Lessons from our marriage

Wow! Good to be back after a four week hiatus. Missed interacting with my audience via this medium. Wow! We are in the tenth month and all too soon, we will be drawing a closed curtain to the year

Last week was a great one because my wife and I celebrated another milestone in our union. We are grateful to God, our mentors and friends who have all impacted us in diverse ways. Thinking about our marriage made me want to pen certain truths we have all learned along the way. I am not a marriage counselor nor have I been in this journey longer, but been in it long to understand at least the dynamics of a marriage relationship

Lesson 1: it takes teamwork

A marriage will work when the spouses involved become a team. Doing things solo in a relationship sometimes widen the gap between the two. A successful marriage understands that to get the best out of each other, there has to be a synergy of one’s strengths and weaknesses, upsides and downsides for the journey ahead. You can cover each other’s weaknesses and complement each other’s strengths when that synergy takes place. A marriage where the fault of one partner is glaringly loud to the outside world communicates wrong signals… there is no cohesiveness.

Lesson 2: solve issues in the immediacy

Every marriage has fights and conflicts. You may be courting or newly married reading this so it will be hard to fathom that! Believe you me- that day will come. One advice I give to people marrying or newly married couples is you shouldn’t be afraid of having quarrels or disagreements- that is inevitable. Rather, be more concerned about the unresolved issue that brought the fight in the first place. As a pastor, one of the “not-so-cool” things to be involved in is the implosion of a marriage. Nine times out of ten, it reaches there because of an issue that wasn’t resolved and has gained deeper roots which can be the source of resentment and anger. One skill every couple should have is effective conflict resolution skills. It starts by being honest with each other. Let your spouse know “this hurts me and I am not happy”. Honesty is the base on which conflict resolution takes place. Also, try not to be too cutting and direct with your speech when solving issues- it does more harm than good! Speak the truth in love. Truth is a sharp sword so sometimes coat the edges with love so that it is easily assimilable.

Lesson 3: still be friends

When you marry, that should not be the end of the courtship process. It should continue. Love on her like when you were chasing her, be excited at him like when he was wooing you. Too many marriages die a slow painful death because of familiarity and taking each other for granted. You have to be intentional not to let that happen. Have scheduled times where you can sit and chat, take annual leave together and do the same things that you were doing when courting. Women especially complain about the “settled” attitude of husbands when they have “succeeded” in marrying the woman they wanted. I am not saying women are not capable of that but in most cases, the culprits are the men. How do friendships last? By investing time. In that same vein, invest time in your marriage and make your partner feel appreciated. It takes a lot of time to still stay friends in a marriage

Let us continue next week because I am getting long winded and it is showing in the size of the blog. I will wrap it up with two more points next week

Will love to read your comments, answer questions and know what you think

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

The edge of friendships

In our last post, we looked at the subject on friendships. We learnt that man was not created for things but for relationships. Looked at how positive and toxic relationships can impact on us. If you want friends, you will have to be friendly to attract one as I asserted in the last post

Today, let us shift our attention to why it is crucial to have a company. Before having one, please select with a fine tooth comb. You are in no haste to have a friend but it also doesn’t mean you should not have one, anyway. Please, building relationships especially great ones have an edge which I will like to share

1. You are “sharpened”

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs‬ ‭27:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

You are sharpened like a sword ready for battle. Believe it or not, we all have blunt edges in certain parts of our lives that no matter how much self evaluation and awareness we do on ourselves, we can never sharpen that edge. This is where a friend comes in! Man was not designed to grow only in isolation but in the midst and company of people. For instance, one of the character building and molding exercises occurs when you are in a marriage relationship. You may be selfish, impatient and intolerant but because you don’t live with someone, you will think selfishness is “me-time”, impatience is “being straightforward” and intolerant is “being principled”. A spouse can force you to look hard in the mirror to realize those tags you had are nothing but an illusion. Nothing against having a me time, I am a believer and a practitioner! We are looking at balancing with having company time as well which brings total and wholistic growth. If you are a loner and start to work in an office where there are colleagues and the desk is shared, it forces you to develop interpersonal skills. Being a loner doesn’t force that growth. Serving in a leadership capacity or setting can force you to place more emphasis on emotional intelligence than brain power. Relationships are a blessing because they challenge us to an uncomfortable spot forcing us to grow. That is how you can be “sharpened”

