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Read Letter

The Rainmaker

My dear Jack, that’s rather ostrobogulous! Boy, it’s weird! But what do you expect?

Look, every once in a while we all feel down. It’s either things are not going our way, or there’s a delay of some sort, or some disappointment. These things happen. They’re expected. We don’t control the variables of life. When our partner is down it’s our duty to step in, to bridge the gap with care and concern. Expressing affection to someone is not always about feelings. Sometimes it’s a duty. There’s a dutiful dimension. I may be in my office and feel affection for my wife. Based on that feeling I may send kiss emoticons, or just call her and tell her how much I love her. That’s one dimension. The other dimension is when she’s feeling low. I may not particularly feel mushy but because she’s feeling low I must express love and affection to her. Why? Because I love her. It’s fundamental.

If you love someone you don’t want them feeling down. You show care, you express affection, express sentiments – even if you don’t feel like those sentiments. You just want to lift the person up. It’s what love does. It’s not always about feelings. It’s also about care. You must always show care to your spouse. When your spouse contemplates your marriage the depth of your love has to be known on the inside. It’s good to know someone loves you, genuinely. It’s reassuring and so foundational in marriage.

Here’s the mistake I think you’re making. You’re assuming it’s enough to provide for your family, take care of financial obligations. But it’s not enough for marriage. Yes, you must be responsible as a man. The concept of manhood is innately tied to responsibility. You can’t be a man otherwise. But those obligations – house rent, housekeeping provision, school fees… As important as they are, they can’t make up for the emotional needs of the woman. She’ll even tell you all the gifts you buy are not enough; that she still wants emotional support. And she wants that support expressed sentimentally. I can understand how this will flummox any man. Here you are trying your best and it seems it’s not enough, never seems enough. The truth however is, there’s a place for all those dutiful obligations of marriage. But there’s also a place for emotional endearment. A woman wants it all. You don’t always do affection in marriage because you feel like it. You also do it because your partner needs it. Especially when you have a partner who is massively committed to your marriage. You do it for her. You know if the tables were turned, you know what she’ll do. She’ll be there for you, even annoyingly. She’ll keep checking if you’re okay, keep wondering what she can do. Yes, it can be irritating to a man but trust me you don’t want a wife who doesn’t care.

Don’t take care for granted. Not all spouses are caring. When you have a caring spouse go out of your way to show care when it’s needed. If you only express affection when you have those warm feelings then it’s only about your feelings. But if you do when your partner needs it there’s a sacrificial note attached. You’re giving. As a spouse you’re the primary care giver for your partner. Yes, other people can express love and care to her but it’s not the same. Imagine everyone greeting you on your birthday but your spouse doesn’t. There will be a special disappointment, even pain. That’s because there’s a uniqueness and special quality to the love of a spouse.

If you’re smart you’ll do some contemplation about the role of your spouse in your life. Sometimes we get so used to living with someone we don’t appreciate who or what they are in our lives. You’ve got to ask yourself, if you subtract your spouse from the equation what will your family look like, what will it feel like. What will your life feel like? It is this lack of contemplation that makes some deeply regret their divorce. They took their spouse for granted, never appreciated the unique role they played in their life. When you do such contemplation you will appreciate your spouse deeper. You will understand why you need to be there for her, even when you don’t feel like it. You can’t always be moved by feelings in marriage. If you are so disposed your marriage will be an emotional rollercoaster.

There are things we must suppress for the sake of our spouse. You have to be mindful of her feelings and reaction. If someone sends you an indirect message for your spouse you should weigh the effect on your spouse before delivering it. If for example you don’t yet have kids and a busybody relative sends one of those galling presumptive texts that hypocritically shows care and concern you shouldn’t forward such to your spouse. Even if it’s a prayer. You have to absorb such text for the sake of your spouse, not mention it to her if you know it will devastate her or affect her emotionally. And anyway, these people always assume there’s a gynaecological problem when there’s late conception. They never imagine the issue may be with the man. And what is their business? Surely they have enough issues to mind in their own lives. Why poke nose into other people’s marriage?

The duty of affectionate care withholds hypocritical sensitive information from third parties that will be debilitating to the emotional wellbeing of a spouse. That’s not saying don’t share things with your spouse. Some women insist on close caption intimacy. They want to know what’s going on in your life, be a part of it. That’s their conception of marriage, they’re not being controlling. Everyone has his or her idea of marriage – how a marriage is supposed to be. This varies from individual to individual but it’s largely dictated by one’s make up and sense of adequacy. The key is to find out the idea of marriage your spouse has. Or there’ll be clashes and disappointments. You’ll be at cross purposes. This is one of the understandings you should have before going into marriage. Some women for example want a very strong sense of identity with their spouse. Some don’t. They want semi-independent identity. In the western region of Nigeria for example, some couples express that strong sense of identity by donning the same textile material to social functions. In local parlance it’s called “And Co.” Don’t ask me how that came about, but you get the sense. It may seem too much to some but that’s the cultural idea of the marriage as expressed by both parties. It’s a show of oneness and togetherness. It’s a mark of ownership. But some couples can’t be seen in such “uniform.” It can be jarring to the senses, to an aesthete. But everyone has a language of expression of oneness and proprietary affection. It’s just differently expressed.

Something as innocuous as a woman hooking her arm to her husband’s in the presence of another woman is a powerful code among women. It’s a language of proprietorship. Of course that gesture will easily escape a man. Men don’t understand women-speak. It’s nuance-based and full of subtleties. A woman can compose an entire sentence with just a five millimetre shift of her jaw upward. A slight roll of the eye can be an entire paragraph. When a woman speaks to another woman on the subject of a man the language can be very technical. Men listen to words, women read tones and shades and subtleties. Just one flutter of the eyelid by one woman to another has a meaning. It means who are you. Two flutters is a sizing up. Three flutters is you better stay away. And that’s just one eyelid. Imagine two eyelids! Actually two eyelids is mainly reserved for communication with men. One flutter of two eyelids means “Come on.” Two flutters with a smile means “Interesting!” Two flutters while walking away means “Alluring.” Don’t you watch James Bond?! Hello, Mr Bond! The point I’m trying to make is that female language is rather complex. More complex than Chinese. You can’t ordinarily get it as a man. You need discernment.

Here’s the much we know however. If her mood is down, ask what’s wrong. If she doesn’t answer, add “Baby” as prefix, as in “Baby, what’s wrong!” That’s not a question it’s a statement. And don’t forget the inflection. If she still doesn’t answer, walk over to her, sit by her and ask. Show concern. That’s what she wants. To get out the message you may need six different gestures. If it sounds like too much trouble ask yourself if you want a happy marriage. The amount of effort you need to expend to try and figure out what ails her is incomparable to the mood that will fill your home if she’s not happy.

When I was in school a particular student ran a weather control consulting agency. When you want to hold an outdoor program you contracted him to hold the rain. He then subcontracts to the juju priests in the community near the university. They are the rainmakers. You may not realise it but your wife is the rainmaker and weather forecaster in your home. She can cause it to rain. And she can hold the rain. Respect the rainmaker. Show care and concern.

It’s not supposed to rain indoors. When it does it’s catastrophic.

Your mentor, LA.

© Leke Alder |

Expressing affection to someone is not always about feelings. Sometimes it’s a duty. There’s a dutiful dimension. Click To Tweet Don’t take care for granted. Not all spouses are caring. When you have a caring spouse go out of your way to show care when it’s needed. Click To Tweet


Tags : Care, Affection, concern

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