Before you say ‘I do’ too

I never thought of myself as Open, Fun, Domesticated…..

Marriage has changed enhanced a lot of my recessive genes.

While I was still single, I found it hard to stay in the kitchen for more than 30 minutes. I ate all things convenient. Bread of course, yam, eggs, baked beans, etc. I relied on my mom for the hard stuff like beans, efo riro, etc. I remember I once dated a guy who wanted me to cook for him… let’s just say, that didn’t end well.

Months before I got married, I asked myself many questions. How I was going to cope with the responsibilities? Was I going to cook every day? Would I get a maid? Would I have to wash my clothes as well as my husband’s? Was marriage going to change us? These were questions that hunted me. Having heard so many stories of how people especially the men change once they get married, I decided within myself that I was going to trust God and go in freestyle, hoping all will be well. (Please note that there is a level of maturity needed and a high level of trust in God).

Fast forward to almost three years later, I find myself developing a strategy that works for me. I do the major cleaning once a week – this is a great stress reliever for me, I cook what my husband likes – major cooking is done once in three days, I am now comfortable staying in the kitchen longer than 30 minutes (do I have a choice?) and I outsource the laundry….. It is a fact that my husband and I have changed, we are much more responsible and have grown deeper love and respect for each other. Has it been easy? Definitely not. Neither has it been as hard as I feared.

Deciding who to get married to can be really hard.

There was a time in my life where I had random guys practically walk up to me to ask my hand in marriage. It was a real battle. Marriage has always been something I really wanted and now that I am married, I realize who you decide to settle down with matters a whole lot.

I’ll give you one good reason why. You see, my daughter sweats a lot – she got that from her dad. She walks funny – she got that from me. She hangs her clothes and panties on the door handle – me. She has ‘thin’ eyes – that’s from her dad. She has a big forehead – me again. Her nose is small – still me. She’s cunning – definitely her dad. So one good reason why deciding on a life partner is really important… Genes! Defined as ‘a unit of heredity which is transferred from a parent to offspring and is held to determine some characteristic of the offspring’ – Google.

So beware / be alert of genes. Does your boyfriend / girlfriend have a weird looking brother? Be warned! Your son might look just like him.

Cheers!

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The War.

As I walked into my Admin Manager’s office on the 30th of March, 2015, I met a guy sitting at her desk. He happened to be a psychologist. He exclaimed “so you own this place?” and I answered “yes”. He said his wife had some issues he need help with and we got talking….

Later that day, he brought in his wife who was accompanied by her mother. She was a young and chubby lady who appeared quite restless. The stories told about how his wife got to this stage were varied with a lot stemming from stressors from family and work. This man was exhausted from lack of sleep as a result of tending to his wife. After careful assessment, admission and treatment on an inpatient basis was decided upon. To this, he however refused pleading to be allowed to take his wife home. Two days later he returned with her claiming she had not improved. Then began the inpatient care for her.

It was a roller coaster ride, one minute she seemed to be responding, she would be out of her ward speaking with the doctor and other members of staff, the next minute she would be in a trancelike state, hallucinating, floridly, gesticulating, fighting or struggling to get up, go out. She would call out names of co-workers and family members. Once this trancelike state was over, she appeared completely oblivious of the incidence. These incidences could occur 2- 3 times daily at the initial stage of treatment. It reduced to about once daily after about 2 weeks on admission.

Medications were reviewed and doses changed from time to time with frustrations on both the part of the wife’s family and her husband. There were several tense moments during the course of her admission and treatment. One of my frustrations was the fact that his wife’s family were of the opinion that she was under a ‘spiritual attack’ and hence the need for several ‘prayers’. Her husband however stuck with my opinion and was willing to allow her continue treatment. The period of her admission was accompanied with extremely hot weather and power was almost non-existent. This made her very restless and uncomfortable especially when she was hot or hungry which sometimes lead to hallucinations.