2. You have help

“It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there’s no one to help, tough!” Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4:9-10‬ ‭MSG‬‬

I heard a wise man once quipped, “without help, life makes you look like a lazy man”. So, so true! If you have lived longer than a day, you will discover that life can be pretty hard sometimes; a lot of curveballs thrown at you, unexpected turns, steep learning curves and slopes. Life can be that unpredictable and suck the juice out of you. In moments like that, friendships are like a glass of water to a thirsty soul. Do not deprive yourself the gold of good relationships because one went bad and left sour grapes in your mouth. There are people who have vowed never to trust no one because of such painful experiences. That could be a wrong approach and you will be setting yourself up for failure. All success stories have one word in common: TEAM. No one does it alone. People who have gone through adversity and came out champions have one thing in common: TEAM. People who died in adversity and couldn’t last tough times; all have one thing in common: LACK OF FRIENDSHIPS. I mean real, genuine ones! Today, may I ask, if you receive a call of a loved one passing away (God forbid!), if you are unexpectedly laid off your high earning job (God forbid!), who will you call? Or are you going to hit the bottle? Magic Johnson, NBA Legend and a successful businessman credits Cookie Johnson- his wife, the LA Lakers- the team he played for, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas- his NBA contemporaries and David Stern, the then NBA Commissioner as a source of hope and strength when he found out he had contracted the HIV Virus. He has said it on record without prayer & these friendships, he would have gone to an early grave. He looks a picture of health today and doing great things in the world of business, finance and sports. It has been said, “man can live forty days without food, three days without water, eight minutes without air, but only a second without hope”. I am tempted to now put hope as a basic necessity of life. My question is who is going to be your source of hope when you are an island- all by yourself because hope doesn’t come in a vacuum. It needs expression through another human

3. A time of celebration

You merry make and can have a celebration when you have friends genuinely interested in your welfare who want the best for you. It is sad to celebrate an achievement all by yourself. I have attended wedding ceremonies with a few and a large gathering. Believe you me, the company gathered determines the mood and how the event will pan out to be. Most of my greatest memories personally are when I could celebrate it with great friends and a good company all around me feeding off positive energy and vibes. It is just such a blessing!

Pardon me for my long opus today. I pray may you have an edge by reason of your company you build around you

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

Friendships

“There is nothing on this earth to be prized than true friendship”- Thomas Aquinas

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs‬ ‭18:24‬

One of the greatest mysteries in life is relationships. Relationships can be a gift and a curse at the same time. Through it, many have risen and fallen

Bill Clinton famously helped Obama win his election, and subsequently navigate the political world. Clinton reportedly helped Obama fundraise, endorsed him in various speeches, and gave him advice that would allow him to win over voters. According to CS Monitor, this was of no immediate benefit to Clinton, and was merely a way of one famous friend help another find success

On the other hand, most toxic relationships which have to do with things like drug overdose can also be caused by friends. Recently, I read an article on a celebrity that overdosed on hard drugs and was on the brink of death. As a result of this unfortunate incident, the star’s team have cut ties with friends and bad influences who were mainly the source of the star’s relapse

So now reading of these instances, one can easily be tempted to ask, “to have or not to have, that is the question”. Well, may I answer: have, but by all means have good friends who will aid you on your journey to destiny

In this world of social media, people don’t truly have physical friends but virtual ones which can be a bit superficial. Having likes and comments on your Facebook page or retweets on your Twitter page doesn’t amount to real and authentic friendship. Having a large following on your Instagram account is not friendship either. For all you know, they might be on your page to snoop on you out of nosiness and curiosity. I am in no way being a wet blanket on using social media. I am a user myself and have found it useful in terms of networking

The criteria for finding a friend is to be friendly as the last quote inferred. You cannot truly enjoy the rewards of a good relationship if you are standoffish and sort of an island. You sow a smile to reap a smile, you sow kindness to reap one. The opposite of that is true; sow selfishness, bitterness and you will reap according to the seed sown

