Monday, April 20, 2015

Get Rid of the Raven Mentality!

Many of us are stuck in the mentality of a raven and we are not even aware of it! After listening to a sermon about the dove yesterday, I decided to read up on another bird that was mentioned quite often in the bible- the raven. After learning some of the characteristics of the raven, I came to the conclusion that the raven is a good representation of what most of us are like today.

Firstly, the raven is known to feed on the eggs and nestlings of other birds. Being a bird itself, one would expect that the raven would have some degree of respect for the efforts of other birds, but such is not the case. So many of us, though we call ourselves Christians derive joy in robbing our colleagues of the fruits of their hard labour. We take credit for work we did not do, and we swoop in and take away benefits and sources of happiness many people are looking forward to out of spite, and jealousy! But this is not my main point.

What stood out for me during my brief research on ravens was that these birds are known to be scavengers. they feed on dead animals, garbage and every other disgusting item you can think of. Aren't many of us just like ravens? Feeding on dead events in our lives and dwelling on rotten relationships? Don't we spend a lot of our time wallowing in the depression of the past rather than encouraging ourselves with hope for the future? This is what I call the raven mentality. 

Ravens hardly feed on animals that are alive, and when they do, they are animals that leave very little to be desired- worms, insects and the tiny creatures they are capable of catching. They feed on dead animals that are so small, they are probably overlooked by many. So many of us tend to indulge in this: small expectations, small dreams, small aspirations because we are scared of aiming too big, scared of praying for big things... so instead we feed on the small and dead stuff. We refuse to hope, we are scared to dream, and above all, we do not give ourselves the opportunity to let life flow through us, so we end up dwelling on the rotten past. 

If this applies to you, get rid of the raven mentality! Reassure yourself everyday of your awesomeness and have faith in the future God has planned for you. XOXO.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Fighting Fair In Your Relationship/Marriage

Fighting is an inevitable aspect of every healthy relationship. A relationship without any fights either consists of two perfect individuals (an idealistic thought), or two uninterested individuals. In other words, irrespective of how similar our backgrounds may be, we will have different ideas of how things should work in relationships, and this will often lead to conflict. The key thing in a relationship is not to avoid conflict but to resolve it fairly. 

I have come to a recent realization that hypengyophobia (the fear of responsibility) is a big issue amongst many couples today. Everyone is afraid to admit to their wrongdoings, and we are all obsessed with projecting the perfect image even to our partners. In light of these, fights are no longer fair, instead they are ways through which we constantly attempt to either outshine the other person through our ability to make them feel worthless, or to shift blame on to them simply because we do not want to mess up the perfect image we have in our heads about ourselves. 

I once had an argument with a guy I was dating a couple of years ago where I'd challenged him about some of his misdemeanors. While I wasn't expecting him to wallow at my feet and easily admit to his faults, I was shocked beyond words when all of a sudden, the argument turned to me and my many faults which I seem to be oblivious of. 

Fighting fair in a relationship means accepting when you're wrong and being willing to apologize! But even more than that, it means even when your partner's words hurt you, you shouldn't try to outshine him or her by saying something worse and more demeaning. It is not a contest, it is an expression of differences and can be resolved very easily if we will simply fight fair. Fighting fair means not shifting blame! When you're wrong, you're wrong. Don't bring up issues you've forgiven your partner for ages ago, or try to justify your wrongdoing by pointing out your partner's shortcomings. It will only make things worse between the both of you. 

As humans, it is only natural that we would like to come out on top in a relationship. But if you truly love your partner, coming out on top will be the last thing on your mind during a fight. You'll be more concerned about having your relationship back to its happy state than you are about looking like an angel in the relationship. To fight fair, simply say sorry when you are wrong, agree to disagree when necessary (by the way, couples don't need to agree on every single thing, and they don't have to dwell on this fact either else they will make mountains out of mole hills), and don't ever shift blame. Don't magnify your partner's faults in a bid to justify what you did wrong or turn the tables on them so they end up apologising to you while you revel in it. Fighting fair requires a lot of maturity, and it is one of the best ways to keep your relationship going in spite of your indisputable differences XOXO 

A Woman's Identity in Marriage

These days I continuously find myself having the same conversation with different people- mostly males of marriageable age who have their ideologies regarding what marriage should be about and of course the very much discussed place of a woman in marriage.

