Thursday, November 27, 2014

Marriage: An Institution of Equality, Not Similarity

 Whenever I have discussions with my friends about marriage, different opinions creep up. One interesting opinion that always builds the base for an argument is that of equality in marriage. Many people including myself believe that spouses in marriage are created to be equal. However, I believe many people mistake equality for similarity. For some reason I cannot comprehend, we expect that males and females should approach situations in similar ways. I am an astute observer of people, and I can tell you today that marriage is an institution of equality, not similarity.

I read an interesting post by a famous Nigerian actress who stated that her husband does not apologize to her in the conventional sense; in other words, he doesn't utter the magic words that constitute an apology. Instead, he cajoles her, perhaps tickles her, maybe buys her something to show he's sorry.... Many readers of that post went on and on about how her husband is arrogant, not a good man, bla bla... I on the other hand saw it from a different angle. Some people are remorseful, but believe that the words 'I'm sorry' are so cliché, they are not worth uttering. It doesn't mean they do not view their partners as equals, or believe their partners can easily be bought with a kind gesture. 

The problem I see is that many people go into marriage with the expectation that their partners will approach situations the way they expect them to. We want our partners to apologize a certain way, speak a certain way at all times and understand how we feel every single time time. The issue is that is impossible! You are not married to your siamese twin, you are married to someone who was exposed to a different environment from yours. You might be equal in your marriage, but you can't be similar in anyway. The sooner couples start to understand it, the easier marriage will be. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Between You,Your Spouse and God

It is interesting how as a society we can measure wrongs based on gender. I am not about to write this post by unveiling my viciously feministic alter ego, no! I will spare you the pains of listening to my riddled thoughts on unbalanced scales of the gender.

I am not even going to go into details on how four men at work were unashamedly chattering about their affairs. I am also not going to rant about how I find the fact, that the wife of one of the men packs him condoms, befuddling. What is wrong with women not having standards? *sighs*

I will try very much to keep this post devoid of pained feministic opinions. It is one intended for you to reflect on simple moral values.

I read of a woman who cheated on her husband of 23years after she found out that he bragged to one of his numerous mistresses that his wife was ok with his philandering ways.  Of course, people judged her and told her just how shameless she is. How can a married woman even conceive such a thought and carry such out? Is one of the predominant questions most people asked.

Truth be told I am sick of how many times I have heard the sentence ‘a man will always be a man’. I am not an advocate of avenging another’s wrong by committing more wrong but I suppose sanity can be achieved by acknowledging we all are accountable for our actions irrespective of who we are.

There are certain values that should never be compromised. I understand temptations abound but one needs to bear in mind that only guilt and betrayal outlives that short moment of selfish desire.

Spontaneity is good but in situations preceeding adultery, you need to stop and think, would you be able to live with the consequences that follow? I have seen families that have been destroyed because of short misplaced and uncontrolled passion.

Do as you would be done by. If your spouse were in your shoes , would you forgive him/her after such act?. By all means, respect your partners’ feelings.

 Lots of work goes into building trust in a relationship, don’t mock all that hardwork by acting selfishly. Think of the aftermath.

What company are you keeping, the Yorubas have a saying that “a sheep that walks with a dog will eat faeces”. You need to be your own person. In a world where sin has become the fad, dare to be the weird one.

Have you asked yourself what Jesus would do in your situation? Being a Christian goes farther than paying tithes and attending services, it is a lifestyle. Flee from sin my dear.

Forget what the society thinks is right or wrong, your vow is between you, your spouse and your God.  Man or woman , whoever you are , we all are accountable to the same God.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Make Your Mark Today

Chaz B
A few months ago I was home in Nigeria for a couple of weeks. During an afternoon drive with my mum and sister, we listened to a show on the radio. I think it was "sharing life issues with Chaz B". It was rather entertaining, it was enlightening. I laughed at some of the issues that were discussed, and I found the advice Chaz B whose full name I now know is Charles Bruce Chukwuma, eye-opening and mature. He had the appropriate attitude, the right approach, and the most heart-warming responses to people's questions. He offered real help whenever he could, and reminded people of God's importance in their lives. I loved the show! It lacked the general air of affectation most of the radio shows I've listened to in Nigeria had. Imagine my shock a few minutes ago when I heard that Chaz B passed away!

How? Why? When? Just a few days ago, I was trying to come to terms with the death of Myles Munroe and his wife, now this? I hear people say it everyday that life is too short, and I now know that no matter how long we live, our lives will be too short for all we can achieve. For us to feel a sense of fulfillment during our last few breaths, we need to make our marks in our own little way.

Are You Falling Through The Bottomless Pit of Depression?