What does it mean to be friendly? It means to be warm hearted, kind and reciprocal. The last point on being reciprocal is important to sustain relationships. It means when you text, I respond back with a text. When I see a missed call, I return that. It is simply “scratch my back and I scratch yours”. Most relationships and potentially, great ones take a nosedive because of reciprocity

I pray may we be able to build long lasting and positive relationships by being friendly

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

“Have a break, have a Kit Kat”

This is a popular catchphrase from a KitKat commercial. It portrays the message that you can’t enjoy the product till all things around you cease. To enjoy life, sometimes all things around you need to come to a stop- it is called a break

Life becomes beautiful and an experience when it is lived in balance. Some make the mistake of been at the two ends of the stick; work and work-extreme, play and play-extreme. You miss out! Don’t take your living or existence on this earth for granted. Life is multi layered and very multifaceted. Do something for once that will cause you to move out of the status quo; break the mould. Learn how to enjoy the breath of fresh air around you savoring another chance why it is good to be alive every waking morning

You are able to have a better perspective of life when you take a break. If you are a student, school goes on break- you have had your fill! If you are unemployed, this doesn’t apply to you because you are “cruising”, man. I am talking to people who work and that includes stay at home parents

If you don’t come apart, you will come apart

Meaning if you don’t take time to rest and call it a day at a point in your life, you will break down bodily, mentally and emotionally. The danger of grinding and going on and on can have some far reaching implications, negatively speaking.

When I talk of going on a break or holiday, I am not talking about traveling. If you have the money, then fine. If not, don’t put a strain on your finances. Holiday comes to an end and you are back to reality- paying your rent, utilities, going back to work… some people just go crazy and wild as if a break means the end of the world and living. I for one don’t understand why you should go for a holiday and come back broke.

A holiday to me means taking a break off work to rest and come back to what you were doing refreshed. Some people have the notion that the harder they grind without taking days off, that shows they are “hard workers”. Yes! My friend, you may be working hard but not working smart. In my opinion, hard work sometimes is overrated. I believe in working hard but also working smart- you need both to be productive

Anyway, let us consider some benefits of rest. Summer is almost over. Take advantage of that season for a break before it is too late

1. You become reflective

A break doesn’t mean you shut your mind off in relentless pursuit of fun. That is how many spend their break. They have no evaluation of what was done prior to the break so they don’t do better when they get back to the job. A break affords you the opportunity to look at what you did in the past to make any necessary adjustments- what were your past failures, past successes, strengths, weaknesses, what opportunities did you blow and what will you do if it comes your way again? I am not advocating for overthinking on your days off. That is also not a holiday either. I am just saying that whilst having fun, take a moment to be accountable

2. You become contemplative

You are able to enjoy the present which is a gift to us all. Once you go on a break, you can enjoy that walk you seldomly miss because of work, you are able to feel the beach sand in between your toes, go to the cinema or catch up on some leisure reading. I hear the youth using this expression, “stay woke”. When you “stay woke” in the present, you and I will have an appreciation for nature. Don’t feel guilty having fun on your day off. You deserve that break. It is okay not to answer every call, respond to every text message. Take a break off social media. Life can be good and fun sometimes when you are locked in the present

3. You become imaginary

Imaginary has to do with the future. When you evaluate your past, you now become better informed on what to do next once your holiday is over. Come back from your holiday a better person mentally- your mental focus should be sharper. Is it really a holiday when I come back more sluggish? Come back from your holiday a better person bodily- resting rejuvenates the body cells and prevents it from breaking down. Come back from your holiday a better person emotionally- what is the point coming back bitter and STILL holding on to past unforgivable experiences? Above all, come back better like a well oiled machine for a high powered performance at what you do in your work

Bless yourself with a holiday. Let that gift be your personal investment to yourself and with your loved ones you will take it with

Till I come your way again

Peace & Love

Overcoming when overwhelmed

Overwhelm means to overcome completely in mind and emotions to the point that you can’t think but panic

