Sunday, January 31, 2016

Romance and Finance: How To Properly Manage Money As A Couple

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Love brings the best out of many of us. We find that we become more tolerating and forgiving of actions we never could tolerate. The sky looks bluer and the music of the birds sound more melodious, we even start to feel like we have springs in our feet. It is just so amazing to know that there is someone who is always going to be there for us through our flaws and all. As our relationship grow, we find that love is not all milk and honey, and there are things that can become deal breakers when not properly managed. Turns out many people can fall in love but it takes a large dose of maturity and emotional intelligence to stay in love.

Not many people start relationships hoping for the end of it but things happen along the way that make people get less fond of the love that used to be.

One of such things is finance.

Having the talk about money is never so easy but it is one of the most important things as it can decide whether a marriage will thrive or not. Many of us claim to be very in love but we won’t even divulge how much money we make to our significant other (this is a post for another day ).

Saturday, January 30, 2016

You Can Give Your Child Everything
Parenting is not the easiest job in the world. Many people become parents without really planning to, and many people just want to wing it. In spite of wanting to wing it, many parents realize there is a need to be cautious so as not to raise children of despicable character. It is a battle of wills – giving your child everything versus making your child grow up the way you did, where the word “No” was a chorus your parents sang whenever you wanted something that could put you in the same league as your friends. The truth is many parents are torn even though they would not admit it. Should you give your child everything and risk raising a monster you cannot handle in future, or should you implement austerity measures that instill fear in your child and risk your relationship? Don’t despair; you can give your child everything. 

Contrary to what many people may believe children of good character are not raised by using deprivation as a tool nor are monsters raised if a child gets everything. The key is in the approach you apply as a parent and the measures you put in place to ensure your children do not feel entitled. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Desire Vs Value: Know The Difference

It is becoming clearer each day that many people are confused in their relationships. Some people are unsure of where they stand, and some relationships have hit the rocks before they’ve even had a chance to take off. The problem boils down to the fact that many of us do not understand the difference between being desired and being valued. 

Truth be told, many people confuse these two terms to be synonyms when truly they have completely different meanings. 

To be desired is amazing; to know that a person or many people want to be with you can be a much-needed self-esteem boost. Desire is craving, longing, yearning for a person, and is often the way relationships are born. A relationship that begins without desire might as well be a business arrangement. Real relationships begin with the desire to be with a person, to speak with a person, and to learn about a person but that feeling must graduate from desire to value. To be valued means to be held in high esteem preferably by the person who desires you, and whom you desire. It means to be appreciated, cherished, prized, and treated with a high level of importance. 

In Laws Are From Hell???

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A young woman got married to the love of her life. They had children and were living the life many hoped for. She couldn’t have been on a smoother ride, until death came and rained on her parade. Her beloved husband died in a motor crash, leaving her to fend for herself and their two young children. It came as a total shock and her inlaws didn’t make things any better. She was frustrated out of her marital home and had to do several odd jobs in order to provide for herself and her kids. She invested all she made on them, knowing pretty well that they were going to look after her when she becomes frail. It was like having sunshine after a heavy downpour of rain when her elder son got a job with one of the biggest multinationals in the country. He quickly moved the family into a decent apartment and made sure every need of his mother’s was met. Life decided to deal them another blow when her younger child died leading to the woman suffering a mild stroke. This made her very reliant on her son, who did all he could to fill the void death had created.

Theirs was a very strong bond.

He met Jocelyn on one of his assignments and they fast became an item. He couldn’t spend as much time as he used to spend with his mum as he had to juggle work and his new found love. Jocelyn didn’t understand the bond the woman and her son shared and she found every avenue to complain. The feeling was mutual as the woman found she had to share her son’s love with another woman. The son is however torn between the two of them not knowing whose side to stay on.

The scenario above is fictional and you can tell I am trying to find justification for some mother in laws that have been labelled annoying.

People complain a lot about their in-laws and most times it has to do with finances and accommodation. Many of us get married with the delusion that family members automatically fade away after the bridal party. Imagine just how shocked and unprepared we are when we find out in-laws cannot be wished away. There will be reasonable and unreasonable ones and we would have to deal with them all without causing unnecessary rifts.

We need to get our minds out of the stereotypes the society has created and understand that the key to building a good home is diligent application of wisdom and patience.

Some parents can really be overbearing but it turns out some of us also forget that our spouse had a life and commitment before he/she met us. Although two has become one, a child still has obligations to fulfill to his parents that is totally independent of whatever love he might have for his wife/ her husband. Remember "Honour your father and your mother so your days may be long".

