Every one of us have men in our lives. We have them as our fathers, husbands, brothers, uncles, cousins, pastors, colleagues, friends, neighbours, employers, employees, doctors, to name but a few.
These people influence our lives and positively impact the society as well. Sometimes we celebrate them (like on father’s day), sometimes we don’t. But each one of us should have at least one reason to celebrate the men in our lives.
What for? The work hard to make our lives and society better. They provide leadership, provision, protection and so on so forth for us.
I’m not suggesting that men should become the object of our collective worship. But I’m saying there is nothing wrong with celebrating men for their immense contribution to the well-being of the society.
Today is that day set aside around the world for such celebration; every year, the 19th day of November is observed as International Men’s Day (IMD). And by extension, November is sometimes referred to as International Men’s month.
Now, the question is, “What is the purpose of having an International Men’s Day?” It is generally understood as an “occasion to celebrate boys and men’s achievements and contributions, in particular for their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care. The broader and ultimate aim of the event is to promote basic humanitarian values” (Wikipedia).
Did you notice that boys were included alongside men to be celebrated? That is to say, it is a day earmarked to celebrate the male gender’s contribution to society. (Sorry ladies, you can wait till the 20th day of the month of March when the next International Women’s Day will be celebrated).
In pursuing the objective of celebrating men’s and boy’s positive contribution to society, special focus is made on some specific areas of boy’s and men’s lives. These are encapsulated in what is referred to as:
The 6 Pillars of International Men’s Day
According to the IMD’s website, the objectives of the International Men’s Day are as listed below:
To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sports men but every day, working class men who are living decent, honest lives.
To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment.
To focus on men’s health and well-being; social, emotional, physical and spiritual.
To highlight discrimination against men; in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law.
To improve gender relations and promote gender equality
To create a safer, better world; where people can be safe and grow to reach their full potential.
These are noble objectives you might say. But to which extent are they being achieved? That’s a question for another day!
Meanwhile, if you are a male reading this, don’t just read and walk away indifferently. I would like you to take another look at the six objectives listed above as a form of self evaluation to enable you identify areas for possible personal improvement.
If you are like me, we know we have not been the best we could be or did the best we could do in those stated cardinal areas. That’s to say, there is still room for improvement for all of us boys and men.
On the other hand, if you are a non-male, you may also want to evaluate the six objectives to identify the ones that appeal to you most. You can then help the men and boys around you improve in those areas of their lives or simply suggest to them as specific areas of improvement.
Happy International Men’s Day!
Let the conversation continue in the comment section.
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Recall that when I posted my review of Ufuomaee’s The House Girl, I promised you that I would also read and review some other books by the same author. This post will be my fulfillment of that promise and I am glad to do it pro bono.
Some months have passed since I’ve completed reading the Perfect Love from cover to cover. I know I should have done the review earlier than now but after several weeks of doing the reviewing in my head, I have decided to put pen to paper. So please spare me some minutes from your precious time as I share my thoughts about the book.
About the book
Perfect Love is about the travails of Onome who has been unhappily married to her husband Temi for six years. Just before their sixth wedding anniversary, Onome meets her ex-boy friend and this turns her world upside down and she became “…a wandering heart. A restless heart. A troubled heart.”
Did Onome fall into the temptations that ensued? Did her husband find out about the other man? Was their marriage consumed by the lack of love and commitment in the relationship? Was she as committed to the marriage as she was to her writing career? It will be worth your time to find out the answers to these questions and more by reading the book.
The book is written by the brainy Ofuomaee, blogger at Grace & Truth, social entrepreneur and author of multiple christian fiction books. In the Perfect Love, the author continues in her now well established style of teaching valuable christian-living lessons via fictional stories that readers find largely believable and relatable.
The only departure from the author’s usual style is that instead of her being the one telling the stories and unfolding the narratives, she allowed each character in the book to do so by themselves. In a way, that also gives the reader a special experience while devouring the book.
The journaling style the author employed in writing the book gave me a breath of fresh air while reading it – a different style of presentation from anything I’ve read recently. As I noted earlier, the author allowed the characters to tell their stories by themselves and in their own words – what they did, could have done, thought about etc.
My worst and favourite character
If I were to pick out my worst character in Perfect Love, it would have to be no other person than Onome herself. Granted that she was very a brilliant and likable person, she continued to make choices that left much to be desired.
It was very annoying to me that she professed to be a born again Christian but had little or no commitment to living up to that sublime identity. And this contributed to her being entangled in the avoidable web of marital frustrations and unhappiness that she was enmeshed in.
My take is that she was, to a greater part, the architect of her own marital misfortunes. In one moment of reflection, she hit the nail on the head when she admitted, “I think our foundation was all wrong, we’d never taken the time to correct it. Yes, we both believed in God [but] He wasn’t Lord of our hearts, our marriage [and] our home.”
Most of the things she went through could have been avoided had she been truly committed to her profession of being a child of God. But then I have realised that, in many ways, Onome is not different from many of us who claim to be christians; we acknowledged God as our Saviour but we hardly let Him be the Lord of our lives.
And we claim we know God but we live our lives like we don’t know Him. What ever happened to the injunction of Jesus to us in Matthew 5:16,
“… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”?
Enough of Onome’s spiritual and emotional immaturity! I believe we all have some serious soul-searching to do. The earlier we get started the better.
If we must claim to have a relationship with God, let it show in our words and in our actions. Otherwise, we will not be able to escape the consequences of a hypocritical lifestyle.
On the other hand, I would pick the marriage counselor as my favorite character in the book. Her uncommon wisdom, christian maturity and honour shined through her counselling room. I saw her as a good ambassador of God and her profession.
I would assure you that you would pick one or two wisdom from the lips of that impressive marriage counselor when you read the book. As she says in one instant, “When you change your priories and give more time to things that matter, your life will be better for it.”
And who doesn’t want a better life?
I think Ufuomaee did a great job in the Perfect Love, addressing such familiar but important issues as communication in marriage, dealing with infidelity, divorce, marriage counselling, forgiveness, and so on. Although the book centres mainly on marriage and family affairs, I have no doubt that both married and unmarried people will find it helpful.
I definitely had my moments of both sobriety and thrill as I rummaged the pages of Perfect Love. And I believe I have many reasons to thank Ufuomaee for yet another good contribution to the genre of christian fiction.
Thank you for reading!
You can share your own thoughts in the comment section.
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Let’s assume you know where you are going, or what you want in life. That’s great and commendable on your part because many people you will find around you have not yet figured that out.
If you happen to meet someone like that whom you are interested in or whom who desire a relationship with, but you are not sure exactly where they are in their lives or what they want in future, one way you can find out is to ask them the right questions. With the right questions about their future plans, you will be able to gain an insight into the kind of future such people envisage for themselves.
That brings us to the point where we can talk about what is known as future review questions.
Future review questions are the questions you ask so “you can help other people (and yourself) to clarify what’s important for their future” (R. J Adams). For instance, “How do you see yourself in the next five years” is a future review question.
Future review questions help people to describe a preferred future; help them to paint a “portrait of their life as they desire it to be.” It is about articulating the things that are important to you, without which you would not consider life to be satisfying.
It makes sense to find out where your would-be ‘relationship partner’ stand on this. Right? Continue reading…
The Possible Scenarios
There are at least three possibilities that will unfold once you begin to ask future review questions to someone you just met and with whom you are interested in establishing a warm relationship with:
He or she will be willing
and is able to respond to your questions by clearly painting the portrait of
the future that he or she desires. In other
words, he or she will readily answer your future review questions;
He or she is willing but unable
to clearly describe the kind of the future he or she desires. In other words, he or she has some difficulties answering your
future review questions;
He or she is not willing to
go into that kind of discussion with you. In other
words, he or she refuses to answer your future review questions.
What ever response you might get from any of the three situations described above will give you a huge insight into the kind of person you are dealing with and how to further relate with him or her going forward. Please stay with me, you will find some useful hints on how to go about it.
In his online book, How To Find A Good Christian Wife, And Keep Her, R. J. Adams gives us a detailed explanation or suggestions on how to handle any of those three scenarios. Although his explanations were given chiefly in the context of a single man seeking for relationship with a woman, I believe the underlining principles could also be applied to other forms of mutually beneficial relationships of interest to you.
Please hear him:
“With those people who readily answer your question, you will likely have an interesting conversation about what is most important to them and what would make them satisfied. In those cases where you can add something to their preferred future, or where you can help them achieve their desired results, you have the basis for a long and satisfying friendship or relationship. In cases where you cannot help them, perhaps you can recommend a resource who can.
With people who have difficulty answering your future review question, help them by asking a series of smaller questions. Help them articulate the things that are important to them. Ask what they would like to do, where they would like to go, what they would like to have. Ask how they would prefer spending their time, what kind of people they want to be with, and so on. This can be a very creative and stimulating discussion.
…One of the greatest services you can perform for these people is to coach them to think through and talk about their desired outcomes. And, here again, if you can help make their future come true for them, you have just established the foundation for a great relationship.
What about the people who refuse to answer your future review question? Their unwillingness to answer likely means one of two things. First, their commitment may be to the past, not the future. They may not have thought about their future as something where they have any influence.
Secondly, their unwillingness to share their desired future with you may indicate a lack of trust. In either case, you have no basis for a relationship. Some people don’t have the courage or desire to dream, or they don’t trust you enough to share their thoughts with you. Don’t waste your time. Move on to someone else…” (emphasis mine).
What do you think?
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“No body is perfect,” goes the popular saying. The truth of that statement is particularly obvious in a committed marital union between a man and woman.
Except you want to deceive yourself, you will gladly own up to the fact that the person you married is not a spotless angel. But this is no time to begin pointing accusing fingers at your spouse as the one with the most imperfections, because as you know, you yourself are not without some blemishes.
In other words, you often fall below each other’s expectations. Despite these imperfections, both of you can still be at peace with each other and hopefully be happier too.
If that is part of your marital goal, then you will allow me to proffer a few suggestions that will be helpful to you in that respect:
Here are seven simple ways you can deal with the imperfections of your spouse:
1. Accept that your spouse is not perfect
Your spouse is not an angel, so don’t expect that he or she will not make mistakes sometimes. And when that happens, please do show some understanding.
Truth be told, neither you nor your spouse is perfect. Perhaps you should let this guide your expectations so that you suffer less frustrations when your spouse’s behaviour falls below your esteemed expectations.
2. Be patient with your spouse
If you have come to terms with the fact that your spouse is not perfect and you are committed to loving him or her despite that, I am going to add that you should be patient with him or her.
I will not promise you that your spouse will grow into a faultless angel someday. But I can at least opine that if he or she is committed to your marriage as you are, there will be remarkable positive change of behaviour over time when you exercise the due patience with.
3. Maintain your sanity
Your spouse will ‘lose it’ sometimes and when that happens be sure to keep your own sanity and be at your best behaviours. Things will go downhill in your marriage if both of you decide to vent and and get mad at each other at the same time.
A wise spouse once told the better-half, “If you spit fire, I will vomit water.” The point here is, you and your spouse should not be spitting fire at the same time.
4. Talk things over with your spouse
In as much as I want you to cut some slack for your spouse, there will be times when it is important you talk things over with him or her. But you have to be gentle and nice over it, else you might trigger a volcanic eruption in the process.
In talking things over with your spouse, be humble, loving and considerate. Resist the temptation of pointing accusing fingers at each other. Instead of looking for who is wrong, focus on what is wrong and deal with it.
If your spouse raises his or voice in the process, keep yours low. Apologise where necessary and accept responsibility as appropriate.
Engage in the conversation in such a away that it strengthens your marriage and not in a way that tears it apart.
5. Avoid the silent treatment
There are times silence may be golden, but at times too, it can be a time-bomb waiting to explode. I trust that you know the difference. While it is not okay to shout at your spouse, on the other hand, don’t use the silent treatment as a tool for affliction in marriage.
It is good to keep silent sometimes in order not to offend in words or as part of your anger management strategy. But if your spouse desires commmunication with you, do not give him or her the silent treatment to punish him or her for what they did to you.
6. Celebrate your spouse’s strength
Despite your spouse’s so-called imperfections, he or she must have some strengths as well. Identify those strengths and celebrate them.
I am totally convinced that your spouse is not a good-for-nothing fellow, otherwise you would not have married him or her. So I am telling you for free that you can manage your spouse’s imperfections better by focusing on his or her strengths and celebrating them.
Compliment your spouse’s good behaviours and be less critical of the bad ones. It is not easy to do, but it is worth the try.
7. Pray regularly for your spouse
It is not enough for you to talk to your spouse. You should also talk to God about spouse – not in form of endless bitter complaints but in form of regular loving prayers.
Trying to force a change in behaviour on your spouse may be counter-productive. But when you pray, you invite God to handle the situation in the best possible way.
Don’t say you don’t know what to pray about concerning your spouse. Are there things you like about your spouse? I believe the answer is yes. Begin your prayers by thanking God for those things.
Also, the things that annoy you about him or her should be part of the things you should pray about. Your dreams for her, the things she cares about, her personal goals are some of the things you can pray for your wife about.
You have read my views. Let’s hear yours in the comment section.
I have since realised that there were unique experiences we had as kids who grew up in the villages that our counterparts in a city such as Lagos may not relate to. A little of that sentiment of mine was tickled this morning when my seven year old son asked me a simple question:
“Daddy, why do some people put out buckets, bowls and other
containers when it rains?”
“To collect some rain water for use,” I replied rather too flippantly, without even looking at the direction where the question came from. But then, almost immediately the salient reality of that question began to dawn on me.
The answer I gave should have been pretty obvious to him you might think. But please give the boy a break; even if for no other reason but because collecting rain water for household use has never been part of his experience in his few years of life on earth.
With portable water now being pumped to the kitchen, bathroom and wherever else water is needed in the house, how would he appreciate the fact that many people around my country still depend on rain water for survival?
“For what kind of use, daddy?” he sought to clarify.
“My dear, it’s for domestic use.” This time I had to look at him in the face, with my hands on each of his shoulders, leaning forward in the process.
When I was at his age (more than three decades ago), I didn’t have to wonder why people harvested rain water. The experience was too common-place for me not to have known the purpose.
But his question afforded me a genuine coachable moment to point out the fact that many homes still cannot do without relying on rain water for some of – if not for all – their domestic uses. I guess that’s still part of the reality of living in a developing nation.
I went on to explain to him how we used to depend on rain water as the main source of water supply way back in the village where I was born. Just like everyone else in that small community, my mum and my older siblings would put out different sizes of containers to collect rain water whenever it poured.
Even the roof of the houses there were embedded with water conveyance systems. That way, the abundant rain water that hits atop the covering corrugated iron sheets were channeled through well-constructed gutters linked with vertical trunk pipes that emptied directly into underground concrete tanks or into big volume surface water reservoirs.
The water so-collected would then be fetched out and put to
daily use (washing, bathing, cooking, cleaning and yes, drinking) all-year
round. The process was reliable and sustainable too. And because of the
beautiful natural vegetation surrounding the environment we lived in, coupled
with the absence of fossil fuel using factories, the problem of acid rain was
You see, people like my son who were born in an urban city would never fully understand that kind of experience which we considered common-place while growing up. And I completely understand!
Perhaps a little walk back memory lane will underscore my point. I was born in a village in the present day Delta State, Nigeria. I grew up there till my teen years before I finally relocated to the city of Lagos.
That little village was blessed with a few amenities that
made it standout amidst other ones around it. It had a well-tarred Trunk B road
that ran through it from one end to another connecting it directly to the State
Capital at the far end, separated only by a few other villages and towns.
At that time telephone service was a huge luxury way beyond the reach of 99.9999% of the population. Even at that, the village was already linked to the national telephone backbone. And apart from the availability of analogue phone service powered by the now defunct NITEL (Nigeria Telecommunications), the village also had electricity supply from the national grid.
However, water supply was the biggest problem we had to grapple with in that village. No streams, no boreholes and no portable water supply from anywhere. Only rain water, which was abundant doing the wet season and scanty in the dry season, was available.
Thanks to a failed pipe-borne water project sponsored by the then
military state government, the various households in the village never had the
privilege of regular supply of treated water pumped to them. Looking back now,
I would say that was my first experience of a failed government project being
commissioned as successfully completed.
Whether it was the contractor’s gross incompetence or the systemic corruption in high places that robbed the community of a properly executed portable water facility, my young mind could not have comprehended it then. But now the picture is clearer.
That was how the pictured looked like some three decades ago. Unfortunately, that’s the same story (or even worse) that could be told of many vital but abandoned (water) projects across many states of the Federation today.
Could the experience have been better for the masses, especially with respect to water supply? You tell me what you think!
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As a parent, how much do you even realise that you are your children’s number one life coach? When it comes to coaching your kids, do not underestimate your role as a parent, and please do not be lazy playing that role in your children’s lives.
You may assume that your kids will know some things on their own, but then you get to find out they don’t. You may also assume that they should be taught everything in school, but at last you get to discover they weren’t. That means there is a learning gap between what they are supposed to know and what they actually do know.
In what little ways can you bridge that gap with your kids in a way that engenders good rapport between you and them? Of course, there might be many ways to that end. But in this post, I will suggest capturing the coachable moments with them.
