Why I Think Some Marriages Fail Despite All Good Efforts To make Them Work - Part 7

Today I will talk about 2 other things that are quite problematic in relationships today. They are Preferences and Principles. I do not wish to get too much into trying to give you the most accurate oxford dictionary meaning of these two words because the truth is, it is not knowing the definitions of words that make us accept the truth or the authority of the same. Let me give you an example: If you knew for the first time today that God means: self existent; all powerful; creator; mighty father; maker of all beings and one to whom we will have to give account on the day of judgement, Will it make you respect him better? I think no, it won't. Therefore I will just continue as if you know what these words mean, and in case you don't know, don't worry when i'm through explaining myself you will not only know what these words mean but also that what we know makes us responsible.

Having said that let me first tell you a few things about preference. Taking this word at face value it simply means things we prefer that are no necessarily important to other people.It will be helpful for us to know that each person has their unique preference DNA. That is we all like different things for different reasons that are only beneficial to ourselves. And that your preferences might be your rules to live by and not mine.

The people we are married to, have things they just prefer to other things and the same goes for us. This side of us is usually suppressed during our courting days simply because during this time we are not too sure as to how far we can go about revealing our true selves for fear of rejection and criticism. We also see this when we meet with strangers. I have done so many unbelievable things in the presence of outsiders that my wife would not believe that I was able to go that far. We go on and eat calamari simply to impress someone and that does not mean that I would prefer calamari to steak. Personally I don't like black tie invites because I am a very casual kind of a person, however I go there if I really have to go. Otherwise I will stay away from any occasion simply because I don't like wearing formal suits and ties, and the fact that other husbands wear suits and ties even when they go to bed has absolutely nothing to do with me, with due respect of course. 

Joyce and I used to do a lot of marital counselling and we would be surprised by the number of couples who were ready to kill each other over the colour of the curtains in the lounge or whether the man should wear trousers with turn ups or not. To the singles I must say that some of the things you can't live with now during your courtship will change and new ones may come in their place in the future. It's that bad, believe me. have you ever come across a couple whether single or married, that looked like they were dressed for a carnival; guy fox; or a circus and yet they were the happiest at the function. But then there was this well dressed unhappy man whose wife chose the clothes for him. So the best is make sure that you like what you are settling for now; like the person with all your heart and leave the rest to the future because more is still coming. I truly hope that I'm not frightening the singles. And if you have forced him to do a German cut ask him if he's happy, and if he's not let him have the French cut and like him that way. This tip should be  applicable vice-versa.

Also let me mention that preferences come and go with stages in life. When I met  Joyce in 1980 back then we had two fashion cultures: the Hippies era was just overlapping the Ivy's era. If you don't know what I'm talking about don't worry much. So back then we wore tight pants with front pocket. They had to be scotch or striped for you to have that original look.  We did afro hair with big collared tight shirts and finished each sentence with "man!"| regardless of who you were talking to. Looking at myself back in the 80's and today I'm almost tempted to believe in evolution because so much has changed. Now imagine if Joyce was not married to me as a person but to me the ivy or the hippie. It would all be gone now.

Another thing is that when Joyce and I met we both had friends that we had before we knew each other, and our understanding was that they were not "our" friends but hers and mine separately. We agreed to drop them and start our lives from scratch. There is absolutely no need to try to "donate" your friends to your fiance or spouse.These were people we had in our pre-relationship era, that were not going to be automatically integrated into our present relationship. It is unfair to expect your partner to inherit some people and some things, it should be enough that you are coming with your striped pyjamas and 3 piece night dress. And don't ask me why I tolerated some of these things back then. read the the second paragraph again. But then can you see how serious this can be, and how much we need to go over them preferably before we even make a commitment to marriage.

Another thing that I have noticed is that women want us to believe that they are born decorators and home designers. and this is far from the truth. I am an Architect by profession. I also have a diploma in Interior Designing to go with my Architectural qualification. My job is to design both the outside and inside of any building. I can do facelifts to almost any boring dwelling. I have designed and drawn our house and it looks great, and I'm a man. I get truly amazed when women claim to be born with that ability. I can tell you that I have been to school for it but we occasionally have arguments with my wife over these things. I have come to realize that with women it's a responsibility to decorate and sometimes re-arrange  the house, therefore I let Joyce tell me where to put the sofa even when I know it does not look good there. I have nothing to lose because it does no harm whatsoever in our lives. That is simply her preference . There are sometimes when I have my way too. We have totally agreed to never lose sleep over the colour of the table cloth but rather to try and influence each other positively using our abilities.

My favorite colour is black and my second favourite is any colour with black in it. I mean everybody knows that black is for intelligent guys! [just kidding] anyway I love black and I don't know why. Joyce prefers a whole lot of colours instead but she has three favourites: Gold; White; and silver, and sometimes when we go out shopping she would try to show me the "importance" of having other colours. I listen to her but then I hear what she prefers and not what is a rule. Wearing matching clothes as a couple always looks cute but that's just that. There's nothing spiritual or profound about it.

Joyce likes soccer, I don't. I prefer wild animals documentaries instead. Joyce hates snakes and any slithery creature. They are my favourite. I help her to watch soccer. I would normally sit there enjoying it because my wife likes it but never getting any emotional as she does. Then we would watch wild animals, including snakes. We even went to the snake park together. She will make all sorts of unkind comments about the snakes but it's not a problem at all. I once had a snake in our home. She evicted the poor thing. But she is my wife and the snake was not and I can live with that!
This is how we get around each others preferences. We have never fought over a single preference over the past 28yrs that we have been married.

I only started biking at 44. Joyce never went biking with me once and it means nothing at all, she simply prefers not to. I love the wild outdoors and she prefers to leave the comfort of our home and go stay in a hotel with a similar setup for a week. We have gone together to all these places well understanding that they are simply what each of us prefers. What's important is we are happy with each other and supportive in all respects. 
In 1 Corinthians 7:15 the bible tells us that  "God has called us to live in peace"
To be continued....

This entry was posted on Monday, June 27, 2011 . You can leave a response and follow any responses to this entry through the Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) .


I hope this is not the only session on preferences. The truth is that we are two people with different upbringings, backgrounds, experiences, etc. If we can dwell and put our focus on preferences we may end up killing each other. My wife and I are two different people. I like socializing and being with friends and my wife is the opposite. Since we got married my life has been what others will consider boring as my daily schedule is go to work and come back home. I try not to crowd her about church issues and God. I've never used God's Word when discussing things with her. Some will say this is wrong as God is the centre of our lives. What I mean is that when we talk about things I don't use my understanding of the bible and try to enforce it to her. Coming back to friends, I had to loose a number of best friends in order to be with my wife. My wife doesn’t like cooking and I do a lot of cooking. Sometimes she will be home and I come back from work with an expectation that she would have prepared a meal and to my surprise she will ask me as I come home “what’s for supper today?” Traditionalist will say “ke nyetse and this is unacceptable” but the truth is this is possible and the way we chose to do things

My husband & i have been married for 4 years.I have eaten food cooked by him 2 or 3 times in 4 years.My husband never cooks & u will never find him in the kitchen preparing food for HIMSELF.Sometimes when i cum back from work i will feel so tired and wish to find cooked food because he would be home,NEVER.Does he prefer not to cook?