I have been a reader of your column for a long time, and I must say I find the advice you give helpful. I am 37, and have been married for four years. My wife and I have one child, who is three. Throughout our four years of marriage, we have hardly known any peace.
My wife has always been insecure, and often accuses me of being unfaithful, which is not true.
This is not all, she is rude and verbally abusive, and becomes hostile when I ask her to account for the money I give her for our upkeep – I found out some time ago that she sends some of it to her mother.
Due to these problems, in 2013, we went to a counsellor, who after listening to us, told me that my marriage will always be troubled, because my wife can’t change her bad attitude.
I didn’t chase her away though, hoping that she would change, something that did not happen.
In January this year, she left me, claiming that I arrive home late. Mind you, I work in Thika, yet we live in Nairobi.
She insisted that if I get home later than 8pm, she would not attend to me in any way. I was of course defiant, and would get home later than that.
Now my question is, should I go get her or do I forget her and move on? Please, I need your help.
From your email, it is clear that your marriage has been a difficult and unhappy one. Generally, relationships are tough.
They require daily management and sacrifice to keep them afloat.
Although the challenges and conflict we go through provide opportunities for growth of our relationship, this may leave it strained and beaten up, particularly where issues are re-current or are not fully dealt with.
Unresolved issues and unfulfilled demands have a way of undermining a relationship.
Also, the perspective a spouse may have on the other plays a lot on the faith the two have in each other, and hence the relationship.
Your wife’s perspective of you is that of suspicion, and this of course created a certain level of mistrust which cannot just be washed away by denial or by ignoring the elephant in the room.
I also feel that to only attribute this disharmony to her insecurities and negative attitude may be naive to a certain extent.
This does not mean that I am defending her actions. My worry is that you seem to think that she is the only one that needs changing.
Perhaps you need changing to. What makes her doubt your faithfulness for instance? Have you done something to make her lose trust in you?
The fact is that you cannot afford to demand blind trust.
Also, the complaint of her lack of financial accountability should be separated from her desire to support her parents.
There is nothing wrong with her supporting her mother, but you need to come to an agreement about how to do this, rather than her doing it in secrecy.
SIT DOWN AND TALK
How much, when to send, who to send it to and the period within which such support will be given.
My philosophy is that if you decide to look for the bad in others, you will find it in plenty. The reverse is also true, look for the good that is in others and there will be plenty to unearth.
What I see in your relationship is some elements of competition, and seeking to find fault in each other.
However, I believe that the two of you must have found something pleasurable in each other at some point.
Building on the good will help you to find common ground to deal with the injuries in your relationship.
Her leaving says that you do not listen to her, even when she raises issues that she feels need genuine attention.
If her complains about you are totally untrue, meaning that you never come home late, and are not unfaithful as she claims, then she has a problem.
But if her complains are true, but lack understanding of why this is happening, then you two should sit down and talk.
This time though, do not scratch the surface of these issues, rather, dig until you get to the bottom.
Mine is a very complicated case. I have been dating sporadically for a number of years. My last relationship, which I thought could have led to marriage flopped after my partner cheated on me. We tried to solve the issues that were undermining our relationship, but it did not work, so I let it go. I’m in my late thirties, and I really want to find a mature person to settle down with. The problem is that there is more often a very big age gap between me and the women I meet. Those that I meet, who are my age mates, already have two or three children. Is age difference a factor to consider while looking for someone to marry? Kindly advice.
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that my disappointment with many singles is their failure to realise that success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate.
As you look for the right person to settle down with, you must first strive to be the right person, with the kind of values that others will find attractive.
If you don’t have attractive attributes, you can be sure that no one will want to know you more. Remember the old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.”
Second, you need to know the kind of values you are looking for in a marriage partner.
Without this, you will drift all over the place, like a boat tossed about by the strong waves of the sea, pushed to whatever direction the winds may take it.
In essence, our values help us determine behaviour, choices, attitudes, and the way we live our lives. This is what attracts certain people to you.
Those attracted to you either don’t have those values that you have, and therefore admire them, or they embrace the same values, and therefore sense the kindered spirit in you
Enough about you and your values. To get the right person to spend the rest of your life with, you need to list the values you would want in the woman you are looking for.
If the women that gravitate towards you don’t have these values, then move on swiftly, because the relationship will just not work.
Look at the women that hang around you through the lens of your expectations. These expectations include age, which seems to be a big deal to you.
What I have observed is that age is not such a big factor particularly where the woman is younger than the man.
Unfortunately, it is not in my place to determine which age would suitable for you, only you can decide that.
I have also observed that many of us tend to be swayed by what others think when it comes to our relationship.
We are controlled by what other people think of our relationship that what we feel about it.
When you do get into a relationship, ensure that what you value about the relationship is enough to sustain an argument on why you got into the relationship in the first place, otherwise people will sway you with their ideas about what you should or should not do.
Also, it is easier to confess love for someone than it is to carry out the responsibilities that accompany this confession.
Suppose you admire all the qualities you see in her but she turns out to be much younger than you are, will you walk away?
We decide that a person is right for us if we feel good, safe, and fulfilled when with them.
I am of the conviction that the right person will be themselves before you, communicate their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment, and desire to grow through the experiences you face together.
To find out whether you are compatible with each other, you should make an effort to find out about that person’s background, beliefs, likes, dislikes, values, practices and associations – this is what will tell you what they value.
What I am saying is that the success of any relationship is directly linked to shared values. Age is relative.
Hello Mr kitoto,
I am an avid reader of your column. I am 25, and at university, hoping to graduate in December this year. I am in love with a collegemate - she is doing the same course as I am doing, but she is behind me by a year. I feel she also loves me, going by how she responds to me, For instance, when I text her, she texts me back. She also listens attentively when I speak, and respects my opinions. A week ago, I confessed to her that I was in love with her, only for her to inform me that in her eyes, I am a brother and friend. Sir, how can I convince her to love me back?
The fact is that in some cases, that woman you secretly love sees you as a friend, and nothing more – you are simply someone she can confide in and hang out with. For some, this feeling may be temporary, but as they learn more about you, the platonic love they feel could change.
Hang in there, but if she does not change her mind after sometime, accept the inevitable – she does not see herself with you beyond your current friendship. From your email, it is clear that she has no romantic interests towards you.
If you keep pestering her, she will begin to feel uncomfortable, and might just end your friendship.
A wise man is the one that knows when it is time to walk away. Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to meet others as you pine over love that might just never be requited.
Until your friend opens the door, which she might not do, you will have to admire her from a distance and remain just a friend.
One more thing to bear in mind is that your once free and easy friendship might become uneasy, now that you have declared your love. It is not easy spending time with someone who rejected you, no matter how gently or politely. Be ready for this.