Finally, after about 4 demanding weeks on admission, there appeared to be a steady improvement in her condition and she was discharged. This was followed by counselling / therapy sessions to sort out unresolved emotional issues which directly or indirectly contributed to the stressors and eventual breakdown of the patient.

Dupe has remained well and stable till date.

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I found a way to cajole my doctor to summarize her experience with me.

It is a fact that so many people out there suffer psychological illness and are too ashamed to speak out. It is also a fact that some of us still attribute illnesses (mostly things we don’t quite understand) to spiritual attacks and so on. If only we speak out and reach out to encourage one another…

What marriage has taught me…

I have learnt a few things from my almost three years of marriage. I pondered on this on my way to the office and thought to share.

The Bond – bonding is very important in the first few years of marriage.

I believe especially in the first year, you need to take out time to learn how to adjust to your new life. Dating as a lot people say is very different from marriage. While dating you get to go home, fight for long hours, ignore each other’s calls, etc. In marriage you are in each other’s faces forever. So I’ve learnt that bonding matters a whole lot. You get to learn about your spouse afresh, their habits etc.

My friend once mentioned that her husband did not know about her morning breath until they got married!

The Finance – a number of my friends tell me they do not contribute to the home.

Well I do. And I like it. It gives me a sense of belonging and responsibility. I like that I can strategize with my husband and have a say in the way we run the home. Marriage has taught me to be open and less insecure.

The Sex – as a Christian wife, I fought very hard with the idea that you should not deny your spouse of sex. What if I’m tired? What if I’m uninterested at the moment? What if I want more? So many questions…

I have learnt that you actually need to learn to satisfy your spouse with everything within your power. Feeling tired? Take a cold shower – it’ll help. Feeling unsatisfied? Communicate exactly how you want it. Need adventure? Proffer tactics to spice up your sex life. Nowadays I try to always be ready! Lol – it has put us in a good place.

The Family – if you are close to me, you will know that I’m a sucker for family. I’d rather hang out with my family than look for friends – no offense.

I love my nuclear and extended family. Of course be mindful of setting boundaries, your nuclear family is the most important. What your spouse feels and thinks are priority. Learn to be an advocate of peace, enjoy moments spent with your family. At the end of the day, you cannot trade them for another.

The Parenting – being a new mom (LOL after two years), I still struggle with the method I want to adapt in bringing up our daughter. Many times, I find myself exasperated by something she’s doing and then my husband comes to my rescue.

In parenting, I believe there needs to be a good cop and a bad cop. The one who is a little soft and the other a little hard. I must confess, I am the softie (this actually shocks me). My daughter climbs on me, jumps on me, plays with my hair, does so many things she cannot try with her father. If you follow me on IG, I’m sure you would have guessed this already. I’m her play mate, we sing nursery rhymes together, watch cartoons together, we actually do most things together.

Now the funny thing is she is actually more inclined towards her father. She prefers him to put her to bed, she rather he feeds her and looks up to him for so many other things.

I guess I’ve learnt the importance of two parents in a child’s life. There’s that balance, there’s harmony, there’s a sense of security and lots more.

The home – I grew up believing in the strict roles of the man and wife. The wife engages in house-hold chores and the upbringing of the children while the man provides.

The lines are blurred now. I am not too ashamed to ask my husband for help with house chores when I need to and I am not reluctant to contribute. Don’t get me wrong, this is entirely subjective. It’s your home, you get to decide the way you want to run it.

Your spouse – all my life I dreamt of prince charming. At an early age, I watched Disney fairytales and believed one day my own prince will scoop me off my feet, ride with me on his horse and take me to his castle, where we will live happily ever after. It didn’t quite turn out that way. You see I kissed a number of frogs before one magically transformed into my prince.

