Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Should the Man Always Pick Up the Tab?

It seems like a normal social conditioning that men should always pick up the tab in a relationship. I grew up with this conditioning but recently, I have found myself questioning the grounds for it. In our normal societal context, when a man and a woman go on a date for the first time, the man should pick up the tab.  If the relationship progresses beyond the initial stages of 'introduction' and becomes a friendship, society suggests that the man should continue to pick up the tab. Now it gets more interesting... when the relationship becomes a courtship, the man is still expected to continue to pick up every single tab... and I have to wonder... do men pick up the tabs for the rest of their lives?

This is my belief: in our emerging society, some basic rules must still apply. Surely, when a man invites a lady out on a first date, he should pick up the tab, and while he tries to woo her, he should pick up the tab. However, once it becomes a full relationship with proper commitments and no games, the lady should aim to pick up the tab once in a while. Why should she? Simple! The man works just like she does, and I can bet you there are 1001 other things he would rather do with his money. If he is offering to take you on a date to spend time with you, it would not hurt for you to pick up the tab to show him you appreciate his thoughtfulness.

Take a free test to evaluate your marriage

How would you like to evaluate your marriage? 

There is this Focus on Marriage assessment from Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley of the "Focus on the Family" organisation. They have created questions that evaluate the strength of twelve essential traits of your marriage such as in communication, conflict, commitment and more.

The questions are designed for married couples. Every marriage has areas that are working well and areas that could use improvement.

If you want to identify your strengths and find tools to help you grow, this assessment is for you.

It will take less than 10 minutes to complete the assessment and you will get a free report at the end.

Click here to try it now. I would advise that each partner in a marriage takes the assessment individually and shares it with the spouse.

Why do you want him to enjoy everything without putting a ring on your finger first?

Stories abound about women moving into their fiances' homes on the premise that the men asked them to. When the women move in, they do practically everything for the men - wash his clothes, cook his food, and even have sex with him. Interestingly the women think that since they have given themselves to these relationships on these terms, the men should keep to the terms too.

Wait a minute. Living with a guy does not guarantee anything. He cannot be committed because he hasn't married you. Unfortunately, you have given yourself cheaply to him. Marriage is about love and commitment. Without marriage, there is no commitment. 

Ladies, why do you want him to enjoy everything without putting a ring on your finger first?

You may say that everybody is doing it and why should yours be different? Why don't you check the statistics of people doing it. About 80% of them end up in divorce. This is because marriage now calls for commitment which is different from living together. Before marriage, the man knows that he can walk away because there is no commitment. Now when he is married, he finds it burdensome if he still does not want to commit. For him, these are two different scenarios.

Do not be deceived. If you currently live with a man who has not married you, you need to rethink the relationship. Straighten things out. Call for that discussion. Take a stand and make that decision. Also help him to make that decision.

It is your life and you have a right in making the decision. Do not allow him just enjoy everything without putting a ring on the finger.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Win The Battle of Silence in Your Life

This is the best advice I can give you because it is the best advice anyone has ever given me. Have you ever heard the saying "the best way to kill an idea is to discuss it out loud"? Well, guess what? It's true. 

Many people have fantastic ideas, and they get excited about them, and really there is nothing wrong with that. It becomes a problem however when you get so excited, you start to share your idea with everyone you meet and know. I don't know if you have ever noticed but the idea seems to lose steam the more you share it, the excitement wanes, and with time, you lose interest in it. It is not because someone is using mystical powers against you; it is because you are yet to learn how to win the battle of silence in your life. 

When God reveals an idea to you, he has only given you 10% of what you need. He has only given you the mission he wants you to embark on. He has only given you your project title. When you rush around to tell everyone what your idea is, you are exposing yourself to different opinions... many of which will differ from what God has planned for you. Exposing yourself too soon will open you up to the myopic views of other people who will highlight the 1001 ways your idea will not work. The interesting thing about such people is that they will not see your idea working but they will see every obstacle you will face along the way.... even up to the point where it succeeds but will never see the success of it. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Don't Marry Him Just Yet!