What matters the most is for such issues as this to be adequately discussed and for reasonable choices to be made. Are the parents involved too overbearing? Are they such troublemakers or Is the spouse just intolerant?
Wisdom is what is needed here. “By wisdom is a house built and through understanding, it is established”. “Every wise woman build her home while the foolish pluck it down with her hands”.
Many parents sacrificed a lot for their children and it is important that we do not neglect them. Not all parents in law are from hell. Don’t be so on edge, things are always so much better if we walk in the shoes of those we are quick to condemn.

I had a discussion with a friend earlier in the week where we both agreed that issues are better resolved when the parties involved are not so screwed tight and set in their ways. There is no harm in meeting each other half way. Discuss your fears with your spouse. Be flexible and opened to accommodating some of your spouse's ideas.

 Pray for the aged ones, love on them. I am not saying there are no wicked humans but the battle is not yours to fight. Commit all into God’s hands.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Live For Yourself: Relationship Advice for Women

It’s a trend I have noticed in almost every relationship I’ve observed. Women are more likely to lose their individuality in relationships. Women are more likely to lose their close buddies; they are more likely to stop having fun; they are more likely to give up hobbies they enjoy; they are more likely to end up depressed amidst achieving their relationship and family goals. I’ve seen it happen to friends, acquaintances and strangers, and I have often wondered if they are aware of what they are doing. Do women go into automatic ‘lose yourself’ mode once they meet Mr Right, or is it some kind of societal conditioning that makes us give up who we are for the joy of being in a relationship? 

Here’s the thing I’ve come to realize: Many women get caught up easily in romance to such an extent that they feel the need to be closer to the man. They will rather sit home and wait for him while he goes to hang out with his friends, rather than go out and hang out with their own friends. Many women cut off their friends in a bid to protect their relationship. They worry about the external influence of friends, and dedicate their full selves to the survival of the relationship. As their relationship goals are fulfilled however, they find themselves withdrawn and depressed. Yes, they have the man, the kids, the nice spacious house, the maid, and everything else a woman could want, but they still feel empty inside. That is because they stopped living for themselves the moment they met Mr. Right. Instead they absorbed Mr. Right’s expectations and played out the roles expected of them, rather than being who they really want to be. They cut off their friends to project the ‘right image’ to Mr Right in order to seal the deal. Big mistake. 

Stop altering yourself to suit the expectations of Mr Right. If he is Mr Right, he will take you as you are. Yes, there might be a need to trim off some edges and sharpen some corners but it will not require you losing yourself completely. It will not require cutting off your friends who have stood by you through thick and thin and encouraged you. It will not require you giving up what you’ve enjoyed doing all your life. And this is not the fault of Mr Right; it’s yours for thinking you have to modify and lose yourself in order to win him over. Learn to live for yourself. Enjoy the same things you used to enjoy. Don’t set the stage for future depression amidst a life of abundance. Keep your friends close, confide in them. Mr Right won’t hate you for living for yourself; he will most likely value you more. XOXO

Are You Afraid of God's Will?

Many of us often utter the words “may God’s will be done” but deep in our hearts, we are trembling with fear at the possibility of what God’s will is. What if God’s will involves a 40 year sojourn in the wilderness? What if God’s will brings you that ugly husband you can’t stand to look at, not to mention be intimate with? What if God’s will tampers with every single thing you have built up until this point? 

I have observed that as human beings, we are afraid of God’s will. Joseph was shown he’ll be a leader, but he first went through slavery, prison, and all sorts of undeserved punishment before God’s will was fulfilled…. And that was during a time when people lived to be 100s of years. These days, people start praying for death by 100, so we worry God’s will might take too long and we won’t ‘arrive’ on time to be celebrated by our friends, haters and anyone else we want God to show his power to. 

I find that many people bite their tongues when they are about to pray for God’s will. What if God’s will does not put you on Bella Naija, or take you to the oval office in the White House? What if Oprah Winfrey is no longer interested in covering miraculous stories before God’s will is fulfilled. What if God’s will is in complete contradiction to all your dreams and aspirations? 

I used to be like that; I’d pray for God’s will, and then wonder in my head if I can take it. Can I really take my hands off the strings and let God play his tune? This was until I was pushed to the brink of hopelessness where there was absolutely nothing I could do with my own strength. I found myself praying for God’s will without any fear or doubt. Surely, if my ‘control freak’ ways got me into the mess I found myself, God’s will had to be way better. 

You don’t have to get to the brink of hopelessness before you accept God’s will without any fear. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” say the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God is not planning to humiliate you or suppress you. God’s plans are not evil. God’s plans for you are actually bigger than you could ever dream, and more fulfilling than you could ever think. God is on your side. God is rooting for you. God is your cheerleader; God is your supporter.

