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Thursday, 25 July 2019

It's Brilliant How Esther Did It

Another thing that caught my attention in the book of Esther was the wisdom in which Esther handled her issues. I can tell you for free that no matter how beautiful you can be, it is not enough to hold a marriage. But God’s wisdom embedded in good character and prayers will take anyone to the greatest height attainable in marriage. Proverbs 24:3 says, “Through wisdom, a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with precious and pleasant riches.”
The book of Esther chapter 3 was where Haman began to plot the destruction of the children of Israel and when this got to Esther, the first thing she did was to highlight her restriction, but that was not good enough for her Uncle Mordecai. But what really gave me so much respect for Esther was how she handled the matter.
For some, she should have just walked up to the king, demand her right as the queen and insist that her people be spared, and Haman be destroyed. After all, she was the queen. But Esther took a different route, a more subtle yet technical route. A route that was devised in wisdom and covered with prayers, that she knew could never fail.
So, the first thing Esther did was to pray. You might wonder why a wife would need to pray before approaching her husband for a request that she was entitled to. Well, I learned to use the prayer approach too in my marriage and it works well for me. Building a marriage on an entitlement mentality is not too good. Always have it at the back of your mind that your spouse owes you nothing except what God has laid in his/her heart to deliver to you. With that, you seldom get disappointed and learn to trust God more irrespective of your spouse. 
And after her prayer and fasting which she did along with the whole of the Jewish race on the land, she decided to take the bull by the horn and approach her husband whether tradition allowed it or not. Although the tradition of the land at that time did not permit Esther to approach the king when she was not called on but through prayers she had prepared her path, she knew that she had secured the intervention of God in the matter. And to the glory of God, she got what she wanted.
So many times, there are pressing issues that I want to discuss with my husband and with the emotional weight that I carry in me, I was sure the discussion would most likely lead to a fight. And all the time that I have prayed before speaking up it always ended in praise. You might wonder if I can’t approach my husband on issues without first praying about it, at least he is my husband and not my God. Well like Esther I love to choose the prayer route first so that I get to laugh after all said and done. Sometimes when I pray, I might not even need to discuss with him anymore on the issue no matter how pissed off I may be because the Lord will speak to him on my behalf and the matter is resolved without me venting my anger or airing my views.   
When I need something that I am sure my husband has to give like the case of Esther, I have learned not to trust that my husband will give me because he has it to give. With this approach, I seldom get disappointed because my expectation is little and I have killed totally any form of entitlement mentality that I should have in my marriage. So, when I have a request, I present it to God even when I know my husband has. It is now God’s choice to determine how He chooses to make available my request. He could choose to use my husband as a vessel to answer my prayers or decide to find other means suitable to Him. But one thing is sure He answers me when I call.
Applying God’s wisdom and praying in all situations brought about victory not only for Esther but for all the Jewish race in the 127 provinces. Applying God’s wisdom in your marriage gives you peace, joy, and love in your marriage far more than you can ever achieve in your limited effort. There is absolutely nothing too trivial in marriage to pray about. Disturb God about everything because that is what He wants you to do. When you free yourself of the burden and put it all in the hands of God things begin to happen for your good. Not because you did it, but because you let God do it for you.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

What About You

There is no time more appropriate to be mindful of one’s appearance as a woman than when you are married. I do understand the pressure of being a wife and a mother but in the midst of all the various important things that vie for your attention as a woman, the way you look and care for yourself is also very important. And that takes me to the third thing I learned from the book of Esther in the Bible.
After the exit of queen Vashti, there was a need for a replacement and a search began in the 127 provinces under the rulership of king Ahasuerus. In Esther 2:12 we read that each woman gets twelve months of beauty treatment before presenting herself to the king for consideration as queen according to the regulations for the women. So, in the days of Esther, the women were required to undergo twelve months of beauty treatment. I want to believe that this regulation is not only for those vying to be queen but for all women in the land as it was a regulation for the women.
Sometimes I just want to think if such regulation should be reintroduced in our days where it is compulsory for women to pay attention to how they look and smell. One of the things that qualified queen Vashti as a trophy to her husband so much that he wished to display her to the princes and nobles of his province was her beauty. It is so easy for a beautiful woman to relinquish her beauty if she doesn’t take time to care for her beauty. Just as it is easy for a woman who was considered ugly to become a beautiful pride of her husband when she begins to pay more attention to herself and her appearance.
The importance of one's appearance and hygiene cannot be over-emphasized. Your appearance does not just qualify you as a trophy to your husband, it also boosts your self-esteem. The way you dress and carry yourself goes a long way to determine the way you will be addressed. Beauty they say is deceptive but nonetheless, beauty attracts. Being a lover of God does not undermine the need for us as wives to take care of our appearance in a decent and modest manner. 
In as much as "character" is the number one value of a wife, but good-appearance is a value that is a wife must-have. Even if it on a ratio of 8:2, a wife must make efforts to look good for her husband. There is something about you that made your husband decide you fit enough to be his wife; always ensure you maintain the freshness of that one thing. I totally agree that beauty cannot hold a marriage and I preach same. But the way you look is a catalyst in marriage. A good look is required for you to earn the respect of those who see you, your husband being the most important one. So while not overdoing it and keeping your marriage and its health in focus, ensure you pay attention to yourself as a wife. It’s the least you can do for you.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

