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Read Letter

Lessons From Pigeons

My dear Jil, there’s that sense of responsibility a young man ought to have. You’ll be hugely frustrated if your husband has no sense of responsibility. There’ll be constant disappointment. You will have to resort to self-help to cover the gaps and shortfalls if your husband has no sense of responsibility. There WILL BE gaps and shortfalls.

A lack of sense of responsibility is why a man won’t prioritise rent over purchase of a vanity item. He’ll be unconcerned as the rent becomes due. He believes it will somehow sort itself out, meaning you will rise to the occasion and go and look for the money. He will expect you to approach your parents or relatives to look for the money. After all, your family won’t want you thrown out on the side walk. But if you’re thrown out you can always squat with a friend. In which case he’s absolved of feeding responsibility for the family.
A lack of sense of responsibility is why the children’s school fees will not be prioritised. The fees will sort themselves out he believes. They’re supposed to sort themselves out, somehow. Which of course means you’ll scramble all over the place to raise the money while working out an arrangement with the school. Even utility bills will not be paid when there’s no sense of responsibility. It will not be uncommon for electricity supply to be cut off from your home. Criminal reconnection to the mains will not be off the table. God help you if either you or the children fall ill and there’s no health insurance. There’ll be no you to run around. Your family and friends will have to step in.
There’s a reason he chose to marry you in the first place. He knows he can coast along. You’re resourceful and driven. You can’t know the sadness of a woman who marries an irresponsible man. Until you experience it. Reminds one of one of those irresponsible young men who barely provide for the home yet elects to host the secondary school set meeting. The wife will have to scramble. The family must not be put to shame. At the meeting the man will lament and boast to his mates about the challenges of manhood!
Even nature allocates specific responsibilities to the male species. Haven’t you studied pigeons? I got to study pigeons when two pigeons built a nest on my window sill at work. It was cleared away but by the next day the nest had been rebuilt! It was a shallow nest, more like a bedding. I soon understood why. Turned out the female pigeon (or hen) desperately needed a spot to lay an egg. I did some research and learnt a lot about pigeons. Turned out pigeons are monogamous. They mate for life. If a mating pair is separated by death the other bird is free to remarry in a manner of speaking, but to a single guy. Long distances don’t break the mating bond of pigeons. Seems we humans are full of excuses.
Both the male and female pigeon build their nesting place together. This after scouting for best location. That’s how my window sill got chosen. The nest was protected from rain, and the glass had a tint. Won’t easily be located by predators. An egg was soon laid. It did look like a white ping pong ball, though smaller. Two days after another egg was laid. Which got me curious: are they officially twins? Now here’s where it gets interesting. Both male and female take turns incubating the eggs. I had to read that up because it seemed like the mother kept changing her look. I couldn’t figure it out. Both pigeons had big a red patch on their face, like they were attending a masquerade ball. But I knew something was different. Both male and female had responsibility towards the eggs. And they have a time table. The female sits on the eggs from 4pm till 10am the next day. The male takes over from her, allowing her to rest. They’ll do this for an average of 18 days. At the end of 18 days the first egg will hatch. 24 hours later the second will hatch. Then the parents begin to feed the young. You need to read up on pigeons. Quite fascinating stuff.
The point I’m trying to make is that if ordinary pigeons have a sense of responsibility in marriage how much more a human! When we’re dating all that’s on our mind is the romance and the outings and the gifts and the texts and the letters… And that’s all well and good. But it’s not the totality of what should be on our mind. For the young man sex is high up there on the list of desires. There’s a fixation on anatomical features. He begins to daydream. Again that is all well and good, but marriage is not just about romance, sensuality and sexuality. A large chunk of marriage is consumed by responsibility. When there’s no sense of responsibility in marriage romance suffers. You don’t think of valentine when your landlord is knocking on your front door. Irresponsibility is anti-romance. Unless you want frustration therefore don’t marry an irresponsible young man. You’ll be sad and severally disappointed.
No matter how smooth talking he is if he does not demonstrate a sense of responsibility don’t go into the union. There’ll be pain and disappointment. And you can tell if he has a sense of responsibility at courtship stage. Is he constantly spending money on non-directional stuff – tangential stuff that are of no strategic value to starting a life together? Does he have an apartment or planning to get one? I’ll advice you don’t stay with your in-laws after the wedding. You won’t have unfettered freedom. It’ll feel like living under a watch. You won’t have command of your space as a woman should. You have no proprietary space. Is he saving towards the wedding or just blowing money on nonsensical stuff? Is he expansively talking about kids without a thought on how to take care of them? Does his family planning incorporate school fees for example? A responsible young man approaches such topics with trepidation. He knows baby formula costs money, that quality education doesn’t come cheap.
You should be wary about a poor young man who talks about having six kids but is unconcerned about how to take care of them. There are those who believe the raising of their kids is the responsibility of others; their responsibility is to bring the kids into the world. They just pass on their responsibility. They’re the type who’ll send texts to others about their children’s school fees, along with their account detail. It’s a strange kind of confidence that suggests faith in juju. They don’t even bother to call or go over the details. They just send the invoice by text with their account detail. They expect the money to be wired. As a matter of principle such texts should be roundly ignored. They shouldn’t even be dignified with response. Some people are just irresponsible. And they take advantage of bereavement. The father-in-law passes on and they turn bereavement into a fund raising program. The monies raised will of course be dissipated on conspicuous consumption. It’s all a racket.
It’s why I say think twice about dating an irresponsible young man. Your invoicing starts during courtship. He’ll be full of promisory notes and excuses. And such young men can be so convincing. Once he starts borrowing money from you the program has begun. He’ll start small and while the loan is still outstanding he’ll ask for a bigger sum to complete what he borrowed the first sum for. What that does is it ties you down. You’ll remain in the relationship in order to recover your sunk investment. You’re never going to get that money back. Oh, he’ll tell you it’s for “our future.” That’s not saying a girlfriend can’t loan her boyfriend money and vice versa. But be sure your obligor is responsible and has shame. Or he’ll waste the money on hare-brained schemes. And that’s easy. His money is not at stake. Easy to blow other people’s money. Such a boyfriend must not be privy to your bank balance.
While you’re still trying to recover the unpaid loan he’ll come up with an emigration scheme, possibly to Canada. Everyone is heading for Canada these days. He can’t be an exception. But you’ll be the emigration financier even though you’re not the originator of the scheme. He’ll tell you it’s about your future together, but that future is always lacking in detail. If you’re smart you’ll realise there’s really no future. He’s going to dump you once he settles in Canada. He’ll develop exotic racial taste in Canada. But while you’re still talking Canada he’ll come up with an American scheme. There’s always something cooking. Such guys tend to borrow to the hilt. They’re always over-leveraged. He’s possibly collected so much salary advance he can’t survive till next month without another salary advance. Means you have to sustain him while financing his schemes. It will continue into marriage. You don’t need a diviner to tell you that. Those who came up with that saying, morning shows the day sure know what they’re talking about.
If he’s irresponsible in courtship chances are he’ll be an irresponsible husband. Any wish to the contrary is just wishful thinking. All that baby, baby crooning will not put food on the table. It’s hard work that does. Is he hardworking? Is he going somewhere? You can tell. The worst form of foolery is fooling oneself. We fool ourselves when we won’t believe the facts before our eyes. The man who has a hundred groundnuts yet declares two hundred will eat a hundred lies.
At the end of the day it’s your life.
Your mentor, LA
© Leke Alder |
Marriage is not just about romance, sensuality and sexuality. A large chunk of marriage is consumed by responsibility. Click To Tweet
Tags : Responsibility, Courtship

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