Yesterday, we established the fact that love comes at a price. The price of love we said, are the hidden expectations,terms and conditions that each lover possesses. We made it clear that such terms and conditions must be made known upfront by each couple before commitment is made to one another. This will avoid the relationship dying an untimely death as a result of skyrocketing expectations. Today we intend to be more specific as to what some of these terms should be.One reason why the terms and conditions of a relationship should be made known upfront is because two can not walk together except they agree. What that means is that agreement must always precede commitment. If you commit externally to something you don’t agree with internally, the resulting conflict will put the relationship in jeopardy. This is one primary reason for the high mortality rate of relationships in our generation.
The first of the terms and conditions to be made known before commitment is made in love, are the SEXUAL TERMS of the relationship. Sex is a strong force. It is so strong a force that it can either be a unifying or a dividing force in human relationships. This is coupled with the fact that very few are comfortable with discussing the subject because of our socio-religious conditioning. How then can we agree about it,if we never talk about it?
Case in point, from the judeo-christian perspective to which I heavily subscribe, sexual expression is reserved for those who are in a certified marriage. What then happens if someone with this school of thought find themselves in a relationship with someone who doesn’t subscribe to this perspective? The resulting sexual tension can destroy the relationship prematurely. This is perhaps why it is important to ensure that each lover subscribes to a common world view before attempting a relationship together.
Regarding sexual terms, the dimensions of sexual abstinence should be agreed upon. The issue of sexual frequency should also be addressed. How much of sex is too much or how little is too little? The issue of ethical dimensions of sexual practices should be addressed. What stand will the couple take regarding oral sex, anal sex, sex styles, BDSM and the likes. All these issues can not be swept under the rug. Both prospective couples and married couples should reach a consensus on these issues before committing to one another. If not they might have to settle for a turbulent relationship.
The second set of terms that must be made obvious before commitment are the MARITAL TERMS of the relationship. Issues like the when of marriage must be addressed lest one find themselves in a metuselah relationship or melchizedik courtship,having no beginning nor end of days. I personally believe that the hope of marriage deffered makes the heart of a relationship sick. The nature of the marriage too should be agreed upon. Would the couple prefer a large and loud societal wedding or a more private and reclusive arrangement?
Under the marital terms issues like child bearing should be addressed. Issues like the role of long distance in their marriage should be addressed. Though I personally believe that the concept of distance and love are mutually exclusive. Other issues like the limits of external family interference should also be publicly addressed.
The third set of terms to be addressed are the FINANCIAL TERMS of the relationship. Though we all hate to admit it, money plays a crucial role in human civilization. If we aren’t thinking about getting it,we are working to get it. When we aren’t working to get it, we are busy spending it or wondering how we spent it. Money is important.
While money cannot buy love, it certainly can amplify it. It is important that lovers reach a consensus as to how it should be made, saved, spent and allocated. If this is not hammered out in detail it could bring untold strain to the relationship. Issues like the role of philanthropy and religious financial obligations should be addressed. I was recently told of a husband who nearly killed his wife for giving her car to a church. On a personal level,I have had to reject a car gift from a lovely lady because I wasn’t certain that her man consented to it. Financial and material consensus is crucial if our relationships will succeed.
The fourth set of terms and conditions to be addressed before commitment is made are the EXIT TERMS of the relationship. In other words under what conditions will this relationship be terminated and rendered null and void? These includes what you won’t tolerate in that relationship and the limits of what you will put up with as well. I believe every relationship should have exit clauses, even marriages.
I believe these terms should be made clear from the beginning. Every relationship is like a building, every valid building possesses what is called emergency exits. Since the Victoria Hall disaster in Sunderland, England in 1883, in which 180 children died because a door had been bolted at the bottom of a stairwell, Health and Safety regulations have mandated the use of emergency exits in most public buildings globally.
Unfortunately this emergency exit innovations have not been applied in most conservative relationships in spite of the fact that more people are dying from the emotional fire and heartbreak generated by toxic relationships. On the other hand, the more liberal societies have turned these emergency exits to anarchistic exits as is evidenced by the lack of marital commitment and towering divorce rate in those societies.
The facts must be stated a building without a legitimate exit point is most likely a prison. Likewise a relationship without exit terms is most likely a prison. The way I see it there should be three main exit terms in every emotional relationship including marriage. The first is pathological cheating and sexual unfaithfulness as in adultery. The second is a recurring pattern of physical abuse and lastly extreme religious differences. Whatever your exit terms are, consensus should be reached before commitment is made, note, consensus before commitment.
The final set of terms and conditions I want to address today are the TERMS OF AUTHORITY in the relationship. Power is a crucial issue in most relationships. Who will call the shots? Whose opinion will count? How will a clash of directions and priorities be resolved? Which external authorities will the relationship be accountable to? Which world view will dominate the decisions in the relationship? What spiritual body of thought will the relationship subscribe to?
The above list is not exhaustive but it gives you an idea of how to locate the center of gravity for your relationship. These authority terms also includes being clear as to the leadership styles that the relationship will subscribe to. Will it be autocratic? Or will it be participatory? All of these authority factors should be dealt with openly before a love commitment should be made.
If an agreement as to these terms can not be arrived at,it is best the individuals go their separate ways because the conflicts that will be generated by such divergence in views can be strong enough to ruin the relationship. All of these points to the fact that for a relationship to work it must subscribe to a “talk” before “touch” culture and policy. Unfortunately what obtains in our generation is a “touch” before “talk” culture. In the first culture couples “talk about everything before they touch anything”. In the latter, the couples “touch everything before even talking about anything”. The facts remain that couples who talk about everything before touching anything will do better in love than couples who touch everything and hardly talk about anything. The choice is yours today. Once again I love you but terms and conditions apply. Do have a lovely weekend.
THE GREATEST IS LOVE!!!
Love Dynamics Global.
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