The Sin of Vashti

The next thing that caught my attention in the story of Esther that I read was the resolution of the advisers of the king over the punishment that should be dished out to Queen Vashti. As read in Esther 1:16-20, it's not the punishment to dethrone queen Vashti and give her place to another that is the big deal to me but the analysis of her action. The adviser of the king said it wasn't just the king that was wronged, but all the princes, nobles and the entire men within the 127 provinces under the rulership of the king.
You might then want to ask that how can a simple refusal of one’s husband’s request become such a big deal? Well, Memucan the king’s adviser explained it to us in Esther 1:16-20. He says, when the women in the province hear what queen Vashti did with no repercussion or consequence, they will adopt that kind of behavior and the impunity within the province will be widespread. That for me is the main focus of today’s post. In my last post we discussed being your husband’s trophy but today we will take it a little further to understand the impact of our private actions on the watching public, those we never knew were watching us.
One of the reasons I started getting interested in marriage issues is the way and manner I hear some pastors’ wives talk about their husbands just like an unbeliever would. They trivialize marriage as though there is no hope ever for a beautiful marriage simply because they lack the understanding of what it takes to make it work yet what they refuse to understand is that they are not just been hopeless about their own marriage but they are killing the hope of a good marriage for those who are watching them or looking up to them as role models.
One Saturday morning, I went for the Parents Teachers Forum meeting in my children’s school and was leaving. Another mother who lives close to me asked me to give a ride home and I agreed, while on my way home, I received a call from my husband who was babysitting our children in my absence. He wanted to go out and wanted to know how much longer before I got back home. Meanwhile, the woman in the car with me couldn’t help but hear my conversation. When I got home, she dropped from the car and trekked the little distance left to her home.
I met her a few hours later on the roadside talking with someone I knew, apparently, they were talking about me. I walked up to them and she couldn’t help but bare out her mind. She told me she was just discussing with the other person about her experience while inside my car. She had overheard my conversation with my husband and assumed I was talking to my husband due to the way I was talking on the phone. She said I spoke with so much respect that she thought it was my father on the other line but when I reached my house and she saw my husband standing at the gate waiting, she realized it was my husband I was conversing with all along.
She told me sincerely that she learned something new from me that day, she said now she understands what her husband meant when he was complaining of her not showing respect to him as her husband. She couldn’t imagine anyone speaking with so much respect to a mere husband. And till date, that incident has not left me. That I could unconsciously minister change into a marriage just by the way I handle mine has left me grateful to God.
In Proverb 31:23 we read something about the virtuous wife, it says, “Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.” Why this is included in the characteristics of a virtuous woman calls for thinking. Obviously, there must be a value-add in the life of a man married to a virtuous wife as a result of the positive actions of his wife. The NIV Bible version says, “the husband is respected at the city gate,” a wife who has learned to respect her husband as laid the precedence for others to respect him. And much more than that, she has laid an example for onlookers who might not know otherwise to learn to respect their own husbands too. And for this, she will be rewarded.  
You might say that as a wife your husband does not respect you so why should you respect him? Well in my world you don’t correct a wrong with a wrong and as a child of God, you are called to be the light in the darkness. When you shine your light no matter how little, you illuminate your husband’s world and drive away the darkness within him. Remember that God called you to be a suitable helper in his life. The more you respect him, the more you teach him to respect you in return. 

Monday, 1 July 2019

The Husband's Trophy

Again, I got to read the book of Esther in the Bible and sincerely there are loads of things to learn and share from the book. So, I will be sharing a lot from that book in my next couple of posts.  
The first chapter of the book of Esther tells us about a king named Ahasuerus (the NIV Bible version called him king Xerxes). He reigned over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush (Esther 1:1). And so, this very powerful king decided to show off his wealth and splendor and the Bible tells us that he took 180days doing that, and then capping it up with a 7days banquet. And just to crown his show of splendor, he decided to put his beautiful wife on display. That beautiful queen was his trophy that he was very proud to show off. And just like the Bible didn't see anything wrong in that, so also do I not see anything wrong in it. The first question I would want to ask wives reading this write-up this, are you the kind of wife your husband would delight to put on display to show off to the world? 
What king Ahasuerus sought to show off in his wife was her beauty (Esther 1:11), but you would agree with me that beauty is relative. What is beautiful for me might be ugly to you. But for your husband to deem it fit to marry you, then you are beautiful to him. So, what then are you doing to sustain the beauty he saw in you that caused him to pick you amongst the many women around him to be his wife?
I attended a women's program in my church where we were taught on ways to spice up our marriages, and my pastor's wife spoke out my mind on the need for a woman to pay attention to her physical appearance. Indecent dressing is not prescribed for a covenant child of God but a beautiful appearance in modesty and decency is a must for a wife who desires to be her husband's trophy. 
But dressing isn't the only thing that a wife needs to make herself her husband's trophy. Some wives are a disdain to their husbands simply by their attitude as we read of Queen Vashti. Interestingly, God clearly instructed the wife to submit to her husband without exemptions. I totally understand the fact that King Ahasuerus had had more than enough wine and was in high spirit from too much alcohol as at the time he decided to put his wife on display, yet that was not a good enough reason for his wife who should be a woman under submission to her husband to decline his call. 
We read in Ephesians 5:22-24 and in 1 Peter 3:1-6 that wives should submit to their husbands, but God didn't put an adjective to qualify or describe the kind of husband wives should submit to. So, whether good or bad as long as he remains your husband, the instruction of God concerning your life in that marriage is to submit to him as you would do to the Lord. 
Queen Vashti would have just been a perfect trophy when you combine her outward beauty with the inner beauty of a noble wife. But she had one good attribute and lacked the other. She possessed the outward beauty but lacked the inner poise that would have qualified her as a trophy in and out. She was a beauty to behold but a disdain to her husband by her attitude. 
Every wife loves to be appreciated and praised; a wife loves to be a trophy to be displayed by her husband to the world, but this just doesn't happen by chance, as a wife you need to make it happen. A combination of prayers and Holy Spirit led actions will get you there and believe me when I say it's a sweet thing to be your husband's trophy. 

Friday, 14 June 2019

This Is How to Handle It.

