Knowing when to Speak up and when to Zip it up!




What do you do when...

You meet your friend who is currently in a relationship or courtship, and you know without an iota of doubt that should this courtship lead to marriage, there’s bound to be misery, which might or might not lead to divorce? I mean, all the red flags are waving dangerously in your face, and giving you cold shivers, but you don’t really want to say anything because you don’t feel it’s your place.

If this person was a chummy buddy of yours, whom you could share everything except toothbrush and underpants with, it would have been easier for you to speak up, like hot knife on butter. But even though this person is your very good friend, you are not close.

So you feel you are in a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation.

I met a lady out of the country about 3 years ago. We started talking because we needed to work together in the hair care industry. I met her in 2014 for the first time. Between 2014 and 2015 when I met her for the second time, we had grown a bit closer, and I knew she had started a relationship. Anyway, during my next visit to her, I noticed few red flags.


First of all, her motive for wanting to get married wasn’t right; she was just eager to leave the house, cos she felt her parents were stressing her. The guy was a single father of a very young toddler, and he was her primary care taker. The girl’s mum died at childbirth, and the girl was a bit unstable mentally. She also kept mentioning how the guy had so much money from his side hustle, even though his primary job is a very very blue collar job. The age difference was another flag. There were just so many of them.

The combination of both of them just wasn’t good, but I couldn’t say anything. Even her parents were against the relationship. So who was I to talk, if she wouldn’t listen to her parents? She had moved back to her parents’ house from the country she and her fiancĂ© were staying. Some months later, she moved back to the country to her fiancĂ©, and later got pregnant. The two families organised a traditional wedding in absentia.

I have tried to make the story as brief as possible so it doesn’t derail too much from the focus of this post.

Should I have spoken up? Every time she talked to me about her courtship in the past, I was as diplomatic as possible. I didn’t egg her on, but I never discouraged her, though I felt bad on the inside.
Even though I could see her walking into the lake of fire, I just felt it was never my place to point the danger out to her.
Was I wrong? I believe many of us have found ourselves in situations like this? And many more of us will still be? What would you do? Would you look the other way? Would you speak up, and give your advice/opinion even though you are not very close to the person? And I’m talking about situations when you are ABSOLUTELY SURE it’s a bad situation, not just a guessing game of two people being bad for each other.

16 comments

  1. I think you should've spoken up regardless.

    I have been in 2 situations that I remember very well. One is a someone that went into the video vixen business with the argument that she needed the money and she's not sleeping with the people. I said my own piece and she blocked me and stopped talking to me, atleast I did my part. It was left to her to listen.

    Another person - but this time she asked for my opinion as she is AS and in love with someone that is AS too which is a very bad idea and i told her what I feel she should do - Leave and don't look back. Will she listen? I don't know. But, I didn't keep quiet.

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    1. Yeah, it is better and easier when your opinion is asked.

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  2. Hatty it's not clear whether you're saying the girl herself is mentally unstable or whether the toddler daughter of the man was mentally unstable. Can you clarify?

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    1. Oh sorry. The child is mentally unstable. Her mother died at childbirth and some things went wrong.

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  3. Sometimes it's best not to get involved but I guess it all depends on the relationship one has with the person in question. There's nothing wrong with giving constructive relationship advice -if you are asked.

    Warm greetings!

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    1. Thank you for your opinion. I like that you mentioned "if you are asked."

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  4. If she wasn't listening to her parents... she probably wouldn't have listened to you.
    back to the point.. You should have spoken if she asked for your opinion in it.. anything else would just seem like you are being extra.
    or you could have spoken to someone she holds in high regards about your fears... (not your opinions) you get?

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    1. Exactly... she wasn't listening to her parents, so who am I? I didn't have that much influence.

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  5. Blessings....
    There are ways of speaking up without sounding like a naysayer. Yes at times peoples motives for getting married are not what it should be, some are in love with love not necessarily with the person they are with.

    I think one must say something and can do so by asking open ending questions that allows the person to think before responding. That is not to say that they will listen as human beings there are times when we want what we want when we want it and consequences be damned. I guess the best question to ask in this situation is, "if the shoe was on the other foot and this were you, would you want someone to say something to you?

    stay blessed.
    Rhapsody

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    1. Hmmm... I like this advice... open ended questions. I guess there's always a wise way to navigate it, but it's a tightrope walk though.

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  6. No matter who you marry, someone somewhere that knows you or your groom to be will think that you guys are making a mistake. I think its good to help people talk over what you think are red flags. Like ask them about it but in the end, let them choose. It takes more than love and money to keep a marriage otherwise, the rich would be the happiest people on earth and yet they too have unhappy marriages and ugly divorces.

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    1. Yeah, but I'm not talking about random opinions of people here. I'm talking about giant red flags that any reasonable person can see.

      Thanks for your advice.

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    2. I guess one mans' giant red flag is another's "no big deal". Even in the above example; age, financial status and single Parenthood... definitely not deal breakers to everyone. I reiterate, even those close to you will have an opinion. I personally point out what I think is off in a non threatening manner and let them decide.

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  7. For me, I would talk more from the aspect of her parent's disapproval. I'd gentle explain the place of the approval of parents over a marriage, telling her that p, a lot of times, It's God's way of trying to protect us. I have a handy story I always tell people like that; the story was from one of Pastor Bimbo Odukoya's books, I read it in my first year at the university and best believe that I turned down suitors that my parents rejected based off of it. The story was about a girl who wanted to marry this abroad based man but whose illiterate mum disapproved of the man saying, "him eye no good". This girl wouldn't listen and went on to marry the man. In just a year, he had not only battered her but she also discovered that he had a drug habit and took all kinds of hard drugs. Pastor Bimbo was saying that, although the girl's mum was illiterate, there was something in her that sensed that the man was not right but the lady didn't agree to be guided. I would come from that angle and maybe subtly chip in one or two observations on the back of that- I just would not go to her with my own observations, nah. That would be too forward.

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What's your opinion on this? Let's learn from one another.