Having a Successful Marriage
A True Story
on Mar 17, 2020
In the early 2000s, there was this shopkeeper called Karau who used to run a small grocery by the roadside not far from our home. Some of my siblings liked him much and preferred buying stuff from his grocery. They would sometimes speak highly of him and commend the things he sold. As for me, I can't recall ever liking Karau the way some of my siblings did. And I am sure I would have forgotten all about him had it not been for one incident I witnessed in his grocery on the morning of 17th January 2002.
That morning, I was leaving home to join Starehe Boys' Centre for my high school education when I found Karau beating his wife in his grocery. He was beating her mercilessly, as you would see an African peasant farmer hit a sack of maize seeds in their combs. A crowd of people had gathered around to watch the incident, with nobody daring to rescue Karau's wife. It was such a riveting scene of domestic violence.
Since that morning of 17th January 2002, I have never seen Karau again because he closed down his grocery when I was away at Starehe Boys' Centre. I wonder what became of him and of his marriage. He must have separated with his wife, but that's just my guess.
I am imagining that there were times Karau loved that woman I saw him beat. During those "love" times, he looked forward to being with her and relished the act of touching her just to feel her skin. How that kind of love and affection degenerated to scenes of domestic violence is something I find a mystery.
But that's the thing I am discovering about marriage: it's a mystery because I have also heard and read about other couples whose marriages have faltered. Like there is acquaintance of mine called Benson who works as a guard. I happened to befriend him when I was running for a political seat in the 2013 Kenya's General Elections. Since then, he always greets me every time we meet.
One evening a few years ago, I met Benson as I was heading to my hometown of Kiserian. Because he was also heading to Kiserian, we walked together while we chatted. As our chat progressed, he began to complain about his wife. He told me how she had been lying to him. I didn't say anything to Benson; I just listened to him moan and groan about his wife who was once his sweetheart.
I have also read of rich, famous and powerful people whose marriages have broken down, so to speak. For instance, a few years ago while reading a biography of Princess Diana, I came across colourful pictures taken in the '80s of the Princess with her then family: that is Prince Charles and their two young sons. The family looked happy and blessed in every way. And it was apparent in the pictures that they had everything that money could provide. But guess what! Princess Diana's marriage to Prince Charles ended up in recrimination and unhappiness.
Then there is Ronald Reagan, the celebrated 40th President of the United States and one of my heroes. Reagan's marriage to his first wife didn't succeed. They divorced and then Reagan married another woman named Nancy with whom he had a successful marriage. On comparing the pictures of Reagan's first wife with those of his second, I find the first one more attractive than the second. As to why his first marriage failed and his second one succeeded is something I would love to understand.
Surely, marriage is a mystery. Bill Clinton points that out in his autobiography when he says that he learnt that marriage, with all its magic and misery, its contentments and disappointments, remains a mystery - not easy for those in it to understand and largely inaccessible to outsiders. He adds that he didn't know all that in 1975 when he married Hillary. All he knew back then was that he loved Hillary, the life, work and friends they had in common and the promise of what they could do together.
My conclusion is: there is more to marriage than meets the eye. So, my dear reader, if you are yet to marry, I urge you to be careful in selecting your marriage partner because from that decision will come 90% of your happiness or misery. Don't let lust blind you from the seeing the true character of your intended spouse. And remember that looks don't make a marriage; love and commitment do.
If you're already married, then I beseech you to work hard at making your marriage work till death makes you part. In his best-selling book, Life's Little Instructions Book, H. Jackson Brown Jr. tells us that creating a successful marriage is like farming: you have to start over again every morning. Therefore, carve out time to have a conversation with your spouse. Talk about your fears, dreams and issues that are in your mind. Such kind of conversations will strengthen your marriage. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on having a successful marriage, you might also enjoy another one I wrote last year on "Sex, Love & Relationships". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
Sharing is CaringLike this story? Then share it on:
Donating = LovingIt takes so much time to research, write and edit the stories and videos in this blog. If you do find any joy in going through them, please consider supporting the author with a donation of any amount - anything from buying him a cuppa to treating him to a good dinner. Thanks to everyone who is contributing; you rock!
Lessons From Thomas Jefferson
A True Story
on Mar 6, 2020
You know what? It dawned on me that the best inventions of the 20th century came from the United States: cars, radios, cameras, computers, internet, telephones, television, aeroplanes and the atom bombs. And even though the former Soviet Union was the first nation to send a man to space, the United States can take pride in being the only country that has ever landed a man on the Moon.
The United States owes its success to the visionary leadership provided by its founding fathers when they established the country in the late 18th century. By coming up with laws and a system of government that allowed men to live in freedom, the founding fathers created an environment that encouraged creativity. That's why the best inventions of the 20th century came from the United States.
Those founding fathers of the United States were men of great learning and understanding. Among them was Thomas Jefferson who I shall talk about today in this story.
Born in 1743, Thomas Jefferson helped shape the course of the United States more than any other founding father did. He drafted America's Declaration of Independence that has made United States the envy of the world. He also authored a statute of his state of Virginia for religious freedom at a time when people were being persecuted in Europe for their beliefs.
Thomas Jefferson went on to serve his country diligently in different capacities. He became the Governor of Virginia, the Secretary of State, the Vice-President and eventually the President of the United States. Seeming not to have been corrupted by power, he only served for two terms as president and then retired back to his home in Virginia.
As President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson purchased huge tracts of land that doubled the size of his country. He also sent men to explore the western parts of America that had hitherto been unoccupied. Without those two visionary moves by Jefferson, the United States would not have become the superpower that it is today.
Besides being a politician, Thomas Jefferson was talented in other fields too. He was a lawyer, a farmer, a diplomat, a scientist, a musician and an architect. Thanks to his prowess in Science and farming, he invented a plough that made cultivation of crops easier. He must have been an accomplished linguist too, for he was fluent not only in English but also in Greek, Latin and French.
Perhaps because he believed in the power of education to transform lives, Thomas Jefferson devoted the last years of his life to the founding of the University of Virginia. He used his skills as an architect to design the layout of buildings for the university. And the University of Virginia has grown to be one of the best institutions of higher learning in America.
Truly, Thomas Jefferson was a multi-talented man. That's why President John F. Kennedy, while addressing a White House dinner for Nobel Laureates on one evening in 1962, said, "The most extraordinary collection of talent ... that has ever gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."
Despite his many distinguished accomplishments, Thomas Jefferson wanted to be remembered only for three of his achievements. So he left a will that the following epitaph be engraved on his tombstone:
On reading about the life of Thomas Jefferson, I have been able to glean two of his character traits that made him eminently successful and a towering figure in the history of the United States. The first was his hard-working nature. Jefferson was a voracious reader and a prolific writer. A typical day for him started early. He told of a fifty-year period in which the Sun had never caught him in bed.
Here was buried Thomas Jefferson,
Author of the Declaration of Independence,
Of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom,
And Father of the University of Virginia.
The second trait was his relentless curiosity. Jefferson had a desire to know and understand the world around him. That relentless curiosity made him an inventor and a keen observer of the weather. It also fuelled his passion for reading. He once said that he could not live without books.
All said, Thomas Jefferson was a great man. His life is worthy of study for anyone who craves to understand the genesis of greatness. Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on lessons from Thomas Jefferson, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometime back on "Lessons From Ronald Reagan". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.