Day 28: Marriage Lessons #28DayChallenge

Finally, I have arrived at the end of this 28-day challenge, and I am so excited I made it to the final day! I’m proud of my persistence and grateful to God for inspiration. To wrap up this journey, I want to share 4 lessons I have learned from 4 years, 4 months, and 4 weeks of marriage (the fifth month will be complete in 2 days 😉). Let’s get on with it…

Lesson 1: Mutual alignment on expectations is critical to success. Everyone has expectations for marriage. Some of our expectations are set deliberately; others are unconsciously acquired from our upbringing, conversations, movies, etc. The more we discuss and agree on our expectations with our spouses, adjusting them where necessary, the healthier our marriages are likely to be. Whether related to sex, finances, homemaking, parenting, or conflict resolution, it is important that you and your spouse know what to expect of each other, and keep to whatever you agreed as much as possible. Most expectations should be discussed before marriage, but there will always be new or gray areas you need to agree on. So, this has to be an ongoing process.

Lesson 2: Building what you imagined takes work you didn’t imagine. I think it is fair to say you cannot know how hard or easy it will be to achieve the marriage of your dreams. Your spouse may get a major career breakthrough that suddenly eases your finances as a couple. You both may have difficulty or delays in having a child (if you want one). There are so many unknowns. The important thing is to be mutually committed to the dream you both believed in when you came together. More importantly, you have to agree on base disciplines that will undergird your lives, and stay consistent with them, as you grow together.

Lesson 3: How people feel (about you) determines how they behave (towards you). Married people are human beings, whose feelings are influenced by so many complex factors. The key is to pay attention to how your spouse feels and find out if you can do anything to make them feel better. This is not only true for women; it’s true for everyone. Whether or not you have a role to play in how they feel (especially for negative emotions), it is important to be sensitive and show understanding, cutting them a slack when they are not at their best. Don’t assume your spouse should “be mature” or “man up”. Emotions drive a lot of our thoughts, actions and lifestyles, and can be overwhelming.

Lesson 4: it’s the little things that make a difference. I thought of calling this lesson “Rome was not built in a day”, but decided it’s better to focus on what we do each day than the Rome we may be trying to build in the future. Love can find expressions in our homes and marriages everyday, if we pay attention. A kind word, a little gift, a gentle touch – they all create moments that make life and relationships count. Do not let your big dreams and ambitions keep you from showing love today or drive you to sacrifice the little things you can do to make your spouse happy today. If you stay consistent, you will find that big successes only count when we have made a habit of showing that we care.

These lessons obviously apply to many areas of our lives as they do to marriage. They all highlight the importance of communication and commitment in building healthy marriages. I pray God will grant you wisdom and grace to build happy homes in Jesus’ name.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share with your friends and also share your comments below. And for those who have followed this 28-day challenge up to this point, I say a big thank you and I wish you a happy new month of May in advance! Stay blessed!

Day 3: The Friend #28DayChallenge

Thanks for coming by today! This is Day 3 of my 28-Day writing challenge. Today, I want to talk a bit about friendships. I’ve enjoyed great friendships through the years, and I believe that is the product of divine blessing and a mutual commitment to one another’s growth that my friends and I possess. I have also experienced seasons of intense loneliness, which I think are necessary for the formation of every person’s character. Sometimes, you do not know who you are until you are alone. In solitude, our true nature is revealed.

We all take on the shape of the interactions we have with others. Said differently, our personalities are products of traits built through various relationships, from familial and professional relationships to social and community relationships. So, friendships have a powerful influence on who we become and how we become that person. Like familial relationships, they influence what we believe and what we practice. But unlike familial relationships, we can choose who we connect with and how often we connect.

Naturally, we gravitate toward people we admire or feel a connection with, and friendships can be a powerful tool to steer our lives in the direction we want to go. Our friends can reflect our past, present or our future. They are a strong indication of where our minds are situated or what makes us comfortable. Because true friendships are not forced, who we make friends with say a lot about who we are. And even if they are not our true friends, who we spend our time with reflects our values, our priorities, and our sincerity.

Friends are those people to whom you gravitate in periods of intense emotion or clouded thoughts. When you are happy, sad, confused, or excited, you likely want to share your thoughts or feelings with your friends. While some people have different friends for different occasions, others have the same friend(s) for all seasons. Friends give you a chance to share your thoughts freely and receive honest feedback from others. Friends are those people with whom we love to share experiences. The best friends are like siblings to us, or even better. And those who have such close-knit friendships are truly blessed!

Sadly, people don’t always feel the same way towards each other, and someone you see as a friend or want to be friends with may see you just as a colleague or neighbor, or acquaintance and no more. Wisdom is knowing when to draw the line rather than foist an unwanted friendship on someone. Friendships sometimes grow stale because people grow in different directions, or because one or both parties were insincere to start with. Again, discernment is knowing when to pull back and avoid becoming a burden to another.

Friendships sometimes go sour because of offense or betrayal. Having a forgiving heart is important as with every relationship. Taking precautions to avoid future hurt is also important. Love should be freely given, but trust needs to be earned. Great friends are a gift from God, but they need to be nurtured through care and communication. No one likes to be the only giver in any relationship. We are all built through consistent giving and receiving.

And that is where I draw the curtain today…we go again tomorrow. See you, then!

On Repentance towards Others

In every healthy human relationship, there must be a good dose of a repentant attitude on both sides. We are constantly learning about each other, and finding out things about our friends, families and colleagues. If we are not disposed to “repent” or make changes, we are very likely to keep hurting or offending people we claim to love. We must commit to doing better when we fall short, and our commitment has to be backed up by the right actions. This is the language of true love – making sacrifices for the sake of other people.

On the other hand, the absence of true repentance gives room for breeding of mistrust. We humans are creatures of habit and judgment. We watch patterns and make deductions. When you don’t make changes after you claim to be sorry or repentant, you send a clear message that you do not mean your words. Whether they pick on it quickly or not, people remember, and when the great occasion comes when you need their trust, they will call to mind your behaviour. It is very important that we consciously commit to learning and evolving in every relationship.

People

Funny Face made a silly joke
Brown Tooth laughed hard as
White Shirt became upset with
The sudden loss of decorum
Madam Counsellor spoke up as
He wondered what was funny
Reminding him that life is short

And the days have been tough.
Almost every one of them agreed
The economy would be better off
If Lying Lips had won the elections
Everyone, except Saint Integrity
Who could never share that view
Even if his life were under threat.

Toyin Taiwo, Aug 2020

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

A Woman’s World: Thoughts on Feminism

Feminism is an extremely important subject in today’s world, one that draws as much ire as it draws adulation. Millions of people around the world are daily drawn into conversations around feminism, and the ever-increasing number of social media outlets makes this even more pronounced. Ordinary people from around the world can make meaningful contributions to the discourse, and have their voice heard on a subject that affect millions of women and men all over the world. There is however the risk of some taking advantage of this to fight personal battles and take revenge on other people.

Continue reading “A Woman’s World: Thoughts on Feminism”