Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cheating In Marriage: It's Not Just About You

I've had this topic on my mind for some time but the urge to write it became overwhelming when I heard about the death of South African goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa. For those of you who do not know, Senzo was married and was simultaneously dating a singer. His extramarital affair was no secret, if anything at all, it was a 'national relationship'. Everyone knew about it. Sadly, Senzo was killed while he was with his girlfriend by unknown gunmen, and the debate about his cheating, and chances of being alive if he had been faithful to his wife has been all over social networks.

Cheating is not restricted to one sex. Both men and women find themselves falling into temptation at some point in their lives. I always say that most people who cheat are selfish individuals who are only interested in satisfying their desires, with no regard for how their partners may be affected. For some people, with every achievement they attain, the desire to cheat increases. Many people cheat to feed their egos and massage their low self-esteem. Most of us assume cheating in marriage is a norm that comes with no consequences... especially when our partners don't find out. Hmmm....

Friday, October 24, 2014

Learn To Break The Vicious Cycle Of Unhappiness

There are times when we find ourselves stuck in a rot. It seems we are going around in circles, unable to decipher that we may be repeating the same mistakes,  albeit to different situations. In other words, we find ourselves in vicious cycles in our relationships,  spending habits, and in our general life choices. Irrespective of how hard we try,  we just can't break away.

Happiness is one of the key ingredients of a well-rounded life, so when we find ourselves in a constant rot of unhappiness, all other aspects of our lives are threatened with a lack of motivation,  loss of hope and faith and a general lack of desire to do anything. In order to successfully break the vicious cycle of unhappiness, we must first understand the basis and cause of it.

Unhappiness often starts with discontentment; many of us tend to focus on the many things we don't have,  rather than focusing on the good things we do have. We compare ourselves to other people whose lives seem to be better, and dwell in our discontentment.  This of course leads to frustration; we become agitated and try to race against time to achieve what we believe will make us complete. When this doesn't happen,  we become frustrated.  Our frustration leads us to sinful behaviour that causes us to be self-centered instead of God-centered. We become obsessed with the idea of what we could have, and generally become oblivious to the needs of other people around us, and even the needs of the church. At this point, our vulnerability to temptation is high, and we find ourselves considering options that we once condemned others for. Once we reach the stage of vulnerability to temptation,  it's really easy for us to fall for anything. At this point,  satan offers deceptive alternatives- cheating with a co-worker, indulging in questionable habits, using drugs etc.  Given our vulnerability,  it's often difficult to resist,  so we end up accepting these substitutes.  Ultimately,  we get burned and find ourselves right back where we started- discontent and frustrated. 

To break this vicious cycle, we have to nip it in the bud. Cultivate a habit of gratitude at all times!  You may not have all you want or need, but in gratitude put your trust in God. Make God's word the center of your life. His promises definitely never fail and He will come through for you at the right time. Don't compare yourself with those who live God-void lives; they may have all the things you want but theirs is given at a price. The devil gives nothing for free. Be grateful, spread good cheer and trust the Lord. Xoxo

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Six Questions Single Women Should Ask Interested Men

It is always nice to meet a new guy when you're single and at the brink of losing hope you'll ever meet Mr. Right. If he's a gentleman, chances are he'll easily sleep you off your feet, whisk you into an unexpected romance and before you know it, you're dreaming about buying a house together, having kids and even adopting a puppy from the pets shelter. You have great conversations, he's sensitive to your needs, and he seems perfect for you. Does that mean you shouldn't ask prodding questions? NO! As sensitive and perfect as anyone may be, there are questions you should put on the table and ensure you get answers to before you take a commitment step in his direction. 

Question one: Are you a Christian?

Many women hesitate to ask this question because they don't want to come across as prudish and sanctimonious. With this new age of 'going with the flow', everyone wants to be cool and accepted, hence this question takes the backseat, and women try to be observant while they are helplessly falling in love. Ever heard that the initial stages of love cloud a woman's judgement? Oh yeah! It is alwys best to ask this question, listen to his response and ask follow-up questions such as 'what's your relationship with God like?'

Question two: What do you do for a living?

Yeah, many women don't have a problem asking this question. However, there's a new range of women that are eager to not come across as gold diggers, hence they avoid asking this question. I don't know where they got the idea from that such a question places a smear on their integrity. Women who ask also seem to be satisfied with vague answers like "I'm an importer". An importer of what? From where? Where is your office? How does it work? What's your chain of command like at the office? These are questions that will give you insight into whether he is truly employed in legitimate business or involved in shady deals. By the way, if he's not standing on his two feet financially, it's a red flag. You want a man that can take care of his needs and yours.

5 Steps To Save A Failing Relationship - Part 2

In case you missed Part 1, click here..Part 1

2. Acknowledge God as the centre of your marriage. God should be at the centre of every marriage. Every marriage will have its ups and downs, its mountains and valleys. Only those who are rooted on the word and God’s Love will be able to weather the storms. God is the creator of marriage so we need to make him the centre of this relationship.

