"" From Now Till 'I Do'...: July 2010

Guest Post: What do you mean I can’t get a refund???? I don’t think I want HIM anymore!!!

12 Things the people are saying
I have reached the age where conversations had with family members and “aunties” at the majority of social events, family reunions, church and church events are frequently centred on marriage.  I am frequently told by the “aunties”   ‘ei my daughter, you are looking very fresh ooo, and ‘Ah! We need to start preparing our headgear’. (In extreme cases).

Whilst showing them a huge grin on my face saying ‘soon come’ , I silently sigh as I question whether they ask these questions to provoke me, or whether they are seriously concerned about my biological clock ticking, or if they genuinely want to come for ‘our’ celebration, to bless me and my husband?  Or are they just being nosy and just want the latest gossip? The mental note of people to invite to ‘our’ wedding celebration in the future increases, I already feel sorry for the numbers!

I know as I prepare for marriage, I refuse to succumb to pressure and settle for less. I have always been observant and good at listening, when it comes to relationships and marriage. Although the promises of marriage are fulfilling, in the home, in society but above all in the eyes of God, the preparation towards marriage is definitely more than a shopping spree, and I am glad I still have the opportunity, to prepare myself for such a wonderful journey. God ordered the steps of Rebekah, and she met the servant of Abraham, who helped her into her destiny.

As I am sure we can all agree, Marriage is a serious business, and the bible refers to Genesis Chapter 24 as a useful scriptural guide in finding the one HE HAS KEPT FOR YOU.

Bishop TD Jakes describes a truly good woman as a wife before she is married, as the quality needs to be embedded in you before you find him, and it is a unique gift of nurturing given by God. One only assumes that, it is through prayer that one acquires this gift, as we know that prayer is the bedrock of every marriage.

Scripture declares ‘whoso findeth a wife finds a good thing’. Bishop Jakes goes on to say that if the scripture had said whoso findeth a woman... then all women could immediately fulfil the role as wife without a doubt.  I am not hereby saying that it is a right or not a right that all women should be married but only expressing that to be married is a privilege.

Like Chichi and many other ladies out there, I enjoy listening to my elders who give advice based on their personal experiences in marriage and also on how a wife must conduct herself in the matrimonial home although sometimes they deliberately forget to include the bad bits, not bad, but not so great aspects. (BUT I must say, one or two close family members give it to me as it is, NO SUGAR COATING). However, having said that, these real life stories are intriguing and helpful; as I believe the advice given will ensure that I am better equipped to deal with marriage.

To what extent in effect, will this advice better equip me to deal with trying times, when they deliberately hold back the negative things about marriage in conversation?  I guess no one can fully prepare you enough for marriage, but yourself with the help of God. Everyones’ situation and relationships are different. We all know marriage is a journey. Pastor Funke Adejumo says ‘the only school where you do not receive a certificate as you start school is marriage, there is no graduation day to look forward to. It is until death us do part...’

My future husband will not have a sell by date; neither will I have a receipt to take him back to where I bought him from to exchange within 28 days, No refunds available!!!

I have always said, I will never settle for less without a doubt! But is that the right mentality to have?
WHAT IS SETTLING FOR LESS?  Is settling for less accepting other people’s flaws and situations? Does it involve being patient and understanding?  Does it mean accepting his present situation for what it is....? 

Listening to other women and their misunderstandings with their Husbands has got me thinking ALOT. Is it right to assume that I will have the same joys and woes? Can I compare their relationship with my prospective husband?  

I am lucky and somewhat privileged to have my mother shower me with advice me not only as the professional wedding planner she is, but as the marriage councillor and above all my mother, what more could I ask for? I remember the look on her face when I said to her in anger ‘You know I am picky and fussy, how would I ever be able to tolerate the difficulties in marriage? ’ Although my mum laughed, we had a long talk and I was able to take away a lot, but she said the most important attribute to my search was patience and prayer before and whilst in marriage. She took the verse from James 5:7 which says ‘therefore be patient, brethren... see how the farmer waits for the precious fruits of the earth’.

She also said, the earlier I face reality that issues will come and go, the better my relationship would be, as it takes grace and appreciation, patience and understanding to achieve such. As we know every human being has the desire to love and be loved.  Once you have found the one God himself has chosen for you, it is not a journey to be embarked on, on your own. It becomes a lifelong partnership between you and your husband.

Voila!!! Enough said.  I now know where to focus my prayers and ensure I am not only that virtuous wife, but I will need to keep the relationship in sync literally.

