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Effort, Attraction And Other Matters

My dear Jil, initials are not enough. By initials I mean the things you did to attract each other, the state of the relationship when you met, leading up to marriage. You must realise there are two eras in a relationship. There’s the premarital state and the post-marital state. The rules that govern them differ.

The premarital state is ruled by attraction. You saw something in him, he saw something in you, both of you are attracted to each other, and so you marry, because you want to keep the state of attraction permanent. But the act of marrying does not create a permanent state of attraction in a marriage, it’s the effort of the individuals that does. And it’s important attraction is maintained in a marriage. You don’t want your marriage to become a humdrum dutiful obligation, as in you’re married because you married.

In your marriage you want love to increase, you want friendship to increase, you want care to increase, you want tenderness to continue… All that requires effort. If initial attraction were enough there’ll never be divorce. And yet we have divorces. Which means the initial attraction is not enough to maintain a marriage. Yes, marriage vows can keep a marriage together but even maintaining your vow requires effort. Maintenance is a verb. And life will test those vows. It always does. If life does not test marriage vows there’ll be no divorce. And so we do know the act of marrying is not what sustains a marriage. It’s just a contact glue.

Marriage requires effort. If you want to stay together you have to do things that will keep you together. You don’t presume or assume. You subsume the past and face your marriage. Memories fade. People forget what they were when they met, they forget initial conditions. Memory is treacherous. It’s one more reason to keep refreshing your marriage. It’s memory refreshment. Then there’s the character challenge. Assuming a lady met a guy poor and she did a whole lot to make him successful… His character may still edit her contributions out. And so you can see the facts of the initial phase of a relationship cannot sustain a marriage.

You have to put in effort year after year to make your marriage sweet. And a marriage must be sweet and pleasurable. What’s the point otherwise! It’s your life! Besides, a bitter marriage is a health hazard. Who wants to live in close proximity with someone he or she hates or can’t stand? You don’t want to spend your life with someone who doesn’t want you. Marriage should be sweet. Making your marriage sweet and pleasurable must be a goal. It’s making your life sweet and pleasurable. But a marriage can’t be sweet and pleasurable without peace. It’s impossible. So peace is fundamental in marriage.

The absence of peace is not always about fights and altercations. Disagreeability will not adduce peace. When partners constantly cut each other down in front of third parties it’s symptomatic of a disagreeable state of marriage. A marriage is not a debating society. It’s not a platform for proving points. That’s passive aggression. Even if your partner is wrong let him have a say. Let him ventilate. That’s wisdom. If you constantly shut down your partner he’ll shut up. That’s not a good sign when it comes to men. Leaving you to your devises is a device. If you’re rude to him in public he can either cut you down in public or permanently shut up. That’s not a good thing in marriage. He’s stewing. It’s also important your partner feels you listen. If he feels you don’t listen he’ll leave you to your devises. And that’s how separation begins.

That a marriage is not formally broken does not mean there’s cohesion. A marriage can be in a state of state for years. There’s formal divorce, there’s virtual divorce. If to all intents and purposes two partners are cohabiting but the marriage is essentially broken, what you have is virtual divorce. Such a marriage is a sham. It’s just to keep up appearances. And sham marriages can’t deliver the nutrients of marriage. You work hard on your marriage. Marriage does not tend itself. Marriage is like a building. Left unattended and unmaintained it begins to break down.

You maintain a marriage with friendship and sense of responsibility. You and your spouse must be so friendly with each other that you enjoy each other’s company. Without friendship marriage becomes an awkward relationship. And when marriage is just a dutiful obligation it soon takes a toll on the soul. It’s like working 24/7 without hope of reward. It’s why you must have communication in your marriage. It’s why you share.  Friends talk, friends care, friends go out together, friends enjoy each other’s company, friends laugh, friends share difficulties. If you and your partner are friends, we must see these things.

There must also be intimacy in marriage – the secret sharing of heart. And so there should be secret communication, secret trust and secret affection in your marriage. This apart from what everyone sees in public. Intimacy creates secret bond and secret obligation. It is so private it is a covenant of trust. Which is why you don’t joke with trust in marriage.

When we think trust most times we’re referencing extra marital affairs, but trust is bigger than absence of affairs. Trust in marriage is the committing of one’s life to one’s partner. Trust is fiduciary responsibility towards your partner’s heart. When trust is broken hearts are shattered. That expression itself tells us the material makeup of the heart. The heart is made of porcelain. Your partner must never have regret he confided in you. The whole point of marriage is a reckless disregard for data security when discussing issues with your partner.

There’s a secret place in marriage that partners retreat to. It’s the place of comfort, it’s the place of trust, it’s the place of privacy and the place of protection. It’s in that secret place bonds are created, hearts are melded and partnerships are formed for life.

Marriage is an encrypted relationship that shuts out third parties. Only two people have the code. But that requires resolute commitment. You don’t go into marriage with a “Let’s see!” attitude. If you can’t fully commit, why expose your life to someone? Marriage is massive exposure. It’s why breach of trust in marriage is termed betrayal. The offending party is the picture of Judas son of Iscariot of infamous memory.

You don’t put one leg in and one leg out in marriage. It won’t work. If you can’t put in both feet don’t go into the marriage. Means you’re not sure. You decide if it’s going to work BEFORE marriage, you don’t leave that decision till after the wedding. And so if you’re not sure wait until you’re sure. No one can force you to the altar. It’s your life. It’s better to have a broken engagement than a broken marriage. Marriage is a covenant. It’s strong!

Marriage assumes you know what you’re doing and took reasonable care to determine compatibility. Marriage is not a practice pitch. Marriage says you’re either in or you’re out. It strongly believes you understand rules of harmony. You don’t tell marriage, Oh, I am young. It’s not going to spare you or change the rules for you. Marriage is not a respecter of age or ignorance. And so you must know what you’re doing if you’re going into marriage. You don’t marry under compulsion – familial, cultural or societal compulsion. If you’re not ready, don’t do it. Marriage has no warm up pitch. It starts the game from the very first minute of Day One.

I’m sorry about the use of football analogy but World cup just rounded up. I hope you understand.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

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Tags : Attraction, Marriage

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