Since I started this blog, I have received interesting emails from readers. Thank you.
Most of these email have been relationship related, with questions like - ‘How does one keep a marriage fresh?’............ ‘How does one continue to pursue one's dreams despite the distractions that come with marriage and family life?'.......................'How does one deal with belligerent in-laws?’............'How does one cope with childlessness?'............ etc etc
I have often replied these questions as best as I can – based on personal experience. However, I do feel that it would be a good idea to share what I have learnt about romantic relationships so far.
Before I do this, I would like to issue a disclaimer – The opinions expressed here are solely based on personal experience and do not in any way pretend to be the definitive, all-encompassing truth about all relationships.
So, here are the seven things I have learnt about romantic relationships so far:
1. (1) NEVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR PARTNER
I have come across so many instances where someone has cheated with a person considered to be ‘beneath/ less than/ inferior to‘ his/her partner. The case of Arnold Shwarznegger illustrates this best: Married to a woman who hails from one of America’s political dynasties, he chose to father a child with his domestic help and then keep this a secret from his wife – for over ten years.
Sad to say, my personal experience is that this is a common occurrence in Nigeria - where I have seen so many male relatives/ family friends do same.
However, this kind of behaviour is not exclusive to men. I know of a successful business man who only found out that 3 of his 7 kids were not his, after 15 years of marriage. He only found out by chance - when they all had to take medical tests because one of the children had a kidney complaint.
Basically, NEVER take your partner for granted. 'Body no be firewood'....If you feel that you are too good or smart for your partner, you might be shocked to find out that s/he thinks the same. Indeed, as a starving person will not wait for a well cooked meal, that is how a frustrated/ restless/ dissatisfied partner might choose to find comfort elsewhere. As my people say.....'Dirty water dey quench fire'
(2) LOVE MIGHT FLOUNDER*...........BUT RESPECT SHOULD NOT
(*Flounder = to struggle)
From personal experience - and that of my friends - love is not a constant. Sometimes one is overwhelmed by the love one feels for a partner. Other times - especially when you argue - you wonder how you could ever love them.
This is totally normal. My father once said - 'If two friends NEVER quarrel, one of them is cheating the other'. Same with marriage, disagreements must arise.
Love may flounder, however respect should be a constant. A family friend of ours tolerated her lazy and selfish husband for over ten years. Even though she was earning more than him, she respected him, operated a joint bank account and consulted him every time she had to make a financial decision. She is one of the most frugal women I have ever known. However, one day, she found receipts for expensive dinners (for two), and hotel rooms. This gave her a clue that he was lavishing money on women outside. Her fears were finally confirmed the day she discovered that he had a secret bank account/ credit card. That was the day she lost respect for him and decided the marriage was over.
Yes, love might flourish and flounder....but the day respect flounders, is the day the camel's back will definitely be broken.
(3) ONE CANNOT CHANGE AN UNWILLING ADULT
I - Obi met Lisa at a party. She was the girl every man wanted. Her silk jumpsuit clung to all her curves and no-one was left in any doubt that her body could rival Beyonce's anyday. Obi started dating Lisa and he loved the fact that she was always lively, up for a party and extremely confident. He also liked the fact that she had lots of friends and she was always busy - so she was different from his previous girlfriends who had always been clingy and needy. It didn't matter that she wasn't keen on domestic stuff - he wanted an equal partner.
II - Andy first noticed Boyo at his sister's wedding. She wasn't the most beautiful girl there but she was by far the nicest. Despite the fact that she was running around - trying to cater to guests and the bride, at the same time - she always had a lovely smile on her face.
Andy couldn't stop staring at her ...she seemed familiar but he couldnt place the face. After asking around, he discovered that this was 'Little Boyo' - his little sister's friend who used to come to their house with plaited hair, school uniform and socks. She sure had blossomed into a graceful woman. Long story short, he asked her out because she was the epitome of what he felt a good girl should be - respectful, demure, conservative, studious and quiet. A welcome change to all the gold-diggers he had dated in the past.
Well, both couples eventually got married.
Present day - Obi is getting fed up with Lisa's love of parties and her lack of domestic skills. Matters were made worse when Obi's mother came over to London for a visit and a busy Lisa served her Jollof rice she bought from their local Nigerian restaurant. Another worry for Obi is that quite a few of Lisa's friends have remained unmarried and he questions their influence on his wife. Lisa's response - 'This is me...take it or leave it'
As for Andy, his job - as a Corporate solicitor - means he attends cocktail parties and entertains clients, to network. However, Boyo doesn't enjoy such functions and often opts out. She prefers to stay at home with the kids or attend church functions. Her response - 'My reserved nature is what you loved when you met me.....why do you expect me to change?'
Indeed, one CANNOT change an UNWILLING adult - persistent attempts will only end in tears. I'm sure you've heard of the saying 'You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot force it to drink........ .......?!
To Be Continued - I will post part 2 on Wednesday (08/06/11).
In the meantime, do let me know what you think about these first three observations.
Have a peaceful week.
ALL PICS FROM: http://www.fotosearch.com/
ALL PICS FROM: http://www.fotosearch.com/