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!

Waiting

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psa. 27:14, NIV)

I don’t like waiting. Whether for a divine promise or a human verdict, I like to see or experience the things I am expecting as soon as I am aware they are on the way. Waiting often feels like a waste of time and emotion. The object of our waiting dwells in our thoughts and stirs our emotions, filling us with longing and desire. Waiting can even make us anxious especially when we are not assured of outcomes.  But we all have to wait, at one time or another. Waiting is not just a part of our human experience; it is also a tool God uses to build our character as believers. So we all need to learn how to wait, and also how to make our waiting seasons count for God’s glory and our good. We should note here that no one waits for what they have the power to do or get; we only wait for things beyond our ability.

Waiting is associated with hope. When we hope for something, we have to wait for it because we do not yet have it. That raises two questions. One: what is the basis of our hope? Two: how we do wait for the things we hope for? The basis of our hope can be our desires, people’s promises, or God’s promises. If we hope for something on the basis of our desires or people’s promises, we have no guarantee that our hopes will materialize, and our waiting may be in vain. But if we hope on God’s promises to us, we have an assurance that it will come to pass. Every other thing for which we hope and wait has to be with caution. People may be willing but unable. We may desire but circumstances may not line up as we wish. God, however, is both able and willing to perform His promises. We only need to wait for Him.

So, how do we wait? We wait with patience. Paul tells us in Romans 8:25, “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently”. Patience is a virtue God develops in us through seasons of waiting. We all need to learn patience in becoming like God. But patience does not come to many of us naturally. In seasons of waiting, God helps us to keep our eyes on Him and not grow anxious or restless while we wait. This helps us to develop the attribute of patience and apply it in the future. When we develop patience as part of our character, we no longer rush to actions or conclusions but always take time to gain understanding before we act so that we can act with wisdom and precision. However, if we are restless while we wait, we may get what we hope for but God’s purpose in building our character is thwarted or deferred till another season of life.

A season of waiting also builds our faith in God. When we have to wait, we often question why we got on to the path of waiting for what we now look forward to. If this reminds us of a divine promise that initiated our hope and on which our faith stands, then we cling more closely to that promise while we wait. We see this when Abraham waited for the promise of a son from God. Every time he recalled God’s promise, he gave glory to God for the promise that would be manifested (Romans 4:20-21), not doubting God’s ability. Waiting gives us the opportunity to reaffirm our faith while we have not yet seen what we hope for. This is what makes faith strong – the ability to stand and continue to hold fast onto God for a long time even when physical conditions contradict what we believe and hope for.

Waiting is never fun, but it builds us up. We learn patience and build up our faith as we trust in God through seasons of waiting. With thanksgiving to God and steadfastness of heart, we demonstrate our conviction that God can do what He promises, and He always honors our faith by bringing to pass the promise for which we fervently waited. So again I say to you who are reading: wait for the Lord!

Of Memory and Music, Love and Expectation

Hello there! It’s been a few days since I posted here; busy with work and writing too. It usually takes a lot of hard work to put up something I find worthy of reading or which captivates my own attention. And I have a few pieces of poetry I have been working on – I pray they turn out well so I can put them up.

In the meantime, I wrote two short pieces today, two seven-liners that evolved almost out of nowhere, but which captured some deep thoughts in my heart. I hope you can relate with them one way or another.

So this is the first piece, which is woven around memory and sounds:

Memories swathed in unfading music,

Each memory unique with its own song

Line every path wherever I may turn

As I journey through the maze of history.

The future awaits with own set of tunes

Amazing sounds; I hear them in visions

It is time for us go over to the other side.

The second piece speaks plainly on love and where we expect to find it (not what it is, which is another matter). Here goes:

 

We found love in unlikely places

In food courts and game centres

In the smiling eyes of cute babies

And helping hands of kind strangers

Maybe we were, indeed entirely wrong

To have sought love only in certain places

For love has always been wherever we went

 

I hope you enjoy them or find them stimulating and/or tasteful, the same way good food stimulates the mouth to salivate. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Kindly use the comment box below. Do not forget to like and share. Thanks for stopping by!

O. J. Taiwo

Hope

Written by Joy Ijere

For over thirty weeks and six

When the food turns bitter-sweet

And all the clothes no longer fit

She bears the pain and counts the weeks

Through the cold, through the heat

She knows for sure where it will lead

For little hands and little feet

Soon from her will be revealed.

For four, five years and sometimes six

He has no shelter guaranteed

In dim and fading light he’ll read

Wants no other than As and Bs

Though all he eats is salty beans

He’s sure to never speak defeat

For one day he’ll live his dreams

With more than enough to eat.

At night, alone, she longed for him

So close he was she could touch him

But for that great gulf in-between

Oh, for her pride and dignity!

So fulfilled at last she’ll feel

When she finds him whom her soul seeks

But while he sleeps between the trees

Ssshh! Wake not her Lover till he please.

He’s two years and seventy old

Heard he has to go through CHEMO

Stage Four Cancer on the Memo

Night time, yet, without the shadows

Laughter like there’s no tomorrow

Can’t bear to give way to sorrow

For now he knows he’s reached that Close

Where he can do no more than hope.

Hope is the expectation

That something good will come

It’s what makes us to function

Even in the midst of the storm

We rise to work, and lie to sleep

For, far and yonder, we believe

That there’s a holy land of bliss

And that we’ll surely enter in.