Coachable or teachable moments’ refer to those unplanned or informal opportunities for you as a parent to have conversations with your kids or wards with the aim of helping them to solve problems or learn a good lesson they could use in life. It is about impacting valuable lessons to your kids while life is at play.
Here are 3 ways you capture the coachable moments with your kids
1. Don’t be an absentee parent
One good advice I can give you as a parent is this: be there for your kids. And I know being there for your kids can take many forms. For instance, it can be about providing for them or paying their school fees. Any average parent would score high on those.
But how about being physically available for them as their life coauch? Certainly life will throw up coachable moments, but if you are not there for them, how can you take up that little responsibitlity?
2. Look out for coachable moments
When you are there for your kids, you will often find some coachable moments to explore. They abound in your everyday relationship or activities with them. Train your eyes (and your other senses) to recognise coachable moments with your kids and you will surely find some.
Whether you are at the dining table with them,or watching television together or you are driving them to school, always look out for coachable moments. If you are not looking for, you may pass the opportunities when they present themselves.
3. Utilise the coachable moments
When life hands you a coachable moment with your kids, please don’t flunk it. The coachable moment may come in two ways: an opportunity for you to reinforce an observed positive behaviour or correct a bad behaviour.
In either case, utilising the coachable moments enables you as parent mould your kids or wards into better version of themselves.
As a parent, if you are there for your kids or wards, life will definitely hand you some coachable moments. Look out for such moments in your every day activities with your kids. And when you do find them, take advantage of those moments and impart lessons that will help your kids or wards become better versions of themselves
Have you had any coachable moments with your kids? Please share your experience in the comment section.
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The account of the ever popular story of the prodigal son in the Bible is one of the greatest stories of forgiveness ever written. Jesus told the story to demonstrate the unconditional love of God for us mankind.
No matter how much we think we have erred against God, He will always forgive and accept us if we come back home to Him. As Jesus Himself assured us, “…he that comes to me, I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
As parents, can we learn and apply that principle in the way we treat our erring children? I will like to answer ‘yes’ to that question.
The prodigal son’s father forgave his betrayal, disloyalty, rebellion, foolishness, greed, recklessness, haughtiness, impatience and extravagance. There is no reason we should not extend same kind of forgiveness to our erring children – irrespective of the offences they have committed, or will ever commit against us.
We do not easily give up on those we love – whatever they do to us. And we love our children. So why shouldn’t we always forgive them when they err against us?
As humble parents, we will admit that our children constantly do things that annoy us. Blame it on the effect of hormones or peer pressure or whatever reasons that may be adduced, our children may not always be at their best behaviours towards us. That’s the reality of the life we live in as the earthly custodians of those precious souls.
A humble parent forgives his/her children all their wrongs because he/she too needs forgiveness from the Father above.
So when our children fall below our expectations (they will definitely do), should we continue to hold it against them? I think we should forgive them!
Should we ostracize them when their behaviours embarrass us? I think we shouldn’t!
First and foremost, we owe forgiveness to our children for whatever offences they have committed or will ever commit against us. Forgiveness is good for our overall mental and emotional well-being. Besides, God Himself does not expect any less from us.
Secondly, we should never cut-off from our children because they broke our hearts. Whether we like it or not, we are bound to them forever by our blood relationship. So as parent’s we cannot should not disown our children when they err.
Just like the loving father forgave the biblical prodigal son, we should always forgive our erring children. No matter how grave the offences might be, let us find it in our hearts to forgive them. It is part of our calling as parents.
How do you think parents should handle their erring children?
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That was the question someone asked on an open online social network forum I belong to. The question was asked about four years ago, but it still feels so fresh like today’s stuff. That’s why I’m revisiting it here.
Premarital sex has to do with people engaging in sexual activities before they are legally married. In other words, sex before marriage!
“What’s wrong with sex before marriage?” you may ask.
Well, let me ask you back, “What’s wrong with opening a clinic and performing complicated surgeries before obtaining the medical licence to do so?”
You may say the analogies are not the same. But that’s your perspective.
My perspective (which is Biblical too) is that sex is to be practised within the holy confines of marriage. Anything outside of that is devil’s idea.
You may disagree with me over that but it will show two things: you don’t know God and you are not accountable to Him.
If you truly know God and you see yourself as accountable to Him, you will know of a fact that there is everything wrong with premarital sex.
Forget about the unwanted pregnancies or abortions that may result from it, the diseases one may contract through it, the broken trust and disappointments that may result from it, the guilt and the shame….Think of it as disobedience to God or as Joseph put it, a “great wickedness and sin against God” (See Genesis 39:9).
Did you see that? Premarital sex is sin against God. Nothing short of that.
“Everyone is doing it.” But that doesn’t make it right!
Perhaps the person that asked the question that formed the title of this post had come to that realisation that sex before marriage is not good; or may be she has not, I can’t tell for sure.
But one thing was sure: the person was looking for answers. And I felt compelled to put out my suggestions on that online forum.
Those contributions of mine form the bulk of the text that I’m sharing below.
First and foremost, we would agree that it is good to make new year resolutions on matters that are of interest to us – like that lady tried to do with stopping sexual activities before marriage.
Whether the resolutions are kept or not is another kettle of fish all together.
But what that poor lady failed to realise was that to be able to stop engaging in premarital coitus, it will take more than a simple resolution at the beginning of the year; it would require a more compelling reason.
Like I said to her, “Ordinary resolution is not enough. If the reason is not strong enough, you can’t keep the promise.”
I don’t know about you, but what reason(s) would I consider strong enough for the lady to stop all sexual activities before marriage?
1. That she is now born again, so old things have passed away, including engaging in premaritalsex;
2. She is now convinced that premarital sex is a sin against God, so she is stopping the practice because she doesn’t want to continue in sin and continue to displease God;
3. That she is now trusting in God to help her keep the promise of abstinence till she gets married, not relying on her strength or willpower alone;
4. That she is now ready to obey God by staying away from sex until she is married, even at the risk of loosing her current man if he refuses to respect her decision to abstain.
If she is not sure of any of the above, I doubt if she can keep the promise of her new year resolution of discontinuing that practice of engaging in sex before marriage.
What do you think?
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God instituted marriage for our enjoyment and His will for us is to have it as a life-long union. That’s why we say, “till death do us part” at the point of entering the marriage contract.
You will agree with me that because we live in an imperfect world does not make divorce the perfect solution to marital crisis.
Is divorce in marriage inevitable? No! Is it avoidable? Yes!
Can we know what to do to avoid divorce? Yes! Gratefully we have some clues in the Bible.
In the book of Malachi, we have some suggestions. (Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament Bible). If you are like me, the book may not be your favourite part of the Scriptures.
However, in it are some great treasures worth digging up for our earthly use. For instance in chapter two, we read the following words (NKJV):
15 But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
16 “For the Lord God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.”
In excavating the gems in these two verses, we had already talked about the assertion by the prophet that God hates divorce and also followed up with the reasons God hates divorce. Let us go further by looking at the recommended antidote to divorce in that passage.
In case you missed it, just reread the last two lines of verse 15 and 16:
Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.”
There you have them stated clearly and repeated for emphasis sake.
I like the way the New Living Translation puts those words:
… So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty, ” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife” (Emphasis mine).
No need to over-flog it. The antidotes to divorce according to Malachi are:
Guarding your heart against it
Being faithful to your spouse.
Whatever does he mean? In subsequent posts, we will explore those points further . For now, let the conversation continue in the comment section.
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… Without a doubt, divorce was the worst season of my life. Nothing I’ve suffered since that time even comes close… absolutely nothing compares to the horrific pain of having a spouse decide, “I Don’t” after saying “I Do” – Laura Petherbridge.
In a previous post, we talked about the fact that God hates divorce. The natural question that would be precipitated by that statement will be:
Why does God hate divorce?
First and foremost, we all know that hate is a strong language, meaning “an intense dislike for.”
On the other hand, Divorce connotes “the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body.”
There must be some good reasons God does not like divorce. And those reasons are what this post seeks to explore.
If you ask me, I would say God hates divorce chiefly because He loves us and wants the best for us. He doesn’t want us to go through the pains, regrets and difficulties divorce action might occasion.
God loves us enough to inform us that He hates for us to subject our spouses to divorce. We all know that if you truly love someone, you wouldn’t want something bad to happen to him or her. Don’t you think God feels that much sympathetic towards us?
I guess you too have your reasons you think God says He hates divorce. (And I would like it if you would drop your views in the comment section of this post). For now let’s focus on what we can glean from the foundation scripture for this post and the previous one.
Malachi 2:15-16 – Let’s read it together:
15 Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his.[b] And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.16 “For I hate divorce!”[c] says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,[d]” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife” (NLT).
Based on this passage, let’s now explore further reasons God hates divorce:
1. God instituted marriage.
“Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife?” asked Prophet Malachi.
God has made you one with the person you are married to. So why do you seek to be separated from him or her forever?
God instituted marriage for our enjoyment and His will for us is to have it as a life-long union. That’s why we say, “till death do us part” at the point of entering the marriage contract.
It is safe to say that divorce undermines the sanctity of this holy institution of marriage established by God. Therefore God hates divorce.
2. God has a purpose for instituting marriage.
God did not only institute marriage, He had a purpose for doing so. The prophet here tells us that God seeks godly children (one translation uses the word “offsprings”) from our marriages.
“… And what does he want? Godly children from your union… Remain loyal to the wife of your youth.”
In order words, God expects our marital unions to bear godly seeds, godly fruits or godly results. You will agree with me that divorce will not qualify as a godly fruit.
Secondly, God also wants married couples to demonstrate loyalty to each other through thick and thin. And divorce flatly defeats that purpose.
3. Divorce has consequences
“To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,[d]” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
Wow, did you see that point in that verse you just read? Divorce is cruelty to your spouse. Another translation describes it as treachery.
Many people may disagree with that, but I know God’s word cannot be wrong. God would rather not have you go through the pains associated with divorce.
Whatever you think, divorce will cost you – be it emotionally, financially or otherwise. Apart from the couple involved, other associated parties (including your children and other loved ones) also suffer when marriage fails and results in divorce. Divorce will cause you pains, anguish, depression and the like.
As Laura Petherbridge observed from her own experience, “…divorce was the worst season of my life. Nothing I’ve suffered since that time even comes close… absolutely nothing compares to the horrific pain of having a spouse decide, “I Don’t” after saying “I Do.””
As you may have noticed, those are not my words. They are God’s, as recorded in the Bible.You will read it directly yourself shortly.
When you hate something, you have intense dislike for that thing. I guess that’s how God feels over some of the things we humans do.
For instance, the writer of the book of Proverbs tells us about seven things God hates (6:16-19):
Haughty eyes (a proud look).
A lying tongue.
Hands that shed innocent blood.
A heart that devises wicked schemes.
Feet that are quick to rush into evil.
A false witness who pours out lies.
And a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
If God hates the above things, it means He has intense dislike for them and He is not pleased whenever we engage in any of them. But that doesn’t mean He would stop loving us.
God’s love for us is without end; We can be sure that even if we are not perfect, He still loves us anyways.
One more thing God hates
There is one more thing we are told that God hates: divorce. And that is the focus of this post.
Divorce, “the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body,” – God says He hates it. In Malachi 2:16(NLT), we read the following words:
For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty, ” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”
In the preceding verse (15), we were given some hints on why God hates divorce. The prophet Malachi communicated that to us in rhetoric:
“Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.”
If you read verses 15 and 16 together, the picture comes out even better. Although the emphasis is on men who divorce their wives, the warning would equally be applied to wives who divorce their husbands.
For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty, ” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”
In the days when Malachi wrote those words, the men were more likely to put away their wives than wives would their husbands. But in our day, it can go either ways.
In any case, the message is clear: God hates divorce.
Having said that, I am also aware that divorce is common place in the world we live in today. But that doesn’t make it right, neither does it stop God from hating it.
In response to that apt observation, I am writing this post to highlight some of the expectations from the husband as well. While the former post was for a predominantly women audience, this is directed mainly at men.
That not withstanding, if you are a (married) woman reading this, be sure to continue reading to the end. I assure you, you will not regret it.
Now here are:
8 Things Every Christian Man Should Regularly Give His Wife
This is the first thing a Christian man should give his wife. It is commanded of him by the Lord.
The wife expects her husband to love her wholeheartedly and unconditionally. Your wife is not perfect, but you should love her still!
A husband should ensure that the wife’s (emotional, physical, financial, spiritual) needs are provided for.
Not providing for the woman will leave her feeling stressed, frustrated and insecure.
The husband should provide protection to the wife against the harmful effects of the elements, hurtful people and other harmful things;
The husband should provide security to the wife so she has “freedom from, or resilience against, potential harm (or other unwanted coercive change) from external forces.”
The christian husband should provide all kinds of leadership, including spiritual leadership, to the wife.
The wife may be disillusioned if the husband fails to show or lead the way.
Commitment in marriage is a journey not a destination. The husband should daily demonstrate his commitment to his wife.
The wife expects her husband to be committed to her and only her. The commitment is not for a short while, she (rightly) expects it to be forever.
The Christian man should not share his affection with any other woman; he should continue to demonstrate continuing loyalty and support to his wife only.
The man should emotionally and intimately commit to being faithful to his wife. He should not seek sexual gratification from anyone other than his wife.
The wife is called the help-meet for the husband. But that doesn’t mean the husband cannot be a helper to the wife too.
A wife expects her husband to help out (especially with the chores) around the house.
The husband should seek to understand and share the feelings of his wife.
He should give a listening ear to his wife, be patient with her and forgive her a million times in a day.
Remember what the Bible says:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27 NIV.
Thank you for reading my thoughts. Feel free to tell me what you think in the comment section.
I was recently invited to be part of the discussants in a church’s women’s end-of-year conference. But I sent them my apologies because I had another engagement billed for the date and time they chose.
However, the organisers requested that (since I could not be physically present at the event) I sent in my contribution in writing on Things Every Christian Woman Should Give Her Husband. I obliged their request by sending them a written short note as I thought it out.
The feedback I got after the programme was that my note was a blessing to them in that meeting. So in this post, I have decided to share with you the same thoughts I shared with those church women in their conference. I hope you find something useful in it.
Like I said, I drafted the write-up for a predominantly women audience, but that does not mean that you should not read it if you are a man. So let’s go there…
7 Things Every Christian Woman Should Regularly Give Her Husband
A husband expects his wife to respect him in two ways:
By words – what she say to him and about about.
By action – how she treats him at home or outside the home.
A Christian wife should understand that intimacy and sex is very important to the husband, as this is a need only she can meet;
A wife should not deny the husband his right over her body.
A wife should provide good food, timely and regularly for the husband/family;
A wife who doesn’t know how to cook good food should go and learn.
A husband expects the wife to appreciate him for providing for the family.
A woman should have an attitude of gratitude, not grumbling, not complaining.
A wife should show trust and confidence in the ability of the man to lead the home;
A wife should support her husband’s vision or project. She should not use her mouth to tear it down.
The man will never feel peaceful at home if the wife is always nagging.
If a wife fails to create a peaceful home, the husband will not feel happy returning home.
A husband expects his wife to take good care of herself.
She should maintain good personal and family hygiene.
Remember what the Bible says:
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Prov. 14:1.
Thank you for reading my thoughts. Feel free to tell me what you think in the comment section.
The Sun was already going down for the day. And there I was seated by the window side on our staff bus being driven home after work.
The vehicle was filled with other staffers who like me had equally earned a living for the day. We were all eager to get back home to our families and to have a well-deserved night rest.
But the ever busy Lagos traffic was hampering our speed; we were moving at snail’s speed. We are used to that kind of experience!
At the moment, I was gazing blankly at the evening sky through the window screen of the vehicle. And suddenly, I perceived in my spirit something I now consider a personal revelation from Above: Your is your reward.
Really? I should have known that a long time ago!
“Your wife is your reward,” I reechoed under my breath.
But how come those words have never formed part of my regular vocabulary? After all, I have always called my wife a “Gift From Above.” And I believe that with all my heart.
Something was happening here: the eyes of my understanding were further being enlightened, with a clear message out from the blues or better put, from the Spirit of God.
Your wife is your reward! It struck me so much that I knew there must be more to those words than I had previously known. So immediately, the researcher in me was called to work; I pulled my smart phone and did a quick Google search of “Your wife is your reward.”
Instead of a preponderance of web articles being thrown up, a Bible reference was atop the search result. And I wasted no moment in opening it to examine.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that these same words, “Your wife is your reward,” are in the Bible (Ecclesiastes 9:9). I took that as a confirmation that it was God that spoke those words directly to my heart moments earlier.
Since then I have read the verse over again from different versions of the Bible. The translation in the New Living Bible helped me understand it better:
Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly. Ecclesiastes 9:9, NLT.
By ordinary meaning, we know that a reward is “a thing given in recognition of service, effort, or achievement.”
And there in the Bible verse we just read, we have it that your wife is your reward for your earthly toil.
I wouldn’t know what you think of that. But As God is the One who said “Your wife is your reward,” we can be sure that He cannot be mistaken about it.