The surprising and I have to say disturbing trend that has emerged from these conversations is that many men expect a woman who will become half of them...and in a way, it does not sound like there is anything wrong with that. Afterall, married people fondly refer to their partners as their better halves. However, recent discussions have proven to me that many men these days take that phrase literally and are out on the search for a woman who will give up her life to become half of them. You might still be frowning and wondering what the big deal is, afterall, that is what is preached from the pulpits- that women ought to give up themselves and follow obediently the path laid down by their husbands.

I recently read a couple of research studies that reported that women become unhappier the older they get. I've been stuck in bed with flu so reading from the comfort of my bed is all I could do. According to this study, many women tend to give up all their dreams and aspirations for the rush of marriage- a rush that soon wears out when they realize being married does not entirely translate into their personal purpose. Hence, many of them feel the desire to go back to work but are unwilling to step on their husband's toes in the process. Therefore, their lives, their future is decided completely by their husbands, and well, what they truly want ends up taking the back seat.

After I read this, I had several Whatsapp and BBM chats with my male buddies and acquaintances who made it clear that it was part of submission for a woman to give up her dreams completely while the men went on to achieve theirs. I find this to be an imbalance that represents the unfairness of society. I come from a family where my father supported all of my mother's dreams, and never really expected her to give up herself for him. Instead, they both aligned their lives as two wholes becoming one, and that is what we need to learn in our generation.

A woman's identity ought not change simply because she has become a 'Mrs'. Her individuality is key to her sanity. She does not need to give up her whole self to become half of a man, she does not need to rob herself of happiness just so her man can have an ego boost. What women need today is support; support for their dreams as they also support the dreams of their husbands. Women need to be acknowledged and respected, loved but not possessed. To expect a woman to give up her whole self in order to become half of you is evidence of possession and not necessarily love. Unfortunately and alarmingly, it is becoming a natural expectation of young men today that they ought to dictate how the lives of their partners play out. We need to kick out the mentality and let women aim for the stars! That a woman has dreams does not mean she will lack respect. This is what this generation of youths needs to understand. XOXO

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How To Stay Married Forever

How can one have a long lasting and fulfilling marriage? I was plagued with this question after I received the news that a couple I know are separated after being married for barely a month. I tried to imagine what could have gotten so bad that they felt they couldn’t work together to fix their young marriage. I like to believe nobody sets out to get a divorce (or maybe some people do but that’s a minority).  Do you wonder if there are formulas for staying married to the same person forever?
OLD COUPLE LOVE 
Good news is there is some kind of formula. We shared a story of a couple that were married for over 87 years on this SITE some time ago and they shared with us the secret on how they made it work. I also talked to some couples that have been married for several decades and I present to you the secret to staying married forever.

Marry your friend: Some people have been able to get over the hurdles of arranged weddings and really find love, while others have not been so lucky. It is important to marry someone you are familiar with,someone with similar interest and background. This makes staying together lots easier.

Patience is a necessity: it is alright to be mad, what is not right is bringing down the roof everytime you are mad. You need to exercise patience in resolving issues with your spouse so as not to mess things up.

Don’t second guess your spouse: You are no private investigator. If a situation occurs, wait to hear your partner’s side of the story. You might sometimes be wrong in your analysis of what happened and therefore overreact and ruin things.

Talk it Out: whatever the situation might be, never get tired of discussing it. Communication is very important for a relationship to thrive. Talking is how issues get involved. If you never tell me how would I know?

Be open: Being secretive never helps anyone. You are doing more harm if you take a loan your partner knows nothing off seeing as you might both bear the consequence in the long run. If you have a problem, share it. That is why you are married, your troubles doesn’t have to be yours alone. Respect the trust your partner invested in you.

Never keep a score: it is not a competition, it is not about how many times you are right or how many times he is wrong. What matters is for you both of you to be happy. It is healthy to disagree, long as you get through it and move on.

Respect your individualities: don’t become so insecure and controlling that your partner becomes forbidden to visit or spend time with other friends outside your marriage. That is only going to make them feel unhappy and might lead to the end of the marriage. He had a life before you and even though he is married now, allow him some boys’ time. If you have any reservations about any of his / her friends, discuss it. Nobody wants to marry their parents so you might want to stop with being controlling.