My husband… he compliments me, he knows my weaknesses but feeds my strengths, he nurtures me, he builds me, he is open with me and loves me in spite of all my flaws. Your spouse is God ordained, God’s unique special gift to you. Nothing happens by coincidence. The one you chose with the leading of the Holy Spirit is indeed the one for you.

Yes, there are times that you doubt if you made the right decisions especially when life throws curve balls at you. Be strong, remember why you chose your spouse, have faith in the timing it all happened and live life together knowing that two is indeed better than one.

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This post is dedicated to my husband who turns a year older on Thursday. I know and I believe that God made me for you. You’ve taught me how to love, you’ve taught me how to live. You’ve taught me how to accept and believe in myself even when I don’t like ‘me’. I know we’ve been through a lot in recent years but I find consolation in the fact that God has us. He brought us back together when it was bleakest and has refreshed our love over and over again. May God continue to use us to touch lives in Jesus’ Name.

Random… Be a role model

This morning, I experienced a big shock from something my daughter said.

As we drove into the drive way of her school, we saw an elderly man facing the wall. My daughter immediately said ‘Mommy, see Baba is weeing’. This sent a great shock wave down my spine. The question that nagged me was how did she know or figure that out from a distance?! Yes, I understand that there are boys in her class and she probably sees them weeing… I guess I was just uncomfortable because he is an adult!

This made me recall a number of things I know I can remember about my childhood.

Many of us take children for granted.

We do wrong things in front of them thinking it doesn’t matter or it doesn’t count, we think they will not remember.

This is false. Children are smart. Children remember. They process things. They are sharp. They figure things out.

I have heard of young children (as young as 3 years old) who experiment with their peers sexually just because they are exposed too early.

Let’s remember to be positive role models to our children (and others). Let’s try to shield them from abuse. Let’s teach them the right way. Commit them to God and pray for them.

Cheers!

Before you say ‘I do’

I searched for the internet meaning of marriage and found this on http://marriage.about.com/od/historyofmarriage/g/marriage.htm as a suitable definition:

A formal union, marriage is a social, and legal contract between two individuals that unites their lives legally, economically, and emotionally. The contractual marriage agreement usually implies that the couple has legal obligations to each other throughout their lives or until they decide to divorce…

The Bible (after the creation of man … and woman) gives us a picture of marriage: Gen 2 vs 24 “This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”

There are similarities between both definitions. We have the man, the woman and the word ‘unite’. ‘Unite’ according to the Merriam Webster dictionary means “to join together to do or achieve something.” Can two unite work together unless they agree?

Sometimes, we forget that for any relationship to work, we must first of all ‘agree’.

A number of us (due to many reasons) compromise on our standards just so that we make the relationship work. We forget, that we cannot kid or lie to ourselves forever. Soon, our ‘real self’ re-surfaces and then we begin to have issues with our partner(s).

I have compromised more than once before. Gone into relationships, throwing all my standards and values aside just to make it work. It hit me badly, I paid for it with heart breaks.

Looking back I can only thank God for the lessons learnt.

Marriage unlike a causal ‘dating’ relationship, is not so easy to opt out of. We consider the time & resources we have invested, we consider our children, we concern ourselves with what people will say. Going by our standards as Christians, (‘God hates divorce…’ Malachi 2 vs 16) we must try to get it right once and for all.

I was involved in a discussion earlier today about being ready for marriage. Is anyone truly ever ready for the big step? Are we ever prepared to be a good wife or a husband? Is it innate or do we learn?

Here’s what I think, the Lord prepares us for every phase of our lives. This means that we kind of get an ‘expo’ in preparation of what is to come.

The people and events we encounter all work together to make us who we are. I used to be very afraid of marriage even though that was my dream, but everything that I went through before saying ‘I do’ shaped my personality and prepared me for the life I’m living today.

It is a fact that unfortunate unplanned things happen sometimes, witnessing your parents go through a divorce, the death of one or both parents, being brought up by a single parent and so on. It is also a fact that we are usually a product of our background, BUT “with Christ all things are made new” 2Cor 5 vs 17. We can decide, choose or renew our pathway.