Quite recently, I ordered a copy of The House Girl, alongside two other titles by the same author. It was a privilege to have the mentioned books autographed and delivered to my door-step by the author herself.
During my meeting with the author, I had promised her that I would read the books and give her a review. (In case you missed it, you may read From a Blog friend to a true life friend, being the post I used to share my face to face meeting with the author on that fateful day).
What follows in this post will be my review of the first of the three books I purchased from her stable which I have read completely so far. Subsequent reviews will follow once I have finished reading the other titles.
Ufuomaee, the brilliant author of The House Girl, is “a young professional, a social entrepreneur and the Founder/CEO of Fair Life Africa Foundation, a charity that supports under-privileged children” in Nigeria. She is the author of Ufuoma series blog where she shares about her faith in God, and also writes “Christian romantic fiction, with lots of drama and scandal, that challenges all to think about their lifestyle and choices.”
Her blog is worthy of your visit or follow if you are interested in reading very insightful posts on faith, life and living.
About The House Girl.
The book is about a village girl who was taken to Abuja city to work as a domestic staff for a rich interracial married couple who have also promised to send her to school. While in the employ of the family, the girl discharged her house-duties as expected. But much time passed and she wasn’t registered in any school as promised to her parents.
That made the girl to feel very unhappy and this caught the attention of the man of the house. As a result, both of them began to have short but secret conversations that made them more familiar with each other. Soon enough they each began to have unholy ideas…
With their hearts burning for each other already, “all that restrained them from doing what they both desired to do was self-will and self-control. And that thing called conscience.” But they could only hold out for a little while, as it did not take long before the spirit of lust took the better part of the duo, leading to numerous consensual sexual encounters between them.
Unsurprisingly, the madam of the house soon began to suspect that there was something clandestine going on between her maid and and her husband. It was only a matter of time before her worst suspicions were validated and the aftermath shook her marriage to it’s deepest foundations.
Thankfully, in the end, the marriage narrowly survived from the brink of complete collapse. But not until after all the parties involved in the unfolding drama had been to hell and back.
In more ways than one, I found the book easy to read and the characters largely credible. Anyone who reads the book objectively will admit that that the personalities represented by each of the characters are ‘things’ that are not so far-fetched in whatever society we may find ourselves.
The main characters
Each of the characters, just like any mortal alive, has his or her strengths and weaknesses. And it is how they are managed that determines the results or consequences.
For the protagonist, Chinyere, as vulnerable as she was, she could be considered a victim of her own circumstances. At the same time, it may not be wrong for one to say that she was all too willing to engage in unwholesome canal encounter with the man of the house.
For a teenage girl whom it was implied was without a previous experience in that area, she could have exercised a bit of constraints – may be out of fear or respect, but she didn’t. So instead of one saying that Chinyere was taken advantage of by Donald, the man of the house, one can safely say that she was a willing participant in igniting the fire that almost completely engulfed her life and existence.
Donald, although a seeming gentleman became overcame by lust and exercised no sustained power of restraint in cheating on his wife again and again… May be that’s one of the consequences of his never having to acknowledge that there is a God to whom we are all accountable to.
Besides, even though he claimed he didn’t plan on cheating on his wife with their house maid, he shamefully admitted to “not being strong enough to resist [the beautiful] temptation” under the same roof with him.
The emotional and mental trauma, bribery, blackmail and risk of imprisonment that followed Donald’s misadventure remind everyone that our actions have consequences. And infidelity, like the Bible points out, is like fire. You cannot put it in your bosom and expect not to be burnt (Proverbs 6:27).
As for Osinachi, the madam of the house, at a point she was more or less an absentee wife. Her frequent trips outside the home contributed in creating the vacuum that her husband exploited to begin cheating on her with the house maid.
She also made some avoidable choices that blew up in her face. For instance, in her desperate bid to become a mother after she could not carry a baby to full term, she went on a misguided journey of adopting a child without her husband’s consent, leading to a further alienation from him.
Even after the husband had accepted the new reality of becoming a dad by force (thanks to his wife’s desperation), the adoption was later reversed contrary to their expectation and they found themselves back to square one.
Couples should endeavour to agree on issues of strategic importance in the family. If either party goes solo on such issue, it may not augur well for them at the end.
My favourite character
If I were to choose a favourite character in the book, it would have to be Mrs. Oji, Osinachi’s mum. I like the way she put things in proper perspective for her daughter, when she was seriously heart-broken over her husband’s serial infidelity.
I consider her advice and pep-talk as one of the key things that empowered Osinachi to fight to save her marriage.
“If you don’t know God for yourself…,” said Mrs Oji to her heart-broken daughter, “If you are not walking in His will, how can you lead another to Him? You are in this situation first because of your own sin! When you address that and learn from God what His will is, then you can make corrections in your life. Whether or not your marriage survives is secondary! You just have to get right with God, Osinachi.”
It was this friendly hard-knock that jolted Osinachi to reality. At that moment, she came to realise that “She has been practicing religion all these years; she didn’t know God for herself. No wonder her life could not influence her husband’s.”
Mrs Oji might have been advising her daughter over her husband. But I feel many wives around the world who love their husbands and want to save their marriages could use her other advice too: “Don’t relent in praying for him. Don’t stop forgiving him. Don’t hold back love and respect for him.”
In The House Girl, the author did a good job in telling a relatable story in such a way that vivid life lessons can be drawn from it. Each character presents a different angle to the lessons of life that can be gleaned from the book.
I found that that the following themes were covered in the book: The vulnerability of the girl child (especially the one from a less privileged background) to sexual exploitation, making an interracial marriage work, issues around child-bearing, challenges with child adoption, teenage pregnancy, living with a mental health issue, secrecy in marriage, love and commitment, forgiveness, personal relationship with God, role of parents in-law in saving a troubled marriage, rape, infidelity, blackmail, bribery, to mention but a few.
I liked reading the book and I would not hesitate in recommending it to you as well. I think that irrespective of one’s age or experiences in life, anyone that reads that books will definitely find a lesson or two to draw from it for personal application.
In closing, I will leave you with the following quotes from the book:
“It takes strength to give grace to others.”
“We are only as strong as our minds, not even our bodies.”
“We have to make sure we are working in faith and obedience if we want God’s best.”
“In service to others and in simplicity, there is so much joy to be found in life.”
“Never close the book on anyone, nor underestimate what you or anyone can be[come] tomorrow.”
“Never miss an opportunity to make impact in some one else’s life. Even if they never pay it back, they will pay it forward through the contribution they will make in the world.”
“Do not be afraid to challenge the system you enter. Do not be afraid to be the difference. All life is growth and change and you are the change the world is waiting for.”
The House Girl is available for purchase on Amazon.
Welcome to our Parentinggist parent of the month. Let’s meet our guest.
My name is Victor Uyanwanne, husband to Jennifer, father of two energetic boys and an aspiring writer.
Great, can you throw more light on your writing.
For the past three years, I have been publishing posts bothering on life and living, family issues, blogging tips, poetry and many other things that tickle my fancy. My purpose is to inspire people and equip them with the right knowledge that will help them live happier.
Being a follower of Jesus Christ, the thoughts on my blogs are presented from a Christian worldview. If you want to read my writings first hand, they can be accessed via Victors’ Corner
Awesome blog, you’ve got, how do you combine your regular job, writing and family?
Thanks for the compliment. I will say, I am combining effectively well. I take my job seriously and I put in my best all the time.
Reading and writing are my top hobbies so I have fun doing both, especially at night after work and on weekends. Except because of Lagos traffic bottlenecks, anyone here should have plenty of time after work (from the close of work at 5pm daily to whenever he or she goes to bed) to do some personal things. That’s how I find time to hone my writing skills.
As for the family, I will give all the credit to my beautiful wife for holding forth strongly at the home front. She is really a gift from heaven to me; a helpmeet indeed.
Having said that, I will add that as much as possible I try to spend much time with my family whenever I’m not at work. And I usually cut out unnecessary outings. I don’t know about you, for me, family time is fun time and best time. I have two very inquisitive boys. Answering their numerous questions and bonding with them through mutual interactions have been one of my greatest pleasures as a dad.
We would like you to share some of the numerous questions from your boys, I’m sure we would benefit from them too or laugh it out.
I have had my boys asking me scores of questions. And many of those questions I answered correctly without much ado. Yet there were ones I had to think twice before answering.
For instance, one of them once asked me, “Daddy, why do we have ten fingers?” How does one answer that? Please help me out (smiles).
When they asked, “Daddy, what is the baby of a horse called?” I am ashamed to say that I had to quickly check “Google” on my smartphone before I could tell them it’s called “a foal.”
Of all the questions my boys have ever asked me, the one that impressed me most was when the older boy (then 4years plus) asked me how he could be able to make it to Heaven at the end of this life. I must say it was my privilege to lead him to Christ that Christmas morning.
Oh this is wonderful, I must say, so what advice do you have for parents who are reading this; how can we lead our kids to make Heaven?
Parents should share the simple truths of the gospel with their children and allow them to make up their mind about receiving Jesus Christ into their lives. It is not something that can be forced.
In addition, parents should always pray for their children, that they receive the Lord and follow His way. In my boy’s case, I had prayed for him even before he turned 2 years old that he would get to be born again before the age of eight. Fortunately for me, it happened much earlier than expected.
One other thing I will add is that parents should by their conducts show good examples to their children. Children are good observers and they learn alot from their parents. If we want our children to be candidates of heaven, we should not live our lives as candidates of hell.
Thank you so much for honouring our invitation.
You are welcome. The pleasure is mine.
P.S: The interview was originally published on ParentingGist blog.
What do you think?
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Being a good boy (or girl) involves obeying rules, treating other people with respect, not being lazy, helping out around the house, maintaining healthy habits, being studious, volunteering, not doing drugs, and so on and so forth.
Cast your mind back to when you were growing up. Your parents would always say to you to be a good boy (or girl) whenever they were concerned about your behaviours.
And in most cases you cooperated with them, even though there were times you fell short of their expectations.
You know how proud you made them feel whenever you made the right choices! They felt honoured!
As you well know, your parents don’t want you doing things that may embarrass your family. They are genuinely interested in you having good conducts, protecting you from harming yourself and others.
Apart from the pain your misbehaviours may cause to your parents, to you and to other people around you, you dishonour your parents (and your family) each time you engage in unwholesome activities.
Bearing that in mind, I assume you tried your best to be a good boy (or girl) when you were growing up. Now that you are fully grown and independent, do you think you should stop being a good boy (or girl)?
I bet you don’t want to do that – for two reasons:
You don’t want to break your parents’ hearts at old age.
No matter how old your parents might have become, they still want you to keep being a good kid.
And no matter how fully grown or independent you might have become, your parents still don’t you to be involved in activities that may hurt you. They love you that much!
If you don’t honour them by making right choices in your life, their hearts will ache over you and you may end up sending them to an early grave.
Even if your parents, like mine, have gone to the great beyond, still honour their memories by continuing to be a good kid in their absence.
Remember this also: besides our earthly parents, we are also accountable to a heavenly Father. So you don’t want to do anything that will impede your relationship with Him.
You want to leave a good legacy for yourself.
Come to think of it: it’s your life, you can live it the way you want. But remember that whatever you do with it is the legacy you will leave for yourself, for your children and for posterity.
That makes it imperative for you to continue to behave well, making the right choices and being a good boy (or girl).
Don’t wait for someone to force it on you. Be intentional about it. Show some commitment to making the right choices in life. And continue to be a good boy or girl.
What does being a good boy (or girl) mean to you? Share your view in the comment section.
Some of the ways your attitude towards your parents can be influenced if you are truly grateful for them:
1. You will have time for them
Never say, “I don’t have time for my parents.” Create the time for them…
Your parents spent their life, health and wealth caring for you. Now that you are independent, don’t abandon them.
No matter how busy you might have become in your life, make out time for your parents. Call them regularly. Visit with them, with your spouse and grandchildren.
As you know, grandparents always adore their grandchildren. So give them that pleasure before they leave this earth.
2. You will give them gifts.
When was the last time you ever gave any gifts to your parents? They don’t have to be in need before you can buy anything of value for them.
Within your capacity, you can present beautiful gifts to your parents – no matter how little. That’s one way you can show them you love and appreciate them.
Gifts have a way of communicating some lovely things from you to the recipient: “You mean alot to me”. “I appreciate you so much.” “You are always on my mind.” “I’ve not forgotten you.” “I celebrate you.”
If you are truly grateful for your parents, learn to give them gifts. You will experience a fresh dose of happiness by do doing so.
3. Provide for their needs
Aside giving gifts to your parents, be actively involved in meeting their pressing needs.
As your parents’ age, they might gradually become unable to meet their basic needs without help. Whatever they lack, you can provide it for them to the best of your ability.
Their daily supplies. Medical care etc, whatever their needs might be, you should find a way of being of assistance to them.
Even if they are very okay – not needing any help – still find a way to be part of their lives. You owe them that honour.
Remember what the Bible says, “”Honor your father and mother”–which is the first commandment with a promise”” (Ephesians 6:2).
Your parents are not perfect. They might have made choices in the past that affected you negatively. But that doesn’t mean you should hold it against them forever.
My simple advice is that you have to forgive whatever wrong your parents might have done against you in the past,. Apart from improving the relationship between you and them, it is good for your health too.
One sure way to deprive yourself of happiness is to hold grudges against your parents – refusing to forgive them.
5. You will continue to “be a good boy”
Your parents would always say to you to be a good boy (or girl) whenever they were concerned about your behaviours. And in most cases you always cooperated with them.
Now that you are grown, do you think you should stop being a good boy (or girl)? I bet you don’t want to do that – for two reasons:
You don’t want to break your parents heart at old age.
You want to leave a good legacy for yourself.
I hope that with those few points of mine, I have been able to show you some simple ways you can show your parents that you love and appreciate them.
In what other ways do you think you can demonstrate that you are grateful to your parents for the role they played in your life? Leave a comment.
The responses I received to that question are what I present to you in this post, with the hope that you too will join in the conservation aimed at identifying the things you are most grateful for in your life.
Interestingly, I didn’t have this post in mind when I asked that question. But as I examined the feedback I received, I began to feel the need to use them as basis to write this post.
The following points are the feedback I received from 4 respondents as the things they are grateful for:
1. My salvation. My parents for being there in my formative years. And many other things;
2. For God’s elaborate salvation plan that included me.
3. My salvation, and other priceless gifts too numerous to mention!
4. The legacy bequeathed me by my dad and mom.
All the responses came from very mature people (all of them over 50 years of age each). I would take that to mean that they know what they were talking about.
From the responses of these friends on Facebook, I was able to see that there are majorly two things they are grateful for:
1. For the salvation they have;
2. For the roles their parents played in their lives.
If necessary, I will explore this two reasons in subsequent blog posts. But here, let us just continue the conversation by having you identify what you are grateful for in life.
Many of us bloggers sometimes make the mistake of thinking that we are writing only to people other than ourselves; that our posts help our readers more than they help us the writers.
But that may not always be the case. The posts we publish can be a blessing to us as much as it is to our readers. They can address our needs as much as they address the needs of other people.
Your blog posts should interest you. They should minister to you if you want them to minister to other people too.
That’s why I’m asking you: have you ever had your blog speaking to you personally?
In other words, have you ever learnt any lesson reading your own blog post?
That seems a fair question to ask, because if you are not learning anything from your own blog post, how are your readers supposed to learn from it?
I know from my own experience that most of the things I write on this blog often speak to me directly before they speak to my readers.
Apart from what I learn from other people’s posts, I learn from my own posts too!
The interesting part is that even months down the line, I could still find some of those posts addressing a particular need in my own life.
That was the experience I had recently. I am ashamed to say it now but I had a heated conversation with my wife.
“Over what” you may ask? Finances, aka money!
So that was it? Yea, yea…
Is money ever enough? Well, may be when we become billionaires. Smiles 😀
But seriously, we had some issues at hand: Our combined income for the month would barely be enough to accommodate ‘everything’ we wanted. No extras…
Futhermore, we couldn’t quite agree with the direction of our expenses for the following month. Our budget has to be a bit tightened due to some midyear obligations that needed to be settled.
But in a bid to have them resolved, our individual tempers flared up… Between each of us, we knew we raised our voices louder than normal.
You can hold me responsible for that. But I’m grateful to God we are both calmer now.
Just like many new couples would have experienced, this was not the first time finance and budgeting issues have come between us. And even though we always navigated our ways out of it, how come this kind of reality sometimes heat us hard in the face?
I mean, I love my wife and she loves me too. We both know it… We are eternally committed to each other. But how come we still disagree?
We are humans, imperfect humans. We are different in many ways.
We are still learning…Don’t you know that already?
Okay. That’s right!
Married couples do face challenges. Is there anyone here who doesn’t know that by now?
Well, there are bound to be issues in any relationship – be it marriage or not. But it is how we handle those issues that matters.
A problem is a problem and your spouse is your spouse. Please don’t mistake one for another.
I had advised my readers in that post:
“Next time you have any marital issue, be sure to remind yourself that your spouse is not the problem. Identify what the issue is and focus on tackling it. That way you will achieve a healthier method of resolution than blaming your spouse.”
In this case, I knew exactly what the problem was. And it was not my wife!
