TEMPORARY POST: To September 30 2016
This post expands the post “Essential Characteristics for my husband“
A few further thoughts I have recently had for essential characteristics for my husband:
*Someone who is committed to communication, no matter how hard it might seem
In my experience, communication can be extremely difficult. Expressing disappointments, making yourself vulnerable to sincerely express wishes can be so difficult, especially when trust is not fully grown between you. The only thing that is harder than communicating is not communicating. In that atmosphere all kinds of assumptions and presumptions and fear and distrust can flourish and grow wild. Whenever I’ve been in that situation I’m always trying to guess and deduce what the other person is thinking, and man – it is simply too much hard work. So talk to me! If you’re disappointed with me, please tell me. Say the thing! (Shaking my head!) Actually, I never tell people when I am disappointed with them – but that is because they never create a space where I could feel comfortable discussing that. They never make it clear to me that I can safely express my concerns without fear of it exploding in my face.
Sometimes people act like they are open to honest feedback etc – but then there will be something so glaringly wrong about them. This is how I know that they are not as open to feedback as they might claim – because if they sincerely told themselves the truth, then they would have noticed that thing, and dealt with it – hello! Following on from this – before you can sincerely be open to honest feedback from other people, you have to tell yourself the truth. Trying to think of an analogy, it would be like if I claimed that I was determined to excel as a writer – but then my writing was riddled with careless lazy errors. And then I invited other people to come and examine my work. Or it is like someone who claims that they want to be a Wimbledon champion, and they don’t even know the rules of tennis, and they don’t even have a basic level of athletic fitness, so they are huffing and puffing around the place even as they are just knocking the ball anywhere. Seriously? You’re not even serious. As we would say in my country, “Go and sit down!” The point is that no-one should have to point out these basic things to you, you should be able to notice them for yourself. And if you honestly cannot see these basic errors, you’re simply not yet ready to operate at that high level of excellence – yet.
There’s feedback…and there’s feedback
I have previously written that the method of delivery matters when feedback is being given. I have actually unfriended people and permanently removed them from my life because of the way they chose to express their feedback. For “feedback” to work, both the person expressing feedback and the person receiving it have to be completely sincere in their motives, and have to habitually tell themselves the truth. So when some people (many people) expressed their “feedback”, it was not true feedback at all. Rather, whether or not they were aware, it was actually an expression of their own insecurity, a means of trying to pull me down through the pretext of “constructive criticism” – and after facing the same thing from the same people a few times I grew tired of even pretending to tolerate it. I eventually just ditched them and walked away. Man, telling yourself the truth can be so hard. That is, telling yourself the truth about what within you is actually making you act the way you’re acting – and then dealing with it if it is not appropriate. Is it pride? Is it wanting to be the best at all costs – or to be seen as being the best? Is it wanting other people to see you and think you are great? Is it wanting to assert superiority over someone else? Is it a spirit of retaliation? And then you have to deal with it! Where you have a negative influence making you act in a certain way, then instead of making excuses (and yes, I’m looking at you, any Christian who habitually corrects “Black Lives Matter” to “All Lives Matter!”) you have to uproot that thing from your heart. The anger, the hatred, the racism – whatever it is! You have to make sure that all your actions spring from a root of love, and holiness. Seriously, we are Christians! This is why we have a relationship with God! This is why we own Bibles! And all these people will be spouting all these profound sentiments about how much they love God, how Jesus is the centre of their lives, and yet you dig just a tiny bit beneath the surface…and all these unbeautiful things will seep out.
Someone who likes me!
