After four kids, Mercy went for tubal occlusion, a rather permanent means of avoiding conception. This she did without conferring with her husband, George. It was a thought she came up with just because she felt four kids of three girls and a boy were enough for her. But was it enough for George?
Three months after her surgery, she had severe pain accompanied by an unusual bleeding. It was something she couldn’t bear and George, thinking it was a miscarriage, rushed her to their family gynaecologist only to be told that the bleeding is normal for women who took the permanent family planning method.
George was stunned, he couldn’t believe his ears. That his wife took such step without consulting him? It was to be the start of a huge strain in their marriage; ten years of marriage now facing huge friction because of the action of one person in taking a unilateral decision on such a sensitive matter.
In any relationship, and especially a marriage relationship, you must recognise and respect the presence, position and opinion of the other person.
You can’t just wake up and decide on anything just as you feel. You can’t embark of certain things without the knowledge or approval of your partner.
Now someone might ask: “Isn’t that me losing my individuality?” Nope, it’s not. Rather, it’s you making your partner feel like a needed part of you, making them feel the ties that bind you, and letting them know you value their opinion and criticisms.
No one wants to feel ignored, especially not by their partner. I remember when I was deciding on what hair to make, I brought my boyfriend in and we both decided on something, same thing on my mind actually and tell you what, he felt so happy I asked him.
Now, it’s not a biggie but he liked the feeling of inclusion. I don’t ask him every time I change my hairstyle, but at least he knows his opinion is valid and valued. Everyone wants to feel like that around their partner; everyone wants to be part of vital decision-making in their relationship.
When making financial decisions, it’s okay to involve your partner. If there’s an investment you want to get your money into, letting them know might save you lots of trauma from possible wrong moves.
Now, it doesn’t matter who earns more or less, simply telling your partner gives them a sense of belonging that they are a major part of you. This has nothing to do with gender; rather it’s aimed at strengthening your relationship.
Decisions about in-laws are also to be jointly made, who visits and how long they are visiting should be decided and adhered to by both parties involved in a relationship. One doesn’t decide and then impose it on the other to just accept, it causes friction. One person will feel undermined and disrespected.
Decisions about kids are very essential and shouldn’t be unilateral. To have or not to have kids is something both parties will decide on, when and how many also should be considered and decided upon. No one is allowed to just wake up and decide to have or not have kids without duly considering the other person’s opinion. This is because they are part of you and affected by your decisions directly or indirectly.
Same way you came together in mutual understanding, agreement, commitment and love to start and nurture a relationship, you’re to come together when decisions are to be made.
No decision is too small or too big to have your partner involved in; it’s only about you valuing them as much as you would want them to value you.
Decisions about household furniture, change of job, vacations (except for a romantic surprise), should be shared – if only in passing. There’s no need for a Beijing conference on every small issue, but a quick text or WhatsApp message during the day, or a flyaway comment later over dinner might be all it takes.
Again, the decision-making time is a time you drop sentiments and look at issues objectively. Every form of Me and I should be replaced with Us and We, this is because by coming together, a stronger force is built and unity is achieved.
Some people would love their partners to help them decide which clothes or shoes to wear, it’s okay if you have such partner. Some of us are excited about having our partners involved in all we do, and it’s good as it fosters healthy relationship.
Always remember it’s your relationship, and the power to make it work lies in you… and on you.
Thanks for reading. As always, we welcome your thoughts, comments, feedback and suggestions.
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