Unverified information shows that rate at which we have infidelity in marriage is on the increase just as we have an increase in the rate of divorce. From discussions with various people, it appears that married women are not spared from this spate of infidelity in marriage. So just as men are been driven by lustful desires to the point of sin, so also are women.
The interesting thing I have found about this is that some married women are actually having illicit affairs with married men who are not their husbands. They have a lot of reasons they have postulated to justify this. In fact, I hear some say that he was the man they were meant to marry initially but as God will have it, fate brought them back together again and the love, attraction, and chemistry between them is so strong they can’t help themselves.
Sincerely, I am not sharing this to judge anyone but simply stating the right from the wrong. I know a lady whose husband was having an issue with another lady in his office who had a crush on him and wouldn’t let him be. To the glory of God, the wife happens to be a prayerful wife who took her marriage matters very seriously and she had been a formidable part of her husband’s progress. They had a good relationship, but interestingly the husband didn’t come home to tell his wife about the lady who was crushing on him in the office. In fact, the problem started when the husband started helping the young lady out with some personal issues she had and along the line, she began to fall in love with him yet she was also married with children.
The man didn’t want to hurt her feelings but didn’t want a relationship too. He was been polite and tried to avoid her which wasn’t working. She would find every excuse to be extra nice to the man to the point that it was becoming obvious to the other colleagues at work. In all of these, the husband only painted this lady as a friend to his wife. When he began to get harsh with the lady at work just to push her away, his male colleagues began to tell him he was been too nasty to the lady and that he should put her feelings into consideration, that it wasn’t easy for a lady to come out and bear her feelings to a man. Yet this man was happily married to another woman and the said lady was married to another man.
Then one day the man needed to carry out a medical procedure and was admitted into the hospital. His wife was by his side to help him through the process. After the medical operation was done and the man was put under observation and was recovering in the hospital, this crush lady (office colleague) came to visit him in the hospital. His wife was there by his side. Interestingly, the careless crush could not hold her emotions as she began to get unduly worried over every sigh of discomfort the man made, coupled with the uneasiness in the hospital room where the three of them (the man, his wife, and the office crush lady) were, the wife could not help but notice a sense of awkwardness around her.
She managed to hold her peace while the crush lady was around and later asked her husband if there was anything between him and the lady who had come to visit. It was at that point that the husband confessed to her that the lady had a crush on her, and he had done everything to push her away to no avail.
The wife didn’t complain, fight or say anything afterward. She began to pray hard, calling God to remembrance over the issue of her marriage and just continued to be a good wife to her husband and made sure she was there for him at every turn. She was a very nice wife before then but became nicer to him than before. Eventually, the intruding lady was transferred to another branch in another country and that was how the faithful young lady’s marriage was saved.
It is only a lazy wife who would abandon her own assignment to lust over the success of another woman’s assignment. You have the capacity to have the best husband in the world if you are ready to be the best wife in the world. Good things don’t come cheap but good things are worth working for. And when you are a good wife and there is a treat over your marriage, be calm and pray. Don't become your own undoing as a result of lack of wisdom. Rather be a better you. That is how to achieve success.

Friday, 31 May 2019

A Sacrifice For Your Wife

Marriage as the Lord has instituted it is the coming together of a man and a woman to form a single unit, to fulfill all that God has destined them to fulfill together. It’s a lifetime bonding in which the Lord puts love between them to facilitate this bonding. Marriage is a bonding with its own instructions that makes the bonding last a lifetime. So, following the instructions of the union makes the union a very beautiful one. The advantages of the bonding are enormous, but it only works for those who know the rules and follow the rules.
So much has been said to the wives as though the men need not contribute anything. But the bigger responsibility of the home belongs to the men. Now we read in Ephesians 5:25-29 that a man needs to love his wife like Christ loves the church. What a big responsibility that is when we consider the depth, height, and width of how Christ loves the church. We all know that it is the love that Christ has for the church that made him lay down his life for the church. So, to say that God is instructing the man to love his wife to a point where he is willing to give his life for hers. You will agree with me that this is huge.
This instruction seems easy when the wife is such a submissive wife and obeys her husband’s instructions to the very last detail. With such a wife the husband is very proud, and loving her for what she is investing in the marriage is not a challenge at all. A submissive wife makes loving her easy. But what of the wife who is not submissive? Does the same instruction to love apply? Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to the rule. If this love must be in the pattern in which Christ loves the church, then it must be unconditionally selfless and sacrificial.
An old classmate of mine shared a story on our class’s WhatsApp group of her visit to one of her friends who kept eulogizing herself of how she’s had to put up with her husband’s excess just for the peace and progress of her marriage. Well, the husband was not there to say otherwise. And then on another day she and her husband met with the same friend’s husband and he was also full of praises for himself of how he’s had to put up with his wife’s behavior just for the peace and progress of their marriage. And then you ask, who is putting up with who? They both feel each of them is the one making the sacrifice that is keeping the marriage together. The truth is they are both working and so their marriage is working, and they are getting the peace they have worked for. Now, it is important that we understand that we can’t get what we didn’t work for. The result of your marriage is determined by the level of work you put into it. If you seek a good wife with the qualities you desire in a wife, then you need to invest continuous prayers in her, then invest continuous love and then patiently wait for a bountiful harvest of a wonderful wife and a glorious marriage. Note that you cannot possess what you are not willing to pursue. 

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Changing Your Wife to Be What You Want Her to Be.

“That woman calls you husband, do not hurt her to fulfill your fantasy.” I just found this quote on tweeter and it caught my attention and got me thinking. There are a million and one stories of husbands walking away from their marriages because of another woman they fell in love with. Some have been able to get away with it but not without their consciences dealing with them every now and then, but some have had a bag full of regrets after realizing that it’s actually not greener on the other side, and it’s a little too late to make amends.
I have written a lot of blog articles addressing the wives on the need to be a complete wife lacking nothing and to occupy their marriage and their husband’s life such that there is no room for an intruder in their marriage, but on the flip side there is the need to look the side of the husbands for redress too.
A husband is the head of the home and so he is the leader of the home. Based on God’s mandate on his life, the husband’s leadership pattern should follow after the leadership pattern of Christ Jesus. In my last post, I outlined the expectations on such leadership if it has to be in the pattern and order with which Christ led and is still leading the church. It is tagged a servant-leader style of leadership.
So, if a husband is following after the leadership style of Jesus Christ, the feelings of his wife should be a priority to him and that brings me again to the quote above which says “That woman calls you husband, do not hurt her to fulfill your fantasy.” A good husband that is so concerned about God’s appraisal over his life will not and should not hurt his wife just to fulfill his lustful fantasy.
No matter how you think about it, it is not greener on the other side. If you conclude that your wife isn’t giving you peace and as such you seek it outside of God, know for sure that the peace you seek is not found in abundance on the laps of adultery, it only comes from God. Nothing derived from sin ends in praise. What you invest in your wife determines what you get as returns from her and what you sow in your wife determines what you reap from her and the harvest comes in multiple increases of what was sown. That is how it works. It is easy to make a woman be all that you want her to be but you must be willing to sacrifice first. 