Don’t bite your tongue when you pray for God’s will in your life to be fulfilled. The earlier you start praying for His will for your life to manifest, the quicker your life will be rearranged to bring you peace, riches in abundance, health, and happiness. The sooner you start praying for God’s will for your life without any doubt, the quicker you will be positioned in the right places that will lead you to the fulfilment of your purpose on earth. Start praying for God’s will without any fear or doubt. Don’t let anything be a hindrance to God’s plans for your life. You may have made grand plans for your life, but your plans cannot be bigger than God’s awesomeness. Let God show off in your life with blessings uncountable and joy unspeakable. XOXO.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Does the Bible Permit Family Planning In A Marriage?

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Pre-marital counselling sessions are eye opening. One gets to understand the need for some foundational materials needed to build a long lasting home. The need for husbands and wives to give themselves selflessly to each other is always emphasized. However no lesson quite prepares one for the reality of being married. One gets to learn firsthand lessons on emotional intelligence, financial management and so many others. Then, when the little ones start arriving, one is faced with making life changing decisions. Truth be told, things work better when there are well laid plans such as discussing the number of kids couples intend to have, agreeing on the kind of contraceptive to be used and also  the spacing between them. This is necessary so as to forestall irreparable emotional and financial drain on the two people involved.

Not all Christians agree on the use of contraceptives. Some conservative Christians think such concepts are alien to the values of the bible as portrayed in the now defunct hit TLC TV reality show ‘19 Kids and counting’. The show followed the lives of the Duggar family who are Christian conservatives that don’t believe in family planning. Like the name of the show depicted, the couple has 19children and were opened to having more kids should the wife get other pregnancy(s). What’s most fascinating about the show was their philosophy towards procreation. They believed no one ought to stop or disturb God’s natural process of conception.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3

While I respect their opinion, I don’t agree with them. There are many things God gave to us for our enjoyment but he also gave us the will and wisdom to be able to control situations around us. It would be wrong for instance for one not to control one's urge for food because it is a gift from God.
There are several reasons why people practice family planning including health, financial and economic reasons. 
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1Tim5:8
Time is so much different from when our parents were raising kids. The economy has changed a lot since then calling for a reset in some of the old values.
There are different types of contraception that couples can explore such as natural conception which involves being intimate on the woman’s non-fertile days , and artificial contraceptives which is so many, kindly check HERE for options.

You should bear in mind that if you get pregnant despite your precautions, abortion is not an option.

Abortion, though a form of contraception is against the teachings of the bible .Jer 1:5 Exodus 20:13.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

On Giving Second Chances in Marriage

The institution of marriage is one that was built to last but these days, even the most frivolous reasons can send a couple to the divorce courts. I have heard of couples who got divorced because the lady kept pressing the toothpaste tube in the middle, and the man just didn’t know how to use cutlery the proper way. In many cases, marriages have hit the rocks for genuinely hurtful reasons that I have found disheartening. Cases of abuse, infidelity, and a general lackadaisical attitude towards a spouse are some of the more serious reasons some marriages hit the rocks. 

I’ve had to ask myself: how do couples end up together for more than 30 years? How do they celebrate anniversaries and appreciate each other more as the years go by? How do they make it to the point where their marriage is unbreakable? How do they make it to the point where they stick together like they can never ever be apart? The answer is second chances. 

For your marriage to work out, you must be willing to give a second chance. This does not apply to men or women who are being emotionally or physically abused or those whose spouses are serial cheaters. In that case, I’d advise you to seek help and preserve yourself. However, for other issues such as differences of opinion, family interference, etc. second chances can save your marriage. 

It is difficult for your spouse not to offend you in any way all through your marriage; it is statistically impossible as a matter of fact. Difference will rise, and some of them will be more difficult to overcome than the others. There are times you will feel like packing your bags and leaving for good; afterall, as a single individual, you did not have to deal with all the baggage that comes with being married. There are times you will actually pack your bags and leave to find peace within yourself. There are times you will wonder if being married is worth all the hype it is made out to be. The important thing during such times is to work through whatever has hurt you. Find a trustworthy person you can speak to and pour your heart out. More importantly, pour out your heart to your spouse. It is difficult for a person to change what they are unaware of so let your spouse know what you can’t accept. 

