Have you have ever stood at the verge of a clean curvaceous body of water and wish you could jump into the river, only to remember you couldn’t swim? Though you love the clean river, but jumping into it will be suicidal without the acquisition of the basic skills of swimming that ensure your staying safe on the river. You need skills to enjoy what you love. Have you ever loved a beautiful car only to discover you couldn’t drive? And you wish you could. To drive the car of your dream requires learning the basic driving skills. The same way it is, to drive the love of your life requires learning certain relationship skills. It’s not just enough to love, there must be conscious effort to learn certain relationship skills that can help you demystify the meaning of love. So easy is falling in love, requires no arts, no courage, no skills, but staying in loving requires practical application of your knowledge and skills.
Entering into a relationship can bring that sudden sense of Eldorado and adrenaline rush, when you and your partner are having all things provided for you in the Edenic womb, and you suddenly notice some aberrations. The character flaw you never discovered in his unconscious straying moments when the relationship began. You wonder how he could so annoy you like that? You wonder how your beautiful rose could be so trampled. Would you ever think that the handsome man you are head-over-heel in love with, has flip side, the other side of love he suddenly showed you midway the relationship. You can never know your suitor’s true character while going out on a dinner date. You are already living in the illusion of the moment. There must be pressure to know what each of you can bear. You must allow winds and storm to test the content of your love whether or not it can withstand the pressure of heat that may buffet your home. So what should you do when the man in your life makes you angry?
First, calm down. Don’t act in haste to avoid missing your words and spiraling the conflict out of control. You can never talk sense when you are angry. Remember how the meekest man, Moses ran out of meekness, and out of provocation hit the rock of his salvation and lost the earthly paradise. You may miss the point if you act out in anger. So what should you do at that moment of anger? Adopt this skill. Patiently count 1 to 10. If the anger is intense, count 1 to 50, and if it’s raging, count down from 100 to one. The reason for this is that time heals wounds, slows down revenge, and manages anger. Patience is a great skill. You have no reason to be hot even after he is cool. Why must you boil in silence while he relaxes with the Tv? Why must you rob yourself of happiness? Nobody is responsible for your anger. You are. The anger is yours and yours alone. It’s necessary to grapple with the fact that anger is innate, and it requires your management skills, but it’s your choice to live free of hurt, pain, hatred and un-forgiveness.
Handle it with all maturity. The reason couple shout at each other when they are angry is because anger makes the hearts far apart, such that they feel they can’t hear each other. Murmuring hardly explains why, and shouting is often misunderstood. You can get out of that valley of indecision. Nobody can make you feel lesser than you are. Be mature. If he treated you bad, that is who he is not who you are. If you truly love yourself you will take up responsibility to make yourself happy. Does he refuse to give you money when things go wrong? Don’t let money be the source of your joy. Did you not spend before you met him? The reason for problems in relationships or homes is because once a lady goes into a relationship or marriage she shifts her responsibilities to the man. No man can ever meet all the needs of a woman. The reason for growth is to be self-sufficient. In fact, you become a responsible when you have disagreement with the love of your life and he refused to drop money for food, but you source for money and cook his special food and bring it to the table.
This is not being childish, but rather have the attitude of a child. Wonder why it is easy for a child to forgive? There is hardly a child who is not active, except a sick one. Inactivity is a sign of old age. A child’s simple heart lacks the capacity to carry weights of pride, ego and arrogance that condescend into inactivity and selfishness. A child’s heart, as empiricists expostulate, is a clean slate, called tabula rasa that develops from impression. It may not be easy for an adult to go back to this original child’s slate of mental blankness, but there must be judicious, conscious effort to daily overwrite all offences that have been imprinted on the heart with new, intentional acts of kindness and love. Everyone has the freedom to rewrite his destiny and overwrite his or her own soul. The human mind, naturally, is always reluctant to let go of the past. The human brain stores every event, whether good or bad, in our memory such that, if a person or an event or a similar event that caused pain in the past resurfaces, the brain automatically sends warning to the body to remember the hurt the person or event once caused and to avoid the repetition of it. What is in the mind, the memory ends up bringing out. This memory, if not properly managed, can spread un-forgiveness beyond the offender to innocent people. Many couples are hurting in their new relationship because they keep visiting the offence of the past on the new person. Nelson Mandela knew it when he said “as I walked out of the door towards the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’ll still be in prison”. Thus, un-forgiveness boxes us in a prison of bitterness and hatred. Don’t create an island for yourself. Don’t stay lonely ruminating over the offence. Let the offence die its natural death by not giving it attention. You can also distract yourself with activities that can keep you busy so you won’t allow idleness to slip you back into nursing the offence back to life.