During marital problems, identify what the issue is and focus on tackling it. Don’t trade blames [with your spouse. It will backfire].
It finally felt like I was talking to my point of need as well. And I was…
As I said before, ministry to self before ministry to others! I get it: my blog post has spoken to me personally once again!
Here is an excerpt from the post that came back hunting me:
Just like every married couple might have come to realise, I am sure you already know that marriage is not a bed full of roses only. It is full of plenty challenges as well.
Isn’t that pretty obvious?
More often than not, it is how you handle these challenges that will go to a large extent to determine the success and happiness or otherwise of your marital experience.
The common saying that as you make your bed, so you will lie on it holds true in marriage relationships too.
Except you are married to the devil personified, I am free to say that your spouse is not the problem. So resist the temptation to see him or her as one.
Put in proper perspective, you will realise that the challenges you have in marriage are things or issues, not a person – and definitely not your spouse!
For instance, the problem could be the manner your spouse is handling an issue at hand, or it may also be the manner you are reacting to it. Either way, you must [realise] that the problem is not a person.
A vital key to amicably resolving the challenges is to learn to focus on tackling the issue at hand rather than putting the blame on a person – your partner. You may have been hurt by what your spouse said or did at some point, but the problem is still not your spouse.
“I love you but I hate how you treat me sometimes,” a thoughtful wife once said to her husband.
You’ve got the point? Identify what the issue is and deal with it [accordingly].
A problem is a problem and your spouse is your spouse. Please don’t mistake one for another.
Which of your blog post has ever spoken to you personally? You can paste the link in the comment section. I promise to check it out and leave you a feedback.
Marriage is a special institution established by God for His glory and for the enjoyment of mankind. And we are expected to treat the institution honourably.
Unfortunately, many people have been dishonouring their marriages by not protecting the sanctity of the marital unions as necessary.
Part of the requirements for safeguarding the sanctity of marriage is marital fidelity.
I do not mean to suggest that fidelity in marriage guarantees that a marriage will be happy and successful. But I can state categorically that marital infidelity is a sure way to destroy a marriage or make it fail.
It is required that in marriage, spouses should be faithful to their partners with their bodies. But what do we see sometimes amongst married people?
Adultery – willful sexual relationship with someone else other than your spouse!
Adultery is a grievous sin first before God and then before your marriage partner. Yet, some people engage in it without caring about the consequences.
Beyond the seeming pleasure derived from adultery, alot of pain is caused by it.
Anyone who commits adultery is playing with fire, and should not be surprised if the fire consumes him or her.
Here is a question from someone who seriously contemplated the danger of adultery:
Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Proverbs 6:27
The answer is no! You cannot put the fire of adultery on your lap and expect not to get hurt!
Here are additional warning against adultery from the book of Proverbs (NLT):
26 For a prostitute will bring you to poverty, but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life…
28 Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet? 29 So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife. He who embraces her will not go unpunished…
32 But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself (Emphasis mine).
As a follower of God, you will have known from the Bible that adultery is a serious sin, with eternal implications…
But beyond that, no one will deny that adultery has terrible consequences to the perpetrators and to the people along their paths.
Adultery damages nearly every relationship around it, including the extended family. Forgetting the goodness and mercy of God by giving in to immediate impulse and physical passion brings self-inflicted consequences to the body and soul… Ross Rhoads, Adultery – A Heartbreaking Sin
The following consequences might result from adultery:
Loss of reputation
Fear of being caught
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Loss of job, etc.
Talking about loss of job, that was what happened recently to a university professor in Nigeria. He was dismissed by his employers over a confirmed allegation of sexual misconduct.
Earlier in the year, a recorded conversation between the professor in question and one of his female students went viral in the social media circle in the country.
On that leaked audio, the randy professor was caught on tape soliciting sex from the post-graduate student in exchange for pass marks.
Following the public outcry over the sex-for-mark scandal, the school authority launched an investigation into the allegation.
The preliminary investigation found the professor guilty of the allegation, prima facie, and this led to the accused professor being suspended. However, the professor was later sacked upon the conclusion of necessary investigations.
One reputable media source reported that the Professor “was found to be liable for all allegations of [sexual] misconduct levelled against him… This led to the dismissal of the academic from the services of the university, to serve as a deterrent to others.”
The guilty-as-charged professor was dismissed “to serve as a deterrent to others.”
The need for strict safeguards
That’s one of the reasons I’m writing this post as well. If you realise the inherent danger in committing adultery, you will guard against it.
As David Boehi noted in an article on adultery published on Family Life website, “…All of us [should] realize the need to set up strict safeguards to ensure that we are faithful in our marriage commitment[s]. If I am convinced of what adultery would do to me and to my family, I will watch my wandering eyes, guard my thought life, and avoid any situations that could put me in harm’s way.”
Here is my final advice: Think twice before you commit adultery because it will cost you!
What’s your perspective on the consequences of adultery?
In an epoch-making ceremony, Prince Harry took his beautiful bride, Meghan Markle, to the altar to be his lawfully wedded wife.
The whole world stood at attention as the graceful royal event took place at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in London.
In many ways, the marriage between the two lovebirds has been described as a break from the norm; a royal wedding with a difference.
In this post I will talk about 4 interesting things about the couple.
4 Interesting Things About The Royal Wedding Between Prince Harry And Meghan Markle
1. The couple loves each other very much.
The union between Price Harry and Meghan Markle is not a loveless union in any way as some royal marriages in the past might have been.
This one is a special marriage between two special people that specially love each other against all odds.
The love of the couple shone through every inch of the wedding ceremony. Meghan was particularly full of smiles as she pledged her marriage love and commitment to Prince Harry.
The sparks of love in her eyes were indescribable. And Prince Harry was like, “You look amazing. And I am so lucky to have you.”
I am sure the elegant Megan felt the same way too; they were visibly happy throughout the ceremony.
This couple followed their hearts, without minding what the world around them would think. They fell in love and stayed in love, standing before the Lord to be joined man and wife in holy matrimony.
From the year of our Lord 2016 when they reportedly first met each other, to this year 2018 when they walked down the isle, their love for each other stood strong, overcame many negative criticisms that arose against the royal union along the line.
2. The couple met through a blind date.
It was reported in the media that Prince Harry met Megan Markle through a blind date orchestrated by a mutual friend of theirs.
Yes! Their first time meeting with each other was through a blind date.
Meghan confirmed it when she confessed in a BBC interview that the blind date… (Wait for it)… “was a set-up.”
Now we can all see the result; that “set-up’ was definitely a blind date with a difference; It worked out gradually but surely, leading to a grand royal union.
Before now, one would have thought that this kind of blind date only happens in movies. But here we are celebrating the strong love that developed from a blind date to friendship and then to marriage into royalty.
With this development, it looks like the next (even the present) generation of young people now have a veritable example of a blind date that worked for them to imitate.
But they should remember that they are not Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
3. Welcome the Biracial royal bride
As far as I know, never in the history of the British monarchy has there been a biracial bride amongst the wives of the men of their royalties. But with Meghan Markle coming into the fold, as wife of Prince Harry, a great history has been made.
In the words of Katie O’Malley, “…a mixed race woman has married into one of the whitest institutions in the UK…”
This is reality my friend!
It means that Prince Harry and Meghan have chatted a new course for mankind in matters of race relations on earth – in an unprecedented way.
As one media analyst pointed out, “Ten years ago, this would have been impossible.”
Yes, a decade ago, a marriage between a British royalty and a biracial woman wouldn’t have been possible. But it is now… And that’s progress for us humans!
When the first man landed on the Moon, it was dubbed, “one small step for a man but one giant leap for mankind.”
In the same vein, Prince Harry’s marriage to a biracial Meghan could be seen as a giant leap forward for mankind in the history of interracial relationships, not only in Britain but in many places around the world.
Meghan has now moved from being an American actress to Britain to being a royal bride with a difference.
And the good part is that many people love and adore her, calling her and Harry, “a perfect couple.”
Everyone that matters, especially Harry’s dad, Prince Charles and his grand mum, her royal majesty, Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, understandably approved of the union.
This is not to say that the couple didn’t initially face some persecutions from some sections of the public because of Megan’s racial background.
They did, but they overcame. Thanks to Prince Harry who stood firmly behind his gorgeous lady.
4. The Divorcee Question
When in 2017 Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement, some questions arose about her previous relationships.
As it turned out, Meghan had been married before but the marriage did not work out between her and her then spouse. We now know the name of her ex husband as Trevor Engelson, a Hollywood television and film producer.
As at the time she met Prince Harry, Meghan was already officially divorced. But the ‘divorcee’ tag on Meghan did not dissuade Harry from marrying her.
In any case, Meghan’s failed marriage to Engelson is now in the past where it belongs. A new marriage chapter has now been opened between Prince Harry and her, not only as husband and wife but also as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
What is your take on the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle?
There is an error that is gradually becoming endemic in our days.
I have seen young energetic men become lazy, laid-back, lethargic and beggarly all in the guise of pursuing God or working for God (Ministry).
Those that are married lean on their wives’ income as sole income and not complementary income to support what they bring.
The ones that are not married seek ladies with steady flow of income to hook up to thereby abusing God’s order.
Some others want their wives to stop working and take care of their children without showing them practically how they intend to provide for their homes.
This laziness has led many preachers to sell their soul by engaging in many unspeakable things to make endsmeet. They are deluded by a voice supposedly from God telling them not to work.
My concern is simple; if God tells you not to work, be sure God’s provision will always be ahead of your needs.
Paul in his missionary journey worked with his hands when there was no provision. And where there was provision, he devoted the entire time in preaching the word of God.
My heart reaches out to women that are saddled with so much burden to ensure their family have the basic needs (food, shelter, clothing and basic-education).
With all these burden, many ‘MOGs’ [Men Of God] expect their wives to perform their nuptial duties at night as and when due. Failure to do so due to fatigue has been used as an excuse for extra-marital affairs.
Let us grow up and revert to the divine order where husbands provide for their homes and wives support.
Full-time ministry is to do the work of God fully with your heart, might and strength and that is also the first commandment. This is God’s minimum requirement for all Believers.
It doesn’t hinder any Man of God from working with their hands pending when their congregation is financially solvent enough to accommodate their financial burdens.
Get this fact straight, dust your certificate, get a skill and start working.
Your heart is with God even at work. Become productive, unburden your wives and lean solely on God.
You love your wife and you know it.
And she knows too that you love her.
Your love languages are truly in sync.
All is going well and good for you both.
No slacking, keep the flag flying.
That is how it is supposed to be.
You love your wife and you know it.
But your wife doesn’t think you love her.
In many ways you try to prove that you love her.
But she never really gets to understand you much.
You are speaking a love language different from hers.
It is time you began to learn her own love language.
You don’t love your wife and you know it.
But somehow she thinks that you do love her.
All because you have been acting like you love her.
Is it not time you stopped deceiving her?
And begin to make your love acts true to the heart?
Loving is a choice you have to make in her favour.
You don’t love your wife and you know it.
She too knows that you don’t love her.
But somehow, you are both managing each other…
You are the one failing in your responsibility here,
Because you were the one told, “Husband love your wife.”
Now is the time to make the choice to love her.
“We learn every day,” so says that popular saying.
I know that is true in many aspects of our human endeavours. But being a relatively new parent, I have come to also realise that the statement is particularly true of parenting.
Parenting is a huge responsibility. But it is also full of opportunities to learn new things.
As parents we know that our children learn from us. But beyond that, any sincere parent would acknowledge that every now and then, he or she also learns from his or her children as well.
I have experienced it several times…
I have a three-year old and a five year old. Sometimes I set out to teach them some things and in the process I learn new things from them as well. Even I have enriched my vocabulary merely listening to them. And I believe I’m not alone here.
There have been times they asked me questions I didn’t have immediate answers for. But as I looked around for the most appropriate feedback to give to them, I got to learn new things in the process.
I also get to use my experience in guiding them. But I have since realised that experience is not enough; my experience is my experience, not theirs.
Just like many new parents, I would admit that I don’t know it all. So I am still learning… And it seems to me that every opportunity that gets created for me to teach my kids something is also an opportunity for me to learn something too – no matter how small.
Granted that when I am teaching them, I tend to do most of the talking most times. But it pays to listen to what they have to say as well. Listening is a key part of parenting. Every parent should develop the skill.
I would not say I have arrived in that respect. But I know I’m no longer where I used to be when the parenting journey got started.
Now I’m learning to be a little more open and more accommodating to their many ideas and perspectives. They don’t have their way most times (obviously, they shouldn’t). But I shouldn’t have my way all the time either.
They may not be aware yet that relating with them opens a new vista of knowledge for me. But I have come to realise that I am learning a lot from them.
So in only five years experience on the job, I am convinced that parenting is learning. That’s my perspective. What’s yours?
I just stumbled on this personal picture featured here and it brought back wonderful memories that precipitated this post.
I remember the day I snapped it exactly 3 years ago. It was at the church wedding of a very close friend.
The wedding took place at a location far away from my Lagos base. But I had to be there, irrespective of the distance.
The friend deserved the love and support I had to give, even more.
We are friends. We have been friends. We have come along way with each other and for each other as well.
There was a lot of significance to that wedding. The enduring love of the couple for instance: They loved each other against all odds. Believed in each other. Courted each other for several years. Planned being with each other for life…for better or worse.
But there were pockets of challenges here and there before the wedding – all through the courtship period – chief of which was that their families opposed the marriage.
However, in the end, the patience and the love of the couple paid off; they eventually got parental blessing for the wedding and the marriage was allowed to take place.
I was glad I was there to witness it all. I was glad that their love triumphed over all obstacles, giving all glory to God who made all things possible.
In more ways than one, I had a personal sense of fulfilment over that wedding. Mission accomplished for the couple; joy for all of us friends and family.
Even in times of doubts before the marriage, I stood with my friend and his love. Though a long tedious journey, it came to a beautiful climax: united in holy matrimony, against all odds.
I saw it coming. I prayed with them. It seemed impossible at first but it still took place in the end – happily.
Going for the Wedding
When I was setting out for that wedding event, I took two days off work to enable me arrive the location ahead of time. The traditional wedding was for a Friday afternoon while the white wedding was to take place the following Saturday.
I was well prepared for the wedding. I bought a brand new pair of suit for the occasion, along side the accompanying accessories.
I was happy… I was longing to see my friend walk the aisle with his bride. A big day, it would turn out be!
On a Thursday, the day to the Friday of the traditional wedding ceremony, I arrived at the inter state bus terminal not too far from my Lagos home to begin this important journey I had looked forward to for at least three months prior.
It was midday, so I had said to my self, “In the next 5-6 hours on the road, I should be with my friend ready to cheer him on as he bade goodbye to bachelorhood.”
You know that feeling you have when someone you love is celebrating! I felt it and I felt good about it…
My close friend from way back was getting married. I had to be there in flesh and blood, with all pleasure.
Some years ago when I got married, he was with me all the way. He flew in to Abuja into my waiting arms. And then together we flew further to Sokoto where he joined me to pick my beautiful bride.
I still remember how we felt when the plane touched down at the Sadiq Abubakar III International Airport.
“So Victor you are getting married?” he had asked me. You see what I mean when I say we have come along way?
“Yes” was my heartfelt response to him. “It is my turn now, it will be yours soon,” sounding very sure of the future.
As we stepped out from the air-plane then, we were both greeted by the dry very winds of the North West and the scorching Sun of the seat of the Caliphate, with temperatures measure reaching the 40″C mark.
I had never felt so much heat before my life. But it was all well and good: I got married in Church as planned without any hitches, whatsoever!
Now it’s this friend’s own wedding, and my mind was already made up about being there. “I have to be there by all means,” I had promised myself.
And the day finally came!
There were no direct flights to the local town venue of the wedding; no airport there in the first place. So the journey had to be done by road. And I was ready to take it on, joyfully and wholeheartedly!
There was the option for me to fly to the nearest airport located at the State Capital, some kilometres away from the place, and taxi inwards to the venue. But my budget was very tight, so that idea flew away from my head as quickly as it had come.
In the end, I had to travel by road. I didn’t even see it as a sacrifice even though I had to travel several rough miles to attend the marriage ceremony. Like I said earlier, I was still happy doing it.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get there until the Friday of the traditional marriage ceremony proper. In fact I arrived in the middle of the ceremony, with friends and family already seated, appropriately dressed in colourful attires.
The event was peaceful and successful. And on the following Saturday, my friend and his bride were joined in holy matrimony to begin their life together as man and wife. I thank God, I witnessed it all.
Rewind a day backwards
As you might have observed, I arrived a day later than I had planned to. The late show up was due to a setback in transportation the day before.
That Thursday when I got to the bus park, I bought my fare ticket and sat down on the public bus waiting for the journey to begin. The waiting turned from minutes to hours, and we were still there. Not enough passengers for the bus to depart the terminal.
At the end of the day, I couldn’t continue the journey same day, else I would have to get there at very late hours. And that’s not good enough, for security reasons.
I departed from the bus park for home, forfeiting my fares – as they insisted there would be no refunds.
But I had still had to make that journey. So I shifted it to the following Friday morning. This time, I switched Inter State bus terminal.
