Some months ago, my friend and I visited a woman who lived very close to our house. By the time we came out of her house, we had burning questions in our hearts.
Is our worth as wives base on how many dishes we can prepare and how long we can sweat in the kitchen? For a woman who didn’t grow up using mortar and pestle to pound yam on a weekly basis, does that make her less in virtue than the woman who does? For a career woman who has a lot in her hands, would it be ‘unafrican’ to get a house help to handle the chores?
I have stayed with several families within this short period of my life and I have discovered that every family is unique in its own way. There is the family where the father had to eat pounded yam every week and there is another family where they’ve never bought a mortar or pestle in their life.
Take a look at this other scenerio. In a family, three square meal is the norm but in another family, they rarely take breakfast because fruits is what breakfast consists of. In another family, the husband can’t eat soups packed in the freezer. In another, they are comfortable with the arrangement.
Does that make one family better than the other?
Where a man grew up in a family where he’s never been giving thd room to make decisions and here he is walking down the aisle with a lady who has made all the decisions for her siblings right after the ghastly accident that took the life of her parents. Here they are wondering why they fight so much.
Two days ago, I had a ladies night out with two of my friends. During our discussions, stories from our childhood days came up and we saw how our behaviour as adults in some ways was a reflection of the girl we’ve interacted with in our childhood. This girl who had become a lady unconsciously bore patterns of behaviours that has become an integral part of her life.
In many situations, fights in relationships can be traced from the way we were raised- be it from a religious or cultural perspective.
By fight, I do not mean physical combat. I’m referring to misunderstandings on issues that keep reoccurring in relationships. If we check closely, the habits we potray many times influence our actions.
Feelings of love have a way of sweeping these things underneath the carpet such that we either ignore these patterns or consider them irrelevant instead of addressing them until reality sets in and then we wonder why we didn’t notice them in the first place.
Rage, Getting into your shell at the slightest argument and sulking afterwards, poverty mentality, refusing to help your partner with domestic responsibilities, fear, low self esteem and may other wrong attitudes might just be the inner child speaking. A girl who was deprived love would grow to become a needy adult who clings so tightly to a man that she takes nonsense from him even when it is glaring that he despises her. A man will always be defensive and stubborn if he grew up with a mother who pulled down his father’s self esteem.
However, we do not have to remain so. The power to see what we want in our relationships is in our hands.
Carl Gustav Jung said this:
I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.
Paul in his letter to the Philippians said this:
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto things which are before, I press towards the mark…
During our discussion that night, I told my friends that there were certain things I discovered that needed to change. True, they have taken a default setting in my mind, yet with the help of God, I was positive that I’d be a better person. I’d even begun to see those changes already and it could only get better.
It is not enough to resign to fate as if we can do nothing and then leave our relationships to suffer. We can choose to take healthy and positive steps. The results we see many not be automatic but as we allow the transformation power of Christ to take charge, we can gradually form new habits.
Understanding propels parties in a relationship to make compromises and sacrifices where necessary. Stubbornness will not get any of the parties anywhere. Patience, Prayer and tolerance takes us forward.
However where two unmarried people in a relationship keep going back and forth over an issue that leaves them drained and resentful, it might be a sign that the parties are brtter off moving on better with their lives.
Who says parents are perfect?
Still, it is not an excuse to keep the negative attitudes we took from them that will not push us forward.
Even where you don’t seem to understand why your partner is complaining about a certain way you behave, listening and talking things out with them is a sign of maturity. I don’t even care if you are a Pastor leading a large congregation, it’s immature to believe your wife has no right to express herself or that she isn’t worth listening to.
Finally, it doesn’t make sense comparing your model family with that of your parents. This new family you have made a commitment under God to protect is yours to build. Both of you can sit and decide what works best for your family. Sometimes, it will require you pulling down some unhealthy pattern and replacing them with better ones.
By understanding, a house is established… Proverbs 24:3.
I will be away from my phone all through next week because I have a prayer retreat to attend. So there will not be any new post on my blog till I return on the 17th. Next update will be on Monday, 18th of December.