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Read Letter

Functioning Dysfunction

My dear Jil, from the content of your mail I think there are two major things you need to focus on: ambience and attractiveness. If you get those two things right your marriage should be okay. Let me break them down.

 First is ambience. By ambience I mean peace. It’s both a force and environmental factor in marriage. A man CAN’T function without peace in marriage. Peace is critical to him, so critical. There’s just something about a man’s make up that requires he must have peace in his relationship and marriage. It’s troubling for men not to have peace from their woman, very disturbing. It’s why they can’t stand nagging. They can’t handle it. Nagging is accusation. Accusation puts men under siege. It’s a state of attack. Without peace men can’t function optimally. They suffer loss of focus at work. A man can’t concentrate mentally at work without peace at home. Though kilometres away from home he needs a SENSE of peace at home to function at work. Think of a driver revving up a poor engine to go uphill. That’s the picture of a man trying to function without peace at home. It requires so much effort. The man will break down at some point. Can land in a sanatorium. It’s that serious.
The architecture of peace is funny. A lack of peace from his woman creates an internal disturbance in a man. But that disturbance is somehow located in the head. Hard to explain. Some men go into rage when they lose peace. That rage can also be triggered by constant chatter of accusation, constant nagging. They just lose it. And that can lead everywhere. Dangerous.
It’s important you understand your man. Then you can act with wisdom. You need to deconstruct his psyche so you know how men think. I’m going to try and do some of that for you in this letter. You need wisdom in marriage. You also need maturity and understanding. The way a man functions, he likes things “settled.” Think of sediments in a state of rest at the bottom of a bottle. That’s the vision of a man’s inner peace. It’s fragile. Any disturbance of that “settled” state is “disturbing.” “Settlement” is big for men. It’s why they like to put things “in place.” And so when a young man graduates from school he thinks of getting a job, getting an apartment, getting a car, his insurance, his woman… He wants things “in place.” Having settled what he considers salient aspects of his life he can then think of moving on to other stuff. That’s a man’s psyche. And that’s men’s approach to marriage in general.
A man views marriage as a project, something to get over and done with, so he can move to other stuff. That’s putting marriage “in place.” Though some other men reverse the order. They put everything “in place” first before marriage. They face the question of achievement first. It’s highly debatable which approach is better – attainment before marriage or attainment post marriage. A lot depends on the variables in each person’s life. Also background. Whichever way, a man wants to “settle down” so he can face other stuff. It’s that desire to get it over and done with that makes men antsy over difficulty in nailing down a wedding date once the decision is made. They just want a date fixed. They don’t like the going back and forth. Not for men the convoluted structure of negotiation over marriage date, the many considerations of external factors. They just want to bite the bullet.
A woman has a wider lens view of wedding. Men approach it like a project, with dollar signs attached. Which is why some put off marriage until they’ve achieved. It’s because of those dollar signs. Truth however is that the wedding becomes more expensive as the man grows older and the farther it’s pushed. But like I said it depends on the variables in a man’s life. A position on marriage may be a reaction to someone’s history. The man may be trying to avoid becoming like one of his uncles; or trying to avoid certain situations. A woman won’t understand this “settlement” or project-based mind-set, can’t understand it. Men and women are just different. For women marriage is not something you do and get over with. It’s just is – like the opening of a new chapter of the same book. To men it’s like a new book not a new chapter. For men marriage is the beginning of a set of responsibilities. It’s a big deal for men to be responsible for somebody. Comes easier for women.
Now you know why some men have trepidation as the wedding date approaches. It’s why some don’t want to graduate from boyfriend to husband. Because marriage has compelling legal and moral obligations they won’t commit to a date from their girlfriend. They avoid discussing the issue. Marriage is continuous permanent responsibility. But life allocates time frames. Some things are better done at a certain age. Some things cannot be left indefinitely. Life can be funny. There are slits in the fabric of time in which some things ought to be done. Once the window closes it will feel like living in past tense, like time left you behind. And I’m not talking about those who don’t want to commit to a wedding date because they don’t really want the woman they’re with. That’s a different issue.
The point I’m trying to make is that your husband needs ambient and correspondent peace. Your correspondence with him, be it text or verbal exchange must evoke peace. There must be peace at home too. That’s what he imagined marriage would be. That’s the project he embarked on – the purchase of peace so he can face some other stuff. Men tend to run from a home without peace. They either keep away, or they take off, or they die in instalment. It’s why they’re afraid of temperamental women. When a man is working unnecessary overtime in the office chances are he’s staying away from home. There’s tension in his house.
A lack of peace is very strenuous for men. It’s a high stress factor. It just destabilises something inside of them, like they suffer from emotional diarrhoea. It affects the head, messes them up big time. An accusatory text from a wife can so destabilise a man he has to leave his desk. Won’t be able to function, sometimes all day. Worse if the accusation is untrue. In the man’s thinking, it’s like, “This woman won’t leave me alone. She should drop this. All I want is peace. Just peace.” And he’s saying this helplessly. The more mental his occupation the more peace a man needs. His brain can’t function well with railing accusation. Or accusation waiting in the wings. It’s stress.
There are other things that affect a man’s equilibrium of course. A good man doesn’t want to see his wife suffer, or unhappy; he doesn’t want her unfulfilled. It’s “disturbing.” It’s why some men can’t handle a wife’s illness. It’s a disturbance of a settled issue, the settled issue being her healthy state. The illness is a disruption. A lack of inner peace can also come from a poor state of finance. Inadequate savings makes a man rue the possibility of emergencies.
Another issue is obligations. As the due date for an obligation like rent draws near a man without means goes into agitative mode. He’s disturbed on the inside. He keeps thinking of how to meet that obligation. Would rather meet it ahead of schedule. He wants to take it off his plate, like a project accomplished. Men are project oriented. I’m talking about responsible men not irresponsible men. An irresponsible man will sleep soundly without giving a thought to meeting his financial obligations or fiduciary responsibilities. Same thing with school fees. A responsible man is highly disturbed if he can’t pay his children’s school fees. It disturbs his peace. It’s an affliction of his sense of responsibility.
Sometimes a man’s peace gets troubled because he wants to achieve pace on a certain project. Especially tasking projects. He doesn’t want breaks. The possibility of breaks will affect his peace. So you can understand where your husband is coming from. You can see his issues. He expects you to be more understanding. He tells you all the facts. Now, I do understand your insecurities but you have to avoid compounding things for him with those insecurities. You have to make an effort. Marriage requires effort. You constrain him with your insecurities. He’ll of course go out of his way to please you. Only you may not realise it’s at great cost. He’s enduring stuff, even suffering.
The other thing to be mindful of is attractiveness. Remain attractive to him. Men easily get jaded with looks. Attraction takes effort. Don’t be careless at home. Be mindful of his visual needs. Don’t get into that “After all we’re now married I don’t need to be fussy about my looks again” mode. The man will feel taken for granted, or even feel cheated. Don’t let your marriage slip into a functional dysfunction – something that’s just there, something in a state of existence – nothing exciting again. Spice things up a little at home. Marriage needs more spices than an Indian cuisine. Get rid of that moodiness. It’s off putting and depressive. No one wants to live in a dark cloud. The terrible thing about moods is that it feeds off the pain of others. It amasses energy from political control. The danger about moodiness though is that you’re joking with depression.
Don’t destroy your home. It’s unwise. Pay attention to all I’ve written, ok?
Your mentor, LA
© Leke Alder |
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Tags : Peace, Attractiveness, Marriage

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