3. Acknowledge your responsibility to make the marriage work. It baffles me when men think they can just pack up a marriage when it does not work out. They feel it is their fault if the other party is not involved and they can give up since the other party is not interested. As men, we should understand that our relationship with our wives is like that of Christ and the church. Jesus Christ died for the church even when it knew Him not. I believe every man should be ready to die to make his relationship, his marriage work. It is when you have this kind of commitment and attitude; you will be willing to save your marriage when you notice that something is missing.

The first three steps are acknowledgements that you have to accept before you start taking any actions.

4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. This action involves you talking with your spouse about the state of your marriage. Both of you must honestly talk about the things that are not right. Talk about the expectations; disappointments, hopes and aspirations. Develop and communicate the vision for your marriage and family. Create avenues where you constantly communicate with your spouse everyday.

5. Continuously Sharpen the Saw. According to Stephen Covey, the best selling author of “7 habits of highly effective people”, he said the 7th habit is “Sharpen the Saw”. Sharpening the saw is about renewing yourself - physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Apply this to your marriage. Set up a regular programme to assess and revitalise your marriage.

In conclusion, I will to say that in every relationship, there is an emotional bank account. The emotional bank account is a metaphor that describes the amount of trust built up in the relationship. Like a financial bank account, you need to continually make deposits in it so that the bank account is always full even when withdrawals are made. So it is with your spouse. 

You need to constantly make deposits in her emotional bank account through kind words, actions, honesty and keeping commitments. So that even when you make a little mistake (like a withdrawal in a financial bank account), there is always enough to compensate for it.

However if you have a habit of ignoring your spouse, showing disrespect, betraying her trust, eventually your emotional bank account will be overdrawn. This is not healthy for a relationship or a marriage.

Invest wisely.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

5 Steps To Save A Failing Relationship - Part 1

In the hustle and bustle of our modern day lives, we tend to forget that there is more to life than our work or business. We forget that we have families – wives and children that look up to us to play our parts as husbands and fathers.

Sometimes we even forget we have a relationship with our Creator, our God.

Though this article is about saving relationships, it is important to first discuss why relationships fail.

I will also like to define a relationship in this article to be a connection, an association or involvement between two people. Specifically I will like to refer to the relationship in marriage; between husband and wife.

Relationships are built on expectations. When a man gets married to a woman, he expects that the woman will play a certain role in his life. He has expectations about the woman as a wife, a friend, a lover, the mother of his children and many more. The woman also has expectations about the man as a husband, friend, lover and the father of her children. Note that these expectations, whether realistic or unrealistic, has been formed over the years.

It is important that this couple communicates these expectations with one another.

When these expectations are not clearly communicated with one another, there will be problems that will adversely affect the relationship.

For instance, a man who expects his wife not to work after marriage might have a hard time explaining to his wife who has over the years planned how she would rise up the corporate ladder to achieve her own goals. If both parties had clearly communicated their expectations before marriage, they would have known whether this would be deal breaker.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Signs You Are Obnoxious and Unaware Of It

Almost everyone has a certain degree of 'unpleasantness' to them; I like to call this the tolerable degree. Many of us can be moody, curt in our responses, or just not in the mood to deal with people. Yet, we somehow find a way to relate well with people without them wanting to avoid us completely. 

The case is different for obnoxious people; obnoxious people are people that are EXTREMELY UNPLEASANT to be around. They are the kinds of people many of us would jump into the red sea to avoid, and if you are a nice person, you'll only be able to take obnoxious individuals in doses of once every six mnonths. In other words, you'll only be able to stand such people for a couple of hours once every six months before you run for cover.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Parents and Greener Pastures: Where Do Your Children Fit in?

People always say "home is where the heart is"; however what they truly mean is that "home is where you're born and raised". While it may be true for some people that home is where all their dreams come true, some people struggle a lot with making ends meet, and therefore cannot fight the urge to seek greener pastures in a different state, province, country or even continent.

Many parents have grand plans for their children; however I daresay some parents are so clouded by their own desire for personal success, they don't consider the effects of their plans on their children. I've met parents who abandoned their teenage children in a bid to go 'make it' in a foreign country. They get to their destination, and the reality that things are not rosy everywhere hits. It's another struggle, another journey to success and a lot of adjustment is required. Many soon realize quickly that they cannot provide the dream lives they promised their children back home, nor can they hop on a plane and return home- partly because they are unwilling to admit failure or because they believe staying a few years will expose them to better opportunities. But then what happens to the children?

Under no condition should both parents abandon their children while they go in search of greener pasture! If both parents can't afford to take their children with them, then they should either both stay where they are with their children or let one parent go. The latter for me is unacceptable as many people although married go in search of better opportunities and forget their families.

Before you decide to make a big move, you first need to consider the effect the environment will have on your children. Will you be able to afford their fees for sometime before you get a steady source of income? Do you have a job offer awaiting you? Will you be able to cater for your children's basic needs? You may not be able to offer them fancy clothes, but will you be able to give them the tools they need to succeed in that environment?

When making such decisions as parents, your children should be the centre of your reflection and assessment. Don't abandon your children with a friend or relative for any reason! Your children are better off with you, even with only the basics.

