There is a saying where I come from that, translated to English would read: “The only bad beginning is the tip of a spear.” PHOTO| FILE|.
There is a saying where I come from that, translated to English would read: “The only bad beginning is the tip of a spear.”
Put in familiar language, it means that a beginning can be bad, in fact, very bad, but if it does not kill you (as the tip of a spear would), then you have a chance to progress to a wonderful end.
But this does not just happen; rather, you have to make it happen. So, how can you ensure that the bad beginning in your relationship does not condemn you to the doldrums? Here are a few thoughts.
Let me begin by pointing out the obvious, that a poor beginning is one of the major causes of unhappiness in relationships.
In fact in some cases, people wrap up all the problems they are experiencing in their relationship with statements like “we started badly”, suggesting that a bad beginning is the source of their problems.
But is this really the case?
Jeannette moved in with her boyfriend when she got pregnant, only for her parents to kick her out.
She had no job, and since her boyfriend was willing to take her in, she decided to move in with him. A few months later, she discovered she was not only pregnant, she was also infected with an sexually transmitted disease that led to the loss of her pregnancy.
Soon after this, she found out that her boyfriend was seeing other women, but when she decided to leave, he pleaded with her not to end the relationship, and promised to change.
She agreed to stay on two conditions, that the two would see a counselor, and that he would show his commitment by starting the official process of marriage. Seven years down the line, she has no regrets because change he did, and they are both happy together.
Can we learn some lessons from her story?
The first one is that it is important to acknowledge that relationships sometimes begin on a discouraging note.
This often happens because we make the mistake of rushing into a relationship because of the circumstances we are in, because it is convenient, not because we think the relationship is right for us.
When we do that, what we end up with is regret, helplessness, and feeling trapped in an unhappy relationship.
Second, if you’re in such a situation, it is important to have a positive attitude. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the best relationships thrive because people believe in themselves, their partners and the relationship, in spite of the circumstances.
Jeannette decided to be positive about the possibility of change in her boyfriend, and by setting certain conditions; she set this change in motion.
Thirdly, act, but do so reasonably. Unfortunately, in many cases, relationships break down because of unreasonable demands by a partner. In cases close to our illustration, I have heard of couples who deliberately withhold intimacy, money or both, to teach their spouses a ‘lesson’ or get back at them for doing something that displeased them.
This might be acceptable if the two of you discuss it and come to an agreement, but there should be a clear understanding of what is expected to happen during that period, otherwise it becomes punitive, rather than rehabilitative.
There must be many stories with bad beginnings out there, but the moral of this story is this: do not let a bad beginning turn your relationship into the proverbial ‘jela la mapenzi’ (prison of love).
If you are truly in love, you have the capacity to give your story another ending, a much happier ending. Go for it.