You would think this would go without saying, right?! Apparently not! I mean someone who really likes me as a person, not just in an attraction sense; who gets who I am, what I stand for. Someone who believes in my values and in the way I am going about achieving them. Someone who believes in my dreams and is excited at investing himself in helping me be the best I can be – as I will do for him. Is this rocket science?! I have made myself so transparent on this blog and in my other writings. I have not hidden who I am in any way. So it should be really easy for someone to see who I am because I have consistently been shouting it as loud as I can. So because I have made all of this so clear, now the question is for someone to work out if he likes it, if he loves it, if he could cherish this. As hard as this is for me to understand, some people manage to communicate it to me that they are attracted to me – and yet they do not particularly like who I am. I honestly don’t know how that could possibly work in a relationship. For me, part of being crazy about my husband is that I will genuinely like him, like his values, be full of unqualified admiration for who he is. I want – no I insist on a man who similarly adores me, whose eyes light up with excitement about me, who smiles happily whenever he thinks about me, who wants to be around me, who is happy at the thought of hugging me for the rest of our lives. If this is not you, then please take yourself and your “attraction” to me, and go to somewhere hot, and leave me to enjoy my singleness in peace, until I meet a man who will adore me the way every woman should be adored by the man she will spend the rest of her life with. Seriously?! The reason I need to make this point is because in my life I have encountered many many people who are attracted to me, but very very few people (precisely one) who have the strength of character to offer unqualified love and to acknowledge and endorse great values without feeling threatened. So you get the crazy situation where someone is trying to reach out to you for the sake of trying to gratify their own attraction to you, but simultaneously pulling you down. Unbelievable and totally crazy – I guess that is how it would work in a relationship! And I am sure that that is exactly how it works in many relationships – not for me, thanks!
Someone who appreciates why the issue of marriage might reasonably fill me with apprehension…
All around us, so many marriages and relationships are in utter chaos. Through every medium imaginable – books, TV, social media, magazines, blog posts – people will be complaining and crying about what they have experienced in their relationships and marriages. Stories about various dreadful things in relationships are absolutely everywhere so no-one even needs to make an effort to find them. And these dreadful things will happen in the church too, among supposed Christians! And yet some guy will come along. And he will expect me to magically know that he could never be like that, and instantly endorse him as a potential partner, and instantly trust him as the living embodiment of all my marital dreams. And yet how could I possibly know that?! All those other people who eventually demonstrated themselves to be awful also seemed to be amazing as well before marriage, didn’t they?! I’ve met some men who are apparently offended, and deeply so, at the thought that I might need to check them out, and I don’t instantly accept them as Jesus. To me this is simply ludicrous. I mean for crying out loud, look around you, open your eyes, open your ears to see some of the things that are happening! You might know that you are brilliant, but I don’t! I need to satisfy myself by any reasonable means that you are not going to be one of these horror stories, and by being with you I am not going to throw away my life. And I believe that any reasonable man would understand this. I don’t mean that I am going to make the man jump through hoops. All I am planning to do is simply watch him for two years, for the sake of getting a genuine feel for his character. He does not need to make any extra effort for me other than just being himself; if this still feels like too much effort then he is obviously free to marry anyone else during those two years. And remember that the thing does work both ways! I check him out, and he simultaneously checks me out. What could be easier?! “But Tosin, you need to take a leap of faith!” No baby! My life and my dreams are way too important to be gambled with in that kind of way. “But Tosin, you have to trust God!” Please believe me, that that is exactly what I am doing by exercising my God-given common-sense and all this wisdom for relationships that He has blessed me with.
And yet when talking about marital apprehension I am not talking primarily about “the two year thing“, or even about potential marital horror stories. I am talking about the day to day issues which might make marriage nowhere near a nightmare, but also quite, quite far from being a dream. Things like inadequate communication, things like unnecessary power struggles or ego trips. Things like needing to talk over and over (and over and over and over) again about things which to me should be basic and straightforward, like how we both need to pull our weight with the household chores – nods head – right, honey?! Like how I should not need to beg you to put in an equal effort to look after your own children. Or if I’m currently working at a job, and you’re not, then instead of putting your feet up all day, then perhaps you could make the evening meal! I know – gasp, horror! What kind of African woman am I?! If you don’t instantly understand this and this is likely to require years and years of my trying to explain this patiently within marriage, then please please, please, do us both a favour and Stay Away From Me! I’d rather remain single, and after a few years of living with me and my barely contained frustration, I’m sure you’d wish that you had remained single too!
ALSO a man who is not intimidated by the me, or the fact that I have dreams which I am boldly pursuing
ALSO a man who thinks about life as much as I do