Before you make a decision to begin a marriage relationship with anyone, consider your values, think about what you stand for and do not compromise.

Remember – God will not give you more than you can bear, 1Cor 10 vs 13

TGIF!

Draw Strength

I reunited with one of my old friends today.

He is getting married in a couple of days and decided to invite me for his wedding. I actually was really excited to see him as we hadn’t seen since we graduated in 2009. Amazing how time flies! Amazing how people change! I ponder on our meeting and marvel at how things have changed.

I am married with a baby, I have worked for over six years (and still working), I struggle to  keep up with trends, my Friday nights are indoors (mostly cooking), I haven’t had alcohol in over a year :-(, most of my friends are married, most of the events I go for  are family hang out and weddings, when I think of fun – I think of a fun place for children, I am two shoe sizes bigger, my bra size has increased…again, the list goes on and on.

I cast my mind back to my Uni days… I thought I had problems, little did I know! I worried about which clothes to buy, I schemed up ways to get extra pocket money, I envied runs girls, I cried over boys, I brooded over what to wear to parties and majorly worried about my final year project – I thought all that was stress… I was wrong!

Adulthood is hard!

Today at the office, we talked about the highs and lows of childbearing. The fact that no one is ever prepared for the experience. I asked a significant question… why didn’t anyone tell me breastfeeding is painful??!! Not one person ever mentioned that! I cried almost every time I breastfed my daughter for over two months! Well, someone mentioned that the lows are not communicated (for events like marriage and childbearing) so as not to discourage people…. my opinion is to educate yourself and prepare! Prepare so that life doesn’t throw curveballs at you.

The truth is that there are some experiences no one ever prepares for… sudden death of a loved one, divorce, rape, depression, etc. We just have to learn to be strong. We need to know where to draw strength from. We need a support system. We need a lifeline.

Identify your source of strength today, build a support system and best of all, tap into the Grace that has been made available through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4 vs 13 – “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength”

Be Free!

Sometimes we magnify situations in our lives to be more important than they really are. We worry over things that we cannot control, brood over circumstances beyond us…

I have always known myself to be a worrier (this was before my mental breakdown of course).

I worried about today, worried about yesterday, worried about tomorrow. It was hectic! I never was completely comfortable in my present, something always occupied my mind. The feeling is similar to being caged. Caged with little or no space to move about.

I recall a consistent lie that I always told myself… I was fat, even though I was slim (you see, perspective matters a lot). Now, that I am some pounds bigger, I look back at my old pictures and marvel at how ‘slim’ I used to be.

Back then, I just always had it in my subconscious that I was fat. This never allowed me fully express myself with my outfits. I recall when I was much younger, I was always too shy to wear trousers as I always thought it showed off my big legs. I recall my sister and my mom encouraging me to put on fancy clothes and me being highly reluctant to do so. I always needed encouragement and reassurance to rock whatever outfit I put on.

No one should be held under such bondage!

meeSo now, this is me(on the right) – many pounds and a baby after, I have found myself struggling with my self-esteem all over again. I look into the mirror and almost do not recognize myself. I say to myself, I am fat.

I have however decided to take another approach to it.  While working on a diet routine, I have decided to love myself the way I am, put on nice, fancy outfits regardless of how judgemental my feelings are towards my body.

I uphold myself, I love myself, my mind does not control me, I control my mind. I am beautiful any which way. I am fearfully and wonderfully made – the Word of God says so.

God looks at me and sees Jesus, He sees me as His perfect daughter – spotless and without blemish, I am free from sin and any kind of bondage.

Are you insecure? Do you let situations hold you down? Is it something beyond your control or can you do something about it?

Worry not! The Bible says in Philippians 4 vs 6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (NIV).

Rest in God, HE loves you anyway you are…

Enjoy the weekend fam!