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Let's Discuss the Husbands

In the course of our first Silver Lining Couple’s Clinic program we had last year, I learned more than I thought I knew about the male gender and while we think the wives need to do so much to make a marriage work, the husbands need to do a lot more. Based on the societal believes the male are the gods who must be obeyed and judging from the instructions from God as found in the Bible which states that wives must submit to their husbands as unto God, that seems to be true.
But with leadership comes a huge responsibility. The leader in Christ wasn’t One who lord it over those who followed Him, but Christ led through service. Like Pastor Myles Munroe called it then, it was a servant-leader style of leadership. So unlike what the society has made up believe in which some have convenient backed it up with scripture without considering the context holistically, the man is actually required to lead his wife in the pattern in which Christ led the church and that leadership style is known as the servant leadership style. That kind of leadership that puts those you lead before yourself. It’s the sacrificial kind of leadership. It’s very different from the master-servant; a husband-wife relationship that is playing out in the society today.
So, the leadership of the husband just like we have in the leadership of Christ, is the leadership that protects, it’s the leadership that provides, it’s the leadership that advocates, it’s the leadership that defends, it’s the leadership that listens, it’s the leadership that encourages, it's the leadership that cares, and above all it’s the leadership that loves unconditionally. I want to believe that if most wives have husband-leaders with these qualities then submitting to such a leader will not be a problem, and then a lot of marriage crisis will be averted.
So as a husband, what kind of a leader are you? Are you the Christlike leader who practices the servant-leader style of leadership or are you just the boss-master? In order to have your wife submit to you whereby you can go to sleep rest assured that your home is at peace, then you need to follow after the pattern of Christ and adopt the servant-leader style of leadership. With prayers and practice, it gets easier and more rewarding. And like my dear friend Deji Irawo would always say, its time to begin to unlearn the errors that have so far shaped humanity and relearn that which promotes.

Friday, 17 May 2019

When You Speak Marriage You Speak Unity

One of the secrets to great success in life is the power of unity. Unity is so powerful when it is maintained in marriage. Jesus said in Matthew 18:19 that if as little as two agree on anything and they ask for it from God, it will be done for them by our Father in heaven. And then we read about God saying in Genesis 11:6 that if as one people (note that plural term PEOPLE, it speaks of more than one person), speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. And so, I see impossibility crushed by the power of unity. But you might want to say that Jesus did not imply that the two must be husband and wife and I will tell you that there is no better two that can agree on anything and ask God and He will hastily answer them than the two of husband and wife whom God has joined together in flesh and spirit as one entity, and made them His own.
So to say that, the agreement of the husband and his wife in thought and mind mixed with prayers creates a lifetime of successful achievements because what they ask in agreement they get from God.
Now, the devil knows this, and because he has come only to kill, steal and destroy he ensures that the husband and the wife don't agree on anything and so they make individual requests before God and have their prayers pending because such prayers or request requires they be done in agreement. And so, we will notice that alongside a messy marriage are a messy financial life and lost opportunities. It always looks like once the home front is not smooth, it affects all other areas of the individual lives of the couples.
But as children of God, we should not be ignorant of the devil’s pranks. God has given His word; it is our duty to ensure that we make ourselves eligible for the promise of God. God has told us that if we agree and ask then we will receive, the receiving is God's doing, but the agreeing and asking is our doing. God will not force us to agree, that is our own duty to ensure. It is our responsibility to make that agreement happen and believe me, it does not come easy, but it is very possible and doable.  
Quite a number of times I have viewed things differently from my husband, but mindful of the power of unity I make effort to see things through his eyes and align with him and believe me we have achieved great things simply by the power of alignment. And the interesting thing about this is that I get to win in the long run. Because after a period of time, he will be still turn around to see things from my own perspective. Yes, sometimes it takes years for him to see it my way but with patience and a good heart I get to win it all in the long run.
I want you to keep this thought dear to you, “it pays to lose the battle just to win the war.” Conceding to the will and instructions of your husband as the Lord has instructed us as wives to submit to our husband as unto the Lord might mean that you lose your conviction momentarily, but it's only to win the love of your husband, the peace and joy of your marriage and the progress and promotion of your life. And above all it means to win the love of God as you obey Him, it means to walk in unity with your husband and have all your request before the Lord answered without delay.
I have tried it and it works. I am enjoying it and I am reaping the benefits of that which I am sowing. I might be losing the battle every now and then, but I am winning the war. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

