If you grew up in a Nigerian household like I did, chances are very high that when you got married, your parents or guardian warned you sternly never to divulge details of your marital life to third parties.
I agree with them.
However, this would have been a better piece of advice IF our parents explained this “third party” matter to us properly. In any case, I do not blame them because I have come to learn that people can only operate within what they know and understand. From the benefit of their experience, they shared with us knowledge that they believe will put us on the right path.
Let’s be honest though, many couples today are victims of that advice. Couples are living with problems they are unable to solve. They hold on tenaciously to the belief that involving a third party in their marriage is either a sign of weakness and marital failure or an avenue for the wrong people to come in to their marriage.
There are definitely issues that can and should be handled by the couple, and I don’t advise bringing in a third party all the time. However, if the need arises, please know that it is not a sign of weakness to seek help. Rather, it is a sign of intelligence that shows you understand your capabilities and limits.
If you think being single is undesirable, try living in a bad marriage. Living in a bad marriage is tantamount to being locked in a cage with the keys thrown away.
Times are changing. We do not live in the era that our parents lived. This is not to say that bad people or village witches have disappeared but there is a case to be made for involving a third party in your marriage.
The question is, how do you bring in THE RIGHT third party?
Let me explain.
It will be gross foolishness for you to divulge your marital issues to every Tom, Dick and Harry. In choosing the right third party, there are some factors that should be taken into consideration.
TRUST: The right third party has to be someone who is either trustworthy or bound by the rules of their profession to treat your issue with confidentiality. If you were to see a marriage counsellor for instance, it is a given that your session will be treated with confidentiality, as dictated by the ethics of the profession. If on the other hand, you choose to confide in a friend, religious leader etc, it is best that you are confident in their ability to keep what you have discussed to themselves.
BEST INTEREST: Another important factor to consider is to be sure that whoever you divulge your sensitive information to has your best interest at heart. Need I say more? Who wants to be counselled or advised by an individual who would “knowingly or unknowingly” bring about more harm than good? I don’t care how trustworthy, the person seems. If they don’t have your interests at heart, please refrain from involving such people in your concerns. (I guess this is the category that your village people fall under. LOL)
KNOWLEDGE/EXPERTISE: Let’s be clear. Making the decision to involve a third party in your marriage should not mean that everybody becomes a listening ear to pour your heart out to. I understand that we, sometimes just want to talk, but please be careful that whoever you speak to, has the knowledge or expertise to steer you in the right direction. If an individual meets your criteria for being trustworthy and having your interest at heart, do they meet the criteria for knowledge or expertise? Will they dispense advice that will be to the advantage of your marriage? Or will their advice add fuel to the fire?
I’ll be honest with you. There are very nice people who don’t know when to keep quiet. They are trustworthy and they love you. In a heartbeat, they will listen to you and offer a shoulder to cry on but are not knowledgeable enough to help! Rather than keep quiet, they decide to become proactive and just say stuff that comes to their heads. They might be nice people but beware of their ignorance!
Also in Nigeria, we are taught to give deference to our elders and often, we make the mistake of thinking that being elderly translates to wisdom. News flash, it doesn’t!
Not every elderly person is wise. I am sorry to say but that is the truth.
IDEOLOGY: Knowing the individual’s ideology before opening up to them is important. Taking marital advice from an individual who does not believe in, or have respect for, the institution of marriage could spell doom for your own marriage.
There are people who believe in marriage but have different ideologies about certain aspects of it. For instance, an individual could believe in polygamy. This is not to say, they don’t believe in marriage, however their belief is in ‘being married to more than one person”. Other beliefs could include:
- Cheating is okay, if your partner is unaware.
- Having an open marriage where both partners are aware
- Rigid stereotyping of roles between husband and wife
- Permitted Domestic violence etc
I can’t include all examples but you get my gist. Taking advice from an individual whose ideology does not align with yours, may be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire,
In summary I will say, while it is okay to try and work things out on your own, if the situation becomes more than you can handle, know your limit and seek for help. Don’t suffer in silence while your marriage rots.
In the vein of today’s article, I will also want to remind you that I am available if you need my help for any marriage and/or sex related issues. Contact me HERE.
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