There are times when we feel like the walls are closing in on us, and we don't have the strength to push them apart. We find ourselves constantly pondering over issues we cannot find solutions to, we find ourselves suffering from intense insomnia even after exhausting ourselves through hard work during the day. We slowly find ourselves withdrawing from the company of others, caught in a personal fable where we believe no one else can understand what we are going through, not even God.

Depression is an illness that catches a lot of people unawares; it is not like flu, where you get symptoms like headaches, fever, or the occasional blocked sinus. It creeps in when you let your guard down, and before you know it, you are mad at the world, or worse, disconnected from the world. A lot of research has gone into helping depressed individuals, however, in spite of the many anti-depressants on the market, people still commit suicide, get addicted to drugs, or even lose sight of their purpose in life, and just end up floating through. To tell depressed people to just snap out of it might seem mean right? But what if it works?

Like happiness, depression is a state of mind. It may creep in on you unawares, but it cannot steal all your strength. Taking pills may help you for a while because they release your 'happy hormones', but they can only last for so long. Depression is a battle of the mind, and it is definitely not a battle for the faint-hearted. You need to 'snap out of it', and take control of your mind. It is easier said than done, but it is not impossible to overcome depression. By changing the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning, you can change the way your mind perceives situations, and the way you approach each day. Depression is a disease that robs the infected of any joy they may dare to enjoy, as well as destroy any meaningful connection they have with loved ones. I see depression as an abusive partner that isolates his or her prey, constantly robs the unsuspecting prey of their self-esteem and creates an illusion that they can never meet anyone else that would treat them better.

How do you put an end to abuse?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

When Your Spouse's ex Just Won't Go Away

Dealing with a spouse's ex is probably everyone's nightmare when they go into a courtship or marriage. The ex is a threat no one wants to deal with; by threat, I don't mean the ex is a rival. Sometimes, just hearing little bits of the things your spouse did with his or her ex is enough to make you feel envious and perhaps competitive. In some cases, your spouse may not be into the ex, but what do you do when that ex just doesn't get the point?

From the many stories I've heard and read, women are the ones who are mostly faced with the ex issue and their reactions most of the time make me wonder if we know about energy conservation laws. There's often that ex girlfriend whose 'ghost' lingers in marriage- she calls once in a while to check up on your spouse, she asks for money once in a blue moon, she calls to complain about her boyfriend to your spouse...and if she's not doing any of this, she has a supporters' club filled with people who believe she would have been a better match for your husband. How do you handle an ex like that? Yell the house down? sulk around the house, refuse to cook dinner? Call her and tell her to go to hell and combust into ashes? Send her bible verses to send her on a guilt trip? Or do you call her to meet for lunch and gently try to cajole her into leaving your spouse? 

Save your energy! That's my advice for every woman who has to deal with the issue of the ever-present ex. It may sound too simple, may sound like you are not fighting for your marriage but believe me it works. Why fight? Marriage is not a war! Learn to treat your partner's ex like a stranger at the bus-stop- someone you do not pay much attention to or feel the need to speak about when you arrive home. Stop making your spouse's ex a topic of discussion in your marriage; stop asking if she has been in touch recently or if she is making moves on him. If you have a good man, he will tell you of every development if there's any. You don't need to go after her, raining curses on her or sending 'destructive prayers'. You are married to your spouse, not her! Don't give her a throne in your home, don't let her be the bone of contention between you and your spouse. Don't let your insecurities overcome your confidence. Be confident in the knowledge that your spouse chose you because he saw what he needs in you. If he wanted his ex, he wouldn't have had any reason to come for you. Make your marriage private, avoid letting outsiders like your spouse's ex into your home through unnecessary conversations that lead to bitterness. 

Marriage will have its ups and downs. It will have its days of joy and days when tears will threaten to roll down your cheeks. Don't let your spouse's ex be an additional burden in your marriage. See him or her as a child; if you ignore a crying child long enough, he goes to sleep. Trust in your spouse's love, and save your energy for your marriage. XOXO

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Set Your Own Pace In Your Relationship

There are set societal standards we are expected to follow when we go into relationships.  There are stages we are expected to follow, and in some cases, these stages are attached to certain time limits.

Recently,  I've been observing and reading stories of couples on wedding blogs. When I read some stories where the grooms said they fell in love at first sight,  or knew they would marry their bride after three dates, I wrinkled my nose, laughed out loud and ended my derision with 'yeah right'. However when I took some time to think about the pace in relationships,  I couldn't help but admit that there should not be any set durations for relationships. 