Thankfully I didn’t have to wait for too long. So the journey began and to the glory of God, I arrived safely for the wedding, stayed with my friend as he took his bride to the altar. And together we all savoured the joy of the couple that had the enduring love that conquered all odds.
If any one should ask if you love your spouse or not, I’m very sure your answer would be “yes.” Well, I would agree with you because I’m not in a good position to question that assertion.
However, saying that you love your spouse is much deeper that just saying so with your mouth. You should know that if you truly love your spouse, it will definitely show in what you do or don’t do towards him or her.
In this post, we will attempt to (re)examine whether or not you love your spouse in meaningful ways as much as you would claim. Our purpose is not to criticise you but rather to help you take an objective assessment of your position right now with a view to helping you love your spouse more in ways that truly matter – and most importantly, in ways that meet heavenly requirements.
Before we delve into unfolding the Biblical foundation for this post, I will like to refresh your memory a little with something I read in a book at the peak of my undergraduate days, several years ago; it is about the love languages.
Chapman’s 5 Love Languages
In the book, The 5 Languages of Love, Dr Gary Chapman, a marriage counselor with reported experience spanning over three decades, believes that “unhappiness in marriage often has a simple root-cause: we speak different love languages” from our spouse’s.
In other words, it is not enough to say that you are doing your best at loving your spouse. You must actively show that you love him or her in a way that he or she understands or appreciates. That is, in a way that is most meaningful to him or her.
One pertinent question therefore is, are you speaking your spouse’s primary love language? It is important you begin to do so if you have not started.
As identified by Dr Chapman, there are five love languages you should know:
1) Words of Affirmation
2) Quality Time
3) Receiving Gifts
4) Acts of Service, and
5) Physical Touch.
The idea behind the 5 love languages is that spouses appreciate or understand love in one or a combination of two of the 5 areas as stated on the list.
It is therefore your responsibility to find out which one of these languages your spouse understands more so you can relate more with him or her on that plane. If you don’t do that, your spouse may not understand the love you are communicating to him or her, no matter how hard you think you may be trying.
Love shows in attitude
Love is the operating word here. And again, I want to assume you love your spouse. Don’t you? If yes, then we can go on…
Having said that, let us push the bar a bit higher.
How can you ‘prove’ that you love your spouse?
When we talk about love, many people understand it in many different ways. But in the context of this post, the beautiful picture of love as painted in the book of First Corinthians shall be our standard measure.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
1 Corrinthians 13:4-8
From this passage, you can see that there are things love can do and there are ones it cannot do. Therefore, if you love your spouse, there are things you should do and there are things you should not do towards him or her.
It is these things you do or fail to do towards your spouse that prove whether or not you love your spouse. As earlier said, if you love your spouse, it will show in your attitude towards him or her.
The Bible passage quoted above is hugely about the operations of love in general, but we can be a bit more specific by applying it to spousal love. Let us therefore consider the specific components of the love-list and extend it to how you love your spouse:
Love is patient and kind. If you love your spouse, you should be patient with, and kind towards him or her.
Love does not envy or boast. If you love your spouse, you should not be discontented towards him or her, neither will you “talk with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about your achievements, possessions, or abilities.”
Love is not arrogant or rude. If you love your spouse, you should relate with him or her in humility and never take pleasure in being rude to him or her, either in your words or in your actions.
Love does not insist on its’ own way. If you love your spouse, it’s not every time you would insist on having your way with him or her. You should sometimes also allow them to have their ways too.
Love is not irritable or resentful. So you love your spouse?Then do not be easily annoyed with him or her; neither should you ever become bitter towards him or her – irrespective of how you are treated.
Love does not rejoice in wrong doing, but rejoices in truth. There may be some spouses that lie to their partners and take pleasure in cheating on them. But that should not be you, because you love your spouse.
Love bears all things, hopes all things, bears all and endures all things. If you love your spouse, then bear with his or her inadequacies, endure difficult times with each other, hope and believe for the best between you both.
Love never ends. So you love your spouse? Don’t give up on him or her!
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As someone said, communication is the lifeblood of any marriage. But it must added that such communication has to be positive, constructive and productive.
Truth be told, some communications can drain the life out of any healthy relationship. In this post, we will examine some forms of such communication that are not so healthy to engage in marriage.
If good communication improves the health of marriage, then obviously, bad communication destroys it. Nothing less than wholesome, intentional, positive and productive communication should be promoted within a loving marriage relationship.
All the same, there are spouses who may be inadvertently involved in improper communications with each other. It is my belief that being aware of these kinds of communication that destroy marriages will help you not to engage in them so that the happiness and health of your marriage will be protected.
To that extent, I present to you 3 kinds of communication that may destroy your marriage, with the hope that you will learn not to engage in them:
Let us now take a closer look at each of the stated types of communications:
1. Silence communication
On the surface, it would appear that “silence communication” as being used here is an oxymoron, contradicting in terms. But it is not – especially if you think of it in terms of nonverbal communications.
Silence in itself is not the total absence of communication. But it is a form of communication as well.
Through the use of words, you do communicate in any relationship. But you can sometimes do the same without necessarily using words – by the use of silence. That’s why they say, for instance, that “silence means consent.”
In marriage however, silence may not always mean consent, pleasure or happiness; it can mean discontentment, unhappiness, disapproval, indifference, ignorance, bruised ego, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, displeasure, concealed anger, etc.
But the fact still remains that even when you keep silent, you are still communicating something. The question then will be whether or not your silence is serving the proper purpose.
Sadly, “silence communication” can result in miscommunication and misunderstanding.
It is true that silence may be desirable at times, especially when you need to douse some apparent tensions. But do not allow prolonged silence communication to fester between you and your spouse, neither should you subject your partner to the so-called “silent treatment.” Such will not augur well for the health of your beautiful marriage.
Whenever you notice unwholesome silence communication in your relationship, be the one to break the ice (in a positive way). This is because continuous silence communication between you and your spouse will have a negative effect on the health of your marriage. Therefore, use “silence communication” wisely.
2. Inadequate communications
Understand that inadequate communication is poor communication whether in marriage or outside of it. Poor communication will in turn result in poor understanding and ultimately in conflict and misunderstanding. And persistent conflict between you and your spouse is not good for the health of your marriage.
Have you ever felt that your partner is not open to discussing all issues with you? Or you know he or she is deliberately withholding vital information from you? If your answer is yes, then you may be experiencing inadequate communication in your marriage.
It is also inadequate communication if your spouse can use more information than you are willing and open to communicate with him or her. What that means is that you are withholding information from your partner without his or her consent. And that’s not right. If your spouse is the one withholding information from you, it is also not right.
More often than not, inadequate communication can result in serious misunderstanding between you both, and consequently to unhealthy conflict that puts the union at risk.
In marriage you should be free to talk about anything and everything with your spouse. Such communication should be proactive, intentional, regular and adequate.
3. Negative communication
Ever heard the saying that “if you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing?” That shows that it may be more beneficial sometimes to maintain silence than to say unpalatable things – to your spouse, for example.
Well, while not encouraging silence communication in marriage, it is better to avoid negative communication all together. Negative communications will produce negative effects.
Negative communication such as uncomplimentary remarks about your spouse and unending doses of unconstructive criticisms will not improve the good-health of your marriage. Your spouse may feel disrespected or unvalued if your communication always come across to them as negative. On the other hand, you will come across as caring, loving, friendly and considerate if your communications are always positive.
If you communicate negatively with your spouse long enough, he or she will begin to resent you, leading to emotional disconnection between you both. There is no future for any marriage where the partners do not share a strong intimate emotional bonding.
We will then conclude that silence communication is not good. Inadequate communication is not good enough. And negative communication is not good at all.
Your marriage will be negatively affected if you engage in any of the above communications long enough. Therefore, it is better to avoid these kinds of communication that destroy marriages.
What other kinds of communications do you think can destroy a marriage?
Gentle warning: This post is extremely personal. But don’t take it personal.
In the previous post, I stated the fact that some people are single for life and satisfied. But I went on to explore the idea that I could not have been unmarried for life and be completely fulfiled.
My well-thought out humble conclusion then was that:
As for me, I see marriage as a calling I had to embrace because I could never have been totally satisfied with a lifelong celibacy.
To put things in a clearer perspective, I am using this post to advance five reasons I believe that I could not have been completely satisfied if I had remained single for life.
Like I stated in the first part of this post, this is a personal experience I decided to share with you. So do not be offended if your own experience or perspective is radically different from mine.
1) Marriage is my calling
Marriage is part of God’s general plan for humanity. I believe strongly in it, and I always will.
I may have many ‘callings’ in life, but celibacy is not one of them. I made up my mind about that long before I eventually walked the altar to say, “I do.”
Marriage is honourable. Most people will not disagree with that! So embracing marriage means embracing an honourable institution established by God Himself.
God made it possible for me and many other countless people to be married… And except you feel called to a lifelong celibacy, I believe you should be open to marriage too. Don’t you think so?
2) Two are better than one
Marriage gives a veritable opportunity for a beautiful synergy in life between two people who are divinely bound in a holy union – a kind that singlehood does not offer me.
I reckoned that I am stronger with a spouse for life than without one. The total union of two separate people to become one in marriage unleashes the power of synergy, which is in line with God’s plan and purpose.
Why would I choose to go along in life as a ‘lone ranger’ when I could legally have a great person of the opposite sex to go along with me all the way? Like I said in the previous post, I prefer my “married me” to my “single me.”
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves… Ecclesiates 4:9-12.
Marriage is my legitimate opportunity to build my own family as God intended, so why should I flunk the choice?
3) Sexual fulfilment
Apostle Paul once declared in unequivocal terms that, “It is better to get married than to remain unmarried and continually burn with passion.” That’s one of the frankest statements in God’s word as far as managing your sexual affection as a single person is concerned.
Christian values teach us that the only kind of sex approved by God is marital sex. So any act of sex engaged in outside the walls of marriage amounts to living contrary to the will of God.
I am aware that many people will not be comfortable with me saying that. But I have to say it because it is not my idea but God’s. And God knows best!
In the light of that, it means that as a single man who wanted to please God in this area, I would not engage in sex except I was legally married.
However, I definitely would not be able to live without sexual expression for the rest of my life, without disobeying God. You can talk about exercising self-control, but let us leave that lesson for another day.
Let us read what the Bible says here:
But I say to the unmarried and to the widows, [that as a practical matter] it is good if they remain [single and entirely devoted to the Lord] as I am. But if they do not have [sufficient] self-control, they should marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion . 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 AMP
Early enough in life, I learnt that both premarital and extramarital sexual experiences are not part of God’s perfect plan for His children. So I had to choose the committed marriage option to meet my sexual needs.
Any thing outside that would have led me to committing avoidable sexual sin, which has its own inescapable consequences.
Sexual sin is self-destructive. It’s like a fire. A fire in the fireplace can do you a lot of good. A fire in the living room will mess up your whole house! And that’s precisely the case with our sexuality. It is a fire to be kindled only within the fireplace of marriage. Outside of that safe enclosure, it can do all kinds of emotional and physical damage. Single And Satisfied – Tony Evans
4) The need to have children
I do not want only sexual satisfaction by getting married, I want to produce offsprings too.
Remaining unmarried for life would have meant that I would not have been a parent, except of course I became one out of wedlock. Not even in my dreams did I ever consider that an option to take!
Marriage has afforded me the great privilege of having my own legal children. And I am loving it…
I am aware some people get married and decide on their own not to have children. But that is very unusual in my part of the world. (Apologies to the couple who are trying so hard to have their own children but to no avail yet).
I believe also that it is part of God’s will for my life to have children.
Lo, children [are] an heritage of the LORD: [and] the fruit of the womb [is his] reward. As arrows [are] in the hand of a mighty man; so [are] children of the youth. Happy [is] the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. Psalms 127:3-5.
5) One person to love for life.
For the most part of my single life, I always longed for the time I would get committed to one lady for life – totally and completely. To love and to cherish her for the rest of my life.
Marriage provides me with the best chance to fulfill that longing. In marriage, I have a trusted companion to love and to cherish for the rest of my life.
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church… For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. Ephesians 5:28-32.
If you are presently living single for life or in a committed marriage, please let me know what you think about the post.
Jesus Christ was single for life and satisfied with it, so was Paul the Apostle. But I know that not everyone would be single for life and be fully satisfied as well. Definitely not me!
I have also heard some other people say they are single and satisfied. But in most cases, it turns out that many of such people are only temporarily single because somehow, you will get to find out that they are only waiting for the right partner to come along.
I wouldn’t know if that applies to you or not. In any case, just follow me on this short journey…
You are presently single but you have plans to get married when you meet the right person and other conditions are right. I understand that feeling because I was once there.
That one is a temporary singlehood. However, that is not the kind of singlehood I am talking about here.
I am referring to you being single, staying single for life and without any desire for entering into a committed marriage. I would call that a permanent singlehood.
That is the situation I do not understand because I have not been there before. And I do not even want to be there because I firmly believe in the institution of marriage.
This is my sixth year being married. And with all modesty, I can gladly say that I have found more fulfillment in being married than in being single.
It is not to say that I did not have a fulfilling life as a single man. No, far from it! I had an incredibly joyful life during my singlehood.
In fact, I was so happy when I was yet an unmarried man that I once had cause to ask my myself, “Would I still be this happy when I get married?”
Notice that I did not say “…if…” but “…when..” I got married. The reason is that marriage has always been part of my plans in life. That is to say that I never had an agenda of ever living an unmarried life in my sojourn on earth.
Back to the question I asked myself when I was still a bachelor: would I be happy in marriage as I was in singlehood?
It would have been largely presumptuous for me to have that question answered in the affirmative before I got married. But now that I am married, I can categorically state that I have found my life happier and more fulfilling than when I was a single man.
Just as Apostle stated that “it is better to marry than to burn,” I could stretch that to say that it better to be married than to remain single for life.
This is just my experience I am sharing with you. I am by no means trying to generalise the issue because I am very much aware that your experience may be completely different from mine. Is that not so?
On the other hand, this is not a call for everyone to get married. Even the Bible recognises that marriage is a choice; no one should be forced into it.
I was not forced into marriage in any way. It was a journey I deliberately embarked upon by my own freewill. And I am loving it!
It would have been a huge disservice to myself had I chosen to be single for life. That’s not my calling at all, but marriage is. At the appropriate time, God led me into it, by giving me the right partner.
Of course, it is not that remaining single and being an unmarried person for life is a sin, neither is getting and staying married. But just that like every other major decision you have to make in life, there are always pros and cons to consider.
In as much I would like to recommend to you to get married (if you are not married yet) and stay married for life, it is up to you to decide for or against it. For one, I know that God’s will for most of His children is marriage. And I made my decision along that line a long time ago.
Being single has its own benefits and getting married has its own benefits too. But I prefer the later.
Now that I am married and have found fulfillment in marriage, it has become clearer to me that I could never have been single for life and be satisfied with it completely.
But like I said before, I am not suggesting that you could not choose to remain single or celibate for life and be satisfied at the same time. Good luck to you if that’s what you want.
As for me, I see marriage as a calling I had to embrace because I could never have been totally satisfied with a lifelong celibacy.
Many people know that divorce is very devastating. But some people will still end up walking that way. In the long run, it does more harm than good to the couples involved, to the children produced by the broken union and to the society in general.
No troubled marriage is irredeemable, especially yours, if you believe in God. With the cooperation of the couples involved, even the most hopeless marriage can be restored to health and happiness. Rather than taking the divorce option, couples who have marital challenges should find a way of working things out between them.
If you want your marriage to work, you will find a reason to stay in it. But if your mind is made up on filing for a divorce, you will also find a ‘good’ reason to do so. Whatever you want to do, you will find an excuse for it.
Recently, I suggested on this blog that couples who want to make their marriage work, should shut the door on divorce. As relatively unpopular as that advice was, it is not something I would want to change my mind on, neither should you if you are committed to the ideals of having a marriage that works.
One of the greatest joys of a marital union is the children produced in the marriage. Divorce is not one of the ways to increase that joy. On the contrary, divorce will limit the chances of happiness of the children from that union.
I cannot find a good reason to believe that children from divorced marriages make happier people in the society than children that grew into adulthood having parents who stayed together in their marital unions. Shouldn’t all children be given the benefit of having both of their parents in their lives together in the same union forever? In my opinion, they should because it is their right!
A broken marriage will cause emotional trauma for the children from the union and may have the ripple effect of setting them on the wrong courses in life. Can’t you make the necessary sacrifice to avoid that?
You cannot think of making a society work better, if you are not open to the idea of making your marriage work. The values you uphold in the society are often a reflection of the values you have established from home. A healthy marriage is a fertile ground for nurturing good moral values in children. And that’s what every child deserves!
I am not suggesting that your marriage must be perfect to be able to meet the mark. That will be asking for too much because neither you nor your spouse involved in the union are perfect in yourselves. But the point has to be made that despite your perceived imperfections, you can still find the lasting glue that sticks you to each other, rather than grasping unto the divisive wedge that pushes you both apart.
Give or take, the santity of the union should not be jeopardised by either you or your spouse through divorce, at least for the sake of your children. You don’t want to cause heartache for yourselves as well as your kids.
