Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How To Become Co-Dependent In a Relationship If You Are Very Independent As An Individual

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I have often heard people try to gauge the feelings of someone they have just started dating based on that person's ability to show vulnerability and discuss deep-pressing issues with them. Although an erroneous judgment criterium, it appears to be a normalized one; hence, it is worth it to address the 'very independent' individual and teach some tips on vulnerability and emotional expressions. I'll keep it short and sweet.

#1 Understand that effort matters: Going from independence to co-dependence is not as easy as many people think but continuous efforts made to achieve that emotional and psychological co-dependence will go a long way in strengthening your relationship. So be deliberate about it until it begins to come naturally to you. Think of it as developing a new habit - a necessary one for the success of your relationship. 

#2 Become vulnerable: For the very independent person in a relationship, being vulnerable with someone else is considered a sign of weakness, and an unnecessary one at that. However, in a relationship, expressions of vulnerability is a necessity you cannot brush off. It strengthens the bond in your relationship when your partner is able to connect with you emotionally and see you at your weakest. 

#3 Don't handle everything on your own: A relationship is not just for dates, shopping sprees, and adventurous road trips. It is also for sharing difficulties, pain, anxiety, fear and even insecurities. For the very independent individual, such expressions do not come easy but do not panic. You can do it. A very independent friend of mine who recently got married after years of handling things on her own told me how terribly she struggled with sharing her fears with her husband. She had difficult days at work, got home, cried in the bathroom, washed her face before her husband arrived and presented her strong steel self to him. Of course, he could tell something was wrong, but she always felt she could handle it. One day, however, she decided to stop carrying her burdens alone. She had a very upsetting day, got home and felt the urge to cry but she didn't. She suppressed her emotions till her husband arrived, and when he asked how her day was, ran into his arms and cried on his shoulder. She described it as the most soothing experience ever. 

It is OK to cry in front of your partner. It is OK to look ugly while you are crying (not that anyone should be worried about that). It is OK to be vulnerable. It is OK to let your partner see parts of you that others have not and may never get to see. The beauty of co-dependence is knowing that your partner knows you in ways no one else does and is connected to every part of you. XOXO

Monday, February 27, 2017

True Love And the Beauty Of Its Reciprocity

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Last night, I was watching the third season of the TV show Friends while I did some cleaning around my room (Yes I still watch Friends hehe). The second episode where no one was ready for Ross' event caught my attention as I worked. Ross had been irritable because he had an important event to attend and no one was ready. Everyone, including his precious Rachel, seemed to be occupied with something else. In his irritation, he had yelled at her, and she, in turn, decided she was not interested in attending his event anymore. 

To show how sorry he was, and how much she meant to him, he asked her what she wanted him to do. She said he had to drink a glass of rendered chicken fat (yea... downright disgusting). He lifted the glass from the table, affirmed himself with a repetitive sentence, and proceeded to drink chicken fat! But he didn't...because she stopped him on time.

That episode made me think about the genuineness of the love we proclaim we have for others. Very often, many of us ask our spouses to do things to prove their love for us - things that are sometimes very uncomfortable for them, and we watch them go out of their way to do these things... sadly without intervening to stop them just in time. It makes me wonder...how genuine is that love that does not stop others from doing things that will break them, especially if those things are not necessarily attached to the success of the relationship? 

As Friends played on in the background, I immediately remembered the story of Abraham, and how God had asked him to sacrifice Isaac to him. Just in time, God stepped in to stop Abraham from killing Isaac, and instead provided a lamb in Isaac's place. It made me realize that we test people to prove their love for us by doing things that make them uncomfortable, but our love for them is proven when we step in and stop them just in time because we realize that they will indeed go the extra mile for us, but we don't have to make them do so when it is unnecessary. 

The beauty of true love lies in that reciprocity that even when they are ready to sacrifice themselves to prove they love us, we should be willing to step up and stop them, hence proving our love for them is also true. Watching them die silently in self-sacrifice makes for a good ego massage, but is nothing short of selfishness.  XOXO

Sunday, February 26, 2017

One Popular Advice That Will Ruin Your Marriage Before It Even Takes Off

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There is a general impression out there that marriage is a lot ofwork; hence, many people approach it with the same level of preparedness with which they would approach any other herculean task. They go to all the pre-marital counselling classes, read all the books about relationships and marriage, observe what they perceive as successful marriages and of course, seek advice from those who have travelled far along the marriage path.