Some couples meet and know from the first day that they are meant to be. For some couples,  it may take months, while others may take years. I asked myself what determines the pace of a relationship? Is it the number of dates,  the amount of fun activities done together? Or the amount if time spent spwaking to each other? I came to the conclusion that the relationship pace is set by what couples talk about.  So many couples spend a lot of time together, but don't have quality conversations.  Of course society looks at such couples and decides after a few years that they are ready to embark on a marital journey. Few years down the line, the cracks begin to show and people wonder what went wrong.  On the other hand,  some couples date for a few months before marriage, and go on to have the best marriages ever.

I have come to the conclusion that couples should set their own pace, and not necessarily attempt to follow the standards set by society.  After all,  it's not about how long the relationship is, but how well a couple connects.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

What Do You Bring To The Table?

These days I feel like I constantly need to ask some people this question. I find myself wondering if it is a question people should now ask each other before they go into a relationship. My ears have recently been filled with complaints from both males and females about their partners, I can't help but wonder if some presumably normal people are highly delusional.

Many relationships are in crisis for one of two reasons- both parties don't know what they bring to the table or one party comes to the table with empty hands, hoping to get as much as they can without giving anything in return. In some cases, some people bring what they deem fit to the table only to find out somewhere down the line that no one is really interested in the adulterated goods they are offering.

As an individual, what you bring to the table will be directly proportional to the value you add to yourself. You can't offer anything if you have no value within yourself. Many people scale through life hoping that they will meet a saviour along the way that will solve their problems, give them all they need and not expect them to give anything to the relationship. It is the most hilarious ideology I've ever heard, but certainly not the strangest. Some women believe if they can offer sex, then they are the best thing any man could have. That certainly sets me rolling on the floor. Anyone in the world can have sex; it takes much more than that to keep the relationship going. 

What do you bring to the table as individual? If you were left alone at the table, would you be satisfied with what you've served? If the answer is no, then you have more work to do. If the answer is 'maybe', then you still have some things to iron out. There are many of us that fail to constantly improve ourselves because we are either lazy or waiting for someone else we can become half of. If what you bring to the table is excellent quality, becoming half of someone else won't be something you'd consider. Before you go into a relationship, ponder over this question. Your response may determine how your relationship will turn out. Stay blessed

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Matthew 13: A Different Perspective

A couple of nights ago, I decided to break the habit of being too busy to read my bible. I was pulled to the first parable in Matthew 13. I read the whole passage to the end, but at the end, I had a different revelation. The parable in verses 3-9 speaks of a farmer who scattered his seed across the ground, with hopes that they would grow. Some seeds fell along the path and were eaten by birds. Some fell on rocky ground, and shallow soil. Though they grew, they were quickly scorched by the sun because they had no root. Others fell among thorns and were stifled as they grew. Those that fell on fertile soil however produced plants that were up to 100 times more than all the others could have produced.

This parable got me thinking about us humans and our dreams. Our dreams are like seeds that we scatter across the ground. We hope they'll ll grow but we really don't know what to expect when we put them out there. Some of them fall along the path and are snapped up by the vultures of the world. We sometimes share our dreams with people more experienced than we are, and we end up being sidelined. Sometimes our dreams fall on shallow soil. These are the dreams we don't dedicate a lot of attention to because we believe more in their failure than their success.

Our investments in these dreams are shallow and lackadaisical. These dreams soon wither because they are scorched by the harsh realities of the world. Some of our dreams start growing but they are stifled by the many adversaries we meet on the road to success- fake friends, society, discrimination etc. These dreams eventually die of strangulation. However, there are those dreams that fall on fertile soil; these are the dreams we nurture, the dreams we ensure do not fall among the thorns of society, the dreams we protect from the vultures of the world. Sometimes these dreams only fall on fertile soil after we have thrown some of our dreams in the wrong places. Sometimes we have to go through all the phases to reach our fertile soil. Sometimes we get lucky and our dreams fall on fertile soil the first time. 

The moral of this revelation for me is that we should never hesitate to pursue every dream; dreams are seeds that can be nurtured on fertile soil, and we should invest in them as much as we can. XOXO

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Should Christians Date?

Dating is probably one of the most interesting and crucial part of anyone's life. Going out to fun locations to determine your compatibility with potential partners is a task many people enjoy. I have in the past and recent times come across many teachings that instruct strongly against dating. Instead, youths are encouraged to pick one person, usually within the church, and once they do, there is no going back. 

I am of the opinion that youths need to date in order to make well-informed decisions regarding their choice of a life partner. While many may frown at the idea of dating and point out the many potential dangers that await youngsters who date, I strongly believe the pros outweigh the cons. 

Dating is not a sinful activity as many people believe. On the contrary, dating creates a personal space for two people who are interested in each other. It allows the two individuals to learn the basics about each other before they decide to head to the pastor's office and indicate their desire to be in a courtship. Dating is the beginning of an exclusive friendship where both individuals can decide if they want to let the other person in or not. Dating should be a pre-requisite to courtship because it has what I like to call an 'out-clause', without any drama involved.

