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Read Letter

What Makes A Relationship?

My dear Jil, there are things that create relationship. Just as there are things that destroy relationship. If you want a relationship you have to do the things that create relationship. What you’re doing will destroy your relationship. And they will destroy any marriage from within. There are marriages that implode without a single fight.

Attitudinal disposition is a major issue in marriage. It’s what creates the conditions in marriage. Disposition is huge in marriage. The reason you’re having issues with your boyfriend is because you’re trying to impose on him, trying to tell him what to do. Men naturally resist such things, even if you’re right. These things don’t get discussed in marriage seminars because they don’t fall under a titular head. And yet they’re real. If your boyfriend tells you he doesn’t like something and you double down on it and try to impose it on him, you don’t want a relationship. Same thing goes for him. If you don’t like something and he tries to force-feed you with it you’re going to choke and gag. If he continues the relationship will explode with your anger.
You can’t have a self-righteous disposition in a relationship, believing only you know what’s best and doubling down, dictating with your tone. Even if you’re right that disposition will destroy the relationship. You’re imposing. And stubbornly too. There’s being right, and there’s the need for wisdom about being right. Approach matters in a relationship. If your boyfriend feels he can’t talk to you or you’ll never listen, that relationship is either going to break or it’s going to be hard. In which case it’s not worth it because you’ll be unhappy. There’ll be constant fights. Because being right is so important to you, you’ll end up running down your boyfriend in front of third parties and in public. It’s disrespectful. If he does the same it’s equally disrespectful. Some men put down their wives in public. That’s disrespectful. But it’s no less disrespectful when a woman does the same to her husband. Some things are venue-sensitive. You can’t reduce the social value of your boyfriend or husband in full glare of the public and expect a pat on the back.
Insisting on having your way never augurs well in a relationship. Same fate goes for believing you can do whatever you like and get away with it. Many of these things come from self-centredness. It can’t be about you it has to be about the other party. When both of you have such a disposition the relationship becomes so beautiful. You put each other first. That fosters caring and sensitivity.
A relationship is not a one-way avenue. You can’t do wrong stuff and not expect a reaction. A reaction is quite natural. And I’m not talking about you do me I do you God no go vex. No, I’m saying when you do stuff in a relationship the other party naturally reacts. The nature of men is that once a man feels he can’t get through to you he’ll leave you alone. He’ll studiously employ ignominy. As a woman you can’t take that, so why do these things you do. Why be so self-centred? Of course you know what you’re doing is wrong; it’s just that you just want to have your way all the time. It’s more important to you than the relationship. And you always expect the other party to forbear.
The amazing thing is that if this relationship breaks, your narrative will be that you’re the victim. You won’t be open to the fact you’re not the victim, that the other party is. That’s because you must always be right and righteous. You can’t see things other way round. You’re so enmeshed in yourself and in your worldview. There’s no other view except yours. Whoever wants friendship has to do what friends do. I’m paraphrasing Solomon but you get the point.
Drop these things. That your mother gets away with it doesn’t mean your boyfriend will take it. He’s not your father. And anyway you know your mum is difficult. Why become her? I keep telling you not to lose the love of those who genuinely love you. Don’t push those who love you to the edge. If every time someone talks to you, you respond with accusation, argumentativeness and difficulty chances are they’ll seek to avoid you. The relationship will become civil, reduced to dutiful greetings that maintain a cordiality but lacks substance. You won’t be free with each other. The guy will be careful what he says. An accusation might just spring forth.
You acknowledge yourself that this guy is great. Why not treat him like someone special? Why do you assume he’ll always be there no matter what you do. What if he just decides he’s had enough? Now you hardly talk. He’s slowly erasing you from his memory. His concept of beauty is being edited. Your features are being deleted. Once that editorial work is complete it will be very difficult to reconstruct your image. You’ll no longer be his ideal. There’s something he likes about you. Why kill it? When you do these things you box yourself into a corner. And instead of apologising you seek to brush things under the carpet, pretending nothing happened. It doesn’t work that way with men.
Nature abhors a vacuum. In your memorial absence someone’s going to fill your place. All you’ll have is the comfort of your pride. Ultimately pride is lonely, but it’s unrepentant. Why don’t you just send him a text apologising for what you did. And please don’t try and justify your action. That’s that self-righteousness again. Besides you’re doubling down on what the guy doesn’t like, what he complained about. And stop pointing fingers at your boyfriend. All that finger pointing is accusatory. Nobody likes being accused, even if indirectly, or by insistence on a contentious point of view. The danger with these things you do is that if you don’t drop them now they’re going to define you. At a point in life they’re going to be so you, you’ll be synonymous with them. No hope of redemption then.
How can we underestimate the value of a relationship and yet repudiate loneliness! We can’t keep treating our relationship anyhow and always expecting the other party to keep forbearing. Some day he’ll just get tired. God help you if he gets tired in marriage. But he will eventually get tired. No one can sustain a relationship in a hail of negative behaviour, especially wilfulness and contrariness. You can’t be emotionally dismissive either, treating other people’s emotions like a cold boss summoning and dismissing at will.
If you want to keep a relationship continuous interaction is important. There has to be continuous contact. It’s why it’s called relationship. You can’t have the attitude of, “When I’m less busy I’ll give you five minutes of relationship and thereafter shoo off. When next I’m disposed I’ll text you or reply your text.” You can’t be in a relationship and refuse to reply texts. The guy will feel you’re dodging whatever the issue is, or treating him with ignominy, or even seeking to control the relationship. He may feel you want to put him in a state of perpetual chase. It’s polite to respond to texts from your partner. If you can’t engage at a particular moment text back your circumstance – if you can; that’s essentially asking for deferment of conversation. If you promise you’ll call back, call back. These are simple courtesies. But you’ll be shocked how the absence of simple courtesies can destroy a relationship.
If you feel you can do whatever you like in a relationship you’re going to treat your partner badly and disrespectfully. You’ll derogate his value. Why don’t you simply offer an apology for what you did? Offer a profuse apology. Don’t just send a terse text. Genuinely say you’re sorry. Then try and make it up to your partner. These things keep a relationship. They make the other party feel special and valued. Shows commitment to a relationship. If you have a date don’t cancel at the last minute without regard to the other party, like the flick of an old Nokia phone. Treat people with respect. You can’t be self-centred, unfeeling and uncaring in a relationship.
Relationships demand sacrifice. In a relationship both parties must be willing to sacrifice for each other. It creates a bond of care. This is what love is all about – sacrifice. It’s not so much what you say but what you do. Do! Demonstrate love and commitment. It’s equally important your partner knows your love through your disposition. It gives comfort. There must be things you’re willing to do for your partner, just because it’s your partner.
These are the simple things that make a relationship… Selflessness, respect, humility, care… These are local underpinnings. Please don’t ignore them.
Your mentor, LA.
© Leke Alder |
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Tags : Sacrifice, Character

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