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William Ifeanyi Moore: Is Your 9 to 5 affecting Your 5 to 9?

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Contrary to popular belief that marriage has always been about romantic love as historical fiction might have us believe, the notion of marrying for love is actually not more than 200 years even in the so called ‘developed’ world.

In Africa most of us can still cite polygamous marriages from our grandparents (both my granddads had three wives). Before humans got comfortable enough to explore the option of romance, marriage was about functionality. Compatibility was an afterthought.

What this meant was that all a couple had to do to be graded ‘successful’ in marriage was to play their functional role. The man provided, the woman nurtured. Flash-forward to 2015, no one wants to marry for functionality anymore. To your spouse you must be a wife/husband, best-friend, psychotherapist,business partner, adventure buddy, personal comedian, partner in crime (if you know what I mean 😉 ) and everything else. And oh, like the demand to be everything to one person isn’t enough, there is the pressure to remain romantic and spontaneous endlessly providing a supply of happiness (I blame this one largely on Hollywood flicks and Disney fairy-tales).

Now if marriage was all we had to do for a living, just maybe we could be all these things to someone. But unfortunately, there is the matter of working in the post-industrial world which means for most of us, at least eight hours of the day is spent in an office. When you add overtime and Naija traffic, this time can be as much as twelve hours. And even when we are home our attention can still be somewhat divided if pending work awaits us at the office.

In the old days at least one partner was in charge of making sure the house was a home. Good luck trying to lock a university graduate in the kitchen today. Heck, most families simply cannot financially survive with only one partner working. So now we are stuck with a work life as demanding as our romantic life, and to add salt to injury, there is no reliable ‘how to have a good relationship’ book because in this age of companionship no two relationships are the same (this is why I don’t read relationship advice, I just study the person).

All these factors discussed above has put the mental effort of maintaining a healthy relationship so high that it is even unattainable for some, especially when we are overly career-driven (and yes, this applies to men too). In an economy where money is essential for the most basic of comfort and social status is equitable to bank balances, it isn’t hard to see why so many people will pick their work over their spouse. And there is the security threat. Women will say, your money will never wake up in the morning and decide to leave you. The same cannot be said about a husband.

So here we are, in need of money for comfort, in need of love with all our ridiculous expectations for happiness (unless you are a monk or catholic priest). What should we do? In my humble opinion I think we have to start from understanding that we are all individuals. Expecting someone else to be everything to you is setting them up to fall short and fail. We need to adjust our expectations to accommodate the reality. So instead of fighting for things to be as we wish them to be, perhaps we should see things as they are and make them work for us as best we can under the circumstance. This means having emotional discipline and using emotional intelligence. Not running to a list of standby lovers on your phone because your partner is busy at work. Opening blame free communication aimed to be constructive instead of blame game arguments aimed to be destructive. I am no relationship counselor or guru, but these are some of my observations.

What do you guys think is needed to bring that relationship-career balance that will allow us eat our cake and have it? I have heard people say one partner has to bite the bullet and curtail their dreams, something has to give right? I have talk my own, now it’s your turn ☺

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Bryan Creely

William Ifeanyi Moore is an MPharm graduate from the University of Portsmouth, UK. His true passion is in novels and poetry but he cheats on them with movies, plays, and music. He believes sacrifice and compromise is the bedrock of any healthy relationship. His debut novel Lonely Roads is out on 10/12/2015. Blog: www.soulsyrup.space Twitter: @willifmoore Instagram: willifmoore

14 Comments

  1. Raheemat Tikare

    April 21, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    This is very great article. I have asked myself this question so many times? It”s more difficult in the United States especially when you have to work two jobs to make ends meet. I hope to find an answer to this question.

  2. Macy

    April 21, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    While marriage is good and can POTENTIALLY be a blessing, IT IS NOT for everyone.

    I have emphasized the word “potentially” because being married is one thing, being happy/fulfilled in marriage is another thing entirely. No man or woman can meet all our “needs” and love us the way we would want/or desire to be loved.

    Sometimes I wonder how many of us who are currently married might have opted to remain single if we knew and had accepted the “unpopular” reality that choosing to remain single/unmarried is equally a viable option that can bring one fulfillment in life.