Give second chances again and again; as amazing as your spouse may be, he/she is not infallible. The marriages we admire today were built on second chances. XOXO

Why submission might destroy your marriage

For many years, submission has been preached as one of the key ingredients for a successful marriage. Without a submissive wife, the marriage ship is likely to hit an iceberg and sink like the titanic. It is no surprise therefore that many young men are on the lookout for the ultimately submissive wife; afterall, no one wants to fail at marriage. Truly, there is nothing wrong with this; a disrespectful wife can be a man’s worst nightmare but it is important to understand the real context of submission. 

Many young men sit in pews and listen as pastors explain the need for wives to be submissive. They feel empowered as these preachings go on, and even cook up the ideal submissive woman in their heads. In other words, many young men believe submission is about finding a woman upon whom they can force their ideas, opinions, and vision. Submission is often preached in a context that forces young men into dictatorship without them realizing it. They start to seek out women without opinions or concrete life plans (which to be realistic is difficult to find these days), and hope that is all they need for their marriages to work. Young men are being misguided to believe submission is about controlling your spouse, and in the process, being made to believe that is what being a man is all about. Many young men are losing their marriages because they have been led to believe marriage is a military-style organization where all their needs, opinions and expectations must be met, even at the detriment of their spouse. 

Understand this: submission does not mean your spouse has to live in your shadow. It does not mean she has to echo your every opinion, or accept all your decisions. Submission does not mean your wife must follow all your instructions. Before you became a part of her life, she made her own decisions, and lived life on her terms. Expecting her to stop using her brain because you say so is like expecting a ship to sail on dry land – just not going to happen. 

Submission is actually about love, not about control. Submission is more about understanding what makes your spouse’s individuality and aiming to be the best you can be for him/her. Submission is a two-way street. The bible asks women to submit, and asks men to love. Love is actually a greater sacrifice than submission; hence the bulk of the work is in your hands. Rather than aiming to force your ideals and opinions on your spouse, aim to gently understand, nurture and mould. Also bear in mind that submission takes time. It takes a lot of learning, a lot of tolerance, and a lot of patience to attain a marriage where you genuinely love and submit to each other. XOXO.

Moving to the Next Level: What Needs to Give Way?

We are a few weeks into the new year, and I’d like to believe some of you are still pumped up about what you can achieve this year. At the start of a new year, many people visualize moving to the next level; they talk about it, and sometimes make plans. But as the days go by, they begin to lose steam, and just can’t seem to keep up with their plans. The truth is that there are many obstacles we build up without knowing. These obstacles stand in the way of us achieving our dreams, and until we address them, we will not move to the next level. So the big question is: what needs to give way? 

#1 Your comfort zone: You are very unlikely to move anywhere if you are comfortable where you are. If you see nothing wrong with where you are right now, then your plans to move to the next level will take a back seat. Yes, contentment is a necessity if you intend to get through life in one piece; however, there is a very thin line between being content and accepting mediocrity. You need to ask yourself what side of the line you are on. If you want to move to the next level, you have to become uncomfortable with where you are. You have to want more. You have to look for more. You have to be ready to work for more. 

#2 Your Wrong Associations: So many people remain stuck where they are because they are friends with the wrong people. Having the wrong association can keep you in the same spot forever. What are the aspirations of your friends? Are their aspirations limited? Do they believe in your dreams or point out that many people are living with less? Do they uplift your dreams and support your ideas, or are their utterances towards you full of limitations? Beware! Many people live out the limitations of their associations without knowing it. Many people find themselves in the same position because of the wrong associations. You must ask yourself if you are in the right company. If not, it is time to move on. 

#3 Your Attitude towards Success: Many people are scared of success even though they fail to admit it. Success comes with power; power comes with responsibility. Perhaps the fear of success is really just a fear of responsibility. Some people are not afraid of success, they simply detest it. They detest other successful people for having so much more than average. Your attitude towards success can either push you towards it, or prevent you from attaining it. If you are jealous and spiteful of successful people, you are less likely to move to the next level. If you are afraid of losing those around you should you become successful, then you are going to remain stuck in the same place. Change your attitude towards success. Admire successful people, read about them, internalize the lessons they share, mix with them, sit in their company, hold discussions with them, and watch how things change for you. 

Cheers to a prosperous 2016!

Sex and the 21st Century Youths: How Everyone Is Getting It Wrong

Sex is no longer a big deal; it is nothing to be ashamed of, and it is certainly no longer bound by the confines of a serious relationship. Having sex these days is like taking a shower in the morning or having cereal for breakfast. Relationships are no longer the sacred associations they used to be. Labels such as ‘open relationships’ where both parties are allowed to see and have sex with other people are fast becoming a norm, yet we wonder why there are so many broken hearts who are bent on breaking more hearts.

