Umm Sulaim's Thoughts

Thoughts Lead To Appreciation

UNDERSTANDING A SPOUSE | How To Proceed

Is it even feasible to understand one’s partner?

Should one bother trying to understand one’s spouse?

Does one’s partner expect to be understood?

There is an assumption that once in a relationship, one meets a rock as an interface, whenever one engages in a conversation with one’s spouse.

Granted, that notion is true in some relationships.

However, one need not adopt the lifestyle of others.

To understand a spouse, one should know the spouse.

Knowledge of the spouse need not be in the form of visiting the parents, siblings, clan members, and hometown.

Such information are extrinsic to the individual.

One seeks intrinsic knowledge of the spouse, based on behavioural patterns.

These questions will aid to know who the spouse is.

  1. What does she/he like?
  2. What are their dislikes?
  3. Are the dislikes absolute and for every situation?
  4. How much of one’s company do they expect?
  5. Do they prefer own personal time?
  6. How involved in decisionmaking do they hope to be?
  7. What assumptions or premises are acceptable to the individual?
  8. Are gender-based generalisations allowed?
  9. How much of a nonconformist is the spouse?
  10. When is the reasonable occasion to tender a compromise or agree to the suggestions of a spouse?

Gradually, this article expounds on each of these ten critical questions.

Appeal.
It is customary for some couples to initiate a conversation on what appeals to each other.

Questions are presented on each other’s favourite colour, food dish, hobby, leisure spot, et cetera.

Beyond these, the discussion ought to progress to the types of behaviour the spouse expects of the other.

Important, it is to be clear about the values one holds.

A person that values honesty and truth needs to emphasise the traits of honesty and truthfulness.

One who detests lies ought to stress the significance of not lying to each other.

With the desire for truthfulness comes how much truth does one wish to hear.

Yes, one can say the whole truth, at all times, to a spouse.

The only caveat is to present the truth in such a way as not to hurt the spouse.

Other values that can be embraced are:

  • trust of each other,
  • kindness to each other,
  • gratitude for every act of goodness a spouse does [Yes, saying: Thank you, does improve mutual understanding between spouses.],
  • fidelity, et cetera.

The reader is encouraged to define own values.

Abhorrent.
Unlike the pleasures of a spouse, disliked characteristics are, rarely, discussed.

The meals, drinks, leisure locations, behaviours, appearance, and physical features a spouse loathes should be introduced into the conversation.

An individual, readily, experiences excitement at the sight of a large bosom or an eight-inch manhood.

Yet, those are not the only physical assets of a spouse.

The size of one’s chest or genitals can even be said to be of little merit in the absence of stabilising factors, such as, physical hygiene, a neat appearance, no protruding abdomen, and minimum weight gain.

The individual is likely to follow the directions of friends, neighbours, and neighbourhood gossips on how one should look, at a certain stage in life.

The spouse is taken for granted until he/ she puts a foot down and warns of a dissolution of the marriage.

A woman above the age of thirty ~30 years must be overweight to satisfy everyone, but her husband.

Heavens help her should she be financially stable, for gossips will wonder why she maintains a slender stature, despite her comfortable lifestyle.

Should she be of a meagre means or should she be married to a financially-strangulated man, she will be expected not to have a meal in a relaxed atmosphere.

Affluent or peasant, she must desist from looking after herself and her appearance, so that she can look as old and dishevelled as possible, as if she bore the world’s problems on her shoulders.

There are four immediate results of women entertaining such pressures.

  1. She will be addressed as mama [not ‘maa-ama’], an euphemism for an old worthless woman of little appeal to her husband, or any other man for that matter.
  2. She will be mentioned as old in gossip circles and ridiculed. She is too old to be of use, will be the description given to her.
  3. The very same gossips will be understanding of her spouse, for having multiple extramarital affairs.
  4. She will be designated the post of an aftershock, meant to engage in sexual relationships with any man. Common will be: She should be contented, after all we are just managing her.

A man, who listens to others rather than his wife, will be encouraged to develop an extended abdomen.

Apparently, a fat-filled torso is a sign of a good living.

