Tunde: What is with you and this everyday questioning. My goodness, you are beginning to choke me with all your nagging. Gosh! **Tunde yelled as he stumps out of the family room moving towards the bedroom**
Iyawo Olele: **In a subtle voice, following Tunde**….Me, nag? Wow! Just because I asked you why you came home late…… a-g-a-i-n (5 days in a row), you are calling me a nag. Don’t I have the right to ask? Even if it’s for the sake of safety, I need to know where you are and approximately, at what time you will get home. I am your wife Tunde and it is my responsibility to know.
Iyawo Olele in thoughts ….. “this is really getting tiring for me. It’s been going on for almost 2 months now. I’m beginning to think something bigger is going on with Tunde that he’s not sharing with me. God please help me. Should I wait for a more appropriate time when he is calmer to discuss with him? Should I continue to watch him, maybe this storm will pass? What if it doesn’t pass? Ha! God, I’m in trouble. Maybe I should talk to Dolapo about this. She seems to know a lot about marital challenges/struggles since she’s been married way longer than me. But then Tunde might frown at me discussing our issues with a stranger. Counselling?…….. (shaking her head) Noooo. I think that’s a bit early. Exhaling…… Lord please help me, I am so confused…….
Simple, but yet very common scenario. A place where a lot of us find ourselves quite a number of times. We are turned between dealing with the matters at hand ourselves, sharing it with a friend or seeking professional help. Where do we draw the line? What do you think?
Marital Struggle- The above scenario is a good example of what marital struggle is. Communication line is beginning to break down in this marriage. Dishonesty (one of the termites of relationship) is festering its way into the Iyawo Olele’s marriage. If care is not taken and the issues is dealt with soon, this may spill over (if it hasn’t already) into other parts of the relationship. Sexual intimacy will definitely begin to suffer, respect for each other will begin to diminish. Both parties soon will become nonchalant. If marital struggle is left to linger for too long, it becomes full-blown CRISIS.
Speaking to a friend and seeking help are two different things entirely
It’s good and probably advisable to keep your marital problems to yourselves because once they are spilled out you become vulnerable to being hurt. I have heard “keep your secret to yourself; your best friend has another best friend; gone are the days when a problem shared, is a problem solved; now a problem shared is a topic for gossip”. But then, realistically, I don’t think I have seen or heard a couple who has been married for 15-20 years who hasn’t at one point spoken to a friend, family about his or her relationship. Especially women.
Speaking to someone has its place in therapy- Speaking to an outsider can be viewed from different perspectives. Not every challenge/struggle should be shared with an outsider. Couple sometimes speak to friends or family because they need someone to listen to them. Not because the listener will solve the problem at hand but just to have someone to talk to at times does have a calming effect. Sometimes, one just needs to have that moment of venting. Everyone needs someone to talk to at one point or the other in life. God knows I’ve had my share of venting. Please note, speaking to friends and family should never be a default. As much as possible try to keep your business to yourself. Your relationship is safer that way. Who you speak to matters a lot too.
I took to my Instagram and Facebook pages asking this same question. Different people had different school of thoughts. Most people believe couples should not share their struggles with outsiders while some think they should. For the ones that believe couples should, here is their rationale
“I say yes, but it depends on the company, if it is for lifting each other’s weaknesses then yes, but if for the sake of labeling, then no…. sharing weaknesses and strength, and knowing other people’s mistakes, can sometimes be a blessing…” I agree with this but then again, exercise caution.
Tread softly with delicate struggles- Challenges such as financial struggle, parenting (exposing your children’s weakness is not advisable), sexual intimacy challenge, are issues that one needs to tread softly before sharing. These types of struggles should be discussed with one’s spouse prior to sharing. You want to be sure you and your spouse are both on the same page and are both comfortable taking your matters out if you think it might snowball.
When to speak out- this is very broad but I’ll just scratch it on the surface
When communication line is broken- This is the bedrock of a health marriage. Try your best to communicate but if all your efforts are futile, you must speak out.
Infidelity- When one or both of you have been unfaithful. You must speak out.
Abuse- Physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse. If you experience any of these, please speak out.
When sexual life is suffering- This may or may not be an issue that requires an alarm but if it deteriorates to a level whereby 3 months goes by without any intimacy and it’s not because you’re not in the same city, I really think you need to ring that alarm. Remember, sexual intimacy is essential for marital bonding.
Dishonesty/lack of trust- These are termites that can eat up a relationship if not dealt with immediately.
Question of the Day- I haven’t exhausted this list because I want you to add yours. What are the issues that you think require speaking to counselors, close wise friends and family about? Or maybe you don’t believe marital issues should be discussed outside the 4 walls of marriage. Please share your thoughts below. I appreciate your views and I’m looking forward and hoping to learn from them.
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