Friday, January 25, 2013

Growing Together

Growing Old together
Picture this, a young man and woman fall in love and get married in a rural village. One way or the other this man furthers his education and gets a job which transfers him to the city. On getting to the city this man begins to have a different crop of friends, more refined tastes, etc. He now seems distant from his wife who is outraged after all she still remembers when he had only two pairs of trousers, when his income could only provide enough money for one piece of meat in each plate of food. Now he seems uninterested in her and insists she learn to grill meat and fish served in their home because it is healthier, he spends on clothing amounts that they used to feed on for ages. His vocabulary has changed he insists they speak only English in front of the kids! He seems to be reborn...He is a new creature.

This is the case in many marriages, although it might not be to this extent but many times with upward class mobility comes a new view on life, new preferences, tastes and friends. For many this is a welcome change. Who wants to spend hours dodging the oil splashing from the meat frying in the pan when you could toss it in the deep fryer or better still, toss it in the oven?

The woman I have described above is still thinking of their humble past and cannot comprehend why everything about her husband has changed and the distance between them is growing with each passing day. Isn't it just a new job and location?

Genuine marriage is not static but mobile and that means that the couples involved must continue to strengthen their love for one another and for God, as well as further develop those innate qualities which made them spiritually and psychically compatible in the first place. If one or both become negligent, stagnates or wilfully refuses to further develop, then the living connection which their union established with the power of God begins to loosen. The strong bonds brought about by their genuine love and compatible qualities begin to weaken. They weaken because they are no longer maintained due to negligence, stagnation or indolence. Because of this weakened bond as I explained above, impure thoughts about others can begin to arise. Initially it may just be faint but if the couple continues to weaken the bonds as I explained above, then slowly but inevitably, a marriage that was once happy and loving no longer exists even though the couples may not be aware of it in the physical sense. Thus what was once a genuine marriage may end up in divorce or in a soulless non-genuine marriage where all happiness has departed from them.

A bird in flight must continue to flap its wings to maintain itself in flight. If the bird loses its alertness and wilfully refuse to flap its wings, it will start to descend and will fatally crash to the ground. This crude analogy can be applied to marriages where the couples suddenly stagnate or refuse to further develop and mature the qualities that God endowed them with and their understanding of the world in general.

Motion is a law of creation and there is no exception. Thus, if one partner is not moving in a way that synchronises with the other one person might start harbouring sexual feelings about others in thoughts, words, intent, imagination or physical action. Before they know it,  something has gone wrong and unless they muster all strength to strengthen the bond linking both of them, as well as the bond linking them to God, then these bonds will finally be cut off and the happy marriage ceases to exist.

Bonding is a continuous process. Husbands need to learn to carry their wives along. Wives must take a keen interest in the development of her spouse, his career, his hobbies, his likes and dislikes and vice versa. Bonding is perhaps a vital factor for improving and maintaining a relationship but doesn’t happen nearly as much as it probably should. As you deliberately grow together you combine in a unique way and you will never want to be apart. This may be the factor most often lacking when couples say that "something is missing" in their relationship. Often couples who only ever experience their marriage as a battlefield, a matter of convenience or business arrangement do not realise that marriage is a beautiful garden that must be tended to in order for all the flowers to grow harmoniously side by side.

Ijeoma Olujekun

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