Don't forget about yourselves when kids come into the mix: It is easy to get sucked into providing for the kids and doing all ther things that parenting entails  but understand that your relationship also matters so dont be so busy parenting that you ignore your relationship.

 Don’t live by the books: The books are wrong sometimes you know. The fact that your husband got you a card and a rose for vals doesn’t mean he is not thoughtful and loves you less. It also doesn’t matter if your sex life is not as vibrant as the blogs and books say they should be. What matters is for you to understand each other.

Appreciate each other: Everyone has their peculiarities, what is important is understanding yourselves. Not every man is a handy man and not every woman is a wonderful cook, what matters is for you not to dwell on your partner’s weakness so much that you forget other areas where they are strong.

Never make divorce an option: Bear it at the back of your mind that divorce is not an option. Whatever happens, try and work it out. Understanding that you are in the relationship for better or for worse helps you to put in more work to get through the difficult times.

Pray: Having a successful marriage takes the grace of God. Sometimes you do everything right and wonder what went wrong . You need to commit your marriage in God's hand for him to give you the grace to be patient and the wisdom to do the right thing .

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Every Life Matters #BBOG

Image result for chibok girlsThe northern part of the country had become quite unsafe and there was so much distrust among neighbours. I had been staying with my aunt in Abuja for a while, she warned against patronizing the small market that was beside her house because it was dominated with people from a particular tribe. She confided in me that she suspected some of them might be Boko Haram members, I was marveled at how paranoid she had become (I had a hard time trying to convince her that the most affected are also the people she suspected) .It was a sober period, other members of the family travelled to Abuja to join us for the memorial service of my aunt’s husband. It was an emotional reunion, it wasn’t the kind of emotions that made one weep, it was more of a sober reflection of a life well spent. Her husband was an icon we, the younger generation, looked up to and would sorely miss. We were all gathered in the living room after we returned from the remembrance service when the news of the plane crash at Iju Ishaga came on the TV, it was reported that hundreds were dead and there was quite a number of casualties .I couldn’t put a face to any of the names that were displayed on the screen that day but the human in me could relate. I broke down and wept. I wept for the loss of the somebody’s somebody that was among the numbers. I wept for unbirthed dreams, childless parents and fatherless kids. The death stories were becoming too many, I was scared and angry but there was so little I could do. Like million others, I desired for the madness to stop but the weeks that followed and the ones preceding the crash revealed a lot. The crash just like the bombings revealed that ours’ a decayed system of government and there seemed to be a resignation to an unchangeable fate by the populace.

The first I heard of the bombings read like a badly scripted movie. The sophisticated weapon wielding militants that were using the social media to make threats can’t really mean their propaganda that western education is evil. That has to be the greatest irony of all time. The killings became more deliberate and bold, thousands died and thousands more were displaced. One thing was obvious, the terrorists weren’t joking and their messages were written in blood, sweat and tears.

Lots of allegations flew around, nobody took responsibility, and even the ones that were to protect us were scared for their own lives. Nobody seem to know how to stop them, the decayed system we created kept haunting us.  Lives were lost, dreams were kept on hold, many people walked around with the consciousness of unguaranteed tomorrows while many more dared to live despite the realities. They dreamed in the midst of the hopelessness. They sought knowledge and hoped for the end of the unrest.  They found an escape from the unrest in their quest for knowledge.

People were learning to avoid crowded places, worship centers and every other precaution they could take to reduce the casualties in the bombings. For a shock effect, the militants changed their MO. They entered into houses and razed villages. They entered into schools and committed more atrocious acts. They killed 59 boys who were studying in the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi. Were we shocked?

 We were still trying to understand and get over the new rave when they struck again, this time over two hundred female students were kidnapped from their exam halls. These kids might be unrelated by blood but they committed a common sin-the grave sin of seeking knowledge. The light in the Chibok community, were they were from, went dim and many hearts left broken. Cries of distraught parents could be heard from every radio. Every one around the world was interested, perhaps the girls would be released after a few weeks but how wrong were we? Weeks quickly rolled onto months and it is a year now. It has been a year since that day. Yorubas say it is better for one to know one’s child is dead than to deal with the mental torture of a missing child. My friend’s sister has been missing for years now and he told me how he hopelessly stares in the faces of random strangers hoping a familiar smile greets his stares. He sleeps everyday with loads of unanswered questions. Can you now imagine the mental torture the immediate families of these girls go through everyday.

