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Read Letter

It Doesn’t Matter

It doesn’t matter. That’s a phrase you have to get used to in your head. If you want to have a good marriage there are things that just must not matter.

There are two levels of agreement in marriage. There’s vocalised/actioned consensus. Then there’s viewpoint. It’s non-vocalised. It’s just in your head. Your husband will do some things you don’t agree with, or say some things you don’t agree with. You can’t be in agreement over EVERYTHING. There will be different perspectives.

Sexes see things differently. Give a husband and a wife the same set of facts and they will see things differently according to their sex. So you’re always going to have that basic divergence. You won’t see things the same all the time no matter how close you both are. It’s why you accommodate. To have a good marriage you have to resolve many of these divergent viewpoints with accommodation. Most of them are very minor stuff. It’s when you dwell on issues of minor divergence that they begin to grow robust. If care is not taken they’ll make you hate your spouse. It will start with irritation. That irritation is often compounded by things going on in life – things not going your way as you want, a goal not being achieved, a pace not been attained. You have to learn to separate issues in your head so you don’t mix things up and arrive at wrong conclusions.

You must have a set of fundamentals in marriage. These are core beliefs about your relationship with your spouse. These core beliefs are sometimes derived from intuition, sometimes from your spouse’s principles, sometimes from things you’ve observed, and sometimes they come from religious text. These core beliefs are knowings in your heart about your partner. They’re very fundamental. Nothing alters them.

For example you can have a fundamental belief, or a knowing that come what may your spouse loves you. You must resolve EVERY OTHER THING with that core knowledge – that he loves you. And so when he does something irritable you hold on to that core belief, that core knowledge you have and wave his irritability aside. It has nothing to do with his love for you and so doesn’t matter. That knowing you have, that he loves you will build security in you. You’ll not be perturbed by anything, because you know on the inside of you he loves you. Like every human he’s going to have off days, when he’s just not in a sociable or loving mood. But it won’t matter. You know he loves you despite his “off-ness.” It’s why you say to yourself – It doesn’t matter! Because you know he loves you.

Matrimonial core beliefs can be based on a number of factors. It can be fidelity, it can be about his sense of responsibility, his willingness to sacrifice, the knowledge you have he’ll always stand by you, back you… It may be about his sense of family – the fact he’s a good father to the kids. It may be about his scruples – you know he’ll never steal for example. Or about his principles. Because you know those things about him, and know them experientially and intuitively nothing else matters. This is wisdom to live by. Or else you’ll allow minor circumstantial things to destroy your marriage. He’ll grow out of that mood after all, and so you shouldn’t give it prominence.

For example, if you know he’s got your back with his family, you cut him slack if he seems to be balancing things – say he defers to his mum on a situation. You already know he won’t sell you out so you must assume he’s displaying wisdom in that circumstance. And so you don’t let those things get to you. You don’t start feeling betrayed. You know no matter what he’s got your back. Ditto with the children’s school fees. If he has a track record of responsibility a little lateness must be because of a difficulty or miscalculation, or even disappointment. You don’t lay it on him and speak harshly to him given his track record. Instead you seek to understand and pray along with him so the issue is quickly resolved.

That same principle applies to rent and other periodic obligations. You know he has a track record of responsibility. But if you lay it on him and take him out harshly he’ll really be sad and disappointed. It will be like all the years count for nothing with you, that his track record of faithfulness doesn’t matter. In his head it’s like all you’re concerned about is everything going your way and you can’t bear inconvenience with him. He’ll make a determination about you – not a flattering one. It is at such moments you ought to prove your mettle as his wife. He just needs a little forbearance from you not pressure. You of all people should know better. But if you start making trouble despite his track record, if you start berating him you’ll redefine your values in his eyes. He’ll characterise you. When the issue is resolved and you then calm down and start supporting him you’ll only be reinforcing his new assessment of you. This is how men think.

The proof of manhood for many men is responsibility – consistent responsibility. Responsibility maketh the man. And there are many men who have made quiet resolutions about taking care of their wife, being responsible for their welfare. There are those quiet resolutions of the heart. For example a man may quietly resolve he’ll do all in his power to make sure his wife never lacks; especially if she’s been such a wonderful partner – loving and sacrificial. That is a burden the man is carrying. As you can imagine it’s going to take a lot to fulfil that burden. It’s a perpetual burden. It will be wrong to imagine he doesn’t care when he’s unable to fulfil that burden during a period for example. You know that’s not him. You know why you married him – that sense of responsibility he has.

You have to be careful about feeling you have a right to say anything in marriage. No such right ever builds a marriage. You’re going to gut your partner. Which means when you’re unhappy and angry you will lash out at him and say injurious things. Such a stand will harden your partner against you. You’re going to make him quietly angry. Some will lash back if your lashings are consistent, if only to teach you not to lash out at people. The man will feed you your own medicine.

And talking about teachings, it’s important to have a teachable spirit in life. You must be open to correction. You can’t learn unless you humble yourself. Those who refuse to learn imagine themselves self-sufficient. They imagine they know all about life and so don’t need help from anybody. That’s a tragedy loading.

In life there’s something called invisible loss. These are losses we sustain that we’re not even aware of. Such losses usually come from everyone’s resignation about us. They don’t have the energy to seek to correct. There’s no point since you won’t listen. Then you become wise in your own eyes and that’s not a great place to be. It’s a place of foolhardiness and blindness. You must be open to correction and instruction in life. You never stop learning. And you can learn from anyone, especially those subordinate to you. But that requires humility.

A marriage is a learning portal. There are so many things to learn in marriage. You learn about yourself – things you never knew; you learn about your partner – things you never knew. And so marriage is continuous learning. As the environment changes people change, and new things to learn emerge. If for example you’ve always had money and things become tough you learn something new about yourself in marriage. You also learn something new about your partner. That can be good, or bad. You come to realisations about yourself and your partner during tough times.

When we realise something negative about ourselves we must seek to make amends, we must quickly make amendments. Some refuse that privilege. And so many things don’t really matter in marriage. Concentrate on fundamentals, don’t focus on minor stuff. Don’t let inconsequentials define your marriage.

You have to keep going at it every day. Marriage is about continuous improvement in the quest for peace, love and joy.

I hope this has been helpful.

Your mentor, LA.

© Leke Alder |

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Tags : Conflict resolution, Marriage

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