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Thursday, 2 February 2012

Love, Marriage and Science

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A couple of days ago I woke up at about 4am, two and a half hours earlier than normal. This time not by the usual cry of our 10-month old baby but just one of those days where the human brain decides to operate differently.

As I laid awake, different thoughts criss-crossed my mind, from the politics at work the previous day, to family and friends in general. One particular thought refused to fade away regarding the phone conversation I had with a distant female relative a couple of days earlier. I will just refer to her as Di. We talked about family, kids, work etc. Her husband was away from the house at the time so she talked openly about how she enjoyed her marriage despite occasional hiccups you would expect from any marriage. Reading between the lines, I could tell she wasn't just making it up. The enthusiasm and spark in her voice did not betray her happiness.

Back then in our teenage years, I could recollect she was very adamant she wasn't going to marry a politician or a man with a relatively big age gap. Just after graduation, her first suitor came calling. A tall, young, handsome medical practitioner based in the States. This was her dream man. But as it panned out she seemed keen than the man did. After a year of occasional phone calls, she read the hand writing on the wall and reluctantly considered him as the one that got away.

But 'luckily 'she didn't have to wait too long as another suitor came calling months later. This time a local politician, but let's face it you and I know politicians at any level in Nigeria are fully loaded (with cash of course). Di was undecided, her family liked the bloke and were keen. She didn't mind him either but from talking to her she also didn't think he ticked all the right boxes for her ideal husband especially as regards to age and the sort of job he did. Let me say at this juncture, I and Di got on well when we were growing up. She could confide and talk to me literally about anything. Partly because she felt I was open minded and not quick to judge people, well at least as she believed.

In the weeks after her latest suitor came asking for her hand in marriage, Di talked to me on different occasions to gauge my feelings about what my thoughts were about him. My honest opinion was that it didn't really matter what I felt or thought. I put it to her it that what she felt was what really mattered as she was the one that would be in the marriage not me or any other person. I told her it was her decision and in life we have to live and die by our decisions.

So far by her account and what we hear from other sources, she seem happy in her marriage, blessed with two beautiful kids and a caring husband. However I wonder if that would have been the case if things had worked out with her first suitor who had or seem to have all she wanted in a 'dream' husband. Perhaps it could been successful or may be not. The truth is that we may never know.

Love and marriage are highly emotive subjects that divides opinion. It seems to me the more we try to treat them as variables that can be quantified and measured, the more we portray them as science. In my view love and marriage aren't sciences that rely on testable theories and hypotheses. If it were I'm sure other people could easily replicate the experience of successful marriages. There aren't any harm in observing and sharing personal experiences but that's all they are - experience and observations.

Societal values have changed and so does attitudes towards marriage. The reason it seems to me there is a perception that marriages have become more challenging are plenty and varied. We may spend a life-time trying to understand them but my guess is that the answers may elude us. The uniqueness of every marriage makes it even more difficult hence why it may be a good idea if we find what works best for us and stick with it instead of looking for a magic wand to put things right for us.

Perhaps we could do more to encourage our children and young people to develop the right attitude for future healthy relationships and marriages. Something I attempted to address in a previous post.

God bless our marriages, both present and future ones.

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  1. This marriage talk shaaaa. God will help us and direct our steps

  2. Marriage is a complicated affair. The more realistic one is, going into it, the better the dividends - don't you think? My two cents anyway.

  3. @Adura, I agree, a dose of realism does help and could benefit people to manage expectations especially when things don't go the way they envisage.

  4. mmmmmmm
    I think marriage should be treated like a entering a business partnership:
    - One has to consider whether the person is an ideal partner (i.e. does s/he complement you)
    - One has to remember that a business partnership will fail if both partners lose focus
    - Both have to remember that communication is key to gauging feelings of resentment/ frustration
    - Partners will always have different opinions. The extent to which they value the partnership is what determines whether they settle amicably
    - Partners should remember that 'outsiders' are likely to envy their chemisry. If they let other in.....crack are likely to appear...........

  5. @NIL, This is quite an interesting perspective but I can see where you're coming from. Business partnership requires rational and logical decisions to some extent. Unfortunately sometimes people allow the heart to rule the head when making decisions about marriage, which they may describe as love, emotions, affections etc. It looks though that gone are the days when marriage decisions are left to the feelings of the heart alone. Decisions using both the heart and head certainly helps bridge the gap between reality and fantasy.

  6. One thing I know about relationships including marriage is that as we are different, so will our experiences be. All other stuff is talk. Like you told Di, only the two people in a particular marriage can work it out themselves.

  7. @Myne, I couldn't agree more with you. The differences in experiences is the reason why we can't treat them as exact science which is often the temptation when you have a range of marriage theories flying around.

  8. Every relationship/marriage is different as everyone is different,backgrounds, experiences and the way we process situations are not the same. That said, there is no particular recipe. What works for you might not work for another.

  9. @Okeoghene, exactly my point. We need to recognise these differences and bear them in mind before making assumptions which we are tempted to do sometimes.

  10. Unlike what most people think, i dont think there is any one man/woman made for a particular man/woman. Whomever you trust enough to tie the knot with, you need to put in some effort to make it work. Even siblings born by same parents and living in same house for decades have differences and have to work to tolerate and understand eachother talk more of strangers from very different backgrounds.

    Every partnership takes dedication, effort and resolve to make it work

    Maybe Di would also have been happy with the other guy too as long as the 2 of them knew what marriage was about and worked on their marriage.

    My thoughts though

  11. @Amaka, I think you make a good point about no man/woman is made for each other. Some people do but I don't. Whatever the circircumstances, there has to be some effort by both parties.

  12. Sometimes we fix our minds on a certain fantasy of what we want in a man. Reality is, fairytale man don't really exist. Love is not just a fuzzy feeling; it is an action. Committing yourself to work things out and make one another happy. That's what I feel; I could be wrong.

  13. @Oluchi, I don't think you're wrong. There's more to love than just what you feel, it needs commitment to survive. Thanks for stopping by.

  14. I feel what the author feels whenever a close of mine is asking for my opinion regarding of what i think of his boyfriend/fiance. What i always advice is that she should always follow her heart whenever making huge decisions such as marriage.

    1. You hit the nail on the head, marriage advice is never straight forward. It has to be down to the individuals involved. Thanks for stopping by.

  15. You surely penned this from the heart. There are so many experiences, baggage people bring into marriage that no two experiences could be the same. Its up to the two people to find their own rhythm and happiness.

    1. Wow, Ginger, that's quite a compliment, thanks. That's why I have an issue when people try to theorise marriage.



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