Colloquially known as a pot belly, a protruding abdomen sends a message to fellow men that he is rich and well-fed.

For some reason, without a distended abdomen, no one will know he has food at home.

A man has to resemble udu to pass the test of being an established man.

He mimicks a six-month pregnancy to attain the club of ọgaranya.

He disregards the wishes of his wife, until his child asks him when he will be delivered of a bouncing baby.

Absolutes.
Discovering the likes and dislikes of a spouse is one matter; understanding the extent, flexibility, and frequency of such patterns is another matter.

How often will a spouse mind being presented with a loved or detested issue?

For instance, a spouse may dislike utara and have a preference for osikapa.

Utara is a paste of any carbohydrate meal.

Thus, pastes of cassava, garri, yam, cocoyam, semovita are utara akpu, utara garri, utara ji, utara ede, utara semo, respectively.

In order not to ignore their needs, find out whether the dislike for utara is absolute or can be accommodated, say, once a month/ year, and so on.

A prevalent perception is that a man ought to enjoy utara not osikapa, which is considered a food item for women.

That stereotype is known to be false for a number of men and women.

A second issue to state, here, on absolute subjects is whether a spouse is willing to reopen a topic.

One spouse might perceive the topic as an ongoing deliberation; the other may well believe the topic is closed, permanently.

A good way to understand which topic is closed, for good, is to ask, at the end of the discussions: Can we discuss it, later?

The response one obtains ought to guide one’s actions.

Company.
Some persons enjoy the company of a spouse, most to all of the time.

Others want little or no company, at all, except during intimacy or when there is a financial need to fulfill.

What happens when a big company individual has a nuptial relationship with a little company partner?

Friction ensues, if the situation is not managed properly.

A warm and understanding conversation on each other’s needs can help resolve the difference.

Some persons spend more time with work colleagues, friends, parents, and siblings, than they do with a spouse.

Personal Time.
Here is a notion: That a married man needs some time to himself, while a married woman does not need own personal time and space.

Utterances to justify such include:

She is a wife. Besides, she is a mother. Her time is better spent with her children. She has sacrificed her free time for her family, for which she will be rewarded.

If the reward is a highblood pressure, yes.

Other than severe health conditions, there is no benefit in a woman not making time for herself.

To observe her personal time, she need not drive her children out of the home.

She can leave the children in the care of her spouse.

Yes, her husband is the father of their children and, as such, can babysit, feed, change diapers, and pacify the children should they start crying.

To feed the children, the man will need to find his way to the kitchen.

Hopefully, he can achieve that, without the use of a map, a Global Positioning System ~GPS device, or asking for directions along the way.

When he does discover the kitchen, he can be the modern explorer, in a bid to locate where the utensils and specific food stuff are kept.

On retrieving all cooking tools and ingredients, he is expected to prepare the meal, without burning down the house or causing the arrival of the fire brigade.

As her children become older and capable of looking after themselves and younger siblings, a woman can keep her children in the custody of the eldest sibling.

That is proper, provided she has trained the eldest caregiver on safety matters.

A man can have his personal time, as long as he does not misconstrue personal time as bachelor time.

Decisionmaking.
Unless a woman says her spouse can make a decision on a particular matter, he needs to consult her.

Together, the couple will make the final decision.

The contrary is that a woman should refrain from delaying the settlement of squabbles between children until her spouse’s arrival.

Such are too minor an issue for the man to hear, after a long day’s work.

Assumptions.
Ask whether one can make decisions based on already clear tendencies on small matters, such as, gifts, clothes, and meals.

Gender-based.
Find out which routine of society a spouse will condone or reject, even if the spouse lives by societal guidelines.

Nonconformist.
Ask which public behaviour the spouse can consider for adoption.

Do not make a nonconformist feel trapped in a relationship.

Concede.
Marriage is not a competition between the wife and husband.

Gladly, welcome and uphold the position of one’s spouse, even when one’s view differs from it.

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This entry was posted on March 25, 2019 by in Marriage and tagged .

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© Umm Sulaim’s Thoughts 1441/2019. All rights reserved.

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