Saturday, 5th November 2005 was a glorious day! After 7 years of courtship with my fiancé we exchanged our vows and it’s still one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.
It was 15 years since that day on Thursday November 5 2020 and I would like to just share 15 nuggets that I’ve gleaned during this time which I believe will be of help to someone out there.
Here we go:
- Start with Purpose: “If the purpose of a thing is not known abuse is inevitable” – Dr. Miles Munroe. This is one of the ‘P’s we teach our mentees. God gave mankind a ‘Purpose’ before a ‘Partner’ & as individuals, there is a need to know your purpose. This applies to both male and female.
- Put God first: This is the most important nugget. God himself instituted marriage in the beginning when he said “it’s not good that man should be alone” Genesis 2:18.I’ve practically learnt over the years that your love for your spouse gets more focus and in-depth as you press into the love of God. As you drive to find your purpose in God, you will meet your spouse’s purpose in Him.
- Leave to cleave ( it’s your marriage, just the 2 of you): This is a very important point. Marriage is not for kids, it’s for matured people, you must leave the old ( family, location, mindset, etc) to cleave to the new. My wife & I agreed that this was about just the 2 of us, we were determined to leave so as to cleave. It wasn’t about our parent’s experience, we learnt from them but decided to blaze our trail and stick by it. A marriage in which the new couple still lives with either parents or depend on them for food, shelter or clothing is set for failure. This is why the MAN must have all it takes ( financially, spiritually, morally, etc) to lead the new home. It doesn’t have to be super big or elaborate, it must be adequate.
- D is not an option: Considering our society today, divorce is nothing now. People just pack & leave their marriages the same way we pack faulty TVs & just go get another one. From Day 1, my wife & I agreed that divorce wasn’t an option. We come from a generation where when things are broken, we fix them not get rid of them. With the background I had & the first hand experience of my parents, I was determined not to fail in this regard.
- Put structure in place (There is the law of structure & flow. Lay a good foundation) : I’m yet to see a building of note built without a foundation. From the start of our courtship, we put structure in place, we drafted a family constitution that guided our engagement during courtship, our marriage, children, type of employment, etc way before we encountered the situation. Things worked with relative easy because we had structure in place. We are not a 100% perfect yet, but we are learning more day by day.
- Marry your bud ( make your spouse your bestie): I have seen over the years that marriages that last & that are strong are based on the couple being best buds. I once heard about a couple that dated for a while & didn’t communicate very much. One time they went on a 45 min trip from one town to another without saying a word to each other. The lady couldn’t take it any more & broke up with him. How can a pilot & co-pilot not communicate on a plane? Please make sure you marry someone you are comfortable talking to & laughing with. Communication is the life blood of any relationship. I remember my wife & I going on a 12 hour trip & we talked all the way.
- Dont look for someone you can live with, look for that special person you can’t live without!! : Life is full of challenges, exciting times of ups and downs abound. You need to have that pillar of support by your side. A best bud you can’t live without.
- Speak your spouse’s LOVE Language: This is closely tied to the preceding point. We all have our different personalities, attitudes & ways of reasoning that is totally different from our spouse’s. It’s very critical to know your LOVE language & that of your spouse & to regularly speak your spouse’s language. Words of Affirmation is a major love language for me. With my wife’s encouragement ringing in my ears impossibility is nothing. While Acts of Service is a big one for my wife, she loves it when I help bathe the kids, dress them up & get them ready for school. When I help her in the kitchen & do stuff for her around the house in the day, I am guaranteed a fantastic time at night.
- Be Open ( Naked and not ashamed): This is another very important point, My wife & I don’t keep secrets from each other, we are as open as you can get. When it comes to finances, I know how much comes to her & she knows mine. We have a family budget together, we have a joint account even though we have individual bank accounts. We share everything about ourselves, our past, our fears, our likes & dislikes. We know each other so well we’ve grown to become ONE. If you ask us independently & at different times about our opinions on anything, you’ll probably get an almost identical response.
- Seize the moment. “Life is not all about the air we breathe but it’s about moments that take your breath away” – Will Smith in the movie Hitch. As you both progress in life together, there will be what we call “Kodak moments” i.e. Incidents, accidents and events in our lives that are monumental, take a pause and make time to enjoy them if good, reflect and adjust if bad.
- Be the helper, super fan and critique ( enjoy the ride): In our marriage, we both strive to be the helper, the encourager, super fan & greatest critique. We work to build each other up & not tear down. We are always ready to work through any difficulties because we know together we can achieve anything, we enjoy the ride.
- Complement don’t compete: This is also related to the previous point. We are not in competition with each other, we work to complement one another. Rev Mrs Felix-Adejumo said at one time that “in a marriage the man needs to give his wife 2 things ( Space & Place)”.I give my wife her space in the home, there are somethings I don’t concern myself with like who becomes the house-keeper or the employed domestic staff to take care of the house or the size of beef to cut per meal or like my wife will say “the price of rice in China” I also give her her rightful place in the home, she is treated as the Queen she is, our kids know they don’t talk to her anyhow, they don’t behave anyhow. When we go out, she get the love & respect she deserves as my wife. I ensure that her weaknesses are covered & her strength is amplified, she does the same for me as we complement each other. When you see us, you only see strength!
- Be the Change: Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror Song says ” If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself & make the change“. We are not a 100% perfect, but we keep getting better day by day, year by year.
- It’s a marathon not a sprint: This is one thing that the current folks are missing. There is the “microwave” generation that just wants things to happen quickly. Please note that marriage is a lifetime commitment it’s not a 100m dash. There is a race set before each person and couple, it takes time to complete. Don’t run your race on another person’s time. Remember those that compare themselves with others are not wise. Your marriage is unique to the both of you and based on your purpose you will know your destination and just put the jigsaw puzzle together piece by piece.
- Know the seasons: Dr. Garry Chapman wrote the book “The four seasons of marriage“. In that book he uses the 4 seasons of Summer, Winter, Autumn and Springs to depict the various seasons encountered in marriage. Just like the last point, it’s a marathon, there will be good times and not so good times. The traditional wedding vow says in sickness and in health, however I like the modernized version that says “we are together in health against sickness, in prosperity against poverty“. As we both get older, life threatening challenges will come and you both need to stick together against it. My wife has been my life saver in occasions more than once and for this I am grateful to God for this gift as we navigated through those tough and rough seasons.
Just like a Swan graciously glides on the waters, we keep working at things below the surface while gliding beautifully on top.
I hope this will help someone out there. I just had to compress these points into 15 & also just touched the surface on each one, there is so much to share. If you want to dig deeper, do let me know & we’ll do just that.
Baby, its been an honor standing with you & experience life the last 15 years together, I’m sold to the next 10, 20, 30 as the Lord tarries that it will only get better!! SHMILY!
This is my snippet, I AM SHALOMESQ!!!