We have all been in situations like that- it seems like, “I will never get around this, I must as well die”. I remember when I received a phone call one Friday morning in November 2016 that my father had passed away. A thousand thoughts raced through my mind at once. Each and every one of us can relate to an overwhelming experience in life. As far as we live in life, we will not escape these moments or experiences so we might as well get informed and armed on how to deal with them

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

The source of some troubles that causes us to be overwhelmed is not the devil but it is just living in this world. Stuff happens when you are living- unexpected deaths of loved ones and family, miscarriage of a child you were expecting, failed an exam, gone bankrupt, business folding up, economy crashing, a loved one faced with terminal illness, you facing a life threatening disease unexpectedly, made redundant in your firm… it’s all part of life and living. In the passage above, we are admonished that troubles and hard times will and must happen- it is an appointment that we all do not look forward to. I hate to be the bearer of bad news that difficult times are part of life. Howbeit it doesn’t mean you should live life expecting a bad turn or a negative outcome. Nay! What I am saying is when hard times creep up on you unaware, it is not a phenomenon- it is just life

How do we deal with overwhelming situations? The thing you should know is never to go in with your strength. Man is intelligent- a specie unmatched in wonder and a total phenomenon but man was not designed to go through life’s troubles alone depending on his wits and will power. Life becomes bearable when we rely on Jesus who has promised us, in him we have peace. Like, I wrote earlier about my father’s passing. It was tough but I said to myself, “Lord I rely on your strength in this and place my trust in you. May I never lose my peace”. Peace was needed to think clearly on what the next steps should be, planning a funeral, sitting down with the family amongst many more. Asides that, you should be able to think clearly and analytically when emotions are high. Peace was indeed needed. Say a simple prayer that “Lord I need you in this time of my life when things are pear shaped”. I promise you, he will come through for you. He will not deny you help! He will not reject you! He will save you and he will deliver you

Overwhelming situations affects how we think and how we feel. That is why we need the peace of God that guards our minds and hearts not to go bonkers. That comes as a result of trusting Jesus. The world can’t offer you the peace you so desperately look for, money and fame can’t either! Just Friday, I read about Elon Musk’s emotional outburst in an interview which now caused his company to lose some billions in the stock exchange. He is overwhelmed and crying for help! I hope we don’t ignore that cry until it is too late. A billionaire CEO of Tesla Cars- I thought to myself he is living it but Friday shattered that illusion. Peace in our hearts and minds will grant us the serenity and the courage to go through any fire

May I pray with you, reader!

I pray for anyone reading this that may your loving peace encompass around them; guarding their hearts and minds. Lord reveal yourself to each reader this day at their various junctions of their lives! I pray for those who want to give up, throw in the towel and quit. Let your love assure them that it will be alright. Out of this, may people commit to serving you and knowing of a truth you are God indeed. I thank you that every reader has the upper hand over every overwhelming experience in Jesus name. Amen

Till I come your way again

Peace & Love

What a friend we have in Jesus

All our sins and griefs to bear

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer

O! What peace we often forfeit?

O! What needless grief we bear?

Why? Because we do not carry everything to God in prayer

Joseph M Scriven 1855

Shades of Wisdom III

Today, let us wrap up on shades of wisdom. Over the past couple of weeks, we are drawing a portrait of what it truly means to be wise. We have looked at certain qualities which embodies that- pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and of good fruits. Let us consider this scripture passage as our reference point to draw out some truths

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James‬ ‭3:13-18‬

7. Without partiality

Partiality means being prejudice or bias. People who are like that are not free and fair. They don’t believe in ethics. Wise people are not partial or do partisan politics. Partiality knows no kinfolk, friends, race, politics, prestige & honor. They are interested primarily in justice and fairness. It is so sad that some will only treat rich people preferentially but not the poor. Some will treat the educated with so much class and honor but not the semi literate or illiterate. Some whites treat whites better but not blacks because of color, and some blacks the same. Wise people are not partial. Being free and fair is not the most popular thing to do but it is just right. It will not be a trend or nice to dismiss an office colleague who is your golfing partner and friend because he had embezzled funds but that is the right thing to do. Partial people have weak moral grounds and can easily be bought by money. Say no to impartiality this week

