A few weeks ago, a Doctor spoke about ways to deal with stress. I remember an analogy she gave. In the time of our forefathers, stress was largely temporary – a man goes out hunting, sees a lion and is propelled by adrenaline to flee. The stress has been encountered and overcome quickly. But nowadays, stress is present continuous. I agree.
We live in a country where the Government seems to be actively trying to kill us – whether through the breakdown of social services or our clearly inadequate infrastructure. Three-hour daily traffic is the norm in some cities and childbirth must be accompanied by intercessory prayer to increase survival rates. This makes the haven that home provides even more important now than it was in the days of our fathers.
Over the years, I’ve spoken to friends who are going through trying marriages. A recurrent advice comes through in our conversations, “Subomi, make sure you marry someone you love and who loves you”. It seems obvious but maybe it’s not, because I keep hearing society say that love doesn’t matter. But I know it does. Without love, there is no incentive to tolerate the irritations that come with relationships. You won’t understand why you keep getting angry or why you develop a headache when it’s time to go home after a long day. You won’t get why you’re living in a cloud of depression or why you feel so trapped – no way forward; no way backward.
Sometimes when we reference some of our parent’s arranged marriages as examples of perfect unions, my response is this, “Longevity does not equate with success.” Someone in the marriage may have paid a huge price to maintain it. You just may not recognise it from the outside. Furthermore, the social context was different, providing a framework to help those marriages stay together. I fear that context no longer exists in the modern world. If majority of loveless marriages really worked then how come their products – children and society – do not reflect this? Why are our nation’s values bankrupt? What part of Nigeria reflects the success of those marriages?
The Biblical story of Jacob, Leah & Rachael serves as a cautionary tale (Genesis 29, 30 and 37). A friend of mine recently shared it with me. Jacob had 2 wives – Leah and Rachael. He loved Rachael passionately but did not love Leah. Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah and at that point, his first life dislocation occurred. He became polygamous by default. Leah started having multiple children to try to please Jacob and named her kids accordingly. It still didn’t make Jacob love her. Even though Rachael was barren, Jacob preferred her. Finally, Rachael bore children, eventually dying during the birth of her second son. Jacob simply transferred the devotion he felt for Rachael to her sons.
The part of the story that is often overlooked is this – that lack of love created generational problems, fostering an environment where Leah’s children ended up hating Rachael’s son, Joseph. Joseph’s brothers conspired to kill him! If only we would learn from the story. Perhaps we would produce less bitter children and spouses.
I sincerely pray you find true love. I pray you wake up every morning with joy. I pray that even when life brings trials, you have a reason to smile & hope because of the wonder of your relationship. May you have a reason to rush home everyday to be with the one you love. May your days be filled with witty conversation, shared dreams and plans. May life be made beautiful because of love and may you be very happy.