcement and he knows it, feels it.

There are troubles in life we shouldn’t face alone. And so when benevolence blesses us with a partner for the journey ahead we must appreciate grace. Those who appreciate grace refrain from taking out their frustration on their supportive and wonderful spouse. Though given life’s challenges the honest job of being a man is no joke. Life is not easy. The job of maintaining manhood is even more difficult. You’ll need to appreciate that fact. Not easy to do but you need to appreciate it. And you can. It’s why you’re you.

A loving and kind heart… That’s inner beauty. It’s the soul without contention, a non-argumentative and non-combative spirit… That in itself is peace. It’s not willful and stubborn… It’s not trying to force the other party to do something, seeking to bend the soul, to control… It’s eager to please. It’s cooperative, helpful, loyal… It’s a good spirit. Wilfulness will lead to unnecessary fights. A couple must be submitted to each other. You won’t agree on everything. That’s not possible. But you can choose to agree you can’t agree on everything. So you drop arguments. What’s the point? What do you accomplish being right in an argument but destroying your beautiful relationship? There has to be a spirit of cooperation in a marriage if it’s going to work. The spirit of cooperation in marriage respects the other person’s right to his or her own viewpoint on an issue. And then seeks common ground, which sometimes means you drop stuff. You don’t need to be right in marriage. Just be respectful of each other, be loving, be accepting.

Without a cooperative spirit in marriage watching even a TV program together will lead to an argument! Not watching the program together will also lead to an argument! There is no room for contentious spirit in marriage. There must be a spirit of cooperation. Parties must seek to cooperate with each other.

And we cannot keep pointing out the faults of our partner. That’s hardly positive reinforcement. No one likes being condemned. He ought to keep reinforcing you positively. You ought to do the same to him too. But if you turn on each other you’ll tear yourselves apart. You’re in a close proximity space, that’s what marriage is. I think you should both read this letter together though it’s addressed to you. I think that will help.

Your mentor, LA

For related letters, search for POTPOURRI, LOVING TAKES EFFORT and ONE MORE TIME at

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© Leke Alder |

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Tags : Personality, Attraction, Beauty

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