As at the time I began to write this piece, a short remark which suggested that 80% of divorce suits are filed by woman, appeared on my twitter timeline. A further research into the claim showed that a different source puts it at a lower rate of 60%, while yet another source shoots it up to as high as 90% (amongst educated women).
Does that mean that women are the prime architects of divorce in marriages? It is not the purpose of this post to explore that question. But beyond the seemingly lobsided ratio of women to men who files for divorces, it would be instructive to know the real reason spouses file for divorce.
The Hidden Reason People Seek Divorce
There are many reasons a couple may seek divorce. Those reasons can come in different shades and colours: incompatibility, infidelity, broken trust, physical or emotional abuse, diminishing love, financial stress, etc. But the root of it all is selfishness.
That’s right! Selfishness – that excessive concern “for oneself or one’s own advantage, pleasure, or welfare, regardless of other” – is the main reason a spouse would file for divorce. Most marriages will work if selfishness is taken out from the hearts of the married couples.
As I said earlier, if your mind is fixated on getting a divorce, you will often find a ‘suitable’ ground to do so. But before you serve the divorce papers to your spouse, please think of your children- the divine products of the marital union you are about to break up. (This assumes that you have children).
Why should you consider your children before you file for divorce?
The answer to that question my friend, is the fundamental purpose of this post. In exploring that question further, first, I will like to draw from the lessons in the story of Gerty as recently published on Joseyphina’s World. (Thank you Joseyphina for your kind permission to use extracts from that story).
Second, I will then offer my own thoughts as well.
Enter the Story of Gerty
According to Joseyphina, Gerty’s “childhood was plagued by a nasty divorce between her parents.” The negative effect of the divorce on Gerty, loudly echoes the sentiments that inspired this post, namely, that many couples would give up the idea of divorce if they would spare some quality thoughts on the negative impact divorce will have on on their children.
How did Gerty’s Parents’ Divorce Affect Her?
1. Confusion caused by custody issues
Joseyphina tells us that Gerty “grew up confused about whom to love since as per the custody arrangement, she was to stay with her mother during school days and be with her father during the holidays.” In the process, “Each parent took any chance he/she got to badmouth the other to her.”
2. Automatic membership of Association of Children from broken homes.
Gerty became an unwilling statistic added to the children from broken homes association. As they say, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Naturally, Gerty’s closest “friends also had divorced or separated parents.”
In school, Gerty and her friends “would spend their break time talking about what their parents told them about each other and how life sucked for them all.”
3. Lost of faith in marriage and procreation.
Because of her parents failed marriage, Gerty begins to feel there is no use for her to get married in future. “What is the use of falling in love, getting married, and then ending up getting divorced,” she wondered.
She even decided that if she eventually got married, she would not have children so as to avoid custody battles like it happened with her.
4. Burden of guilt
Gerty couldn’t be completely sure why her parents got divorced. But “a part of her felt that she was the reason behind it.” Right or wrong, Gerty goes about in life carrying this heavy burden of guilt of the divorce action of her parents.
5. Rendered an ‘Orphan’ unduly.
“Gerty later found herself as an orphan of some sorts when both parents remarried. She felt out of place in either one’s new matrimonial home. Both spouses gave her the ‘the issue out of divorce’ look. Both of them had found other people to love but she was the one who lost it all.” What a pity!
Do you want your children to experience the pains of their parents’ divorce like Gerty did? I hope not! That is why I am telling you to consider the wellbeing of your children before you yield to the temptation or pressure to file for divorce.
Child-raising is already a difficult job by itself. Divorce will make it more complicated. I know a single parent can raise children. But having both parents do it in the same marital union will make the job easier.
Divorce will devastate your children. As we said earlier, it can result to a lifelong emotional damage to them.
Children from broken homes are the most vulnerable to all sorts of ills in life: drug abuse, juvenile delinquency, sexual abuse, teenage pregnancy, depression, low self-esteem and so on. My dear reader, as much as it it depends on you, please save your children the pain, the burden or the guilt of divorce.
Your children deserve the love and care of both of their parents in the same marital union. Don’t deny them that right because of your selfish reasons by taking the option of divorce. Remember, if you can find an excuse to sue for divorce, you can also find a reason (your children, for instance) to stay in the marriage – and make it work.
In your marriage, many things can happen that may ‘push’ you to want a divorce from your partner. But it’s best not to take that option. Your present marriage can still work out better for you and your spouse. That has been part of the goals of the towards a better marriage series we began a few weeks back.
As we conclude this special series, I am going to have to say this: if you truly want to see your marriage work, you should shut the door on divorce. Before you call me insensitive because I said that, you should at least hear me out.
I am aware that saying “no to divorce” is not a very popular thing to say these days. We live in a world where it has become easier or more acceptable for couples to walk away from their matrimonial homes, even at the slightest provocations. Whatever happened to commitment in marriage? (This is not an attempt to undermine those that have critical, life-threatening marital issues).
Second, I do not mean to condemn you if you have taken the divorce option already – I am not in a position to do so. But I believe I am free to put in a word or two on why a committed couple that wants to make their marriage work should shut the door on divorce. What you are committed to, you don’t give up on.
If you haven’t left this page by now, it gives me the feeling that you are still open to the idea of doing whatever is necessary to making your marriage work, as opposed to taking the divorce route. Let’s take a look at a few reasons I suggest you should not end your marriage just like that:
1. No marriage is irredeemable, including yours.
Irrespective of where you are on your downhill decent towards marital oblivion, know that your marriage is not beyond redemption. It is possible you are experiencing many problems in your marriage right now. But that doesn’t mean you should walk away from your marital vows just like that. Don’t give up on your marriage because marriage has not given up on you.
If you believe in God, neither the problems you face currently, nor the ones you will face in future, are insurmountable. With God, nothing is impossible – including saving a troubled marriage like yours. With the right doses of commitment, attitude and help, you can find solution to any of your marital challenges.
2.Divorce is not the best way to resolve marital issues. There are many ways of resolving marital conflicts. Divorce is definitely not the best option. These series towards a better marriage were purposed to offer tips on finding greater joy and fulfilment in your marriage. Walking out of your marriage is not an option we recommend here.
3. Think of the impact of the divorce on your children, if you have any.
Procreation is one of the basic reasons for marriage. God made it in such a way that it takes a male and a female to procreate. But procreation is not the end of the story; the task of raising the children is there too.
Child-raising is already a difficult job by itself. Divorce will make it more complicated. We are all familiar with media reports on cases of juvenile delinquencies. Children from broken homes are the most vulnerable to such.
Your children deserve the love and care of both of their parents in the same marital union. Don’t deny them that right because of your selfish reasons by taking the divorce option. If you can find an excuse to sue for divorce, you can also find a reason (your children, for instance) to stay in the marriage – and make it work.
4. Just like your current spouse, there is no all-round-perfect partner out there.
I know your spouse is not perfect, neither are you. Why do you want to get a divorce? Is it to get married to a ‘better’ person? You may get the rude shock of your life because one thing is sure: there is no perfect spouse out there!
The best spouse is the one you are married to, not the one you plan to get married to after a divorce. The grass may appear greener on the other side, but that is not the way it is. It is illusionary to think that should you divorce your spouse, you would be happier with another partner. Some people realise that mistake way too late.
5. If you take the option of divorce and then remarry, you are likely to take the same option a second time and even a third or more times.
Let me guess what you are thinking after reading that: Victor, you are taking it too far. I don’t want to argue with you on that. We already said that divorce is not the best solution to marital crisis. So why don’t you do your best and make your current marriage work?
Getting a divorce now is not a guarantee that you will get to the promised land of marital fulfilment with a new spouse. The natural question I should ask you then will be: if you remarry after divorce and it turns out the marriage fails to work again, will you stay put in it or go through another round of divorce? Are you glad adding to the increasing statistics of multiple divorces? If your answer is yes, then I am afraid you have no business reading this post in the first place!
6. God hates divorce.
Divorce is permissible but it is not God’s best for you. God loves you but He hates divorce.
If you are His child already, remember that with your cooperation God can restore or heal your troubled marriage – no matter the kind of problem you might be experiencing. He has done it for a good number of people who exercised their faith in Him. He will be glad to help you too. Even if you don’t have a personal relationship with God yet, you can start one with Him right now by responding to the open invitation He has given you already:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest
You think you are carrying heavy burdens in your marriage? You can talk to God about it. He is waiting for you.
P.S: There is love in sharing. If you like this article, please share it with your friends via any of the media platforms below.
I assume your spouse loves you very much and is fully committed to meeting your needs. But no matter how much he/she is committed to you, realise that you have needs that only God can meet. For such needs, never expect your spouse to play the role of God!
The same thing applies to him/her too; there are needs he/she has that you cannot meet, no matter how hard you try.
Inside everyone is a void that no other human can satisfactorily fill. That is why you need God.
It is only God that can meet your deepest needs; it is only God that can meet all your heart’s longings. Your spouse may try, but he/she cannot satisfy you completely.
Your spouse is not a miracle worker, so don’t expect him/her to do everything for you and be everything to you, every time. Just like you, remember that he/she is human, subjected to the various limitations of being a flesh and blood entity.
Meeting your spouse’s deepest needs is God’s job. Don’t place the burden on your spouse
Your spouse can make you happy sometimes, but he/she cannot keep you happy all the time. He/she may want to do it, but he/she simply is incapable of doing it every time.
You set yourself up for disappointment and your spouse up for failure if you expect him/her to do the impossible for you. Next time you want a miracle, ask from God, not your spouse. By that I mean you should stop expecting your spouse to fill the void only God can fill.
Let’s help one another, what do you think are the needs of spouses that their partners cannot meet, that only God can meet? Please enter your suggestions in the comment section.
Things do not work until someone makes them work. Marriage is not an exception to that rule. If you want your marriage to work, you and your spouse must be fully committed to making it work by giving it all your best.
“Two people who decide to live together in a marriage situation have an obligation to make the marriage work for them.” With those wise words from Helen Reddy, I welcome you to the fifth post in the towards a better marriage series.
In making your marriage work, you will have to put in all your best. This is not a 50-50 or 60-40 contribution, but a 100% thing from each of you.
You already know that marital bliss doesn’t come by chance. Amongst other things, it will take hard work from you and your spouse to make it happen.
Realise that in marriage, both of you are on the same boat. You must put in your maximum rowing power if you hope to make it to the shore of marital success together.
There is no guarantee that you will have a happy marriage experience if you don’t put in all you’ve got into it. For instance, when it comes to giving the commitment, love and faithfulness, understanding, emotional, financial, spiritual support and all other kinds of support that a good marriage requires, give it all you’ve got – without any reservations whatsoever.
Don’t wait for your spouse to start putting his/her best in the marriage before you start giving yours. Be the example of the good character you want to see in your spouse.
In your marriage, be more of a giver than a taker. Imagine there is a marriage box containing all the secret ingredients that make a marriage work. You will have to replenish the stock more often than you take out from it. Otherwise, you will get to a point where nothing is left for you to enjoy.
There are many areas in marriage you are required to put in your best, all your best. For example, in loving your spouse, you should do it with all your heart. Doing that may appear to make you vulnerable to your partner. But don’t worry, love always wins. You will win too.
When it comes to walking in love, you can never get it wrong because love never fails.
Love accommodates everything.
A marriage that will work is the one where both you and your partners love each other, are fully committed, and are fully willing to put in your best to make it work.
If you want to have happiness, passion, intimacy, companionship, trust in your marriage, you have to put it there. Relationships take work, a lot of work and if you want to live a happy, beautiful and loving life next to your partner, you will both commit to making your marriage work. Always remember, relationships don’t work unless you do. ~ Luminita D. Saviuc
I am turning this post over to you now. Let us help one another by giving an outline of at least 20 areas where spouses need to put in their utmost best in order to make their marriages work. Please share your ideas in the comment section.
Still Ahead: Towards A Better Marriage 6: Stop expecting your spouse to fill the void only God can fill.
All your choices in life will either bring you rewards or consequences. Accepting your spouse as your Mr/Mrs Right is a good choice you must make if you want your marriage to bring you rewards of happiness and success.
This is the fourth part of our Towards a Better Marriage journey. In the last post in the said series, we said to whomever you got married has become the right spouse for you. In other words, you should accept your spouse as your Mr/Mrs Right. That way, you would be able to team up with him/her to resolve any marital challenges that may cross your path.
If you are in a committed marriage relationship and you are also committed to seeing the marriage work, then you must see the person you got married to as your Mr/Mrs Right. The constant thinking that you made the wrong choice in picking your marriage partner, will hinder you from seeing many good things in your partner and in the marriage as well.
Eventually, if not properly handled, this may lead to unpalatable marriage experiences.
Here are five possible dire consequences of not accepting your spouse as your Mr/Mrs Right:
You will not be committed to the marriage
There is no hope of marital success for any couple without much commitment to their union. If you are not convinced that your spouse is the right partner you will not be able to make the necessary commitment that will make the marriage work.
Commitment is a vital key required to make your marriage work. Without it, nothing worth the while will be achieved in the relationship. Without it, there is no future for the marriage.
You will find it harder to love him/her.
Mutual love and understanding are important keys to marital survival! A marriage that is not founded on, and sustained by, love, will make the spouses miserable.
Needless to say, spouses should love each other. Accepting your spouse as the Mr/Mrs Right for you will make it easier for you to love him/her.
I am yet to see anyone who completely loves his/her mistakes. It goes to show that if you think you made a mistake in marrying your spouse, you will not be able to love him/her as much as you should do. And without love, marriage will be less enjoyable.
You will blame your spouse for every problem you encounter in the marriage.
Once you are totally convinced that you made the wrong choice in selecting your marriage partner, what would stop you from making him/her the scapegoat for whatever problems that crop up in your marriage? Nothing!
Remember we earlier advised that you should not blame your spouse when marital challenges surface between you both. You won’t be able to keep that humble piece of advice if you think you made a mistake in marrying him/her in the first place.
You will become unhappy and miserable.
Marriage should bring you some level of happiness and fulfilment in life. But it will take cooperation from you as well as from your spouse to make that happen.
Remember the popular saying, “marriage should be enjoyed, not endured?” You will not be able to enjoy or feel happy about your marriage if you see your spouse as the wrong partner.
You will eventually decide to opt out of the marriage.
The likelihood of divorce is higher in marriages where the spouses think they got married to the wrong persons as opposed to marriages with spouses who are convinced they chose the right partners.
If you are not committed to your marriage enough, you don’t love your spouse as much as you should, you blame your spouse for everything that goes wrong and you are miserable in the union, how would you be able to escape the temptation to walk out of the marriage? The point is, if you have not convinced yourself that you have not made any mistake in marrying your spouse, you may end up divorcing him/her.
If you have not already done so, it is important you recognise your spouse as your Mr/Mrs Right. Failure to do so may hinder you from having a beautiful marriage experience.
You have read my thoughts. Please share yours in the comment section.
Before you got married, you searched for your ever elusive Mr/Mrs Right. After you got married, do you think you made the right choice? Or, is your mind playing games with you that you made a mistake in your choice of spouse?
Welcome to the third post in the towards a better marriage series. In the introductory post, we talked about the fact that problems are inevitable in marriage. But it was also pointed out that your spouse is not the problem personified.
If you see your spouse as the problem in your marriage, you will end up blaming him/her anytime anything goes wrong in the relationship.
We saw that blaming your spouse does not solve the problem in your marriage; neither does it promote a healthy relationship between you both.
Two Types of Spouses in the World
There are two types of spouses in the world: those who are convinced that they made the right choice of marriage partners and those who are not convinced. Congratulations to you if you belong to the remarkable first category!
Even if you belong to the latter group, you don’t have to panic or give up on your marriage. Trust me, there is still hope for you. Irrespective of the circumstances surrounding your marriage, it is my hope that you will eventually get to the point where you will completely and wholeheartedly accept the person you got married to as your own Mr/Mrs Right.
Once you have properly married, it is self-deception to still be thinking that your Mr/Mrs Right is out there. No, he/she is not out there anymore, because I know where he/she is: in your house, in your life. Stop looking elsewhere!
Accept Your Spouse As Your Mr/Mrs Right
In this post, we will push further on the journey towards a better marriage experience by suggesting that you have to convince yourself that you have married the right person, even if you have ‘reasons’ to feel that you married the ‘wrong’ person. This is based on the twin premises that you are in a committed marriage and it is your goal to see things work out better between you and your spouse.
Is it achievable? I bet it is – with your cooperation of course! Come to think of it, it is really not fair to tell your spouse you made a mistake in marrying him/her. You shouldn’t be thinking or saying such, except you want your union to hit the rocks soon.
For instance, I have been married for five years now. I would with all modesty say that I have no regrets marrying my wife. She is not perfect, neither am I…
But one reason for that high feeling of assuredness is that I accepted her completely as the will of God in marriage for me. I know that if you ask her, she would say the same thing about me too. (I already shared about this in details in the post How I met my wife).
Just for the sake of argument, what if I told my wife she was the greatest mistake of my life? Would she be happy to hear that? Do you think that would make our marriage work out better? I guess you don’t think so.
On the other hand, what if she is the one that wakes up tomorrow and tells me she regrets marrying me? I don’t want to begin to imagine how devastating that would be to us and our union. Surely I would be sad and disappointed, to say the least!