Today marks the anniversary of the hashtag that has brought people from all walks of life together and we dare to hope in the midst of all uncertainties that one day, our girls will return home. We stand as a nation to keep their memories fresh because every life matters. We keep hope alive for that mother that stares at her daughter’s picture every night before going to bed. We pray that these families will be united once again in love and happiness.


Your religion is not better than my religion, my life is not more important than yours. We are all part of the human family. Let’s work together and stop the violence, every life matters. #BringBackOurGirls.

Photo Credit: sunnewsonline.com

Monday, April 13, 2015

When a Woman is Just TOO STRONG!

It seems the world and all the people in it will never cease to amaze me. Just when I think I have heard it all, someone utters a statement that leaves me bewildered and sends me on a wild research chase in a bid to assure myself that what I heard was simply an individual's opinion, and has no bearing whatsoever on the world. Many times I have come to the pleasant realization that the shocking statement I heard was simply the ranting of an individual who had no clear understanding of the situation. However, when the words 'women' and 'strength' are put together in the same sentence, my research has revealed an array of more questions instead of answers.

It is very common knowledge that women of colour who are independent are often shunned or mocked by society, especially if they happen to be single. Many people, men and women alike are quick to point out the reason for many women being single past the age of 30 is because they are 'just too strong'. This perspective of society set me off on my research and boy oh boy, what I discovered left me in what I can call a state of 'wonderment', because really, it left me wondering if I am on the right planet.
 
I discovered that many young men, mostly men of colour, find it hard to accept a strong woman who can hold her own. Her strength is viewed as a personality ill that ought to be hidden so far away, they'd never even smell it. Being strong for women is considered to be a direct result of lack of submission, so most of these men, whom I daresay are fellow Africans believe a well-rounded, well-grounded, goal-chasing, decision-making female is a wrong type of female, and should either be brought down a peg or two, or completely ignored, as she's not worth the investment of commitment. *deep sigh* How did we get here?
 
This is something men need to understand: Before you met this woman, before you became her friend,before you thought of dating her, before you started to consider helping her get through life as a partner should, being strong was all she had! She didn't get to the position where you fell in love with her by being weak, sitting around for someone else to decide her life, or by letting opportunities slip by. Before you met her, she was probably at a point where she had no one but God, and had to be resilient in the face of life's storms. She had to make decisions, she had to face mistakes, she had to fight...before you ever even laid eyes on her, she had to work hard! So don't come around and talk about how she's too strong! Would you be attracted to her if you met her as a couch potato weakling who was too lazy to go out and get her share of the world's opportunities? Would you be attracted to her if her only dream in life was to get married, have kids and spend your money?

During the course of my research, most of the men I met spoke so bitterly of these strong women who had jobs, cars, well-furnished apartments and fancy clothes. According to one of them, "no guy wants a woman who has everything, else he will feel there is nothing he can do for her." I beg to differ but that's a topic for another day. 

In every woman, there is a nurturing and caring spirit that the travails of life cannot remove. There is a desire to be loved for who we are, and sometimes for what we are, For to be loved for who and what we are shows that we have been fully accepted. Big dreams? love us anyway! Big achievements? It doesn't change our ability to love you! There is no such thing as a woman that's too strong, but there might be an issue with men who base their self-worth on their net worth. Being strong is not  a personality ill, it's not a scar, and it definitely should not be painted as a kind of failure on a woman's part! Till my post, XOXO

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Can You Afford For Your Wife To Be A Stay At Home Mom?

Can you afford your wife to be a stay at home mom or are you one of those that thinks all she does is no big deal? Steve Nelms chose a side, he wrote a post I am about to share trying to find the worth of everything his stay at home wife does for him and their toddler and he came to the conclusion that there was no way he could afford her. I find his thoughtfulness so genuine and sweet.
Image result for stay at home wifeThere are times we get used to our spouses and children that we think we deserve their sacrifice and kindness thereby forgetting to appreciate their efforts towards the growth of the family. This post puts it all in the right perspective, we are all superhumans in our supposed ordinary ways and all efforts expended should be appreciated.

Find below the post, I hope it inspires you to value the priceless people you have in your life.