I have noticed many women accept marriage proposals for one disturbing reason. No, it's not because they view marriage as an achievement that makes them worthy of celebration by society's standards. Many women accept marriage proposals simply because "that's who's available and they might not get another shot at this marriage thing". Many women accept proposals because they believe they have to accept any man who appears serious and offers marriage, then they wonder why their marriages go downhill when this person starts to exhibit traits they didn't know he had, and flex muscles they didn't think he would. Many ladies choose their husbands solely based on the butterflies they get when they see him, the Brazilian hair he buys and the sweet things he says. The question is should that be the basis? Yea, I can already see you shaking your head "no". However, do you know what it is you should be looking out for exactly? Probably not. 

When a man proposes marriage and says all the right things, don't be quick to jump to jump on his bandwagon, no matter how exciting the idea of journeying with him might be. You need to first ask yourself crucial questions that have nothing to do with his bank account or list of qualifications. 

#1 Does he have a direction for his life? This is a crucial question because believe it or not, the man you end up with is leading you somewhere. The important thing to know is where. If he has no direction for his life, he will lead you in circles and other indescribable patterns similar to a toddler's doodling. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Mums' Influences on our Lives.

The popular saying that "some mothers do have them" is a realistic phrase in issues of life. A mother's love cannot be quantified or replaced with another but when this love is the only air you breathe such that you start to suffocate and other sources of air (love) are being refrained, then you need help. A mother's love starts when the baby is conceived till he/she is born and grows through the different stages of life. 

Our mothers are there to take decisions for us or guide us in decision making while growing up, but the guidance should change to advice when we become adults so that we can take decisions solely and learn from our mistakes, however mothers want to remain the decision maker in our lives even as adults. This is common among Africans because we live with our parents till we get married unlike in Western countries where you have to stay on your own from age 18 and take decisions about your life.

I appreciate my mum's love in my life for guiding me through school and even influencing the course I read in school. She also played a major role in choosing my life partner and planning my wedding (she had 90% say while I had 10% say in the planning) which I appreciate and didn't complain. Now 

What Does Equality in Marriage Really Mean?

It appears the issue of equality in marriage will forever be an issue of contention between men and women. How can women be speaking of equality in marriage when men are clearly stated in the bible as the heads of their homes? Are women trying to take on the roles of their husbands? Or are they simply trying to shirk their God-given domestic responsibilities by trying to enforce this new crazy wave of equality? What does it mean when your wife starts to push for equality in your marriage? Has she gone nuts or is she trying to take the piss?
Let me state first and foremost that I believe God is the only true head of every home, A home built on the foundation of societal perceptions and expectations will eventually crumble. Culture seems like a good chain of chastisement and order until it rears its ugly bottom and turns everything upside-down. Societal expectations seem right on paper until you are in the boat and you suddenly realize you are dealing with a human being who is fallible and prone to reprogramming unlike a cell phone app. What am I saying? Even Google maps sometimes takes me to destinations that make me cry...cos you know... petrol is expensive. 

But let's get back to the point; God is the head  of the home, and equality is a factor that can help your marriage grow better and become an enjoyable journey rather an a necessary evil. Think about it. Just take a second to think about what equality in your marriage means. It means consulting each other before making major decisions (i.e. you cannot accept a promotion at work that takes you to a different country without first discussing it with your wife; and by discussing, I mean actually listening to her inputs and trying to meet her halfway. The same applies to women). Equality in marriage means putting yourself in your spouse's shoes and treating your spouse the way you'd treat yourself, or at least the way you'd like to be treated. Equality means sharing everything with each other, and that includes the unpleasant domestic chores, the screaming babies and the days of prayers and fasting. Why is it difficult to accept?