The Lady Has Got Guts

I was discussing with a lady some weeks ago, this lady did a very remarkable thing that a lot of people will consider foolish because it takes a lot of guts to do what she did. This is what she did; she left her very high paying job to relocate with her husband and children to another location on the face of the earth far from their home base, starting life all over again from ground zero simply because she wanted to help her husband discover his dream and feel worthy of being a husband. All she took along with her was her prayer and trust in God.
Because of her high paying job, she carries more of the financial burden of her family. It was a trend she didn’t like, and she wanted it to change. When her husband requested that they move to another country in pursuit of greener pasture, it wasn’t a greener pasture for her because life was already very green for her in the land she was in. But she gave it all up because she was a wife under submission. Quite a lot of people tried to talk her out of it because she was doing fantastically well where she was. But what of her husband?
This lady recognized that her assignment in the life of her husband was in the capacity of a suitable helper and not the primary burden bearer. But one thing she did was that she prayed hard. She sought God in the quietness of her spirit. She sought the leading of the Holy Spirit and then decided to leave all and follow her husband.
The last time we spoke she told her that her husband has secured two jobs and when she sees their bank account details and receive her husband’s call demanding to know what was needed in the house so he could buy them on his way home, she felt so much joy that finally she is able to help her husband find his worth and pursue his destiny. And they are happy. They have always maintained a joint account before now but she had been the one funding the account. But now her husband is the one funding their joint account.
I totally agree that a lot of women have done similar things and have gotten their fingers burnt but that does not make it wrong. I will only encourage wives to be more prayerful as they embarked on their support mission in the lives of their husbands. Whatever you want to do in your marriage do it first because you have prayed well and have received a leading from God over and above doing it for love. Those who did it and got it wrong did it for love and that is where we have the difference. With God leading and guiding, you can never get it wrong. For this young lady, it has been from one testimony to another.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Just a Little Secret

Still on the issue of finances in marriage, I have heard so many wives turn into being their family’s breadwinner with the husband doing close to nothing and sitting happy on the fact that his wife is able to meet up with the financial burdens of the family. And the wives give so much till they are heavily weighed down with the financial burden of the family and they can bare no more.
I will again want to say that the financial responsibility of the family is the primary assignment of the husband while the wife contributes in assist mode. But what can the wife do when her husband is just not yielding when it comes to the finances of the family noting that the wife by the auction of God on her life is supposed to submit to her husband as unto the Lord?
I have come to understand and also preach the same that life does not have a one-size-fits-all approach to it. So, to say that what works for wife A might not work for wife B and if this be the case, we need the divine intervention of God in our everyday life and most of all in our marriages. But before I continue in this discussion as we trust God for wisdom, it’s important to differentiate the two kinds of husband that might fall within this category. First, there are husbands who honestly cannot meet up with the financial burden of their family because they truly do not have a means of income or their source of income is insufficient to handle their burdens. So, they genuinely have it in their heart to do, but just don’t have a means to. And then, we have those who do not care. Even when they have to give, they have absolved themselves of every sense of responsibility towards the needs of their family. As long as their wives are taking care of the family’s finances, then they can just not bother anymore.  
As we trust God for wisdom in handling issues like this, I want to also implore wives that they need to be very prayerful and rely on God for the day to day running of their homes. I had shared in one of my blog’s post that wives should not be quick to take up and embrace the breadwinner role just because they have the income to do so. They can support when needed, but when the support is tending towards a permanent responsibility then there is the need to begin to trust God for divine intervention.
For as long as a husband genuinely cannot meet up with the financial needs of the family and the wife is in the know of the situation then she should be ready to fill in the gaps while they both wait on the Lord to lift the husband up financially. But in a situation where the husband is capable of handling the financial responsibility of his family but is deliberately not doing so, then I will suggest that the wife gradually, wisely and prayerfully begin to withdraw from the role that God has not assigned her to and then let her husband begin to understand that it’s his responsibility as the head of the family to financially care for his family and for that, he is accountable.
But this withdrawal must be done with great sensitivity because issues like this have affected marriages negatively. The wife if not careful will be tagged the wicked one and seen as proud and arrogant. But with prayers and the help of God a woman can successfully withdraw from being the breadwinner to being the financial support in her family, without it having a negative effect on the marriage. In fact, some husbands show so much love and respect for their wives for helping them while things were tough.
So as a wife, if there is a financial need in the home and you are certain your husband can handle it, don’t rush to handle it simply because your husband isn’t. First, with love, respect and wisdom inform your husband of the need, then give him time. If after a while he still isn’t handling it, remind him gently. If then he doesn’t handle it, you can either ignore it or find another route to solving the problem without spending money and if possible don’t let him know you have resolved the issue.
I am not encouraging wives to keep secrets from their husbands, but if there is a need to hold back information that will make the husband do what he is supposed to do for the health of the marriage and home, then it wise to hold back such information for the greater good of the family. But I will say this to wives, “know your husband” because there is no one-size-fits-all in marriage. What works for me might not work for you and so above all, we need God’s guidance and wisdom to run a marriage successfully.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Who Should Help Who

I am trying to trust God for solutions to possible grey areas in marriages. You know those things that are most likely to cause problems in marriages and I pray that the Lord will help us with lasting solutions to these issues. One of the issues that come to mind is finances.
Based on my interactions with wives, most especially the ones who are struggling with their marriages I have heard one common utterance, and that is “he doesn’t give me money.” But before I discuss these, I pray that you give me your open heart and understand this very carefully. It is true that we read in 1 Timothy 5:8 that anyone who does not provide for his own, especially those of his household, he is worse than an unbeliever, but just now I am noticing that what the Bible says is anyone and not man. So, unlike what we are used to referring to as man when we refer to this scripture, it is actually anyone. Now anyone can be a man or a woman.
But where I want to consider this from is the role of a man in the home as the head of the home. If a man truly is the head of the home, then he should be the head in making provisions for the needs of his family. There is no point being a half-baked head of the home or be head of the family just by mouth. But that titles comes with huge responsibilities. And making sure that the family is well taken care of is the big responsibility of the head of the family, the husband.
Then we read in Proverbs 31 of the wife of noble character. A wife who is an entrepreneur, one who is hardworking and earns income and with her income provides for the needs of the family. And so, a wife is designed by God to also be the financial support of her husband. So, if we begin to look at this topic holistically, we will find that even though the husband as the head of the home is the principal provider for his family, the wife who is his suitable helper is also a suitable helper in providing for the financial needs of their family.
Now with this fact established, I want to speak to the wives, and my first point of encouragement is that wives should not live their lives being dependent on their husbands, most especially when it comes to the issue of finances. A woman should not depend on her husband for strength, she should be able to build her strength from God and with that strength, she will be a suitable helper to her husband. If God has made you are helper, then you should understand that you cannot depend on the one you are assigned to help for strength and help. Your strength should be from a bigger and more powerful source which is God and then direct that strength to your home including your husband whom you are assigned to help.  You should not wait for the one whom you are assigned to help to be the one helping you.
Now the next question that arises is: Is Derin now saying the wife should take up the responsibility of financially providing for the home? Now, I need us to understand that the wife is not the principal/primary provider, but she provides for her home in the capacity of a suitable helper to her husband as assigned to her by God. When the husband is fulling his responsibility as the primary provider and the wife is fulfilling her responsibility as a suitable helper even in the issue of financial provisions then the home is secured against financial lack or drought. This is God’s mindset for our homes. This is His plan for our homes.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Your Reaction Matters

