Legacy Of Love



Aidy Thomas

It is a good timing for us to pause and look back at what we have been doing with  our relationships. This article was inspired by a simple comment from my dear  friend: “Throughout my life in my parents’ house, I never heard them quarrel or  insult each other.” As soon as she said that, a bell rang in my heart, what a legacy  to leave for your generation! Do we ever stop to think that our children and other  people are watching us closely to see how we live our lives?

I am sure my friend was not trying to say her parents were perfect, but I will say  they are sensible. It is difficult for two people from diverse background to live  together, especially at the beginning of the union, without misunderstanding. I once  heard a man say “I never get upset with my wife, no matter what she does.” To me, it  was strange but when he explained further, I totally agreed with his claims. He  said: “I take everything she does as an attempt to please me; if the food is salty,  I assume she was trying to get the best taste for me to enjoy, but it turned out the  opposite. Why should I nag and abuse her? Yes, I can tell her nicely to reduce the  quantity of salt but never would I go near anger.”

This man is really nice, but believe me, this was not so from the beginning of the  marriage. It takes time for you to trust someone to that extent and trust is not  cheap. If you had a disagreement over the amount of money to spend on family feeding  and you come back to meet a funny meal, would you not say it is because she wants to  punish you for being stingy?

Whatever the case, my suggestion is, do your best to keep the children or people  around you out of your ‘heat.’

However, it is important to note that a lot of factors influence the kind of legacy  we pass to the generation next. Some of these are:

•Parental Influence: Every marriage has the input of at least six people—the wife’s  father, mother or whoever brought her up; the husband’s father, mother or the people  under who he grew up and the couple in the marriage, making six persons. This simple  logic suggests that we are likely to do the things we saw our parents do after all,  these are our first counsellors, so they just tell us their opinion of life.

Tom and Praise (as I chose to call them) are in a marriage of over 20 years and  their two daughters have also married, but live not quite far from them. One would  believe living close to his parents’ in-law is a blessing, but Lee, Tom and Praise’s  first daughter’s husband, had a different experience altogether.

Marriage for Lee has been tough and his wife just refused to agree with him on a lot  of things—argument and quarrels have become the order of the day. What Lee found  totally strange and unbearable was the wife’s attitude of negligence—she expected  her husband to do the house chores, care for bingo, their pet dog, go ashopping and  prepare meals. I am sure by now, you will be asking, ‘so what was she doing as a  woman?’

Exactly the same question I asked when the case was mentioned to me. Each time Lee  complained to his mother in-law, she would play it down and say both of them were  kids and needed to give time for their love to mature. Since the marriage was still  very young, Lee decided to allow some time, perhaps his darling wife would learn and  adjust to her new role as a wife, but unfortunately, things just got worse by the  day.

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At a point, Lee could no longer bear it and made up his mind to go and tell his  father in-law and not mother in-law again.

As he got into his car and drove to his in-laws, he noticed the mother in-law’s car  was not parked at the usual place, which suggested she probably had gone out. Lee  smiled to himself, knowing he was going to talk to his father in-law uninterrupted.

He got down quickly from the car and pressed the door bell. There came his wife’s  father looking tired and scruffy and he wondered what happened to him but decided  not to express any surprise so not to embarrass the old man.

Lee could hardly sit down on the sofa before pouring his heart out to the father  in-law. Amazingly, the old man showed no sign of surprise; he only kept smiling and  nodding. When Lee finally paused to hear what the old man had to say, the father  in-law signalled to him to follow him and he led him straight to the back of the  building, where he had piles of dirty clothes brought out by his wife for him to  wash and lamented “this is how this woman has been using me from the time I married  her. I am ashamed to tell people about her behaviour and I can’t divorce her because  of my political ambition. She makes life difficult for any domestic help I hired so  I stopped thinking that way. It is only both of us living here and if I wouldn’t  clean the house, it remains dirty.”

Lee didn’t know when he screamed “like mother, like daughter.”

•Friends: You bear me witness that evil communication corrupts good manners. The  friends you keep determine, to a great extent, how you treat your spouse. This is  why some spouses would fight even with the last drop of blood not to see their loved  ones with people who have bad reputation.

A friend once told me how her husband came back from work and she was behaving so  irritably towards him. The next thing she heard was her husband asking if a  particular person visited and she said yes and the man said “I have noticed that any  time she comes around, your behaviour changes. Please I don’t ever want to see you  with her again.”

There are a lot of other factors, but I advise you to watch out for anything that  would affect or destroy the kind of example shown to people, especially our  children.

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