    For those who are not yet married, please think it through properly. Don’t do it out of pressure or obligation. Do it realizing that marriages comes with its demands/challenges. Don’t get married and then spend the rest of your life fighting for liberties and privileges that only the unmarried can fully enjoy.

    • Pat

      April 22, 2015 at 3:17 am

      Macy, all what you said is spot on! You have wisdom.

  3. Diddy

    April 21, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Marriage they say is one of the oldest if not the oldest institution in life,we can neva be perfect in terms of marriage,so when you see that yours works well with u just know that u were not perfect,relationship/career balance can be maintain but when couples begin to feel the heat is when kids come into their lives,cos that is when u know u cant even see the cake let alone having it.

  4. Theurbanegirl

    April 21, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Goodluck Trying To Lock A University Graduate In The Kitchen Today. Goodluck Oh!

  5. chi-e-z

    April 21, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    monks are some of the most happiest and peaceful people I’ve seen whether christian, oriental etc.. I think they understand some principles it takes some of us lifetimes to uderstand
    – simplicity and focus -self control, and gratitude … I think it’s super hard to get those traits when I stay by myself it’s easier I’m more organized, more leveled, more content but once I even as much as speak to my family I get so confused, feel defeated, exhausted just absolutely wretched idk why..especially my dad cause he’s a criticizer with no helpful advice type… I think sometimes people make things difficult. If I’ve a simple guy I’m good but when it gets controlling I hate that. I think a good marriage should be simple, like not every1 fighting for boss/ always working/ always here and there, just 2 simple people who enjoy time with each other and is beneficial for everyone not these toxic cacaphonies I see that people call marriage. I’m honestly scared I’ll never marry cause I’ve not seen even 1 simple,gentle, good one.

    • Pat

      April 22, 2015 at 3:21 am

      Hmmm interesting points made. I feel u.

    • Tosin

      April 22, 2015 at 9:38 am

      i hear you.

  6. PurpleiciousBabe

    April 21, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    mmmm about the facts laid out in this article… rolls eyes.
    On a random note, checked out his blog..
    I kinda like what am reading…
    Seems I like his style of writing.. Witty, cool, random and absolute honesty.
    No i didnt like this one much lol i think it was the opening sentence(though I get the content)..

    I will add his blog to my ‘gotoread’ You got a new fan. x

  7. Chimfulumnanya

    April 21, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    This is a very interesting article I must say. I am quite bad at multitasking. Its so bad that I need to focus on only one thing at a time. For e.x if I have a major professional exam, i have to shut out everything and concentrate on the exam. I am having a hard time having to juggle postgrad and other things. When I was working, it was all work, work and work…..till my mum started complaining. I get home, drop my bag and off to bed. No chitchat with family. My mum keeps trying to make me understand we have to juggle like three balls at the same time as a woman. It’s been challenging for me, having to juggle work and relationships because by weekend all I want to do is sleep . Hardly interested in going out sef. Guess that’s why i’ve been single for 3 years. Currently trying to unlearn some of these things so that after work, then make time out for bobo. God so help me!!

    • Tobiloba

      April 22, 2015 at 9:27 am

      Oh my ..I’m not in this alone. My mum keeps saying the exact same words. I am still trying to manage the situation because that comes with the life of being an adult. Growing up is a trap..lol. For the bobo, I have been single for like 3yrs as well God the boo provider, provided me one recently even when I wasn’t out there searching. So I have been learning to get used to been there for the boo as well.. Anyways, like you said, God help us all.

    • Alem

      April 22, 2015 at 9:38 am

      My dear I feel you I have the same issue with multitasking.

  8. Tosin

    April 22, 2015 at 9:28 am

    we’ve put money and money-making at the center of everything. we really shouldn’t be going to work more than two days a week.
    Igbo people had market days, one every four days. Yes they had to farm and do other chores, but now we have email, machines, efficient industries, cars, why should we STILL work so much? (ask the man)

    while we work on that revolution (it will come, isA soon), the little things – healthcare and childcare , public transportation systems and work near where you live, …

    it’s a mindset thing. lots of people already have the mindset that life and money are going to be hard and all-consuming and boring. which is what we’ve been trained for in most cases from childhood, from kindergarten/primary school. so, the prophecy fulfills itself. change your mind, change your life. that’s my two cents.

  9. OLUKOYA

    April 22, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I want to believe that understanding and sincere communication is the solution for this type of marital challenge

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