SO YOU THINK YOU HAVE A MARRIAGE TOO?

Hello dear friends & family!! We appreciate the privilege to share with you on the penultimate day in August 2019 & also the fact that this is the 130th post on this blog.

2019 is spinning away so fast & it’s super amazing to reflect on what has transpired so far this year. As usual, we love to ask about your goals & targets for 2019, hope it’s running smoothly or it’s jacking a bit & you need a pit-stop.

No matter the situation, just make sure you are growing that is the most important.

In our last session on this topic, we asked a question “SO YOU THINK YOU HAVE A MARRIAGE?” and we got a lot of feedback from people with different perspectives about the post & we do appreciate it as these comments make us know that people out there are reading & are being impacted by the post.

To catch up on the last post, please click the link below:

SO YOU THINK YOU HAVE A MARRIAGE?

Just a bit of house cleaning as we gradually look forward to celebrating our 5th Year Anniversary.

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In our society today, there are a lot of living arrangements between a man & a woman that doesn’t necessarily mean marriage. The institution of marriage has really been watered down to the wedding ceremony alone. I recently attended a colleague’s wedding & I felt a bit of nostalgia looking at the couple beaming with smiles, holding hands & dancing.

It was really beautiful, however that wedding ceremony signals the beginning of a lifetime journey together as a couple & it’s the only institution in which you actually get a certificate (Marriage Certificate) before the learning, tests & examinations starts.

That event got me thinking about how the focus today is about arranging a big ceremony, while neglecting the journey of marriage.

That journey happens to have 4 seasons & it doesn’t mean like nature all of them come & go in a space of a year. The 4 seasons can happen to a couple in a space of days, weeks, months or years & to really affirm that you have a marriage the couple (as a team) must successfully navigate through these seasons & make adjustments while each season lasts to come out better.

Also the 4 seasons of marriage come in cycles & it’s never a one-off, so the requirement for the couple is to keep working on a daily or regular basis on themselves to get better & better.

As was mentioned in one of the posts on making a great team, there are stages to team dynamic: Forming, Storming, Norming & Performing. The same principle applies to marriage.

Marriages that have lasted over the years go through the 4 stages & seasons to come out pristine like Gold after a refiner’s fire.

My wife & I are looking to celebrate 14 years of marriage later this year & I must tell you it’s been awesome ( One of the best decisions I’ve made in my life) & challenging all at the same time. For us to really say or think we have a marriage, we’ve had to go through all of the stages & seasons while we kept getting better & better just like sweet wine.

A lot of younger couples see us & are inspired, they want what we have & even ask that we mentor & pray for them, etc. We just smile & oblige their request noting that nothing good come easily & it takes serious effort to get a good thing going. It’s a lot of hard-work & teamwork.

To put things in perspective:

EVERY MARRIAGE OUT THERE IS DEALING WITH ONE ISSUE OR ANOTHER.

Please don’t be deceived to think your marriage is so bad & that the grass is greener on the other side. It’s greener on that side because they put in the effort to water it.

I see a lot of young people who like our technological advancements wants things easy, quickly & microwaved but just like nature you need to plant the seed, water it, wait for a while to allow it grow & then get harvest.

SEED-TIME-HARVEST

The 4 Seasons

The concept of the 4 seasons of marriage comes from a book by one of my favorite authors Gary Chapman PhD ( who wrote The 5 Love Languages)

There is a series about The 5 Love Languages on this blog & you can click the link below to peruse them starting with Part 1

The 5 Love Languages

The climate in my home country of Nigeria is divided into 2 seasons: Raining Season ( which we are in now) & the Dry Season ( where we experience Harmattan between November & mid-March)

It’s possible to still discuss the seasons of marriage using this as examples, however to be consistent with the author in the light of the climate/weather obtainable in the US & the fact that it’s a global audience, we will stick with the 4 seasons of WINTER, SPRING,SUMMER & FALL.

In the next post on this series, each season will be looked at as Dr. Chapman highlighted in his book & we will draw out the emotions,attitudes,actions & the climate of relationship.

What stage of team dynamics are you in your marriage?