What you say, when you say it, and how you say it, are key elements of communication in marriage. Your communication with your spouse, especially at the point of emotional overload (either anger or joy) needs to be handled with great care. Words have the capacity to build up and at the same time, the capacity destroy. We read in Proverbs 18:21 that “the tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit,” and we also read in Proverbs 16:24 that “pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
When your spouse offends you or hurts your feelings, believe me when I say they are well aware of what they are doing or what they have done (at least in most cases). Now, the big issue isn’t what they have done, but how you react to what they have done. Giving it back to them in the full measure of what they did to you is simply justifying the wrong they have done to you. Your wrong reaction has actually right the wrong they did to you, and then the two of you are even. The sad thing is that they will wrong you again and again and then your marriage begins to break down little by little until the center can no longer hold.
But then there is a measure of pleasant word reaction that gives the conscience the power to cleanse the offender. When you react right, you give God room to deal internally with the one who is wrong and then your right reaction produces right action in your spouse with the dealings of God in him or her thereby enjoying a win-win victory by what seems foolish reaction to the world but the wisdom of God put to display.
There is something that happens in my marriage that is so very interesting. My husband is a person who does not like to say sorry to me his wife and to tell you the truth, I really don’t mind. Because rather than say sorry, he buys me a gift instead, or credits my account. That is his own mode of apology and I am enjoying it all the way. Before now I have learned the secret of pleasant words; my husband can be impatient sometimes and harsh sometimes. But on most occasions, I watch myself not to react in the same manner of his harshness and then when he sees that I am not reacting to him in the measure of his actions to me, his conscience takes over. He becomes sorry and sober and just wouldn’t want to openly admit it. Then he goes to get a gift or credit my account, knowing that I will acknowledge what he has done and there the quarrel ends.
It might not be exactly like this for everyone because we also didn’t start so sweet, but with cultivation and growth, it gets sweeter every day and every time. Your marriage is worth every sacrifice that you can give to it, because, the yield is far more than the sacrifice.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Your Marriage Was No Mistake

What is your marriage standing on? What is the bonding glue that is keeping your marriage together in one piece? Is it God, or is it love? It is the common belief that marriage cannot exist without love and to this end, I agree. But what happens when you are married in love and then after some years or many years love fades? Does the marriage fade also?
I have heard so many people say their marriage was a mistake, and they believe and hold on to the fact that nothing else can make that marriage work. Even though I know that people are bound to make mistakes, nobody has journeyed through life more than once and going through a road you’ve never been before you are opened to missing your way and taking a wrong turn or follow a wrong route occasionally. But if that is acceptable in other areas of life, it’s not so with marriage. It's morally unacceptable to change spouse as though you were changing your clothing. Yes, you can change jobs, change career path, change houses, change cars, but you can’t change spouses in like manner.
And so, in making the life partner choice, you need a little more than mere love to hinge your decision on. You need God. Even though you are bound to make mistakes because life is a journey you have never embarked on before now and because everyone’s journey differs and so you can’t rely on another’s life experience, you are prone to mistakes. But God never makes mistakes, in fact, God is a mistake repairer. So, when you give your mistakes to God, He fixes them.
And this is why I am so against divorce (even though I do not judge or condemn those divorced), but when you hand over that mistake marriage of yours to God, He fixes it. He repairs it, and then He brings it back to you. And when He gives it back, it turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to you. We read in Malachi 2:16 and Matthew 19:3-6 about how God feels about divorce. If we then call ourselves children of God and we love God, then isn’t it important to put God’s feeling into consideration as we strive to deal with our mistake marriages?
God is a fixer of mistakes. He alone can fix any mess we make of our journey in life. No matter how messy those mistakes are, God alone can and will fix it if only we let Him. No matter how messy a mistake our marriage is, God alone can fix it and make it beautiful. Even more beautiful than what love alone can do. Are you willing to give your messy marriage to God to fix? Divorce is not the best solution to a messy marriage, God is. I have been there before, so I know.

