Dealing with hurts in relationships
Agnes came home one day after work with a very sad countenance, and complained to her mum that her husband-to-be had changed so much. When the mother asked her what the matter was, she said that Ken (her husband-to-be) enjoyed hurting her and making her angry most of the time. She said she thought that when someone claims to love you, the person would not want to see you sad or unhappy. But she found out that the case was not so with Ken. So to her, “Ken does not care whether I am happy or not.”
As her mother probed further, she discovered that Agnes was trying to make Ken agree to everything she wanted him to do. She wanted him to agree to all her opinions on every matter. To Agnes, whenever Ken holds a different view from hers, it was interpreted to mean that he wanted to hurt her and did not love her enough.
Gently and lovingly, her mother told her that Ken also has the right to have his opinion on issues, and that there is no marriage law that says it is only the opinion of the female that should be accepted in a courtship or when married. She also told her that the fact that she was in love with him did not mean he could not have opinions that do not agree with her own.
A good relationship comes when we learn to listen to what the other person is saying. You do not expect only your wishes to be granted. It is good for those yet to be married to know that in many homes, where there is peace, such couples know how to lovingly and peacefully come to a place of agreement, out of the initial opinions they have on any matter.
Just as Agnes’ mother successfully taught her on how not to take opinions that are different from her own as quarrels, war, or lack of love and care, that is how I suggest that every parent should tutor their sons or daughters who are already married or about to get married. In fact, parents should not wait until their children are about to get married before starting to teach them on how to come to a place of agreement with a person or people, whose views may not necessarily agree with their own. This teaching should start when children are still very young, struggling over who picks the toy first and so on and so forth.
Parents should also teach their children that they would surely feel hurt by their spouses one time or the other when they get married and how to handle those hurts. I have written on how to handle hurts in a previous edition of this column.
Being in love does not in any way eliminate disagreements.
Many young marriages have packed up as a result of the couples entering into marriage with the illusion that “I shall never be hurt by my spouse because we love each other.” I have found out that many couples who say that they are no longer in love are those who did not know how to handle their spouses’ different views. Some of these spouses did not express these contrary views during courtship because they probably had “excess love” for each other, not knowing they will face those realities in marriage.
But with proper pre-marital parental counselling by parents to children, the number of marriages that break up, due to “irreconcilable differences” will greatly reduce. Self-control, anger management, less-emotional fragility and negotiating skills, among many others, are areas where parents need to train their children into emotional maturity before marriage. Love you.