We can talk about this till Jesus comes again, but we must understand that if it is the right person from the start that we are destined to be with, then all the other issues that may not go the way we expect them to go will become irrelevant.

I now need to focus on how I will be handling his and especially my shortcomings and imperfections too, and include that in my prayer points,  I’m sure it’s not hard if WE focus and pray ladies!!!

Stay Blessed with Love,
Lexie xxx

Guest Post: Preparing While You Wait - Mistakes to Avoid

9 Things the people are saying

This is a guest post from Blessing from Blessings Outlet. We don’t really talk about break ups on here, but they are very real and one can learn a lot from them. Blessing thanks for sharing with us!

When my boyfriend and I of three and a half years broke up a few months ago, I was heartbroken, angry, and disappointed. Since he was the one that ended the relationship, I blamed it all on him. I cried to my friends and family telling my one-sided story of how he promised me a lifetime of happiness and love...you know the "Heaven on Earth" sturvs.

After weeks of playing Ms. Innocent, I stepped off of my emotional roller coaster and decided to keep it "real" with myself. Like they say, "It takes two to tango", I finally admitted to playing a huge roll in the downfall of our relationship.

Let's start from the beginning, Well my ex and I jumped into a romantic relationship without being friends first. My ex (let's call him Mike) and I met while I was dating someone else. Myself and "someone else" broke up a few months after I met Mike. Mike and I started dating 3 weeks after the break up. BIG MISTAKE! We never took the time to get to know one another. I did not know what he liked or didn't like, what his future goals were, what his values were, and to top it off we didn't have any goals for our relationship...we just went with the "flow". When our "true colours" started showing we started bumping heads. We both felt like we were deceived and that we weren't getting what we bargained for.

Rule #1: Before you get into any relationship, get to know the other person VERY well!!! (Determine what you expect from the other person; determine where the relationship is heading - you two should be on the same page and allow room for mistakes (no one's perfect)).

Mr. Some else found out that I was dating Mike shortly after my breakup with him and told my father *rolls eyes*. Needless to say I couldn't hide Mike from my family as I intended initially. About two months into our relationship, he met mommy, daddy, sisters, brother and grandma! And within the next few months I met his family also. Eventually both families met on numerous occasions (as a matter of fact they still speak till this day). Mike's mom loves me to pieces and she still hasn't accepted the fact that we've broken up, she says that we're just "on bad terms".

Rule #2: Don't not introduce your bf/gf to family unless its a committed relationship (Having the families involved early in the relationship can make things complicated)

Because we weren't friends from the get go, our conversations were very limited. As in booorrriinngg *yawn*. We never felt comfortable with sharing our feelings with one another. I felt like he was always judging me and he felt like I didn't care; most times I just sat there after hearing him pour his heart out to me and I wouldn't utter a word. We must understand that women and men are different. Usually when women speak, they just someone to listen to them. And most times when men speak, they want advice/support.

Rule #3: We've all heard it before, Communication is highly important!!! Nuff said.

When I met Mike I was just beginning to discover who I was. Throughout my childhood years I suffered from low self esteem. I felt like I wasn't pretty enough or I wasn't smart enough or my body was a hot mess. Another person can pick up on your insecurities easily: they can either get turned off or take advantage of you.

Rule 4: Before you try to love someone else, love yourself first (you can't give what you don't have). We all have flaws, learn to be perfectly imperfect.

I thought I was Mother Theresa or something, I kept training to change Mike! I complained and nagged about every little thing. I would have mood swings and ignore him (that's a no no). There are going to be some things that you can't stand about your significant other, but you'll never be able to change him/her.

Rule #5: Learn to tolerate certain things, as long as its not something illegal or harmful themselves or others. (Change is good, you can either encourage your significant other to change their ways or encourage them to remain the same, depending on how you go about it)

Mike and I are both Christians, at one point we began to pray together on a daily basis. When the drama came along...we stopped praying together and we became distant from one another. You will have challenges in your relationships, you'll bump heads on numerous occasions; praying together helps you to come into agreement with one another and it also makes you accountable to God. Truth be told, a lot of people won't be happy to see you two together. And the devil hates marriage, so he'll do what ever it takes to prevent it or cause it to fall apart.

Rule #6: Prayer goes a long way, it can make or break (the lack of it) a relationship.

*You can even pray for your significant other before you meet him/her (pray for their finances, their health, their relationships with friends and families, etc)

Understand your roles, women RESPECT your man...no that doesn't mean that you'll become his punching bag or that he can treat you anyhow...just let him be the man...the head...its his God given position...you're meant to be his support system...his helpmeet...his neck. And men, LOVE your woman...its as simple as abc...a lil love goes along way...help her around the house, encourage and support her, be romantic, show her some affection!