You think it’s greener on the other side?

What season are you currently in your marriage?

So you think you have a marriage too?

This is my snippet …….. I AM SHALOMESQ

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The 5 LOVE languages – Part 4

Love Languages

Hello Everyone! It’s been a month since my last post on this series. I will like to apologize for the break as I got feedbacks from people eagerly waiting for the concluding posts on this series.

Work has been really intense, but things have eased out now & will use the little time I have to push on with the series to conclusion.

So far we have looked at 3 of the 5 love languages i.e. Words of Affirmation, Quality Time & Receiving Gifts. Today I will be sharing about the 4th language – Acts of Service.

Learning the love language of acts of service will require some of us to re-examine our stereotypes of the roles of husbands and wives.

There is this wrong notion that acts of service in a home is solely the responsibility of the wife. I am of a different opinion, luckily for me & my siblings, our mother never treated us specially in the sense that girls can only do this & boys do other stuff.

I knew how to cook,clean & take care of the house & my siblings as much as my sister did & she knew about pulling & starting the generator, changing the light bulb & other things as much as the boys did.

My wife & I are raising our kids this way too. They must learn that its not strange for daddy to cook & clean, while mummy can also take the ladder & change the bulb.

The load of keeping the home running must be shared.

With that background, I was impressed to know that my wife was a Tom-boy as she knew & enjoyed doing all the boy’s stuff as much as the girl’s. We connected & complemented each other at that level too, for example, I love ironing while she loves washing.

My wife is a superwoman as she juggles a lot together to ensure things run smoothly in our home coupled with her (9-5) job.

On mother’s day -a couple of weeks back – I called & appreciated her as the Director of Operations of our home as she deserves that & much more.

So in my own way, I pitch-in around the house to lighten up her load & she appreciates it a lot. Considering that this is her primary love language, her love tank is so full when I do these things & I also get rewards for them later (wink!!).

But this can also go the other way in which its the husband that has this love language & the wife will have to do some stuff that her husband loves getting done as a service to him.

This is not a small task as it involves adequate thought, planning, time, effort & energy.

If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love.

In the bible Jesus says “whoever want to be the greatest must be the servant of all” (Matt 23:11)

In our home, my acts of service revolves around the following:

  •  Bathing the kids & getting them ready for school every morning: Initially it was difficult as I had to adjust my daily routine to accommodate it. But now it’s one of the most interesting part of my morning. Our son is almost 10 years now, so he handles himself well, but my 4 year old daughter loves it so much when I dress her up & we take the time to pray, sing songs together & just get to connect more. I know the stories about every scar on their bodies & as they grow older & become independent, I will miss those times.
  • Helping to clean up the house & arrange things properly:  This is my thing!! She calls me Mr Monk at times. I have a serious obsession about things being in the right place, I cant walk pass a pair of shoes arranged wrongly or 1 pair facing a different direction while others are in another direction without making corrections. I cant walk pass a bed that is not made & cover clothes/PJs not smartly folded under the pillow.
  • Cooking, washing plates & all kitchen stuff: Even though she is still the no.1 Chef in the family, I am more than comfortable stepping in when required.
  • Mr. Fix-It: With my background & training as an Engineer, I am the designated Mr. Fix-It in the house. It’s great to have an adjustable ladder & a complete set of tools to do all of the 1st level repairs around the house. I see the love & appreciation in her eyes when I get things fixed. Like I said before, she too knows her ways around tools very well.

If your spouse’s love language is Acts of Service, here are some suggestions to help speak that language & fill your spouse’s love tank:

  • Make a list of all the requests your spouse has made of you over the past couple of weeks. Select one & do it as an expression of love weekly.
  • Ask your spouse to make a list of 10 things they would like you to do & then take them one by one.
  • Deliberately surprise your spouse by doing a major act of service like washing the car, take out the thrash, cooking a special meal, etc.
  • Periodically ask your spouse “If I could do one special act of service this week, what would your request be?”

Please try this out, I can tell you it works like a charm & let me know how it goes.

