What exactly does stooping to conquer mean? As a semi retired extremely stubborn personality – I can tell you a few things stooping to conquer is not. Stooping to conquer is not submission to abuse or any violation of your human rights – it never involves a positioning of yourself for ridicule or abuse in the process of trying to get what you want. It just means assuming a back seat to put yourself in a more observant position to getting what you want out of someone.
Why this topic today? Many young women want to marry or are married and facing challenges in their homes. Challenges of all sorts- many problems are created by human beings and many problems are easily solvable by the same human beings. In-law drama? Oh I Know primarily of someone that could have battled in law drama for decades due to cultural differences and a troublesome mother in law, but she always stooped to conquer.
Stooping to conquer is not a Nigerian concept- it is a smart and more peaceful approach to life in general. I will give you an instance. My mother married my father in America and moved to Nigeria when my older brother was about 6 months old. She didnt know one person outside of my dad, maybe being in a corner forced her to learn.
My dad’s mom was a moving everything – if you annoyed her she would tell you off, if you pleased her she could tell you off – rest her soul. You know those type of people you visit and they tell you to serve yourself food from the pot and you take two pieces of meat and they will turn around and ask whether you want to eat all the meat in the pot? She was robbed one day coming back from church as she opted for a taxi when she couldn’t find her driver – do you believe my grandmother called all the area boys in her neighbourhood and they found her stuff within 2 hours and she gave them food. She was at best kind, but difficult…even her and my dad’s relationship wasn’t as good as what she had with my mom.
My mother to appease her learnt how to cook Nigerian food from her and whenever she called to say she was coming to the house- she would bring food and tell my mom which of them my dad liked etc. My grandmother would go and buy fabric and sew clothes for us and tell my mom which sunday to put it on us etc. My mom used to say – she accepted to love my dad so she will love his mother too.
My mom worked for the Nigerian army for 20 odd years as a foreigner and civilian. Any Barracks is not for the faint hearted, but if you ever come across her, her deamenour is never aggressive. She generally got all her promotions on time. Whenever anyone comes to my mother to solve a problem – her attitude is generally – you let me know what you suggest. Even when we were kids, my mother used to stoop to conquer with us- she would let you suggest your own food, punishments etc and her life was a lot easier.
I have learnt in marriage – nobody has a right to anything outside of peace and love. Even that has a cost. You must be willing to pull back and for a change not negotiate or attempt to read out your right act and tell your spouse how wrong they are. But turn someone’s mind in the direction you need it to go through a very subtle approach. No point in yelling, no point in proving that you are right – simply studying your partner and knowing when to literally strike makes a world of difference.
Never ask your spouse to choose between you and their mother. Some people will even chose their father over you. I tease my husband thay he is the love of his mother’s life and he is the love of my own life so he is really lucky and when you add on his sister he is beyond blessed. Nobody should ask me to compare my love for my father with that of my husband – haba kilode! Know your position and play it damn well if you have decided to marry someone especially a mama’s boy. Those kind of people you infiltrate their lives to the point where your spouse doesn’t want to exist without you.
The beauty of marriage and many other partnerships that a lot of people seem to fail to see is co-dependence. Yes you have been independent – still be, but create a dependence on your partner or boss. The person should believe your life is heavily dependent on them. People give us more when they feel we can’t do without them or they can’t do without us. Thats the trick to many good partnerships- symbiotic relationships. I have one of my husband’s cousins who always asks why my husband holds my hand a lot in public and i say it’s so I don’t fall- think about it do I not walk around when I am alone?
I wish you a good week- if you don’t believe anything i have written above, I recommend you get a good read of Dale Carnegie’s How to win friends and influence people.
This is an extra busy week for me, so I will be in and out.