Monday, 6 May 2019

The Power of Thank You

They say the phrase “thank you” is a magic word. They teach it to our nursery and kindergarten children but for us adults, the phrase “thank you” has totally lost its value. And then it has become none existent in a handful of marriages (being careful not to generalize). In fact, in our relationship with God, it's also just the same. When we don’t get what we want how we want it, appreciating what we have becomes a problem.
A man in his sixties walked into my shop to buy a lace fabric for his wife. It was his 60th birthday shortly before then and he got a handful of cash as gifts from well-wishers, and just decided to spoil his wife and appreciate her. And so he wanted to buy her a beautiful piece of clothing. He bought this lovely fabric and took it home. He also bought her a pair of shoes to go with the fabric. He called a day after to say the shoes were not the size of his wife, and so he was going to return it. And so, after two days he brought the shoe back and I asked him if the wife liked the fabric he had bought. The expression on his wife said it all. He was pained in his spirit over the fact that his wife didn’t appreciate the fabric simply because she wanted him to give her the money and let her buy for herself what she wanted.
Interestingly, he told me that if he had given her money, he wouldn’t have given her as much as he had spent buying the fabric for her. Her lack of appreciation spoke volumes to the man, and his ability to extend such a gesture another time. Even if he had to do, he wouldn’t. And if he brings himself to do just as a sense of duty, he wouldn’t do as much, simply because the initial one was not appreciated.
A lot of us wives make this same mistake, and when our husbands shut down on us, we begin to complain. We call them irresponsible and compare them to men who take good care of their wives forgetting that we are the architect of who and what they have become. For the husband who is doing so much for his wife, have you taken time to study what the wife is doing to make the husband continue to pour out himself for her?
I have learned to appreciate all that my husband does for me and our children even though it is his responsibility to do these things. When I thank my husband for paying our children’s school fees, he asks why? And then he comments that he is just doing his responsibility. But I tell him that there are thousands of husbands who are not paying their children’s school fees even though some can afford to and heaven isn’t falling because of them. So, he should allow me to appreciate him that he knows his responsibility and he is doing the responsibility of his own free-will. That alone is a morale booster for a man.
And the same goes for the wife. We as wives go ourselves beyond the limit to keep the home and family together. I know the feeling I get when my husband and I go out and return home very tired and I still have to go straight to the kitchen to make food while others are stretching out their legs and relaxing, and then my husband enters the kitchen to say well done and apologize for putting me through the stress. That alone drives the tiredness away and you find a little strength to just continue.
These are the little spices that make the marriage beautiful. It’s so wrong and in fact dangerous to take your spouse for granted. A little bit of appreciation here and there is just good oil for the shinning of your marriage. It's not all the gift my husband buys for me that I am crazily in love with, but I appreciate them all and wear these gifts as though I have longed for them all my life and sincerely what that does is that it gives him reasons to keep giving. He is also learning to know more of what I like and improving on the gifts. That is the power of “thank you” it makes the giver to never stop giving. 

Friday, 3 May 2019

There is Always a Way Out of the Messy Marriage Other Than What You Think

It’s been a long while and I feel so bad that I have abandoned the writing of the marriage blog for the pursuit of so many other things. It’s been a big distraction trying to combine business with blogging, but today I pray for the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ not to abandon His assignment on my life knowing that meeting my needs are His priority. And without so much story again, I want us to just dive straight back into the marriage discussion.
When I get to talk to wives, I have had to tell them that the way out of a messy marriage situation is quite different from what or how they think it to be. Most wives who have husbands that are not taking up their husbandly responsibilities right, have resorted to prayers and when prayers seem not to be working, they have resolved to either abandoning the marriage and going for a separation or enduring the miserable situation as it is. And shocking but true, some die trying to patch a terrible marriage in the best way they know how.
But one thing I love about God is that when we pray, He tells us what to do about what we have prayed about and when we do it as He has instructed, we see results that we desire. Based on my relationship with God and how He has helped me out of my messy marriage situation without having to get a divorce or a separation, still married to the same husband, is that I learned to not just pray, but also to listen to God for a sense of direction.
Prayer as we should know, is a dialog between the one who is praying and the God he/she is praying to. Prayer should not be a monolog whereby you just talk, and then stand up and go. When you pray, you should expect a response from the One you have prayed to and a response is not just in miraculously seeing a transformation of the situation you have prayed about, but a response in knowing what God (whom you have prayed to) would have you do in order for the situation you have prayed about to change.
The Bible says prayers without deed is dead. And so, with a few wives who have discussed their marriage situations with, I have asked a handful of them what they have done to help the situation their marriage and what most of them have responded with is that they have prayed. And then I ask the question when you prayed, what did God tell you to do? At the point, the response I get is that well I didn’t hear God tell me to do anything.
The truth is that it wasn’t God who didn’t speak of a way of escape, it was us who didn’t listen or are not willing to listen to what God is telling us to do. And in most cases, what we might be hearing in our spirit being might be far from what we expect or desire as a response and so we tell ourselves we can’t go that route. And then we accuse God of not answering our prayers because all we want is to wake up one morning and see a brand-new person in the spouse we are complaining and praying about without any input from us.
It’s just like praying about your terrible financial situation and expecting to wake up one morning and meet a million dollar in your account without working for it just because you prayed. I am sure you will agree with me that, that is an impossibility. When I had my own terrible marriage experience, I must confess it was heart-wrenching, and to say that I prayed is to say the list. I went for all manners of deliverance and counseling and still, nothing changed. And then I just resolved to look for the solution to my problems within the pages of the Bible and from therein God began to speak to me. I was so desperate for a solution that I was willing to obey anything He tells me to do. And He told me to do the oddest thing that I could possibly hear God give as instruction back then. He told me to submit to my husband.
At that time, I had considered my husband the devil while I was the saint. But with strength and grace from God, I obeyed, even though it was tough and difficult. With time and help from the Spirit of God obedience became easy and then God began to use my obedience to bring about a glorious change in the life of my husband. And today I am enjoying the time of my life with the man of my life and in the marriage of my life. My marriage is just so sweet and glorious.
I have mentioned my own case repeatedly on my blog articles and I can’t just say it enough. Now, what are you willing to add to your prayers to make your marriage the beauty that you desire it to be? What is that thing that God is telling you to either put in or take away from your life to make your marriage what you so desire it to be? In truth, if you want a change from the status quo, the first thing to do is to look into the mirror and begin the change with who you see as the reflection in the mirror. That change that you so long for in your marriage begins with you. 