We will be looking at the last language ( Physical Touch) in the next post before we wrap up the entire series. I am committed to give out as much family oriented information as possible to ensure that we all enjoy & not endure our marriage.

This is my snippet, I AM SHALOMESQ!!!

The 5 LOVE languages – Part 3

Love Languages

In the last post a couple of weeks back, we discussed about the second love language (Quality Time) & I’ve received some feedbacks on how that post has been of help to people.

Due to some engagement at work, this particular post was delayed & I kept getting prompts from people as to when I was going to continue with the series.

So in response let’s continue on the series with the third love language (Receiving Gifts).

I mentioned in one of the earlier post that giving is an integral part of LOVE. John3:16 says God loved so much that he gave. There is no way one can claim to love another so deeply without this vital part of giving.

Studies have shown that in various cultures across the world, there is a big relationship between love, giving & marriage. In Gen24,Abraham was going to seek for a bride for Isaac, he told his servant in Gen24:10(NLT) to travel with 10 camels all loaded with gifts.

Giving of gifts is an outward expression of an internal feeling, you can hold the gift in your hands & know for sure that “He thought of you” or “She remembered you”. It’s actually the thought that counts & not really the cost of the gift.

Gifts are the visual symbols of LOVE!!!

But in this case we are looking at receiving of gifts as a love language. We all love receiving gifts, it shows us that we are important & valuable to whoever is giving out the gift, but some of us love receiving gifts more than others.

If this is a primary love language for a spouse, then you are in luck as it’s the easiest to learn. Those that have this love language don’t really consider the cost attached to the gift, but they value the thought behind it.

For us (My wife & I) it’s not our primary love language but it’s an integral part of the love spice & helps to fill the love tank.

I remember while we were dating we exchanged love notes (it could be a poem or just some write up that expresses our love for each other as inspired by nature), we would hide it between books, in our bags, etc & it was always a pleasure to read them.

My wife specially bought a notepad that was heart-shaped & years later I still read them & smile with that radiant feeling of LOVE.

There was a major one I did a while back in 2002. I was just introduced to the ministry of Joyce Meyers, so I bought & was reading her book “Reduce Me to Love“.

On the cover of the book was a beautiful heart-shaped gold locket as shown below.

credit: http://www.amazon.com

I did all I could to look for a replica one to buy for her, it took me months in my search,eventually ( with the help of a colleague at work), I got the silver version of the same locket.When I gave it to her, she was on top of the world & wore it with pride.In fact she still wears it these days when its our special events.

She has done the same for me too may times over, in buying me stuffs, my favorite perfume or shirt or shoes. Gifts may be bought, found or made, but to the one who loves receiving gifts, it doesn’t really matter how it comes.

If the primary language of your spouse is receiving gifts then you can do the following:

  • Learn about what gift excites them: I know of someone who really doesn’t like cards as gifts, but is super excited about cup cakes & electronics. So you will do well to gather a list of things your spouse is excited about & regularly shower them with it. Be attentive to your spouse, anytime they say “I really like that or I would love to have that” just take note & surprise them with it.You can also ask her other friends & siblings to know more about what they like.
  • Don’t wait for a special occasion: Valentine’s day was celebrated about a week ago & that is the only day that some couples exchange gifts. But to someone whose primary love language is receiving gifts, its not enough. You must regularly do this & not wait for special occasions even though they expect to get gifts on special occasions too.
  • Be creative with your gifts: Almost anything you give as gift will be appreciated & received by a spouse whose primary love language is receiving gifts, so cost is not that important. You can just cut out a hear-shape from a piece of paper & write “I LOVE YOU” or send her an IM to her phone relating her smile to the whiteness of snow in the Alps during winter. You can also make it a scavenger hunt for the gift, using clues from you lives together, or you can use symbols from nature. A stone to represent his strength & consistency or a flower to represent her radiance & beauty.

The Gift of Presence

When we talk about gifts, a lot of the times our minds shifts to money & if you noticed I’ve mentioned a couple of times already that the cost of the gift doesn’t really matter, but what counts is the thought.