8. Without hypocrisy

Wise people are not hypocrites. What they say in your absence is what they will say to your face! Too many weak leaders do we have today who have resorted to gossiping and backbiting whilst not confronting the issue or the person at hand. It is a sad sight and common occurrence among leaders today. People in general also like to do that in the name of political correctness, in the name of being “wise” but there is nothing wise about gossiping behind someone’s back in the first place. The opposite of hypocrisy is unfeigned or sincere. May we be sincere with our remarks, compliments and comments. Don’t comment on how nice the dress is to the person then two hours later, in the person’s absence, you pick up the phone to talk to your friend & trash the person’s dress. Wise people are sincere! If what you say about your friend in his or her absence can’t be said in his or her presence, it is gossip. It means you are not sincere which is not a quality of wisdom

9. Righteous

Righteousness was a legal term in the Jewish times meaning acquittal or not declared guilty. It also carries the meaning of rightness and integrity. Integrity means your thoughts, speech and actions are in alignment or integrated. That is integrity. In school, I did Math and one of the subjects taught was integer- where you get the word integrity. Basically a number divisible by 2 was considered a whole number (integer). That was one of the many facets of the topic. Integrity also means wholeness. One sign of a man or woman of integrity is he can be trusted. He or she is also reliable! Are we trusted or reliable? Do you follow through on your promise? During election time, one of the buzz words of every politician is integrity… it should not just be a buzz word, but a doing word. Many are interested in talking about integrity than doing integrity

Thank you for coming along this journey with me as we explored on wisdom. I will love to also read your take on what you took home and what resonated with you? May we indeed be people of wisdom

“Wisdom is supreme — so get wisdom. And whatever else you get, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; if you embrace her, she will honor you. She will place a garland of favor on your head; she will give you a crown of beauty.”” Proverbs‬ ‭4:7-9‬ ‭CSB‬‬

May our lives be exalted, honored, favored and beautiful!

Till I come your way again

Peace & Love

Shades of Wisdom II

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James‬ ‭3:13-18‬

This Bible passage has been our point of reference on what wisdom is like. So far, we have looked at three features- pure, peaceable and gentle. Today, let us focus on some more

4. Willing to yield

This quality of yielding paints the picture of one who submits to authority. Too many people brag about being wise because they are accountable to no one or submit to no authority. That is a misnomer. Submission paints the picture of power under control or restraint. It takes a strong person and even so, a wise person to submit. Rebels and renegades have an underlying factor of fear- the fear of being taken advantage of, hence their actions of rebellion. Submissiveness doesn’t mean you are a dummy, it simply means you give permission for one to lead and you follow his mission. How do you relate to your supervisor at work, teacher at school, the policeman or government appointed delegates? This speaks a lot about your wisdom. This quality of willing to yield also talks about not being stubborn or hard up on issues. You easily let them slide for the sake of peace. Most cases or issues are prolonged because of stubbornness.

5. Full of mercy

A wise person is full of mercy and merciful. A merciful person is one that gives chances when people err. May I submit that being merciful & being taken a fool of are not the same. A merciful person is in the know and quite enlightened about what he is doing extending one another chance whilst the latter is naive, may not know the facts of the story giving people the opportunity to make a buck out of him. Being merciful also means you are compassionate. Where is your wisdom if you have no compassion?

6. Full of good fruits

Good fruits here is relative and in context of the Bible. In the Bible, the term fruit is used in various instances like godly character with its traits of love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. Our passage above terms righteousness as a fruit. Good speech is also a fruit. The short of it all is a wise person is fruitful. You can’t proclaim to be wise yet barren! You have no works or fruits to show forth for. It is not okay to just talk a good game but play one. A wise man doesn’t just wax eloquent on issues of justice and equity but his life and actions embody that quality too. A wise man is a doer. He has fruits or works to show forth when the rubber meets the road

May we be submissive, merciful and fruitful this week. By these, we can safely say we are on the pathway of wisdom

“Wisdom is justified of her children”- Jesus

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love