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On Relationships & Marriage – Three Essential Lists

by Abigail AnabaOctober 28, 2014

What should make a man and woman break up their relationship? What should lead to separation and divorce? What should make a man and a woman who have exchanged vows, no matter what those vows were, go back on their word and decide it is time to move on?

I have been pondering these questions for a while and I always come up with the same answer – Nothing. Nothing should lead to separation, divorce or the breakup of a marriage. Marriage was designed to last forever. But we all know that practically, this ideal is not always attainable.

So perhaps I should rephrase these questions and turn all the ‘shoulds’ to ‘woulds’.

The answer would then rightly be: ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’. Or to put it in other words, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. We should all be entitled to pick our own poison without being judged by nosey neighbors.

So, let me share with you something my mentor told me years ago: It cannot be a temptation if it is not tempting. No, this isn’t just word play (Though, I dare say it looks like something you could put on a T-shirt). I’d like to think of it as an equation that could be expanded: if greed is not your thing, when you meet a random guy on the street who talks to you about a box full of negatives and all you need is to bring a little money to buy chemicals to wash it to become an instant millionaire, you would just walk away; if sex isn’t your thing then when you see a lady/guy, you wouldn’t get turned on to the point of pursuing them like an enraged bull just for the fun of adding them to your list of conquests.

Similarly, we all have our thresholds. These thresholds determine what we’re willing to condone in our relationships with people.

Think of it as a scale. Today, you could just drop something on a scale and see what it weighs. Back in the day, you had to find something of equal measure on both sides to achieve balance. In relationships, whatever tilts the scale in one direction is to that person a genuine reason to either keep the relationship going or end it.

I have said this before and I think it bears repeating: before going into a relationship as serious as marriage, everyone should have three lists: a list of things you would be willing to accept, a list of things you will not accept and a list of things that can be negotiated. This is very important because one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. (See what I did here?)

Someone who can’t stand dirty sinks could end a relationship because his partner refuses to wash up. You may look at it and say “that’s just a little thing” but to them it isn’t – they equate it to the treachery of selling nuclear codes to enemy nations!

Someone who likes their personal space could end a relationship because their partner won’t let them have privacy. You may be one of those who would ask incredulously: “Privacy? In marriage? What are they hiding?” To you it seems incomprehensible that anyone would want to hold on to personal space after marriage, but to others privacy ranks as high up there on their priority list as achieving world peace does the United Nations!

One person could end their relationship because their partner cheated, another could decide to forgive. I think cheating is not strong enough to tip the scale in one direction or the other. They should be able to decide to forgive and stay with their cheating spouse without facing the judgmental stares from their nosey neighbours.

The best people (who also have the right) to decide what goes on the list of this-is-what-I-can’t-take-in-this-relationship are the people involved in it.

No one really wants their relationship to come to an end. But sometimes, this person who has promised to love your list and cherish it and deeply respect it for as long as you both shall live goes back on their word and the scale tilts.

That is because, sometimes, no matter how many years you put into the development of a product, and no matter how beautiful and expensive the product launch, you may buy it and have it bend in your pocket. Sometimes it bends so badly, it breaks.

Yet, we should all be allowed to pick our own poison without interference from nosey neighbors. Who says a bendable iPhone 6 plus cannot be preferred over a Blackberry Passport?

 

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Abigail Anaba
Thinker. Teacher. Writer.
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