To the one whose primary love language is receiving gift, the most important is the gift of presence from their spouse. Dr Chapman also calls it the gift of self. They just want their spouse to be there for & with them at all times. It’s somehow also related to the love language Quality Time.

Physical presence in the time of need ( crisis or challenges) is the most powerful gift you can give to a spouse whose primary love language is receiving gifts, it goes a long way to show your love & commitment.

Your spouse might also need your presence as a thing of pride to show you off to others e.g. at office parties or community outings. I love to take my wife out to an office gathering or party, I have the picture of my family on my table at work so everyone knows her the moment they spot her out at any event & her presence alone is a gift to me.

I do the same for her as well, I don’t mind being the only husband at her colleague’s or friend’s party or event. I know she loves showing me off & I rise up to the occasion as well & give it as a gift to her.

This love language is interconnected with others as it centers around the integral part of LOVE which is GIVING & also helps to fill our spouse’s love tank.

I hope by now you would have seen what your love language is & possibly that of your spouse as well. If not, we have 2 more to go!!

The next post will be looking at the 4th love language ( Acts of Service) which happens to be my wife’s primary love language.

This is my snippet, I AM SHALOMESQ!!!

 

Safe Havens!!!!

Friday 13th February 2015, the Valentine groove was in the air. I was thinking about what to get my wife for the occasion on the way to the office.

As I stepped into the office, I was dragged into a discuss by two of my colleagues, on one side a man married for about 10 years & the other side a woman who is less than 6 months into her marriage. The discussion was about how ladies are mounting serious pressure on their men and how these guys are really having their plates full with pressure on all sides.

Since both of them knew I love to help in the area of marriage and my results were clear for all to see, they asked for my opinion in this matter. This is what I said:

“The stress levels in this modern age has gone through the roof. Our men are being pressured everywhere & to be able to survive men need to create safe havens that they can run to when things gets super crazy”. I wrote a post about setting the right priorities – God,Family & Career- Your safe haven must also follow this order.

Firstly, God must be your highest place of refuge In time of distress. He made us & we are not our own. God is interested in our success, He initiated the need for family when He said “it’s not good for Man to be alone“.

But before making the Woman, he gave Man the assignment, so it’s our responsibility as Men to take charge of our home. There is a quote I recently saw on Facebook that is apt to this discuss “If a Man desires an Angel as Wife, he must firstly create a Heaven-like home, Angels don’t live in Hell!!!!!

Secondly, your home must be a safe haven. When things get crazy at work & in your business, you must be able to recline into the loving arms of your wife & kids. You must be eager to go home,relax and take the weight & stress of work away.

Lastly, to live a fulfilled life,  you must have something you are doing that God can bless, it could be a business or  a career that you are proud of. That also must be a safe haven, as it brings you finances to take care of your loved ones and meet all of your obligations.

Can you imagine someone who is stressed at work, have issues at home and is not in line with God? That person is “of all men most miserable“.

As I said before, it’s the duty of the Man to ensure his home is heaven on earth, the Woman has her part to play but the buck stops with the Man.

Another point I raised was the fact that a lot of married couples experience stress in their marriage because of a lack of proper communication. Each person is speaking only their  language and not that of their spouse.

I use YouVersion Bible for my daily devotion and at the beginning of February I started a Joyce Meyer reading plan on the Love language for Men.

Joyce has had a great influence on my life, I have read a lot of her books and subscribe to her daily podcast. On one of the podcast, she invited Dr. Gary Chapman to talk about the 5 Love Languages and after the podcast, I was so blessed that I looked for the book, bought it and read it cover to cover. I am always looking at ways to better my family relationship and home, so I quickly adapted the nuggets I gleaned from the book into practice.

I recommend that you get this book or podcast, also please check out www.5lovelanguages.com for some details & try out a test/survey that will indicate what your primary love language is.

My next post on this topic will be dedicated to explain these love languages from our perspectives ( My wife & I).

Essentially, there are 5 love languages, namely:

1. Words of Affirmation

2. Acts of Service

3. Receiving Gifts

4. Quality Time

5. Physical Touch

This is my snippet, I am SHALOMESQ!!!