Stay blessed. Xoxo

Friday, October 10, 2014

The dangers of the internet and how you can protect your child

Image credits: ohsoamelia.com
We live in the web age. Gone are those days when we could only communicate via letters written by hand and sent via the post office or call an operator thousands of miles away from home to connect us with friends and family. These days, mobile phones, computers, tablets and so on make life a lot easier…or so we believe.

There is no doubt that using the internet provides us with much more information than we had access to decades ago but what are the dangers this great invention pose to the lives of your children?

There has been a recent surge in suicides amongst teenagers of recent and many of these cases have been traced to online bullying. Teenagers are now exposed to social networks such as facebook, twitter and so on; these social networks sometimes end up as a teenager’s nightmare. Many children these days are being bullied online and cannot say anything about it. During teenage years, many individuals are caught in a personal fable and believe that no one can understand what they are going through. It is hard for them to share feelings of being bullied or tormented by their mates because they don’t want to come across as losers.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Steps Of the Righteous AND the Unrighteous Are Ordered By the Lord

Have you ever been in a situation where you missed your way to a certain place and kicked yourself for not leaving home early enough or listening to that small voice in your head that told you to take a different route? You miss your way, you’re angry, you are despondent and if you are anything like me, probably on the verge of breaking down in tears but somewhere along that ‘wrong’ route you came face to face with a miracle? Or do you sometimes find yourself at crossroads, being edged towards that route you think might spell disaster but when you finally get on it, it is blessings and favour all the way?

“The steps of a righteous person are ordered by the Lord and He delights in his ways” (Psalm 37:23).

That is one statement that has held through for me since I came to know Jesus and I am sure you can relate to it too. God is a father, he’s a mother, a defender of the defenseless, a helping hand to those that are struggling, he gives a comforting hug when life kicks us down and above all, he shines his light when we are in darkness! He orders our steps even when we don’t ask him to. Why? Because he loves us that much!

I looked up the meaning of the word righteous and found that I actually don’t fit the bill; righteous means to be upright, blameless, just, honorable, honest, and moral and generally a good person. I fall short of all of that; many of us do, so don’t read this and think “God will not bother with me.” Think instead about the many ways God has ordered your steps to greatness in spite of your many shortcomings. I know for one that I’m not entirely blameless, I try but really, I fall short many times but what keeps me going is this:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Q & A: Is there anything wrong in maintaining contact with my ex after marriage?

Situation:

Husband: How can I believe that there is nothing going on between you and your ex? You say he is your ex and he keep calling you; even as late as 10p.m. at night. Does he not know you are married? I have told you that you should tell him to keep off.

Wife: I don't know what you are stressing yourself about. Have I not married you? He is just a good friend. He means no harm. I don't think you should see him as a threat.

This is similar to a case handled by my wife and I at a counseling session recently.  The husband clearly had a problem with his wife fraternizing with her ex-boyfriend but the wife didn't see any harm in it. The issue was to determine whether it was right or wrong.

Answer:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The War Against Marriage: Are You Letting the Devil Win?

Marriage is the one institution the devil is constantly waging war against. It is also the one institution many of us seem to be increasingly careless about. Having read so many disheartening stories about broken marriages, I couldn't help but wonder if people are really as bad as they seem, or if we are caught in a spiritual warfare we're not paying any attention to.

Of course marriage is not only about the spiritual, it is about the physical too- the physical characteristics and personality traits of our chosen partners, amongst many other things. The problem I see these days is that the devil is stealing our attention from the spiritual, by making us focus on the physical.

Marriages these days are crashing faster than blind bats; irreconciliable differences is one of the most common reasons for divorce. i wonder who came up with that term 'irrecobnciliable difference'. In all my years on earth, I am yet to really come across differences that cannot be reconciled if the two parties involved want to. However, for some reason, couples are struggling to reconcile these so-called differences that creep out of nowhere after five to ten years of marriage.

Couples grow apart instead of growing together, they suddenly have different interests, they prefer to sleep in separate beds because one bed is just too small, they submit to the wiles of the devil, all the while thinking they are living a modern marriage.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Learn to Make the Right First Impression

First impression is probably the most important concept in life that is mostly overlooked by many of us. Fortunately for some people, they don't have to try hard to make the right first impression; they are naturally suave, able to engage in conversations easily and are just able to magnetize others. Some people on the other hand fall flat on their faces the moment they meet someone for the first time. Having completed my masters degree, I have been attending a number of networking sessions and picking up tips that have worked for myself and others, and some factors that just destroy the vital first impression factor.

Here are some tips you may find useful:

Your Appearance is Key: When I was young, I read a statement somewhere that said "when you stand to speak before people, they look at how you are dressed. If they like what they see, they'll listen". These days, so many of us are careless about the way we look. We go out to tattoo our faces, pierce our eyebrows, tongues and all sorts of body decor that may be attractive to our friends, but will scare away potential employers or sponsors. Your appearance is very important if you intend to make the right first impression. Torn jeans, dirty sneakers, baggy tshirts and the likes are perfect for a ball game in the park with the neighborhood kids, not for meetings, interviews or presentations. For ladies, make sure your hair (natural or otherwise) is neat and tidy, don't over-do the makeup, and wear clothes that are stylish, yet conservative.
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