Luke was a troubled young soul. He had been expelled from two different high schools and he was already in trouble in the 3rd school.
Luke lived with his grandparents in a village in rural Kenya. The grandparent’s home was rather crowded and there was no order.
Grandfather was alcoholic and grandmother was a chronic complainer who was avoided by all the children.
Luke was born in Nairobi. That was where he spent his childhood. He also attended primary school in the city.
Their family was looked down upon in the neighborhood because of their father’s reputation. He was well educated up to university level and had a good job but his drinking and violent nature were out of control.
Luke’s world was turned upside down when he was in the first year in high school. His mother left with his two sisters after a nasty episode of violence from the father. He had attempted to strangle her.
It did not take long before his father took him to live with his grandparents and his life became one unending nightmare.
His two aunts beat him up whenever they pleased, whether he had done wrong or not. They often abused him in reference to his mother, never forgetting to remind him that they were not his mother and he could go look for his mother.
“Your mother is such a proud and foolish woman. Had she been an obedient wife to your father, you would not be abandoned here in the village. I have been married to your grandfather for very many years and I have never left my home and only death will take me out of here.
A wise woman knows how to respect her husband. I tried to tell my son that there was something I did not like about that woman from the city right from the very first day he brought her home to introduce her to us. My son should have got himself a wife from the village and he would not be suffering.” Grandma often told him.
Grandma often quarreled Luke’s two aunts the same way, telling them how she had never left her marriage yet they were unable to humble themselves and respect their husbands.
Luke’s father grew up in a dysfunctional home. His father was alcoholic and abusive. He, therefore, lacked a male role model to emulate. He grew up untrained. He lacked life skills to enable him build a home with a solid foundation.
He married a hard working wife but did not benefit from whatever she brought into the marriage because he could not even see her inputs as benefiting the family as a whole but as a threat to him and his position as the head of the home.
I usually talk about investing in ourselves in order to become valuable members of society. Before you can give value to another person, you need to have the value to give.
Marriage brings together two individuals who are different one from another. No two people can be the same in everything, even siblings who share two parents. So much shapes who we become; nature (genetics) + nurture – upbringing and other experiences in life.
Luke’s father could have had some genetic weakness. We don’t know that for sure but the traits in his family indicate that some kind of mental or emotional instability could be running in the family.
Had Luke’s mother paid attention to his family and how family members behaved, she could have detected that something was not right. She could have insisted on having the issues addressed before marriage. She could also have asked questions and sought to understand what she was getting into.
Team: Together Everyone Achieves More
The two partners in a marriage are like the right hand and the left hand. Each brings unique gifts, talents, skills and expertise that benefits the family. They complement each other.
Teamwork is essential for combining various talents, skills and knowledge so that the family can attain a common goal. In any kind of institution, teamwork is the most effective way to ensure efficiency.
Teamwork in marriage is not task oriented but is mate oriented. A task might traditionally belong to one but he or she is not competent or is not at ease doing it. With teamwork, the other partner does not quarrel, belittle or criticize but is supportive.
Why do people find it difficult to assist their spouses with tasks that are viewed not to be theirs? Maybe a husband is good at cooking a certain dish while the wife is not. He does not bring up a fight about it. None of us is born knowing anything; everything we know is learned.
There are many ways to be supportive of a partner who struggles with a task. If you are better at it, you can train and coach him or her yourself. I remember the days my husband and I were dating. I had been to secretarial college and was good in typing. But I had never used a computer in my life.
My husband had learned typing using a manual typewriter just like me but he was employed and had access to computers while I was still a student and only had access to a manual typewriter.
What if a husband lacks financial management skills, a role he is supposed to take leadership in? If the wife is good at it, there is no crisis.
My husband tried to teach me how to drive and we made zero progress. I had to enroll in a driving school. As long as someone in the team is good at something, there is no crisis even if the one who is supposed to handle that task isn’t. Marriage is based on love and learning something together is no big deal. It can be fun.
Later when the children come and they grow, we discover that there are things they are good at that we need to learn from them. Our first born daughter has taught me some critical business skills for example, such as how to close a deal.
Every skill or talent that exists in a family is for the benefit of the entire team. So feel free to ask for help when you need it.
For Better, For Worse
We get married for better, for worse. That means that we go through the good and the bad together.
Teamwork requires maturity on the part of both partners. It is not possible to have any kind of team work with someone who is uncooperative, abusive or refuses to learn what he or she needs to learn.
I hear people who blame people who give up on their marriages and quit, quoting to them the for better, for worse clause. It makes me wonder if they have really looked at the dynamics of the relationship to understand what went wrong.
A totally uncooperative spouse makes it very difficult to build a marriage. It is like trying to walk on one leg. One will eventually get worn out. Two are better than one. Having someone else to walk with you on life’s journey makes your journey easier if there is mutual respect and cooperation.
A mature person desires to become a better person by constantly improving in those areas of life that he or she is not good at. A team player wants the team to succeed and will do what it takes to make that happen.
This article is written by Susan Catherine Keter; Life Coach, Mentor, Motivational Speaker, Freelancer and Blogger.
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