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 15: Consistency – the key to Excellence #28DayChallenge

Today’s title speak for itself. In my 30+ years of existence, including several years of academic and professional excellence, I have come to learn that perhaps the single most important element in developing an attitude of excellence is consistency in doing the right things – showing up and committing to actions that produce results.

Excellence means going over and above what is expected. Excellence is doing the work you are expected and then adding a touch that reminds whoever sees the work of who did it. Excellence is a waiter serving with a smile. Excellence is a leader leaving an impeccable example; it is settling for nothing less than the best. Excellence begins with mastery, and then proactive efforts to improve on what we have mastered. But mastery only comes from consistency.

While what constitutes excellence differs from one field to another, the actions that produce it are the same. First, excellence requires knowing what is expected of you and taking the time to (learn to) do it properly. The next step is as an improvement-seeking behaviour. When you find that one person looking for simpler, faster and more efficient ways of achieving the same objectives, then you are dealing with an excellent attitude. Excellence is never stopping until you have exceeded your previous best.

Whether learning to meet expectations or looking to exceed them, a common behaviour required is consistency – in setting learning routines, practicing what you have learnt, continuously making corrections or implementing improvement opportunities. When you repeatedly do things until they become a part of you, getting it right and discovering ways to do it better becomes easier because of practice.

Excellence is only predicated on knowing the right things to do. If you do the wrong tasks well, it is of no use to anyone. So, get knowledge and get training. Being deliberate is also key to excellence. Continuous commitment to action in any field or personal endeavor (including character building) produces mastery. Lastly, there can be no excellence without continuous improvement.

Excellent people know how to look for improvements, seek feedback, refine them, and implement the resulting actions in order to keep getting better at what they do. And they know that they can only remain excellent if they are consistent at what they do. So, what are currently working at consistently?

Thanks for stopping by today, and I hope you’ll come by again real soon. Cheers!