Many men and women have the wrong understanding of what equality in marriage means. Some women believe it is about taking over and laying down the law. Some men believe they have to flex their muscles to lead. Neither path leads to joy so spare yourself the pain. As equal partners in marriage, you recognize only one true leadership and that is Jesus Christ. Your decisions, lifestyle and even the way you approach the things that should be done around the home is based on the example of Christ- a leader who gave himself in love for the salvation of others. If you both have this attitude and understanding, equality will not be a topic for discussion or argument, it will be a conviction you both live by without being told, and that is how love will flourish. 

What is your understanding of equality in marriage? Do share. XOXO

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Correcting Your Spouse

Last year, my husband and I were leaving one morning for a three-day vacation. That morning, our car battery went dead and my husband jumped started the car using our neighbour's battery. 

I suggested respectfully that we still have time to go by the store and buy a new one and he said, "no, we will be fine" (a few years ago, I would have insisted). I decided to respect his decision and we continued out journey. 

We stopped on the way to use the ATM machine so we are not cash trapped on our trip. When my husband tried to start the car again - the battery was dead. A few years ago I am sure I would have berated him with an "I told you to replace that battery lecture and a lot of attitude", but I have learned to respect his decisions, so I didn't say anything. I was totally calm and at peace.

Correcting your spouse is something you have to do whether you want to or not because there are somethings you want done rightly and in a particular manner but the way you correct his/her mistakes matter. 
  • Have you ever hated the way your spouse corrects your mistakes even in public, believe me it's always not funny? 
  • How do you correct your spouse when his speed limit is too much, or when they keep late nights, or when they forget your birthday/anniversary dates or when they can't find the car keys when you are in a hurry or when your food is not ready when you are dead hungry? 
  • Do you rebuke each other publicly or escalate small issues that should have been sorted amicably between you two? 

Prophesies and Our Beliefs

"Whatever you believe in, works for you; be it positive or negative". A lot people in Africa live their lives based on prophetic utterances; while it works for some, it does not for others.

"Five months ago, my friend's boyfriend called off their 2year relationship without hesitation because his pastor told him he couldn't marry her. To my friend's surprise, her boyfriend called her three months (after the breakup) to plead with her and also to ask if they could continue with the relationship". 
My friend approached me requesting for answers to a lot questions like: 
  • Did the pastor give him another prophecy that she was the one or 
  • Was he convinced she was the one or 
  • Is he confused and does not know what he wants. 
  • Is there now a conflicting prophesy from another Pastor? 
Prophecies are meant to guide you in your decision making and not enforce decisions on you. You can turn a negative prophecy into a positive one through prayer and fasting. You need to have a close relationship with God to interpret prophecies that are meant for you and those not meant for you. You are not compelled to believe every prophecy, you can choose to reject the prophecy immediately or accept it and see it manifest. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Kind of Love You Deserve

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I have often heard people second-guess themselves when it comes to love. Descriptions like "too good to be true", "Probably won't work out", "I don't think I deserve him/her" are often thrown around a lot by single people these days. These words play on our minds and our attitude and we eventually find ourselves sabotaging our relationships at every turn. It seems  we are all sitting, waiting, watching for this amazing person we have met to slip up so we can snap our fingers and say "haha! I knew it!" It is very clear that many young people these days do not believe they deserve love. 

You might be asking yourself "what kind of love is she referring to here? The new evolved type of love that is so short-lived, it feels like a whirlwind? Is it the new kind of love where we base everything on instant gratification and get bored right after? Or is it the kind of love where we get scared and jump off the ship the moment we perceive any sign of turbulence?" My response - None of the above. 

If you have been sabotaging good relationships because you believe you don't deserve them, this is for you. And no, this is not directed at males in particular or females in particular, this is for EVERY ONE.  

#1 Know that you are awesome and you deserve someone who knows it too: Many of use tend to change ourselves to suit the class or standards of the other person. We want to trade in our awesomeness for less, just to make someone else happy. You don't need to. You are amazing just the way you are. 