Through all of these preparations, many lessons and notions are internalised; some bad, some good, some downright ugly and dangerous. The most dangerous of all, which has come to my attention in the past couple of weeks is in the form of advice from peers, parents and even mentors who are expected to know better:
Don't love your spouse too much. He/she will take advantage.
I have heard this statement many times and I have heard countless justifications for it. But truth be told, none of these justifications are strong enough to hold water. 

Don't love your spouse too much? What exactly is too much love in a marriage? Can a man love his wife too much? or a wife love her husband too much? I ask these questions because the phrase too much love suggests that it will have a negative consequence, and it is indeed the most ludicrous and destructive advice you will be given regarding your marriage. My advice? Do not listen to such people no matter how important they are to you. 

The foundation of every successful marriage is not self-preservation. It is not opportunism or exploitation either. It is love based on giving the whole of oneself to the success of a relationship who is ALSO giving the whole of herself or himself to the success of the relationship.This dangerously common advice preaches self-preservation and exploitation, and take it from me, your marriage will never work with that kind of mindset. A marriage where you mistreat your partner, act like their feelings don't matter to you, exploit their weaknesses for your advantage and aim to exalt yourself as the queen on a chess board using your partner as a porn is not heading anywhere. Right from the moment you internalize this advice, your marriage becomes a broken wagon with no wheels, stuck in a jungle with all kinds of wild animals circling it, ready to attack. 

There is no such thing as too much love in a marriage where both individuals are committed to making things work. There is no joy in self-preservation (ask those who continually cheat on the spouses they have exploited and they will tell you how empty they feel inside). Give your marriage a fighting chance. Sieve the advice you get and understand that the fact that some people have been far along in the journey does not mean they know where they are headed or what they are doing. For all you know, they are sitting in broken  wagons in the jungle, hoping you will come and join them. Most importantly, when listening to advice, even from your parents, let God guide your heart. XOXO

Monday, February 20, 2017

Living single: Five Things To Do Regularly While You Are Single

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travel alone or with friends. The point is to create amazing memories

No, I am not going to tell you to go to all the church vigils and fast for your spouse while in waiting. Not to say those are not fun (if you are into that), but there are many other interesting activities you should get involved in as a single person. Here are my top five. 

#1 Travel to a place you've always wanted to visit: I am not referring to a honeymoon-like spot where you will get depressed watching other lovers kiss and exchange love notes. No, I am talking about that place you've always wanted to go for interest's sake. It does not have to be somewhere thousands of miles away. It could even be a road trip to the next city; it could be a trip around your region. Travel with a good friend or a couple of friends. The point of this is to make memories you will smile about when you eventually get married. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

On the Issue Of Marriage, Fasting And Sex: Should You Do It While You're Fasting?

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I recently read a story online about a newly-wedded lady who, in her quest to have a child embarked on a fasting journey that was set to last for weeks, and ironically refused to have sex with her husband. Well, as you can guess, her husband was far from happy to be denied access to his newly-wedded bride, and she in return felt he was being downright unreasonable. 

The story sparked a debate amongst many, with some standing firmly in support of the wife for seeking the face of the Lord, and others laughing at the irony of it all - seeking God for a child, yet abstaining from sex. One question stood out from this story: Should you have sex while you are fasting? (Referring to married couples of course). 

Well, one thing that is clear is that there is no commandment in the bible that says couples cannot have sex during a fast, nor is there any that encourages them to engage in sex.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Simple Tips That Help You Host The Best Dinner Parties

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If there is one thing that can give anyone an instant headache, it is hosting friends, colleagues or even acquaintances, it is what to do and how to do it. At some point, you will find yourself facing the situation of playing host/hostess, and these simple tips will help you throw a dinner party, host your friends or colleagues, and perhaps help you win 'come dine with me' if you plan to go on the show.

#1 Plan ahead: The reason many hosts fail to make an impact on their guests is because they only start planning a day or two before the gathering. You may be the type that functions best under pressure, but trust me when I say you cannot apply that principle to hosting a dinner party. I usually tell people to plan the menu ahead- what they will serve, which plates they will use and the decor they intend to use on the dinner table.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Five Keys To Resolving Every Marital Conflict

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Marriage usually starts off with this idea of a fairy tale that nothing will ever go wrong. Thank goodness there are so many variations of Cinderella now that how that even prince charming can be a bit annoying, and cinderella can be emotional about the seemingly unimportant things. In other words, no matter how compatible two people are, they will have issues they don't agree on and will have those days when they are so hurt, they don't want to speak to each other. Sadly, for some, that is the end of the relationship - "If we can't agree on everything, why are we together?" Honey, buy a robot. 