What does that tell you my friend? It shows that you are calling for trouble if you fail to accept the person you married as your own Mr/Mrs Right – especially if you are the type that takes every opportunity you get to tell your spouse that you made a big mistake in marrying him/her.
Let’s face it, it is not good news in your spouse’s ears if you keep telling him/her you made a mistake in marrying him/her. Unfortunately, some people are living in that awful state of not having accepted their spouses as the right person.
Why did I say so? Because you still hear them say such things as:
Marrying you was the greatest mistake of my life.
I shouldn’t have married you.
I was drunk the day I accepted to marry you.
You are a devil.
I regret marrying you.
I curse the day I married you.
I was deceived into marrying you.
Given a second chance, I wouldn’t marry you again.
I am just stuck with you.
Our marriage will never work…
If you are one of those who use any of the above sentences on your spouse, you have to stop it except you want to completely destroy your marriage. In fact, you should give your spouse an unreserved apology and make a very firm promise that you would never say such thing any longer.
Once you are married, your partner is automatically your Mr/Mrs Right. Accept him/her that way – whether you feel like it or not.
A reputable international radio and TV preacher I admire so much once said, “I don’t know if you married the right person for you or not. But I know that whomever you got married to has become the right person.”
I wish every married couple would appreciate and live by the spirit of that statement. Otherwise, much crisis in the union would be inevitable.
What do you think of spouses who think they married the wrong person? Let the interaction begin in the comment section.
In other words, you should not blame your spouse when things go wrong in your marriage. Rather, you should identify exactly what the issue is and tackle it. That way you will achieve a healthier resolution than blaming your spouse.
In this post we will continue the series by presenting six simple reasons it is not good to blame your spouse when marital challenges hit your union:
1. When you blame your spouse for everything that goes wrong in your marriage, you paint the false picture that you are perfect.
No body is perfect, not even you. You cannot honestly claim that you have never contributed to the challenges both of you may have been facing. If that’s correct, where then is the moral justification for blaming your spouse?
Be aware that for each finger of accusation you point against your spouse, you have four others pointing towards you as well. In other words, you are equally guilty, if not more.
2. You hurt your spouse’s feelings when you hip the blame on him/her every time, without taking any responsibility yourself.
A hip of blame is not piece of cake and a cup of tea, so don’t expect your spouse to take it with delight. Your spouse doesn’t enjoy being blamed for everything that goes wrong in your marriage. Stop pushing it…
If you stop blaming your spouse, you have found one less way of hurting him/her. Isn’t that a good thing?
3. You risk being resented by your spouse if you continue the blame game.
No matter how you look at it, you will see that it is not good to keep playing the blame game in your marriage. Realise that if you blame your spouse long enough, he/she will begin to resent you, pushing both of you apart.
Prolonged resentment will cause emotional detachment and then physical separation or divorce, which I hopefully think is not what you want.
4. As you already know, you will not be able to build a happy and healthy relationship with anyone if you blame or resent him/her a lot.
If you want to build a very good relationship with your spouse, throwing blames at him/her is one of the ways you cannot achieve that goal. Good rapport will not be built on the altar of fault-finding, finger-pointing and venom-pouring
People naturally do not warm up to those who harshly criticise them. Your spouse is not an exception to this, so don’t even dare!
Bear in mind that your spouse too deserves to see your good part. You are not showing him/her that good part if you are regularly blaming him/her for everything that goes wrong between you both.
5. Blaming yours spouse does not solve the problem in your marriage.
Blaming your spouse may help you feel better temporarily, but it doesn’t take away the root-problem in your marriage. It is better to ask ‘what’ the problem is than ‘who’ the problem is.
Fixing blame (on your spouse) is not the same thing as fixing the problem on ground. In fact, the problem will continue to fester while you are playing the blame game. Rather than fixing blames on your spouse, a wiser thing to do is to find out and focus on what the issue is; identify it and deal with it.
6. Treat your spouse the way you want to be treated.
Finally, remember the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would want to be done unto you.” It applies in marriage too. I know it is easier said than done. But it is a principle that works out good things in the end, whether it is in a friendship or marriage relationship or any other kind of human relationships for that matter.
Think about it for a minute: you don’t want to be blamed for whatever issues you face in your marriage. So why blame your spouse for it all the time and expect him/her to feel good about it?
Marriage is a beautiful thing. But that doesn’t stop problems from cropping up in it here and there. If you are already in a committed marriage relationship, it is a mistake on your part if you see your spouse as the problem when those challenges arise.
With this post, I am beginning a new series on marriage simply christened Towards A Better Marriage. As the title suggests, the purpose of the series will be to share some of my thoughts towards achieving a better – stronger, healthier and happier – marriage relationship with your spouse.
If that’s what you desire, let me invite you to go through the entire series with me because it promises to be a rewarding journey for us all. Here is the first menu on offer:
Your Spouse Is Not The Problem
Just like every married couple might have come to realise, I am sure you already know that marriage is not a bed full of roses only. It is full of plenty challenges as well. Isn’t that pretty obvious?
More often than not, it is how you handle these challenges that will go to a large extent to determine the success and happiness or otherwise of your marital experience. The common saying that as you make your bed, so you will lie on it holds true in marriage relationships too.
Except you are married to the devil personified, I am free to say that your spouse is not the problem. So resist the temptation to see him/her as one.
Put in proper perspective, you will realise that the challenges you have in marriage are things or issues, not a person – and definitely not your spouse! For instance, the problem could be the manner your spouse is handling an issue at hand, or it may also be the manner you are reacting to it. Either way, you must perceive that the problem is not a person.
A vital key to amicably resolving the challenges is to learn to focus on tackling the issue at hand rather than putting the blame on a person – your partner. You may have been hurt by what your spouse said or did at some point, but the problem is still not your spouse.
“I love you but I hate how you treat me sometimes,” a thoughtful wife once said to her husband. You’ve got the point? Identify what the issue is and deal with it.
A problem is a problem and your spouse is your spouse. Please don’t mistake one for another.
Here is a relevant story that comes to mind at this point.
A newly wedded couple who began to face some marital challenges went to see an experienced marriage counsellor for possible solutions. After they had vented before the counsellor, he pulled out two paper cards from his wooden drawer and gave one each to the couple to fill in the blanks that followed the simple question: What do you think is the problem in your marriage?
The counsellor then retrieved the two cards and found the boldly written responses from the waiting couple:
Wife: My husband is the problem in our marriage.
Husband: My wife is the problem in our marriage.
Much to the surprise of the pensive couple, the counsellor began to smile as he read out the respective answers. He seemed very familiar with these kinds of self-protecting responses; that was not the first time he had counselled spouses who blamed each other for their marital woes.
“First and foremost,” said the counsellor in a calm but firm voice, “both of you missed the key part of the question which said, ‘what’ and not ‘who’ you thought the problem in your marriage is. From our discussions so far, I can surmise that the answer to the question is not a person, as two of you stated. Should I now take it that you both failed the question?”
“But I can explain what I meant by saying that ….” said the wife, attempting a frantic effort to expatiate on her previous answer. The husband too felt right for blaming the wife. This charged up the counselling room a little more.
The couple blamed each other for their marital challenges. None of them was willing to accept the blame either. Thankfully in the course of the session, the counsellor was able to douse the ensuing tension and also drilled down to the problematic issues in the couple’s lives.
In the end, the counsellor went further to harp on the need for the spouses not to see each other as the problem in their marriage. Rather, they should perceive each other as partners in progress, standing in unity and on the same front to tackle whatever issues that may challenge them in their union.
Here is my conclusion as well: Next time you have any marital issue, be sure to remind yourself that your spouse is not the problem. Identify what the issue is and focus on tackling it. That way you will achieve a healthier method of resolution than blaming your spouse.
Please share what you think in the comment session.
It’s been my desire to build a private library in my bedroom for a while now. To that effect, I have been acquiring scores of books covering many areas of interest such as leadership, productivity, parenting, character and talent development, faith, prayer, prosperity, evangelism, business, public speaking, and so on.
But as I am yet to build the appropriate shelf to arrange the books away as nicely as they should be, I have them temporarily stacked up on an average sized table placed at a far corner of my bedroom.
From there I can always take any book to read as often as I am able to do so. One obvious constraint I have with this arrangement is that the retrieval of any specific book is always difficult.
Most often than not, the title I want to read is always tucked in the middle of the others, or so it seems. Therefore, I always have to scatter a few others in order to get to the one I want.
This was the situation I found myself during the penultimate week of June 2016. I had scurried through the stack to fish out a nice book to read during the few days I took off work. In the process, I had inadvertently strewn a few other unneeded books here and there on the floor around the table, with the hope that I would rearrange them back later.
Little did I know that this was a sufficient invitation for my energetic 2 and 4-year old boys to help do further unsolicited scattering. I came back to the room several hours later only to find all the books scattered everywhere on the floor. Instead of the usual stack, what I saw was an empty table with all the books sprung everywhere on the floor.
I stood there dumbfounded. “What type of chaos is this?” I asked myself, without expecting any meaningful explanation from the two toddlers who obviously had a nice time scattering the books on the carpeted floor.
I quickly drove them out of the room and called my wife to see what these boys had done in the bedroom. She too could not believe her sight….
I was obviously not happy with the chaotic situation I met on the bedroom floor. But I would not ‘kill’ the children for it. I simply abandoned the room partly for a few days… I had more important things to do… It wasn’t until the third day before I returned to arrange the books back on the temporary ‘shelf’. And it took me almost three hours to get the job neatly done.
But I discovered to my utmost surprise that I had tremendous fun doing it. I skimmed through all the titles and had the books sorted according to their authors (I read authors as much as I read titles). In the end, I had all the books back and stacked neatly on the table till when the proper bookshelf would be provided.
Here was the most interesting part of the exercise of bringing order out of the chaos: I found two precious items that made me so grateful.
One was a diary I had kept about 8 years ago, which I didn’t know its whereabouts. As I flipped through its pages, I found poems, songs and other thoughts I had personally written down previously, which I had never shared with anyone. I came to realise that many of them would be suitable for posts on this blog in the weeks to come. Honestly, it will be my joy to share them with you.
The second thing I found was the last updated manuscript of a book I had written over 10 years ago which I am yet to publish. Our home computer then had crashed and unfortunately I couldn’t recover the soft copy. So the surviving print out meant everything to me. But I couldn’t trace it until that day, due to a change in our accommodation then.
All I had before I found this one was an older version of the manuscript. Now I am grateful that I can now revisit the newest version, have it reviewed again and then hopefully have it published someday.
Although I was initially annoyed that my children scattered my books into a chaotic mess, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. And out of what I perceived to be a disorderly situation, I found two treasures I thought I had previously lost. All things worked out together for my good, I might say!
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Please leave a word or two in the comment section.
Good communication is a vital part of building and sustaining a healthy marital relationship. A breakdown in communication between you and your spouse could result in a complete breakdown of the entire relationship.
As much as possible, you should endeavor to maintain a good communication flow with your better half. That means you have to promptly take care of anything trying to impede appropriate communications with your spouse.
Failure to do so may later lead to sad moments or other unpleasant consequences which you would not like.
That was the kind of unpleasant situation I recently found myself in. I had this general feeling of discontentment come over me as a result of some unexpected negative outcomes in some of the affairs of my life.
I would admit that I didn’t manage the feeling of dissatisfaction as best as I could I have done. As a result, my wife was feeling hurt in a way that I did not realise until she graciously brought it to my attention.
Did I learn anything good from the experience? Sure, I did! And that’s why I am writing this post.
Here are 4 super lessons I learnt from the brief moment of reflection over the said experience:
1. In a thorny situation, your spouse is not the thorn
Just like in any other relationships, you may sometimes have to encounter thorny issues in your marriage. But it doesn’t mean your spouse is the thorn personified.
This seems obvious but it has to be said that your spouse is not a problem to you; neither are you a problem to him/her.
You are partners in progress; helpers of each other’s destinies. Any thought that deviates from this is a distorted view that should not be allowed to fester.
2. If your spouse wears an unusual outlook, you as the other half should show persistent care (by asking) to find out what the problem is.
Let’s face it: as much as you or your spouse would want to maintain a smiling face all the time, this may not always be possible. Therefore, if you see your spouse put on an ‘unusual’ look, it is not safe for you to assume that all is well or that he/she knows what he/she is doing at that point in time.
What you should do is to seek in love to know what’s up with him/her. That way you would be able to save the situation from further deterioration.
As a good spouse that you are, you should not be happy that your partner is unhappy. Giving a listening ear or having a discussion in love with your seemingly unhappy partner can often bring a soothing relief to his/her frayed nerves.
3. If your spouse slows down in communicating with you, that’s not the time for you to withdraw from him/her.
Various situations could arise in your marital relationship that may want to force a communication gap between you and your spouse. But don’t allow for a breakdown in communication between you both.
If communication fails, many other things may fail along. But this can be prevented if properly handled.
Many of the frustrations you may have experienced with your spouse may have resulted from inadequate or negative communication. Inadequate communications give room for suspicion or threat, which may in turn, give rise to a feeling of insecurity in the aggrieved partner.
On the other hand, negative communications breed resentment. And resentment blocks healthy fellowship.
Also, learn not to apply the silent treatment. It does not make things work out well in the long run.
4. Be strong for your spouse by whispering to him/her that you are there for him/her
Your spouse needs you to stand strong for him/her in the moments of weakness. Two good people, they say, are better than one. That’s why you are a couple in the first place.
You are better together. If one person falls, the other should be there to help him/her rise. If your spouse shows signs of emotional weakness, you should be a source of strength to him/her.
When your spouse goes negative, be strong for him/her by staying positive until the murky atmosphere clears. This way, you will prevent a bad situation from going worse.
Healthy communication is a very important way of sustaining a healthy marriage. You should talk with your spouse when there is something to talk about and even when there is nothing to talk about. Never apply the silent treatment because it will always backfire.
Thank you for reading my thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment.
Last March was my fifth wedding anniversary. As I continue to celebrate the privilege of being married to one of God’s special princesses, it is my pleasure to let you in on how, or better still where, I met her.
You can consider it my birthday offering to you on this special day of mine. Today is my birthday. Ooops, I guess I had to let you in on that!
I have always known that I would one day write about how I met my wife. But I didn’t know that that day would come so soon.
Something happened that made it come sooner than I had thought. During an online search recently, I stumbled on a comment I had made in the past on a Nigerian online forum.
The comment was my response to the topic of the post which was simply a question entitled, ‘Where did you meet your spouse?’ To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised to read the response again.
Here we go:
I met her in church. We became friends. Just friends, serving God faithfully in [the] youth ministry [of our church].
Later, my heart began to skip a bit for her. The mere thought of her brought smiles to my heart.
At first, I felt concerned that I was taking the friendship [further] more than I had thought.
“What is wrong with me?” I asked myself.
I prayed about it. I got the assurance that all was well. I told her I loved her and would want to marry her. [It] turned out she was convinced about me too.
Two years later, she became my wife and has been so [five] years now. We have been happy ever after. I thank God for everything.
Although it was an impromptu response I made back then, reading it again now made me feel that I gave an appreciably good summary of where and how I met my wife. This it was that precipitated this post.
So allow me to delve a little more into the full story.
We met in church
I have heard stories of people meeting their spouses in all kinds of places. Even though my mind was open as to where I could meet my would-be-wife, I would consider it a blessing that I met her in Church.
There was this joke back then that if you are looking for a decent girl for a wife then look for her in the church. Whether that’s necessarily true or not, I leave that to you to decide.
Then, I wasn’t particularly sure about where I could meet my would-be-spouse. But I was very sure about who she should be.
I was convinced she would be someone who had made a strong commitment to God, through a personal relationship with Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Someone who was committed to living her life on Earth to the glory of God and for the benefit of mankind, with eternity in view.
Of course, there were other things I considered, but the above mentioned were not negotiable. It is possible to find such a blessed lady in any possible place around the world. But as God would have it, my church in Lagos was my lucky place.
Our Friendship was healthy
We were individually actively involved in the Lord’s service. I was the Bible Study coordinator of our Church’s Youth Fellowship and later the Vice President of the group. On her part, she was an active voice in the Youth choir as well as in the main Church choir.
Our friendship developed gradually and blossomed into a very close one. It flourished on a platonic level or what we could describe in Nigerian parlance as just “a brother and a sister in Christ” relationship. Nothing more until love began to set in….
We moved from friendship to love.
Oh the innocent ‘boy’ has fallen in love. You know that feeling of fallen in love? I felt it strongly then. But I was a bit concerned.
“Why would I want to bring ‘love’ into our heavenly friendship and ruin everything?” I had asked myself.
We had mutual respect and trust for each other. We knew the boundaries we set for ourselves. Besides, I never thought I would marry a friend.
But instead of the awesome feeling of love going away, it became strengthened in my heart and louder in my ears. I was glowing! But I was careful not to let her know how I was feeling yet.
“I must do something about it,” I challenged myself.
I cross-checked everything with my Father in Heaven. I believe in prayer; it helps me clarify my thoughts.