You can only know the beginning of revenge, not the end. You can’t predict revenge. The Devil actually hides in revenge, not offence. It’s true that there is a reaction to every action. It is natural for the innate retributive urge to surge immediately at the violation of your rights, prompting revenge, but the fact that you feel this retributive urge does not mean you should act upon it. Otherwise, personal retribution or revenge may go out of proportional to the offence and the result may not be palatable. Revenge can be blind, wicked, unmerciful, and unsympathetic as Shylock demanding his pound of flesh from Antonio in William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, because the latter “disgraced (him) and hindered (him) half a million […] laughed at (his) losses, mocked at (his) gains, scorned (his) nation, thwarted (his) bargains, cooled (his) friends, heated (his) enemies—and what’s his reason? I am a Jew.” Revenge can be unkind as jealousy of betrayal that consumes Euripides’ protagonist, Medea to kill her children in order to hurt her husband, Jason, who marries another woman. Revenge can be that emotional rush of anger that consumes a lady to commit greater sins for a hurt. Personal revenge towards vendetta may not be fair. The rush of emotion towards revenge has deprived and caused many their rights to life and fairness to correct hearing.
There is a point divinity meets humanity. That is forgiveness. Be ready to forgive him whether he accepts it or not. You need God’s blessing of forgiveness more than your partner does. True forgiveness frees the victim from hurt and pain that the offender had caused. Forgiveness brings own healing. For the fact that God commands us to forgive, there is a blessing attached to it from God. You may look dumb in people’s eyes. They may even say you have no brain, you are like a jelly fish, so lily-livered, but when you are right by God’s standards, you will win. Sometimes, you may have to play the fool to let him win to restore peace at home. There is humanity in every one of us. Human relationships are not made on the Mars but on the earth and for the earthly. Forgiveness makes you humble to accept faults. Be the first to greet him. You are winning back your relationship. So show that you have forgiven him. Prove that first. Get him a surprise gift. Don’t remind him of his offence even if he commits similar one. That is when he will know you have truly forgiven him.
Identify his soft spot and tell him his fault.
Also note, that forgiveness is never complete until you tell him his fault. Forgiveness is like rain that comes from heaven to water the earth, which alone, cannot make the seed on earth to grow until it mixes with the nutrients of the earth. The rains truly may come from Heaven, but nutrients must surely meet rain from the earth to get results. Tell him his fault and let him know how deeply hurt you are whether he accepts it or not. The problem in most relationship is lack of communication. Partners keep silent over their faults, and assume forgiveness. Let your partner know you don’t like what he just did. The reason being that, he may not know that he has hurt you, and to which degree he has hurt you. And if you don’t tell him his fault, he may keep repeating the act. He will keep opening your dry wound. Since oil boils in silence, accumulation and suppression of offences will keep fermenting with no escape route until one day, that a little unguarded word or action will shake you to the fore, running wild your emotion to flood proportions. Alongside telling him his fault, you must understand when and how to tell him. You must understand his soft spot. How do you know a man’s soft spot? That’s what he likes most. A man likes foods and sex. Some men like watching football. Join him to watch the football, but pray his team wins. Then, tell him his faults. Let him know that every woman is a rose that can fold into a thorn to prevent her from mishandling. The thorns of a rose are not meant to sting, but when they do, it’s because the florist has become the thorn to a rose. If he handles you roughly and carelessly, he will prick your heart. But if he handles you with care, you won’t hurt. The more he cares about you, the less you hurt.
Get to the root cause.
Understand your different backgrounds. Just as you are meant to complement each other, you must identify your differences. No matter how you love each other, you are not same. You both come from different backgrounds, homes and parenting. Get the root of the matter, and come to the place of understanding. Try to consider what causes the anger, and how both of you can address it. Don’t just apply bandage to the wound, get to the root cause. Don’t just treat the symptoms or pain, treat the disease, remove it totally from your system. But be ready to shift ground and adjust your position. Don’t push the solution to him alone. Show commitment. Be ready to discuss with him how both of you can avoid the future of occurrence of the offence. Tell him you are ready to play your part and he should play his part too. Show commitment, promise each other that none is going to go to bed with anger or fault without solving it.
Increase your love.
If he hurts you, increase your love. Love will win over hatred. One anger does not solve another anger. Hatred doesn’t cancel hatred. Only love does. Genuine love is not the absence of tension and friction in a relationship, but the courage to go through the tension with unflinching love. There is no perfect man anywhere, finding love is easy, but it requires skills. Love needs skills to live with the hardest of men. As a lady, you have the power to bring the strongest man to his knees. Thorns make a beautiful rose. The thorns of a rose have never kept sincere lovers from loving it. A sincere seeker looks beyond the thorns. The sacrifices of love are the thorns of a rose. If you are ever going to love the rose, you must be ready to accept its thorns. Find joy in who you are and what you do. By all means, make yourself happy. You see, if you don’t consciously learn how to find joy in your marriage, getting a greener husband will not actually solve your problem. Rather than going moody and cantankerous in life, you will see people’s actions towards you as mere drama that needs not be taken seriously in real life. You will laugh when you need to laugh, smile when you need to smile. Wherever you are, find joy in what you do. You are responsible for your own joy.
(c) Alade Blessing.