Why you should leave a honourable legacy

A whirlwind romance might not seem planned or purposeful, and marriage would not seem to be anybody’s business but the people who are married. However, there is a way your relationship becomes everyone’s business, and that is your legacy. Today I am all about lovinh with a view to legacy. When your batteries finally give way, what will be the legacy of your relationship?

I have been to quite a few funerals of late and what strikes me is how the relationships between the deceased and their widows or widowers get viciously dissected. At one funeral, the unanimous decision was that the widower had earned his ‘freedom’ from a witch of a wife. At another, while the widower gave a glowing speech about how he met the love of his life, people were murmuring the back in disbelief. He had long since abandoned his marital home and was firmly ensconced elsewhere — in fact his wife had died under the care of others!

Some relationships are beautiful and inspiring, and by the time one partner is burying the other, people will line up to testify that they did their part. There is a certain air of reverence, respact and dignity. In a small town like mine, work comes to a standstill as people gather to send off a man or woman who has lived and loved faithfully. There are proof that it is possible to be honourable. But way before we finally croak, there is another keen audience which makes decisions about our relationship with our spouse: the children. The little super computers in their brains are trained to observe and mimic. Every parent will testify that children are always recording events, even when they seem not be looking or paying attention. Babies’ obsession with real mobile phones rather than toys can tell you all you need to know about the priorities of this generation of parents.

Conrad and his wife Annet had been battling over the sudden change in their children’s behaviour. Their three daugh-ters, who had been the picture of kindness, suddenly became needy and demanding, while their two sons became rebellious, uncaring and destructive. The boys had been expelled from three schools, and the parents were at their wits end. They went from place to place and counsellor to counsellor until finnally were asked to make an audit of their own affairs. It turned out that two years earlier, in a moment of marital distress, Conrad and Annet had taken time off from each other. Unfortunately, neither of them respected the time off, or even knew what to do with it. Annet had an affair, and one of her sons saw the evidence of it. Conrad, on the other hand, used the time to try of his children and constantly asking them to intercede with their mother on his behalf. He effectively painted himself as a suffering victim at Annet’s hands. By the time he returned home, Annet had lost control over the children, and they both had most certainly lost their respect. The boys chose to act up in worst way possible, because they had been trained not to share emotions and other such week ‘girly’ stuff. The girls had figured out that the only way they got to see their dad was to demand the things their mother couldn’t afford so she would, like a reflex action, tell them to go and ask their father. The asking habit and the appetite for expensive things stuck. In all this mess, Conrad and Anet haven’t even figured out why they need time away from each other in the first place.

As husbands and wives we often forget that our relationship has an impact beyond ourselves. However, there is no ropm for selfishness in marriage – not between you and your spouse and not between you and the world. You do not owe the world anything, but you will leave the world a legacy, whether you are planning to or not. For the sakr of other marriages and your children, love in such a way that legacy will be a honourable one.


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