#2 Know that you are imperfect in spite of your awesomeness: It would be great to be perfect right? To have no character flaws or beauty fails... and just be the epitome of perfection. But that's not the case. You're an awesome piece made up of bits of imperfection. The kind of love you deserve is love that sees where you are imperfect yet wants to stay, and through gentle nudges and nurturing 're-directions' (is this a word?) makes you a better person. 

#3 Know that you deserve love that's truly "too good to be true": Yes, he or she is too good to be true, because you've had way less, and you are accustomed to people being 'exploitive' (I think I just coined another word) of you. But the truth is there is someone who will genuinely love you without any ulterior motives to hurt you in the end. Someone who will know your crazy past and your messed up state of mind and still want to be with you. 

My advice: Stop sabotaging those who give you this kind of love. Stop awakening demons of past experiences for nothing. Stop losing those who genuinely care. You deserve love in its most genuine and true form. Let yourself experience it. XOXO

Monday, June 13, 2016

Why Rape is Not a Crime

If you've been following the international news scene, then you are aware of the rape case of Stanford University student Brock Turner who was sentenced to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious female. In a bid to appeal his son's sentence, Brock Turner's father penned a letter to the state in which he stated that Brock should not have suffer for "20 minutes of action". Reading the father's letter made me wonder if he would be so willing to pen the same appeal for someone who shoots his son. Would he refer to it as 'a fleeting bad decision'? Would he beg the judge not to send the killer off to jail for a fleeting bad decision, and rather try to understand the emotional toil a jail sentence would have on the killer?

Why is rape not considered a crime? I'll tell you why. It is all in the way parents are raising their children. While we raise daughters to ask nicely for whatever they want and not make a fuss if they can't get it, we raise sons to forcefully take what they believe they deserve, and tell them it's OK for them to be 'boys'. Is that what it takes to be a boy? To take what's not yours? Make decisions for unconscious people and take advantage of situations for personal gratification?

Rape is not a crime because parents have ensured their sons do not view it that way. "So you had a few minutes of action on top of an unconscious woman? It's not big deal really. She's too unconscious to feel violated and well, you should simply be given a slap on the wrist"

What kind of generation are we raising when we blame a female child for not being conscious enough of herself, yet we absolve a male child of blame when he rapes an unconscious female? What kind of generation are we hoping to leave behind when we raise our sons to believe they can forcefully have women - conscious or unconscious, and not feel the need to be punished for their actions. What kind of generation are we raising if we are constantly slut-shaming our female children for rape, and blaming them for creating the 'perfect circumstance'? 

Rape is not a crime because we - society, parents and in some cases even religious gathering have made it so. We have made it a situation that occurs due to the carelessness of a female. She must look after herself because the male child is unable to control himself. Parents it is not too late to teach your sons to respect their female counterparts. It is not too late to teach your sons to be guardians of their female counterparts. I applaud the two young men who reported Brock Turner, but even more importantly, I applaud the parents who raised them. 

Rape is a crime against a person- conscious or unconscious, Brock Turner's father spoke about the psychological torture his son has to endure because of a few minutes of action. What about the torture his victim has to endure psychologically and emotionally because of Turner's actions? Rape is a crime; parents please raise your sons to understand this. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Give Every Day a Chance of Its Own

I bought a new book a few weeks ago titled "Everyday deserves a chance" by Max Lucado. I've always been a big fan of Max's books because he seems to know exactly how to capture the essence of the time we live in, and bring God into the darkest scariest parts of our lives. I decided to share some insights from this book, and some of my deductions with you in the hope that you will begin to have better days from now on. 

Every morning when we wake up from deep or restless slumber, the one thing that is certain is that we have been given another opportunity to live, to dream, to work, and of course to win. It is also another opportunity to sin, gossip, backstab those who trust us, take God's grace for granted, and take pride in ourselves. It is also an opportunity to be sad, depressed, faithless, hopeless, feel worthless and ugly, reiterate mistakes made in the past, and dwell on the relationships that didn't work, the job that never came and the dreams that are still unfulfilled. Every new day is an opportunity. The question is how are you spending your opportunity?