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

The Joint Account Issue

We had our second marriage workshop tagged “Couple’s Clinic” a few days ago and it was fantastic. One of the issues discussed that raised a lot of questions bothers on finances. We tried to look at the most common issues in marriage that bring about disagreements between couples and I am sure you will be surprised if money didn’t feature on that list. And the issue of couples having a joint account came up. In order to have more people benefit from this discussion, I have decided to write a post on it.
There are no clear instructions on this when we search the Bible, but we can apply godly wisdom in dealing with this kind of issue. The first thing that I will advise couples already married and those intending to marry is that whatever you can’t finish or better still whatever you can’t sustain in your marriage it is better you do not start it. And I say this with money as a focus.
There is absolutely nothing wrong in couples having a joint bank account, but when it gives the devil an avenue to attack your marriage then it’s important that you avoid it. Having a joint account or not does not in any way affect the issue of trust in marriage. If as a wife you don’t trust your husband, sharing a joint bank account with him will still not make you trust him. And likewise, for the husband, having a joint bank account will not in any way result in trust in the marriage.
Quite a lot of couples share the same bank accounts and they are good for it and a handful of couples share the same bank account and they feel choked by it. The truth of the matter is that masculine material priority differs totally from a feminine material priority. A wife may want to buy a skirt or a wig, or a hair extension and as far as the husband is concerned those a trash. And in the same vain a husband might want to buy an expensive wrist band and the wife sees it as absorb and a waste. And there the trouble begins. What men need money for are most of the time totally different from what women need money for. But that is not to say that I condemn having a joint bank account, but if it has to be done, then it should be done with a level of wisdom such that it doesn’t give room for any marital crisis in the future.  
It is a nice thing if both couples have separate means of income. If for any reason there is the desire to save between couples, they can decide to have a joint account whereby they both maintain a certain level of contribution periodically for the family. And if both couples are working and doing this, then it’s very okay.
But in a scenario whereby both the wife and husband are working and earning a salary and have decided that they put all of their salaries in one joint bank account, I fear that might be a time bomb waiting to explode. This has absolutely nothing to do with trust but the fact that the wife who might most likely feel choked from this arrangement after a while, will need to always seek her husband’s approval for every spend in her life even though she is working and earning income. And the same goes for the husband. Invariably, one of the parties will start to hold back some of his/her income to meet personal needs and this will, in turn, break down trust and openness in the marriage. 
A typical example of this was shared at the just concluded marriage gist and what I advised such a wife to do is to begin to look for what she can do that will fetch for her a second source of income whereby she get money to do what she wants to do without having to feel choked seeking husband’s approval to meet her needs.
Another possible way was for her to speak with her husband and gently and lovingly explain to her husband that the arrangement is not working well for her and as such she will need to be allowed to retain a fraction of her income in her personal account to cater for her personal needs.
Not having a joint bank account does not in any way reduce or improve the level of trust and openness in marriage. I don’t share the same bank account with my husband, but if I need to save money such that I won’t have any reason to touch it, I give it to my husband for safe keeping and he returns my money to me when I demand it. But not that I condemn the act of couples having a joint bank account in any way. I will say this to couples, never rush into any decision making out of momentary emotion that you feel, it is important that you consider the long-term effect of your decisions. Any decision or agreement that has the potential of dividing you or causing disaffection between you two in the long-run, then it’s important you don’t enter into such agreement.
Love and trust in marriage are not subject to a joint bank account.   

Friday, 8 March 2019

What Do You Do With the Flower of Love?

I was listening to a song titled “No Pain No Gain” by Betty Wright, you know those R&B/Songs of the 1980s. And in that song, Betty Wright defined love in a way that I really love to relate with. In the song, she said love was like a beautiful flower, but that flowers need water and sun to grow. And that has struck a nerve in my thought, we lay so much emphasis on love in marriage that we forget that without the proper enabling environment love withers and dies. And we have so many dead marriages who have anchored their existence on love without wanting to make the sacrifices that give love the room to grow and blossom.
I will never stop preaching the fact that marriage is an investment, and what you put in it determines what you get from it. I dare to say that there is no such thing as bad marriage when a couple without any force, choose to marry each other. If you were not forced to marry your spouse and then the marriage goes bad, it's not because the marriage in itself is bad, its because you and your spouse mismanaged the marriage.
If you have a business venture and you mismanage it, it will collapse with time and the same goes for marriage. It is a fact that if you run a business with emotions and not being alert and wise to the needs of the business, it might not survive. In the same way, if you handle your marriage solely on emotions and not with wisdom, then the chances of survival are very slim.
What we now understand love to be, is that emotion that gives and just keeps giving. But we forget that if the source of this emotion is not replenished, it runs out after some time. And so, the love that we should now run with is such that we give into it and then take from it. So, in order to always have a constant supply of love we need to care for its source. The love that sustains is the one that gives and takes.
A lot of married couples have defined love in marriage as a 50-50 thing. So, it is expected that the husband gives 50% and the wife gives 50%. Two things are wrong with this love methodology. The first is when you give 50% of your love and commitment into your marriage that means you are giving just half of yourself into that marriage. If you are just giving half of your love and commitment into your marriage, then you should not expect your spouse to give more than just half of himself or herself into the marriage or else you will be cheating him or her and asking for too much. Remember the level of your investment determines the level of yield you will get from it.
And then what are you going to be doing with the remaining 50% of your love and commitment? If you are not investing it in the marriage, then you are not being loyal to your marriage. If the marriage goes down, you will be the architect of that.
And then secondly, let’s do a little arithmetic, if you give 50% of you into your marriage and your spouse gives 50% of himself or herself into a marriage, you will both arrive at a 100% which is good, but far from being good enough. If you invest all of your emotions and commitment into your marriage, that means you are giving your 100%. If on the other hand, your spouse is giving his/her 100% love and commitment, what you will arrive at is 200%. That is twice what you will have if you were just giving half of yourself into your marriage, so why settle for less?
Love is good and beautiful and highly needed in the survival of any marriage, but that love needs to be kept alive or else it will be totally worthless. For love to thrive, it needs all that sacrificial watering and sunning you can give to it. Without your sacrificial watering and painful sunning, it will die fast. Make it a point of responsibility to water and sun your love in marriage to keep it alive and beautiful. You know what to do, so kill that which prevents you from enjoying your marriage and groom the beautiful flower of love that adds color to your marriage.