By Francis Ewherido
A few weeks ago, I wrote about spouses who sponsored their other halves to the university and when they graduated, they dumped the benefactor-spouses, because they felt their spouses are now beneath their new status.
When I was writing then, I felt ingratitude and ego tripping were responsible for the obnoxious behaviour. I have had a second thought about it and it just occurred to me that intellectual disequilibrium can also be responsible for such actions. Let us assume that at the beginning, the couple was on the same wavelength.
Then one goes for further studies and acquires more knowledge, while the other was basically stagnant. Knowledge transforms people, their actions, behaviours, thought process, appearance, etc. As the knowledge gap increases, the couple begins to drift apart until suddenly they have nothing in common. Unless they are hypocrites or identify the imbalance and take the tortuous route of redressing it, divorce/separation becomes inevitable.
Would be and young couples should learn from this. Family comes first and when couples start having children, sometimes they decide that one of them, often the wife, should quit her job and be home full time for the children. Sometimes, they start a small business, like a shop, saloon or even a supermarket, to make the woman’s time flexible to look after the children. No problem with that, but while the spouse in a corporate organization is developing his mental muscles, attending one course after the other, brainstorming with colleagues in the office day in day out, what is the other spouse doing with her spare time?
Some spend it in front of the television, but that is not the real tragedy. There are so many educative programmes on television, they can sharpen their skills or grow their knowledge in their area of interest. But no, they spend it on entertainment programmes that add no value to their lives. Others spend it on the internet and social media in areas that do not add value to their lives.
As one spouse grows in intellectual capacity and begins to evolve, the other spouse remains stagnant or even depreciates. Soon they begin to argue over issues they used to agree on. Then you begin to hear comments like, “my husband/wife has changed.” Of course, he/she has! He/she has improved and become a better person. You are the problem because you have remained stagnant or depreciated.
To worsen your case, your husband/wife interacts with people of the opposite sex in the office and at other gatherings. Then he/she begins to wonder what is wrong with his/her other half? “Why can’t he/she be like these sharp people around me?” Mind you, this is not about comparing your spouse with others; it is about wanting the best for your spouse. Sometimes, a spouse who kissed you goodbye before going to work and even called during the day to check on you and the kids comes back from work behaving as if you have been quarrelling for the past one year. Some of the unexpected and shocking cases of adultery you hear about are fallouts from frustrations over intellectual marital disequilibrium.
So what do you do? For young couples and those preparing for marriage, whatever arrangements you put in place to earn a living and also give your children quality time, ensure you carry your spouse along in your intellectual journey. Sometimes, it is a more difficult than I am saying it.
You have spouses who are too lazy to read anything apart from novels, spouses who are addicted to television programmes, especially drama series and sports, there are spouses who are just intellectually lazy, etc. But you do not really have a choice, if you want to avoid landmines in future. Have you ever watched a sack race where two racers are paired in one sack? That is the kind of thing you need to do with your spouse, intellectually speaking. You need patience, tolerance and special skills to do it, and you will fall many times before you get it right, but the victory is always sweet and filling.
Every spouse must, however, realize that is a crime against God to bury your talents like the selfish servant (Matthew 25: 14-30). Talents that could have been honed to improve families, communities and societies have been buried by many people. Spouses should develop their God-given talents to enrich their marriages. One of the reasons why some spouses are easily ignored or thrown out of their marriages is because they are very much dispensable. They have nothing unique to offer; nothing to make their spouses incomplete without them. Is it money, your spouse can get it somewhere else. Is it sex?
It is in every corner. The only sex that can be scarce is the holy one, that which is done within matrimonial confines. But as a spouse you do not bank on holy sex because fidelity is one of the most violated commandments of God. You need to develop those innate talents God has given you and unleash them on your spouse. When you do that, your lives become intertwined and he/she becomes incomplete without. Beyond the mystical two people becoming one (Mark 10:9), that is the real deal
I used to think that many of those divorces that happen after 20, 30, 40 or more years of marriage were as a result of monotony, boredom and familiarity breeding contempt. But I have come to realize that intellectual marital disequilibrium is one monster that can capsize any marriage no matter how old.