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I’ve had this thought in my head for a while now. I’ve been thinking that I can’t afford for my wife to be a Stay-At-Home Mom. Now, I don’t at all mean to offend anyone with this post. I just have to say that for me personally, I can’t afford it. I’d like to explain exactly what I mean by that so that no one thinks I’m in any way devaluing Stay-At-Home Moms. On the contrary, I mean that I quite literally cannot afford my wife to be staying at home. Here’s why...
My wife stays home and takes care of our son every single day. She changes his diapers, feeds him, plays with him, puts him down for his nap, and comforts him when he’s upset. And that’s just the bare minimum. A child can typically get that attention at a day-care. But on top of that, he is her only focus. There’s no other children to tend to. He gets all of her. All of her love, all of her time, all of her energy. She is always there, always near, and always listening. Obviously, this is part of being a parent. You take care of your child and you raise your child. But let’s face it. In our day and age, every service (and I mean EVERY service) is hirable. There is a company ready and willing to do just about anything. So while, yes, my wife is my son’s mother and it is a natural result of being a parent to love and care for your own child, there is also a very quantifiable dollar amount that can be attributed to the services rendered. I am in no way trying to simplify, objectify, or devalue the priceless love of a mother for her child. But let’s be real. Pay day feels good for a reason. Because you’re seeing your hard work appreciated in a tangible way that lets you “treat yo self”. And this is exactly why I can’t afford my wife being a Stay-At-Home Mom. The national average weekly salary for a full-time nanny is $705. That’s $36,660 a year.[1]

We make ends meet comfortably and are by no means scraping the bottom of the barrel. But according to the 2014 tax brackets, we fall nicely in the second tier, right in the $12,951-$49,400 tax range. Even if we were making the maximum amount allowed for our tax bracket, the services rendered of caring for our child every single day of the year would absorb the majority of our income. Flat out, no question, game over, I cannot afford my wife to be a Stay-At-Home Mom. And that’s just the beginning of it.

A regular cleaning service costs anywhere between $50-$100 per visit, depending on how big your space is, how deep of a cleaning you want, and especially whether or not you have pets that shed like crazy.[2] FYI, I’m convinced our dog is short haired because he sheds every inch of it every minute of every day. It never even has a chance to grow. We also have a toddler, so those of you who are unfamiliar, that means a tissue box left unattended for approximately 18 seconds is completely emptied with its contents strewn across the apartment. Same with wipes. Toys rapidly find their way from his bedroom to the living room. Remotes go missing. The dog’s water bowl sometimes gets spilled. Books will occasionally fly off their shelves. So on and so forth. Picking up the apartment is part in parcel with keeping the place presentable. Not to mention the natural progression of dirty dishes, dusting, vacuuming, etc., etc. So assuming you want the place to stay relatively clean, especially whenever you have people over, you’re looking at $100 per week at the bare minimum to stay presentable. That adds up to a whopping $5,200 (again, excluding the extra deep cleaning, or quick pick up for hosting company).

Does your wife ever run errands for you? Buy the groceries? Get you a new pack of white undershirts? Personal shoppers on average run around $65 an hour.[3] (That’s excluding the couple thousand dollar membership fee required to utilize their services.) Average the amount of time spent at the grocery stores or department stores per week at 4 hours and you’re looking at around $260, and that’s an extremely conservative average. That’s $13,520 a year.

Does your wife ever cook dinner? Prepare lunch? Prepare lunch beforehand for you to take with you to work? A personal chef, preparing 2 servings of 5 meals can run from $400 and up. So assuming your Stay-At-Home wife prepares even a few meals a week, you’re looking at around $240 at least per week.[4] That’s $12,480 a year. And that’s excluding any hosting, any extra mouths to feed, or extra meals to cook or extra sides and entrees for pot lucks and holiday parties.

So far we’re looking at a grand total of $67,860! Remember, we’re working with extremely conservative averages here. That’s daily care for your child that the average full-time nanny would provide. That’s twice-a-week cleaning of your home by a maid service that gets the place presentable. That’s three meals prepared a week of only two servings. These numbers, for the most part, still fall embarrassingly short of all the things that are actually accomplished each and every week. And that’s only taking into account 3 services!

If your wife takes care of your budgeting, finances, and paying of bills, then add on $15 an hour for the average rate of a financial assistant.[5] If you’re in the corporate world and your wife plays any kind of role in professional interactions at business dinners, then add on $75 an hour for the average rate of a PR assistant.

Read full post HERE.
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