However, if you are in a relationship with a normal human being who has the whole nine yards of emotions and values and ideas, here are five tips that will help you get through every squabble. 

#1 Understand that you married a human being, not a clone of yourself: Many people go into marriage with the idea that their partners must see the world the exact same way that they do. This preset mindset is the platform for irreconcilable differences. Your partner will not always agree with you, even on things that are seemingly black and white. That your partner's ideas or arguments differ from yours does not mean your partner is against you.

#2 Be willing to listen: Listening is a skill that you must learn if you want to have a successful marriage. You might be the most intelligent person ever; you might even have the perfect understanding of how things ought to be, but well guess what? Your partner does too and it probably differs from yours. Learn to listen and marry both your ideas.

#3 Learn to apologise and accept apologies: For some people, apologising means giving their spouse leverage. I will never ever understand that for sure. It is a relationship with a teammate, not a power tussle with the new guy from work. Apologise and learn to accept apologies too. Don't let the resentment build up. Accept the apology and keep it moving. Resentment will keep you stuck even after your partner has moved on from the issue.

#4 Be honest about how you feel: The reason so many marriages break down and stories suddenly start surfacing from people who were apparently happy during the marriage is a lack of transparency. If you want the root of your issues to be resolved, be 100% honest about how a situation makes you feel. Communicate clearly if you are angry, hurt, shocked, humiliated or a combination of everything. And be willing to talk about it. If you partner is communicating how they feel, it is not the time to start enforcing why you are right. Listen, make changes if necessary and move on.

#5 Be determined to make it work: The worst way to resolve conflict is to start throwing threats around. Threats such as "I think we should just end things if you cannot listen to me" or "I think we need a break" might scare your partner into becoming your clone at first, but it won't last. Sonner or later, he or she will call your bluff and you will be living with your ego intact, but your heart shattered.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Five Reasons You Shouldn't Date This New Guy

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It can be so exciting when a new guy comes around and showers you with all the attention you want. Let's face it, getting good attention from a dateable guy (and the definition of this is subjective) can make a girl feel like a million bucks, and before you know it, you are already matching smile for smile, blink for blink and sticking closer to your phone than your skin sticks to your flesh. But is this new guy who you really need at this mature stage of your life where you are seeking a relationship with depth? Here are five signs that he is probably not.

#1 He keeps telling you about how awesome he is: For some guys, the MO to win a lady over is to talk, talk and talk about how great they are, and how amazing their mothers tell them they are, how great their exes thought they were, how great they know they are.... you get the gist. Stay away! Many guys who keep talking about themselves expect the relationship to be all about them because you know, they are just so awesome.

#2 He's only interested in conversations that are about sex: This is not to say discussing sex is bad, but it is in your best interest to not date a guy whose ONLY interest is sex. Talk to him about your day, politics, societal issues, even gossip, and he's not interested? But the moment you discuss sex, his ears extend like a 20th-century antenna and his eyes widen? never mind. He is not worth your emotional investment. He is not mature enough to converse like an adult and your relationship will boil down to just one thing - sex.

#3 He makes fun of his single exes: I personally find it distasteful for a guy to tell me about the ladies who broke up with him and are still single years later. Firstly, it tells me he has no idea why they broke up with him; hence, he hasn't learned anything from it. Secondly, it tells me he is the type to kick others why they are down. He is certainly the type who rejoices if things don't work out for others especially if they don't work out for him too.

#4 He lets you handle the big stuff alone: Ever been told "you are a big girl. You can handle it" while he is playing video games or watching his favourite sport? Yeah... don't expect that to change even when he is doing nothing.

#5 He can't think through his own life: I find these days that many men, sweet as they are, expect to be built by the women in their lives. They expect you to push them, tell them what to do, teach them the steps to take, and basically carry the psychological load of the decisions they need to make on their backs. Don't bother going there. You will be thinking for him for the rest of your life, Alluring as that may sound, it becomes exhausting too!

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