No matter the quarrel that occurs between a couple, there must be a minimum level of care that must be sustained even before the final resolution of that dispute. This was one of the principles Iyebiye and I agreed to and put into practice from our courtship days as we rehearsed marriage – and we have kept it going in the last one year. This principle is an offshoot of the no-malice rule deserving a special focus.
It doesn’t matter how much your partner has offended you and how angry you are, if they are on a journey you ought to check on them through the journey to be sure they are fine and the journey is proceeding smoothly. “Taa ba n ja, bii ka ku ko.” That’s a Yoruba adage that means, “even though we’re fighting, it’s not as bad as wishing each other death.”
I know many couples sadly who leave no boundary of a minimum level of care the moment they are in a quarrel. It’s usually as though they never loved each other before. And as though they don’t plan to ever reconcile. Unfortunately even after reconciliation, such an approach leaves a negative permanent impression in the mind of your partner about how must you can stake in protecting your ego. Whatever love you’re confessing thereafter may not carry any weight in their hearing. “You that didn’t care if I had an accident on the road just because of a little offence. Please keep your love to yourself. I don’t believe a word of it.”
In the real sense of it, the true proof that you truly love your partner is your unflinching commitment to them even when they’ve hurt you – that though they’ve really hurt you, you’re still looking out for their safety, ensuring they are fine and watching their back. This kind of commitment ought to be sacrosanct, non-derogable, a minimum; no matter what’s going on between you two.
Your partner mistakenly misses a step and falls inside the house but because of an offense that is still pending, you didn’t rush to assist them and to empathize with them? Haba! That’s too far a place to take any offense. It portrays you as a very wicked and mean person. And these are very scary tendencies that should make your partner reconsider going ahead with you into marriage. And if you’re married, too bad! You’re doing very badly.
Issues of personal safety, health, financial provision, food, career progress and allied matters are issues we must never fight with. They must remain areas of minimum level of care regardless of the misunderstanding that is pending resolution.
And so for us, no matter the quarrel, and apart from our commitment to keep talking and keep having sex (if anyone has need), we keep the minimum level of care in other important areas. My wife will still ensure that my food is ready at the right time and well set on the table even if she’s upset with me. It’s part of our agreement. Food is never what we quarrel with. She’ll still come to invite me to the table. Not that she’ll set it and leave me to figure it out myself. After the food, she’ll clear the table.
When I’m done eating, I’ll also thank her for the efforts put into making the food and comment as to how much I enjoyed it. I won’t just eat and leave without appreciation just because we’re not on the best of terms. That’ll be taking things too far.
As I have said earlier, if she needs money she still gets it without any hinderance. If she travels, I’m checking up on her every step of the way. If I hear a sound or a scream, I’ll still rush there to ensure she’s fine.
My friends, this is how to remain a Christian in the midst of heat in your home. And as you can imagine, with all of these commitments combined, you can keep the heat under control and get it dissolved within a short time.
But if you suspend everything going on in your lives including all the love you have ever professed for each other just because of a little quarrel, that quarrel will quickly snowball and go out of proportion leaving it its wake sorrows, tears and blood.
Never fight as though it is a war. Even in wars, there are standard rules of engagement – boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed.
Peniela E. Akintujoye.
©️Peniela Eniayo, Akintujoye| firstname.lastname@example.org