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Read Letter

Internal Resolution

My dear Jil, you have to be smarter about life. You have to be wise about your relationship. You must protect your marriage. Evil communication corrodes good manners. As that African proverb says, the sheep that fellowships with wild dogs will take on the habits of wild dogs.

There are friends and there are friends. Differentiate and be wise. There are friends for drinks, there are friends for real. Real friends will be there for you. Those drink buddies? Not so sure. There are friends who give terrible advice. They don’t care about you. When people give you certain kinds of counsel you should ponder motivation. Motivation is key. People can smile at you, be bonhomie with you and yet hate you. People can claim to love you and yet say stuff behind you. You’ve got to be wise. If you have a wonderful marriage, it’s your duty to protect it from foreign influence. Foreign influence includes your friends. Don’t allow hidden motives destroy your marriage. You don’t know what’s in the human heart. We often imagine negative stuff can’t affect us but if you keep yourself exposed to it, it will percolate, somehow. It’s why you have to mind who your friends are. The compounding of the issues in your marriage comes from the fact that every time you have a disagreement with your husband you take it off site to your friends for analysis. But they never seek to resolve the issue. They just beat it around, gossip about it, say unwholesome things about your husband and express general disdain for men. That’s not a healthy environment in which to discuss your marriage. These “friends” will destroy your marriage, and the loss will be particularly yours. You don’t know where each party is coming from, what’s motivating each person’s comment. For all you know they may be envious of you. You have to be wise to the ways of the world.
Resolve your marital issues internally. The only issues worthy of external intervention are issues like domestic violence… Egregious stuff. There must be an internal resolution mechanism in a marriage. There must be a way to resolve things without third party adjudication. If you remove pride many issues in marriage will be easily resolved. What pride does is that it turns each party into opposition candidate. It breeds unforgiveness. And unforgiveness is many times predicated on self-righteousness. You only see what the other party does, you never see your own faults or contributory negligence. That’s what self-righteousness does.
One of you should display maturity when there’s a disagreement. Someone should break the ice, seek reconciliation. Marriages have been broken by immaturity. Young marriages. Things just escalate from one immature response to another. The whole thing becomes tit for tat. That’s immature. If you claim to love someone it should hurt very much when you’re not on talking terms. And so the earlier you resolve the issue the better. Young marriages shouldn’t have embedded fissures. There should be no hidden cracks. People underestimate cracks in a marriage. They worsen with time. Mind the gap. You don’t want to get used to living without reference to each other, each person trying to be emotionally self-sufficient. The essence of marriage is co-dependency. Couples are supposed to feed off each other emotionally. It’s why you discuss how your day went after work; you’re feeding off empathy from each other. Self-sufficient people don’t need marriage. To marry at all is to acknowledge you’re inadequate in yourself. And so you can’t get into marriage and want to live on an emotional island. You’ll suffer. There’s an emotional component each party brings to the table. Stop the pride. You need each other.
I always worry about escalation in marriage. Things ordinarily grow in arithmetic progression in marriage… One plus one plus one plus one… Escalation on the other hand grows geometrically. Think compound interest.
There’s a Yoruba adage that transliterates, “Small child is doing both of you.” It means you’re both suffering from bouts of immaturity. Marriage requires maturity. Without it there’ll be constant fights over trivials. There are things you overlook in marriage, there are things you absorb. It’s why it’s called love. Love absorbs, love overlooks faults. And this idea of digging up past offences when you have an issue… It must stop. Love forbears, love doesn’t carry memory sticks around. And so when you have an issue and one party responds with, “That was how you did the other time…” – which is a colloquial remembrance of past wrongs, that’s not a good omen. You have a disagreement, you resolve it, you move on, delete the file. Unforgiveness is not healthy.
Why don’t both of you just sit down and talk the issue over – whatever the issue is. You must both allow each person to talk. Love forbears. A narration of grievance should however not take on the tone of remonstration or accusation. The tone should be more like, Darling, I felt hurt when you said so and so… That’s making room for resolution. Once it becomes accusatory it ceases to be about resolution; more like seeking to hurt the other party. You can’t resolve issues in marriage that way.
There’s just something about seeking to address the concern of the other party in a marriage. It’s sometimes half the problem solved. What also compounds issues in marriage is the feeling your partner won’t even hear you out. It shuts things inside. But the ideal state is not to even have issues. That comes from deep affection and understanding. It also comes from forbearance. There are couples who don’t have disagreement. Not that they don’t have occasional differences in perspective. They just understand each other, want to please each other. They value each other. They have an aversion to stress in their home. They share, forbear, forgive in advance. They’ve come to appreciate their differences. They celebrate those differences. They defend each other, care deeply for each other. There are enough problems in the world. Why would you be generating additional problems in your home? Those non altercating couples are not perfect. Who is? No one is perfect. Marriage therefore must necessarily accommodate imperfections. Japanese electronics may be perfect, German engineering may be perfect, but humans aren’t perfect.
Try and resolve whatever the issue is, fast. Don’t let things linger. Love is better than hate. Don’t go blabbing about your marital issues to outsiders. Don’t mow down your spouse in the public square. The carcass will be yours to carry home. If you know something irritates your spouse avoid doing it. Same thing goes for him. This marriage thing is quite easy: love your neighbour.
I hope you guys will bury the hatchet and work things out. Just get rid of the pride. Pride is never good for marriage. I’m therefore throwing back the issue for both of you to resolve on your own. That’s the way it should be.
Your mentor, LA.
© Leke Alder |
When people give you certain kinds of counsel you should ponder motivation. Motivation is key. Click To Tweet
Don’t go blabbing about your marital issues to outsiders. Don’t mow down your spouse in the public square. The carcass will be yours to carry home. Click To Tweet
Resolve your marital issues internally. The only issues worthy of external intervention are issues like domestic violence... Egregious stuff. Click To Tweet
Tags : Conflict, Conflict resolution, third party, marital issues

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