“Oh God my Father, do you have a hand in this strong splurge of love I feel in my heart for Your daughter, Jenny?’ I had asked God in prayer.
‘Yes’ was the answer I received in my heart from the still small voice. Once, I knew God was involved, my worries ceased; peace and divine assurance filled my heart.
“One more thing Lord, she is your daughter too.” I pointed out to God – as if He didn’t already know. “Please speak to her about ‘us’. Prepare her heart for this eternal love you have told me I am going to share with her.”
The feeling was mutual.
Not long afterwards, it became clear to me that my prayers had been answered. God had put my love in her heart just as He had put her love in mine. We were ‘flowing’ with each other.
We each knew where God was pointing us to, and we were ready to go with Him all the way to the marriage altar.
I waited till I perceived the time was right to pop the question.
‘Will you marry me?’ I asked her after 9 months down the line.
‘Yes, I will’ was the heavenly response I got from her.
Thus, our courtship officially began. I am grateful, she didn’t make me wait any longer before giving me her consent.
“Give me some more time” some other lady may have said to me. But not my sweet Love, she was prepared for me as I was ready for her.
Marriage altar here we come.
Two years afterwards, we both stood before God’s holy altar and echoed “I do, I do” to each other, as we were pronounced husband and wife.
It’s been five years since then. And we are still counting …
I met my wife in Church. I have no doubts that God arranged it that way. That’s my story.
Would you share a little about how you met your spouse?
Good parenting is very challenging. That’s a common belief. But I guess you may not fully comprehend all the angles to it until you wear the shoes.
If you are already a parent as I am, then you are in a familiar terrain. But if you are not one yet, I hope it is part of your plan to become one in future. The experience will be wonderful.
I became a dad for the first time in the middle of 2012. From then till now I have two energetic boys that now call me ‘daddy.’ The second one just turned two years while the first one will be four in July.
You know, it is a great privilege to be a dad. But it is also a great responsibility to shoulder. And if you ask me what kind of dad I would want to be, I would not hesitate to tell you that I would want to be a great one – a great dad to my kids, both in words and in deeds.
How do I mean?
I desire to be a perfect example for my children to follow. I desire to be a shining light that shows them the best ways to live in order to lead a purposeful and meaningful life.
I also want to be their friend, their hero, their confidante, their mentor, their teacher and their ‘everything’ that is possible for me to be under the Earth. But sometimes, I worry that I may not always measure up to these awesome standards as excellently as I would want to.
The reason for that is not far-fetched: I am not perfect – nobody is. Only God is the indisputable perfect Father!
You may think that I shouldn’t worry about it since all humans are not perfect. I am not unaware of my limitations as a mere human, but that shouldn’t stop me from trying my best.
What gives me a cause for concern is when my imperfections begin to show up in some ways that negatively affect the way I relate with friends, family and others alike. I am sure there are parents who feel that way too.
Understandably, my family – wife and kids – are the closest people to me. Those are the dearest people that look up to me for direction and for inspiration. But sometimes, it seems a daunting task to be all the best I could possibly be to them.
If you ask me what kind of dad I want to be, I would not hesitate to tell you that I would want to be a great one – in words and in deeds.
I want to be a happy father to my children and a happy husband to my wife. After all, a grumpy man would not make a good companion to anyone – family or not family. This is part of the reason I have realised that I should strive to always have my emotions under control.
As you know, someone gets hurt when negative emotions get out of hands. No matter the external pressures I face, I try to hold myself together in such a way that negative emotions such as depression, discouragement, anger, frustration, impatience and the likes do not run wild in me, to the detriment of my family or of any other person for that matter.
It has not always been easy to keep up with the expectation. But, I can always boldly say that the grace of God has been sufficient for me.
The situation might have gotten out of hand if we had not taken necessary steps to address it. Thanks to my wife, we were able to rise above that unhappy, moody feeling.
How did we do it?
We talked to ourselves and we talked to God too.
In talking to ourselves, we bridged the communication gap that was created by my moments of happiness. And in talking to God, we joined hands and prayed in faith over the issues that burdened us. Both actions gave us the needed reliefs.
As we rounded off the prayers, my eyes fell on my kids lying peaceably in their sleep. In a brief moment of reflection following the observation and in the light of my not-so-cheerful countenance in the previous few day, I found myself thinking aloud to the hearing of my wife:
My Love, we cannot afford not to be happy as parents. We need to be a good example to these boys.
My wife nodded in total agreement.
My desire is that our children will grow up seeing a healthy and happy relationship between my wife and I. I hope that they will see us as a veritable example for them to emulate.
It seems logical to think that unhappy parents may not be able to raise happy children. And I don’t want to be caught in that web. That’s why I wish to ask the question here, “Can unhappy parents raise happy children?”
In the last few days, I recognized that I have not been on top of my feelings as I should be. I wouldn’t say I suffered a mild depression – no, not in the real sense of it. But I could say I wasn’t particularly excited about anything.
In other words, my mood was down and I knew it. Unfortunately, when your mood goes south, you are not the only one that suffers. The people around you feel hurt too. They may be hurt in some ways that may or may not be so obvious to you.
That was what happened between my wife and I in the period in focus. Somehow she got infested with the unjoyful feeling I had allowed to fester in my appearance for a few days. This created a temporary communication gap between us.
Better still, I reckoned that our communication was nothing near its usual best. And I take full responsibility for it knowing that I could have handled the situation much better than I did.
Why did I say so?
“My Love, what’s the matter with you?” my wife had asked after she had noticed I was not my usual happy self.
“I will be fine. Don’t worry. I am just tired.” I had replied in three short sentences. I was not prepared to engage in any further question and answer session with her as I was truly physically tired.
The rest of the following day passed by sluggishly without much excitement between us either.
In my mind, I had thought that my moody countenance would disappear over the night but it didn’t. The cause of my apparent unhappy mood was deeper than that: I was focusing too much on some discontenting situations around me than I had been focusing on God.
I had consciously or unconsciously removed my eyes from focusing on God unto focusing on the not-so-perfect situations I was passing through at the time. That caused me the dark feelings of dissatisfaction that was evident in my external appearance, as my wife noticed.
I knew that entertaining any negative feelings for longer than necessary meant that I was heading in the wrong direction. And obviously, I did not want to end up in the wrong destination.
Then came the moment of awakening…
I came home from work the following night only to find my wife feeling a little withdrawn. She had awoken from sleep to answer the door.
Instead of the usual, “You are welcome my Love, how was your day?” all I got was what sounded to me like a forced ‘welcome.’ And I could sense that she struggled to say it before going back to sleep almost immediately.
As far as I could see, all the signs were there that something was not feeling so all right with her. But I observed too that the atmosphere wasn’t suitable for any meaningful discussions between us; I felt that she would rather enjoy the much-needed sleep than sit up that late to talk with me over whatever was on her mind.
The sleepy feeling was mutual, so we both went to bed. Throughout the night, I felt cool and calm, without any turmoil on my inside. I slept very well as usual. But I wish I could say the same thing about her!
The following day being a Saturday meant there was no rushing off to work for me in the early hours of the morning. I needed the time and space offered by the weekend to refocus and reorder my priorities. And I was ready to make the most of it; decluttering my mind was top on the agenda.
I reckoned too that it was time to talk with my wife. Whatever was ‘bothering’ her will have to be urgently resolved. As a loving husband I strive to be, I could never stand seeing her feel unhappy for longer than that morning.
It’s Time to Talk….
“My Love, I noticed that you were not feeling happy last night,” I started a conversation with her. “What’s the problem?”
“Yes, you are right, I have not been happy – till now,” she agreed.
“Is it about our fifth wedding anniversary celebration I rescheduled? I thought we discussed that already and I promised to ……?” I could hardly finish that sentence before she gently interjected.
“No, it is not about our anniversary. It is about you.”
“About me?” I asked, sounding half-surprised.
I wouldn’t claim I didn’t see it coming. After all, I myself have not been in the best of moods in the previous few days.
Worse still, I could perceive that the feeling of discontentment that had gradually crept upon me had begun to spread beyond my nose onto my better half. And that was not cool!
“Okay, let us talk about it,” I said, leaning and spreading out my arms towards her direction in a very generous embrace.
“In the last few days, you have not been smiling much,” She stated. “Our communication has not been flowing very well either. Whatever has been bothering you, you have not cared enough to share it with me.”
I nodded my head in utter agreement. I obviously did not have any valid objection against that.
“When I asked you about it two days ago” she continued, “you said you would tell me after dinner. But as soon as you ate dinner you went to bed without telling me anything. Did I do anything wrong?”
To say that I was touched by her words is an understatement. I was moved with untold compassion towards her. I felt bad that I had unwittingly allowed the negative emotions I was feeling to affect her too. As a result, tendering an apology wasn’t anything difficult for me to do.
“I am so sorry my Love. You didn’t do anything wrong. And you are not the cause of my moodiness” I assured her. “Some things didn’t turn out the way I expected and I was kind of doing some personal evaluations on some of the issues that were making me feel somewhat disheartened.”
I went on to let her in on some of the ‘personal struggles’ I had been having in the last few days. She already knew about some of the issues involved except that she was not aware they were on the front burner then.
“You should have told me you were going through all these stuff at this time….” She said sympathetically.
“Yes, I know. But I didn’t want to add to your stress,” I explained.
“You are not stressing me. It helps to let me be in the know of whatever you are passing through.”
I got the message. And we reflected on the lessons together. We shared another warm embrace in a moment of silence with full assurance that all would be well.
I could see that she felt better after talking with me. The discussion helped us both as I felt some relief too. We held hands and sealed our conversation with a word of prayer, committing our burdens to God.
Have you ever been in a situation where your spouse felt hurt by your moments of unhappiness? There is love in sharing!
THIS IS HOW FOUR PEOPLE DRIVE A CAR AT THE SAME TIME
By Victor Uyanwanne
The fifth anniversary of my marriage is still some five months away. Yet within these few years of being married to my beautiful wife and having two lovely kids, I have had several experiences in my family interactions that I consider great.
As a great-dad-wanna-be that I am, I always enjoy the company of my nuclear family members. Apart from the time we spend together at home, it’s always a wonderful experience whenever occasions demand that we go out together, especially, in the same vehicle.
Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation. — C. Everett Koop
As Dale Cooper observed, “Family road trips are a great way to escape the daily grind. Taking your kids on a trip will provide them with an unforgettable experience, but a long drive can put a strain on the family. Saddled with short attention spans, children don’t always behave well in small spaces for long periods of time.”
Apart from a few instances, I have not really taken my family on a major road trip around the country. However, our regular intracity travels in the same car are enough eye-opener…
This is not a post about any road trip, but one that gives a word about how the four members of a young family all drive the same car at the same time.
To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while. — Josh Billings
We own a Toyota Camry car. Being our only car, it serves as our means of necessary mobility. The other alternatives being to call a taxi or use other means of public transportation.
By default I am the authorised driver of the family car. But more often than not, I have three other ‘assistant drivers’. There is nothing wrong in having assistant drivers. The only problem is that all four of us drive (or at least attempt to drive) the car at the same time.
I use the car alone whenever I have to do personal runs. My wife uses it too. That makes us two authorised drivers for the car.
But on family outings, we are usually four drivers in the said car – the others being my two energetic boys, Best and Newman. Believe me, they are ‘drivers’ in their own rights too. Smiles!
Going out together in the family car gives us a room for family interaction away from the home setting. But it can be stressful sometimes having two restless boys to manage on the go.
How easy would you find it to control two restless infants who do not really like to be controlled? Parents in the house, how do you cope in this regard? I would really like to have you share your experiences.
Out of the many experiences we share in the car, the one that makes me deem all four of us as drivers, is the observed roles played by each one in the driving process. One person mans the steering wheel while the rest three somehow find a way to contribute to the driving routine.
Our second child Newman is 19 months old. He is the most audacious ‘driver’ of the four of us. He doesn’t talk legibly enough yet, but by his actions we see what he can do.
Whatever he wants he goes for it without blinking. He even wants to physically take over the authorised driver’s seat from me. Often times without warning, he moves from the back seat to the front to grab the steering wheel.
Whenever he did that, I could see in his eyes, “Daddy let me drive too.” But of course, I would always say to him “please go back to the back seat.”
The third driver is our older boy, Best, who is slightly over 3 years old. Like his younger brother he seats in the back seat too. Although if not for mummy and daddy’s refusal, he would have preferred sitting on the front passenger’s seat and run the shows on the dashboard.
Best has a unique ‘driving’ style and he is definitely easier to manage in the car than his younger brother. He ‘drives’ the car with me through his probing questions; he never fails to asks me questions for any driving maneuver I make that he doesn’t seem to understand.
“Daddy, why are you moving the car backwards?” he would ask whenever I put the car in reverse motion.
“My dear, I am moving back so we can then move forward in the right direction” I would respond.
If I mistakenly drive the car into a pothole and the car experiences a vibration, he would query again, “Daddy, do you want to break your car?”
“No Best, I don’t want to break the car. It’s just that that part of the road is not so smooth …” I would try to explain.
The fourth driver is my beautiful wife. She drives (in the real sense of the word) as the need arises. But by the way I drive, she thinks I am trying to compete with Michael Schumacher on the fast lane. I wish I had that much driving skill!
“My Love, slow down please” she would say, “You are over speeding,” even when my speedometer says otherwise!
At other times, she would be like, “See that big truck ahead of us, please don’t drive us beside it”.
“Don’t worry, I will overtake it by flying over it,” I would tease.
This is my experience driving in the same car with my family. What’s yours?
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As I interact with the outside world, it appears that I meet more people who are unable to correctly pronounce the name than I meet those who are able to do so.
Uyanwanne, that’s my last name. And I love it when people pronounce it properly! Or is it not normal for one to so like one’s name?
I have been using the name for almost four decades now and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.
“That’s expected,” someone may say.
Well, I agree with that! I consider it a great name, not necessarily because it has a deep meaning which accentuates brotherly relationship and trust, but because of the person that bore it – my late father Pa Uyanwanne Bakwunye.
Of course, Uyanwanne was my father’s first name, but now it has become our family’s last name. The awesome old man has passed on since 1994, but the name continues to live on with us and through us; the name naturally lives on in our lives as the identity remains in use by us his sons and his grandchildren.
To the people from my part of Nigeria and to some others outside of it, the name is very easy to pronounce. But some how, as I interact with the outside world, it appears that I meet more people who are unable to correctly pronounce the name than I meet those who are able to do so.
To that extent, I am indeed grateful to all those who are able to pronounce the name correctly, especially those who do not speak my native Ika dialector the Igbo language by extension.
But to people of the outside world, I have observed that it is a different kettle of fish altogether; pronouncing the name could be a mouthful. And that I completely understand!
“It is a 4-unit course” teased one friendly wag, who had difficulty pronouncing the name. All the same it is my name. Well, bear with me.
Here in Africa, and I believe in some other parts of the world, it is not unusual for people to bear long names, with multiple syllables
Over time, I am often amused by the way some people (mis)pronounced the name. Different – albeit irregular- versions of the name could be formed from the way some people have pronounced it in the past.
“Please don’t muddle up that name,” I have heard myself say to some people who mispronounced it.
But then I don’t blame them; they don’t speak my native Ika tongue. They need not!
I am not an expert in Ika dialect grammatical and pronunciation rules either, but the name could be counted into multiple syllables as follows: U/ya/n/wa/n/ne or simply as U/yan/wan/ne. Observing these syllabic divisions will naturally lead to the correct pronunciation.
Unfortunately, when I searched the name using an on-line word processor, it returned the name as a 3-syllable word. Obviously, that’s incorrect as it would result in a wrong pronunciation of the name. So as I said, the correct pronunciation would follow the traditional lines earlier noted.
In any case, some people still think the pronunciation of the name is jaw-breaking. Hence they sometimes feel at liberty when they mispronounce the name.
Do I mind? Not any more! I am aware that they are not intentionally muddling the name. Gladly. Some ‘foreign’ language speakers are able to pronounce it correctly without much ado.
But sometimes, I wonder why some others could not get the pronunciation right, even after being corrected. I wonder too if I do so badly in pronouncing the names of people from other cultures! May be, sometimes!
I am neither Chinese nor Korean so my name couldn’t have been Lee, Chan, Chen, or Chang – which spell mostly in one syllable format
Unfortunately, I am not about to change my last name. In fact, the name will continue to be used after my own generation is gone except of course, if my children decide otherwise. For now, it is the name I am known with and will continue to be known with.
Here in Africa, and I believe in some other parts of the world, it is not unusual for people to bear long names, with multiple syllables. That’s how it is too in the Mid-Western part of Nigeria where I was born.
Take for instance, one of my other names is “Okechukwuyem.” (pronounced O/ke/chu/kwu/yem). You see, the names we bear usually come in multiple syllables. That’s what I am saying….
I am neither Chinese nor Korean so my name couldn’t have been Lee, Chan, Chen, or Chang – which spell mostly in one syllable format – and very easy to pronounce. So please take my last name as it is and employ the best of your pronunciation skills where necessary.
The correct pronunciation of Uyanwanne may be jaw-breaking as some people have claimed, but it is still my last name.
Do people find it very easy pronouncing your name? Please share your experience.
Copyright | Victor Uyanwanne
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