Courtship is the step couples take before marriage; they spend time together, discuss more serious issues, plan their lives together, etc. In other words, with courtship, there is a 95% chance that the couple involved will definitely get married. When couples are pushed directly into courtship, especially under the scrutiny of the church, it may be difficult for them to walk away even though they are unhappy. In cases where couples decide to part ways, there is often so much drama involved, one would think they are getting a divorce. On the other hand, with dating, there is no pressure. It's about two people meeting up to see a movie, talk over dinner, go bowling, go kart racing...etc. 

Dating is the fun aspect many people are robbed of. They are thrown into the serious task of courtship, making the relationship rather laborious, and more of a job than an interesting adventure. I believe christian youths should be allowed to enjoy dates. What do you think? XOXO 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Don't Forget The Dream

These days I spend a considerable amount of time thinking about my dreams and wondering if i'm on the right path to achieve them. I attended an entrepreneurship conference last weekend, and it made me think even harder about my dreams, if they were in line with the kind of future I want for myself. I was privileged to hear businessmen and other speakers tell their story and the ups and downs they faced during the course of their journey to success.

These days, achieving our dreams may be more difficult than they were years ago; the competition is tougher, and of course life happens. We sometimes find ourselves facing a direction different from the one we planned and we end up getting frustrated and unhappy. In some cases however, we find ourselves in a comfort zone- a zone where we do not have all we want, but we have the basic things we need. In this zone, we tend to relax, forget our worries, and above all, forget our dreams.

The comfort zone prevents us from going farther, from aiming higher, and from achieving the best. The comfort zone makes us forget the dreams we once had. It makes us believe we have the basics many people don't, therefore, we ought to let sleeping dogs lie, and just make do with what we have. In addition, with the continuous hustle and bustle of life, some of us get so exhausted, we forget to aim high or even dream. Dreaming becomes exhausting, not to mention taking action to achieve them.

One lesson I learned from the conference last weekend was to constantly stay in touch with my dreams. Sometimes we may not be able to take immediate actions to achieve our dreams, but constantly thinking about them and mapping out plans help us to stay in touch with them. No form of preparation is wasted, and though your dreams may seem too difficult to reach, keep working on them. One day, everything will pay off. XOXO

Learn To Appreciate Your Differences In Relationships

I don't know where people got the idea that couples need to be the same if they want their relationships to work. I think the differences in individuals make relationships interesting, and they should be appreciated. There are so many people today that are missing the point entirely when it comes to relationships. They want their partners to be replicas of themselves. If they like politics, then a potential partner must be interested in politics. If they harbor resentment against a certain set of people, then their partners must follow suit. Unfortunately, this is hardly the case, and more often than not, people find themselves destroying good relationships because they are obsessed with spending time with just one person- themselves.

I've met many people who consider those that do not share their perspective on life and other issues to be boring, unmotivated, confused, and sometimes unintelligent. This is not always the case. The fact that a person may not appreciate watching CNN the whole day doesn't mean that person is a dummy. Differences between partners bring spice to a relationship. They make the journey of discovering who the other person is, and what he or she is about, an adventure. 

It is important to acknowledge and appreciate the differences between you and your partner; these differences make your relationships interesting and give you a different perspective to human behaviour. Being with someone that is simply just another you can become rather monotonous and sooner or later, keeping up with the relationship will become a laborious task.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Are You The Un-Approachable Husband?

The more I read about marriage these days, the more worried and terrified I get. There are so many negative stories about marriage that I can't help but wonder what happened to the beautiful idea of marriage I had as a child, and even as a teenager. There are so many reasons marriages crash and burn, but I recently stumbled upon a new reason that I never knew existed- the unapproachable husband.

This is a concept that makes me wonder about the dynamics of a relationship/courtship prior to marriage. How do women end up with unapproachable husbands? What are the warning signs? And of course, the big question is who on earth are these men who believe the 'unapproachable club' is an elite club?

The unapproachable husband is the one who rules his home by using fear as an instrument in place of love. The unapproachable husband is the 'know-it-all' of the home, He doesn't listen to any other opinion, doesn't ask for it, and if you choose to offer it by force, you are simply poking the bear- something the unapproachable husband does not handle too well. The wife of the unapproachable husband is afraid of him, she has no rights in her home, and her opinion counts for nothing. She spends every minute of every day tending to her husband's ego and ensuring it suffers no bruising. The concept that marriage is a partnership is lost to her; she doesn't understand it because she has never experienced it. She dedicates many hours to fasting and prayers before she asks her husband a question or even offers her opinion on a subject that affects the whole family.

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