The 21st century is more about proving a point than anything else- we want to prove that we are cool, that we are in vogue, and that we know the ‘in-thing’. We have all been sucked into a system that robs us of our personal values without us really knowing it. Back in the day, when people viewed sex as a sacred association that should not be made with every Tom, Dick, and Harry, they were admired for being dignified. These days, such people are regarded as lame, or referred to as prudes. Sex is fun; sex is a stress reliever; sex is not such a big deal; have sex with whoever, whenever, and move on. Why waste time on emotions?

These are the thoughts that make it so easy to liken 21st century youths to animals. You see, when animals mate, it’s about the moment. A dog on heat simply mounts any other dog of the opposite sex in sight, and relieves itself of the built-up tension in its genitals. Once the tension has been relieved, both dogs go their separate ways. There is no show of affection afterwards, and they are not in any way obligated to treat each other with respect. It’s just sex; they do it, and they move on. 21st century youths are adopting this mentality without realizing it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Not Just Another Resolution
Around this time of the year, it is not uncommon to see people with deep resolve to be so much better than they were in the previous year. The cool thing about this is how it almost feels like one has suddenly gotten new springs that one can leap on. I know the feeling because I have been there many times when I feel like I have a new book to write new things on and I can pretend like the mistakes in the old ones never existed. 

Relevance plays a big part in our beings as humans, it is almost as important as oxygen to us. We have become experts at taking our place and announcing ourselves to the world in the ways we can. While I was much younger, I was convinced the only reason I was born was to finish top in my classes and be good at sports. So, my New Year resolution used to probably be to ace all my test scores and I was encouraged on this path by my parents. I used to attend two extra school lessons right after my classes when I was in primary school. All that mattered to me was academic success I used to spend extra time carving my alphabets in my notebooks just so my teacher could say I had the best handwriting in class. I would contest in a wrestling competition among the boys and beat the strongest one just so they’d know size didn’t matter. I even refused to follow the driver that was sent to pick us up on the last day of school one particular term because I slipped from my first position to the sixth position in class.

Some of us are still like I used to be, we see everything as a competition. Our outlook towards life is so we can shine, so that our names can be heard. What we forget is none of us is here by ourselves.

Have you ever wondered why you were not aborted or why you didn’t come as a goat or a bee? 

I am just saying that we were created purposely to fit into God’s work on earth. We are created for a big mighty purpose of doing good works for the glory of God. This means that while we are chasing academic excellence, do we ask ourselves ‘what can I do for God with all these achievements of mine?’ Everything we have been given is solely to serve that big purpose of making the world see God through us.Coincidentally I stumbled on the picture/quote used above while writing this piece and I can’t agree more with the author. Once we start to seek answers to the reason why we are where we are, our aspirations start to be far beyond making money or becoming the youngest president. We start to feel like we are a part of a higher calling, A call to fulfil purpose. A call for our lives to be a gospel unto others and doing good works wherever we find ourselves.

Lay your ears on the table of a lonely heart, share your food with those hungry,pray with the sick, lend yourself and resources however way you can. In all you do let God be exalted.Remember Let your LIGHT so shine before men, that they may see your GOOD WORKS and glorify your Father in heaven.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Before You Jump Ship!

In recent times, I have heard too many stories of people joyfully jumping ship to get their freedom back. The burden of marriage is too heavy to bear, and some people sooner or later realize that they are not cut out for this marriage thing. It requires too much compromise, too much sacrifice, and way too much tolerance than any normal human being could possibly give.

For some people, there are valid reason to jump ship – infidelity, substance abuse, physical and emotional abuse, lack of respect, and loss of oneself in a bid to become someone else. These are valid reasons to leave a relationship because it is either heading nowhere, or a catastrophic accident waiting to happen.

For others who are ready to jump ship because they have discovered a flaw, or believe they can do better, here’s a brief word for you:

Love is like faith; it is more difficult to love a person after seeing their flaws just like it is difficult to have faith when you are in a terrible situation. Love is not only about when the other person is beautiful, sexy, and in a good mood. Love is about understanding that the person you’re with will probably not be perfect all the time. Sometimes, they will be sick; sometimes they will come across as arrogant. Sometimes, they will say things without thinking and make you want to fly off the wall. Sometimes, they will be unnecessarily emotional over something you said a year ago; sometimes they will fail to meet up to your expectations. This is when you get to test if your love is true. This is when you get to know if you can be there for the long haul. Can you be there when you see the physical flaws and emotional scars?

Before you choose to jump ship, ask yourself if your reasons are based on mistreatment of your person, or based on the fact that this person does not check 10 out of 10 on your list. XOXO.

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