Sometimes, it is difficult to be happy. It is difficult to look up and see a bright day; it is difficult to even have hope because you have had so much hope in the past, your heart is sick from hope deferred. It is difficult to even remember God when you are being tested on such days. Believe me when I say I can write a whole book about this. But I want you to take a step in the right direction starting today. Can you make yourself say "Jesus today is in your hands. Please be with me at every turn." That's the prayer that broke me and made me all at the same time. Sometimes we are sad because we want to be in charge of how our lives play out, but the bible says "none can receive except God gives". It means we cannot decide on how we want life to play out, we can only trust God. If we are to trust God, then we must place every day i.e. every opportunity into his hands so that we can choose life, grace, love, happiness, strength to work and a winning attitude over depression, backbiting and backstabbing, gossiping, pain, regret, worry and everything else we think is important. 

From this day, start to saturate your day in the power and grace of God. Let him be your guide and your captain. Let his grace engulf you, and let his power strengthen you. Give each day a chance of its own by placing it in God's hands. Remain blessed. XOXO

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Are You Always the Female Bestie? Here's How to 'Unbox' Yourself

If you've always been that chic who's in the friend zone with no hopes of getting out of it, this post is for you. I can only imagine the frustration you feel when you start to like a guy, and he gives you a high-five or thumps you on the back and calls you the coolest girl he has ever met, and every guy's dream female bestie... I mean there is something terribly wrong with that picture and I am going to tell you in simple terms how to go from dream bestie to dream girlfriend. 

#1 Stop acting like one of his boys: So a guy you like comes to you to tell you about the 101 girls he can't stop thinking about, and to show you are not the jealous kind, you listen, encourage and laugh at his lewd comments, with the hope that he will see you are better than those other skirts? Time for a change. Firstly, stop acting like one of his boys. Stop laughing and encouraging. In fact, start looking disinterested when he goes on for more than five minutes. Start looking at something that's not there or fake a phone call... whatever you do, don't encourage that kind of conversation. He speaks to you that way because he sees you as a best friend.

#2 Stop hanging out with him so much: Many ladies tend to think a man will start to see them in a different light when they spend time with him, only to discover his thoughts are mostly focused on a chic he sees once in a blue moon. I mean some guys have their minds fixated on Nicki Minaj so... you know Bug's your uncle. Whatchu gonna do? The point here is you need to give a guy some time to miss you, especially if you like him! And there is no way he will miss you if you are ever-there, and ever-ready with your listening ear. Nah... you'll be his bestie and he won't see anything you want him to see besides the fact that you're that female friend who will be the best wife to someone else but him. 

#3 Stop shooting down guys in front of him: Am I saying you should make him jealous? Not in so many words. Hehe! But do you get the gist? I hope so. I have seen ladies treat other men badly and speak ill of other men in the hopes that their male besties will notice they are interested in no one else but them. If you have been doing this, then I suggest you call it quits now. You either speak well of your suitors or you keep your mouth shut. If you keep dissing your suitors, the message you're sending out is that you attract low quality men, and that indirectly affects how your male bestie perceives you - as the lady who's either not worth it, or who the forces of nature seem to be working against. Whichever way, you don't come off looking great. 

#4 Put some effort into your appearance: "I don't like girls who wear makeup", "I'm not a big fan of girls who put on weaves", "I just prefer natural beauty".... Yea... at some point, you've heard a guy say that and figured you should adjust to meet his standards. Wrong move girlie! Reset to default please and put some effort into it. Embrace the fact that you like makeup and long weaves. If it's your natural hair you love, own it and make it work, but most importantly put some effort into your appearance. Take your time to look good and smell great. You don't have to smell expensive; you just have to smell good. If you can appeal to his eyes, ears and nose, you are on your way out of the female bestie box! 

Goodluck and XOXO

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