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Read Letter

False Option

My dear Jack, been a while since we corresponded. I hope your year started good! Yes, I saw your mail but I was on vacation. I needed the vacation. And I needed to spend time with my family. You’ll appreciate that as you grow older. Family is very important.

As per the issues raised in your mail, there are what we call false options in life. You need to recognise that. Options by nature obey the law of exclusion – you pick one option you give up the other. It’s like those multiple choice exams. You tick (a) to the exclusion of other boxes. You can’t tick (a) and (b) for example. There are things in life whose architecture is presented as multiple choice question though not really multiple choice. If I ask you to choose between bread and butter that is a false option. It’s not as if you can eat butter in the place of bread. They’re complimentary items not exclusive items. But I can ask you to choose between butter and jam. Or between akara (bean cake) and butter. You can have akara burger, or simply eat your bread with butter. And so if I ask you to choose between health, achievement and marriage I have presented you with a funky option. It does not make sense. They’re not mutually exclusive. But I can ask you to choose between happiness and unhappiness, love and hatred, marriage and bachelorhood… These are true options. Life will present you both false options and true options. You have to be wise to recognise the difference.

Truth is, marriage is so potent that when it goes wrong it can blight your health – mental, emotional and physical. It can send you to a sanatorium. It generates depression. Marriage is that potent. Marriage is also so potent it can affect the quality of your achievement. There are those who succeed because of their marriage and there are those who succeed despite their marriage. Those who succeed despite their marriage tend to pay a huge price for that success. The false option presented by life in that circumstance is, marriage or success? But the two are not mutually exclusive, they’re supposed to go together. Why? Because of that old saying: One shall put to flight a thousand but two shall put to flight ten thousand. In other words, the power of a binary equation is exponential. When a husband and a wife are united what they can achieve is unimaginable. But when there’s disaffection in a marriage it will suck energy out of the marriage and affect the quantum and quality of achievement. Great achievement by either party can only come at great emotional price. The poor juxtaposition of these issues is why it’s generally believed you can’t have good success and a good marriage. It’s a false belief. Jeff Bezos is divorcing but Bill Gates has a good marriage. Both are billionaires. Both are successful. Therefore the facts that produce divorce and the facts that produce a successful marriage are internal and native to individual marriages. You can’t on account of the poor state of someone else’s marriage resolve never to marry. Their realities and histories are not yours. The simple point is that success and successful marriage are not exclusive of each other. They should be inclusive. And so if anyone gives you an option of either success or a successful marriage that is a false option. They’re not exclusive. Such options are Faustian bargains. It’s like approaching Satan for wealth and he gives you the option of great wealth but a terribly shortened life span. It’s wickedness. There are many millionaires who live long. Success and long life are therefore not mutually exclusive. I’m saying change your thinking concerning marriage. The quality of your thinking will affect the quality of your marriage.

You’ve got to change your philosophy of marriage too. You must jettison beliefs that are strongly rooted in culture yet are terrible beliefs. One of such is the notion your wife is an interchangeable and variable proposition but your mother is a constant. False option. The logic behind this strange belief is that your wife can leave you but your mother will never leave you. Really?! How do you explain mothers who abandon their children? There’s a difference between parentage and motherhood. Parentage is biological, motherhood is qualitative. There are mothers who just don’t care. (Fathers too). There are extremely selfish mothers. Their children are supposed to live for them. It’s all about them. Commonsense should tell you there’s something illogical in the notion your mother is more valuable to you than your wife. How do you compare cement block and apple! Your mum is your mum, your wife is your wife. They can’t play the same role in your life. How then are they options to each other? That’s a false option you’re being presented with and you ought to reject the philosophy of spousal dispensability. The bad thing about such philosophies is that they produce results that are then used to validate the false philosophy. If you believe your wife is dispensable chances are you’re going to dispense with her. Which then reinforces the belief your mother is indispensable and therefore more valuable. It’s a false logic. Such belief will not allow you to repose trust in your wife, which will of course affect the quality of the marriage. It will invariably lead to a bad marriage and ultimately divorce. Why marry someone you can’t trust in the first place? It beggars credulity. Marriage is too naked and too intimate for there to be absence of trust between a man and his wife. You can’t marry your mother, so the idea of your mother and wife being options to each other is as stupid as it gets, even if widely held in certain cultures.

Another false narrative out there is the notion a beautiful woman will not make a dutiful wife. By that very logic we can draw the inference dutifulness is the nativity of the uncomely. How does that make sense?

And yet another false narrative out there is the fear of widows. In some cultures a widow is a black widow. But who prays to be a widow! It’s a misfortune. The tragedy experienced by the widow is thus used to disqualify her from future happiness. How can that be just? Same issue with divorcees. Some families will forbid their son from marrying a divorcee; but the rule will change if their son is the divorcee. If you meet a wonderful woman you better not disqualify her by virtue of her widowhood or divorce. Know what is important in life. Happiness is important. Peace is important. Love is important. If she brings you happiness, gives you peace, loves you unconditionally you better rethink those cultural philosophies that technically disqualify her. As a man you need love, you need peace, you need happiness. If she’s qualified on every other criteria but doesn’t love you there are natural consequences to that. The things that should come naturally to you will not come naturally. They’ll be dispensed dutifully without affection. That lack of love will affect even the present you receive on your birthday. It will also affect the quality of sex. And she may end up resenting you. Indeed she may end up despising you and that’s not a good thing. It’s a terrible thing to experience. It has an inherent contradiction – the person who should love you the most despises you.

A lack of peace in a marriage will kill a man. Men don’t have the capacity to endure a home without peace. It will break you mentally and emotionally, drain your energy. The house will seem like a conscription – your head will feel you’re in the belly of a boa constrictor. It will be tightened, held in a grip by an invisible band. You will approach the house at the end of the day with trepidation. You don’t know what you’ll meet. Though you do know what you’ll meet to be honest. You know a certain pain and unhappiness awaits you. It is at this time many a men begin to romance bottles of liquor, or another bosom. There are just things the male psyche handles poorly. Beyond a certain threshold he begins to malfunction. And when that malfunctioning begins his life changes. He may lose control, find himself doing things he can’t imagine.

When you find what you’re looking for in a woman don’t disqualify yourself from happiness on the technical specs of people who don’t know what you’re looking for. That ain’t wise. And so beware of false options. Bread and butter are not mutually exclusive. I’m giving you a lot to think about. The principle applies beyond marriage. Don’t go for false exclusives. Avoid illogicalities too. Your mum is not an alternative to your wife. It’s an absurd proposition. You don’t need to choose between the two.

I do wish you the best this year.

Your mentor, LA.

Marriage is so potent that when it goes wrong it can blight your health - mental, emotional and physical. Click To Tweet
Tags : marriage philosophy, mum and wife

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