Rule #7: Play your part and it will all come together.

I've learned from my mistakes and I'm hoping that someone reading this will also. Relationships/Marriage are hard work, but it'll be worth it. Avoid little problems that can turn into bigger problems. You need to prepare yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically to be involved with someone else. Commitment requires sacrifice, and sacrifice is never easy.

So prepare yourself while you wait, God never gives you what you're not prepared for!

Guest Post: A Beautiful Math - Two = One Flesh

8 Things the people are saying

This is a guest post written from the lovely Jaycee from Light-A-Lamp.

Jay and S dancing

Seasons change. Sometimes for the better, other times for worse. My season changed for the better after getting hitched on December 26th, 2009 to the love of my life. It was a beautiful change. Someone once told me, Marriage is sweet. That line has sort of become my mantra. We got married on a sunny day in Lagos, and after a few days travelled back to face the harsh winter weather in the United States.

Sometimes I’m cuddled up close enough to hear his heart beating, and we start a conversation. Sometimes we split the conversation into two pieces and take different sides. Still, I sit still and try to see his point of view. In many of our lovely discussions, I’ve come to realize that I’ve grown into this woman that I never knew I’d be. The Math of marriage, 2=1, is true. Marriage has done something to me. It has taken me and made me a better listener. It has gotten a hold of my restlessness and made me a calmer woman. It has eliminated stubbornness, and in its place respect has been given.

In my short span of 6 months as a new wife, these are some nuggets of wisdom I and hubby have successfully unravelled.

1) Two Really Become One: It was so shocking to find out that two of us actually morphed into one person. This phenomenon cannot be explained by science or any form of technology. It just happened. I no longer exist by myself, and it’s the same with him. In every decision, both of our inputs count. It got so hilarious that I felt weird taking a cookie from the cookie jar without asking him first and without offering him a cookie as well. Yeah, that weird. Well, I’ve stolen some cookies a few times without asking, but it felt out of place not to share them with him. Ephesians 5:31, “Two shall become one flesh.”

2) Our Words are Powerful: My husband always says that our words are like eggs, which once broken cannot be put back together again. Our words are more precious than gold. They are priceless. In a marriage, this proverb is of high importance. Why? The reason is that the person you get angry with the most is the one who’s the closest to your heart. What we don’t realize is that even in those moments of anger, we can curtail the words that come out. Our words have a long-lasting effect, especially words thrown out in anger. Marriage has taught me how to control the way I speak, because the bottom line (no matter what) is that we love each other, and words should not be spilled in anger which might incorrectly show the opposite. There can be love even in anger, and there can be romance after a disagreement. James 3:5, “Even so, the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!”

3) Follow the Leader: We are leaders in several spheres in life, but there’s only one leader in a marriage. There cannot be two heads. Someone once said, “The husband is the head, and the wife the neck that turns the head in the right direction.” As humoristic as the quote was meant to be, it exhibits a truth. The husband is the head and the wife is the person who helps him to be all that he needs to be as the head. Genesis 2:18 says that God made the woman to be a “helper.” He is my head, and every final decision for our household depends on his words, with mine being in assistance. In those areas where he gives me the full reign, I gladly make the final decisions. But there’s nothing as silly as trying to usurp that spiritual leadership that I was not ordained to have. It is a Godly thing, an orderly thing, something to be done in love, and certainly for a great purpose. As the head, he also helps me become everything I’m meant to be, which is what a good leader does. Ephesians 5:22-33 says that wives are to submit to their husbands as the “head,” and husbands are to “love” their wives as their own bodies.

4) Spending Time Together: Nothing beats that special time when we ignore everything else going on around the world except our own heartbeats. In the silence we grow together. I’ve learned that having a “special time” every single day is necessary. It could be by choosing a movie together or by going to a park close to a lake. In those moments, feelings from the day’s activities are poured out, and we help each other unravel those feelings (happy or sad). It still amazes me when I find out something new about him. I often feel like I’m inside a discovery cove of a great amusement park, with lots of exciting discoveries inside.

I’m still learning. I’m still on this discovery journey. But there’s nothing as beautiful as growing with someone you love beside you for the rest of your days.

Image {Jaycee’s wedding day!}

Guest Post: Attention seeking bridesmaids!

3 Things the people are saying

This is a guest post from YNC from YNC Lounge.

Attention seeking bridesmaids- you will know them by their behaviour

Your wedding day is suppose to be the best day in your life, but what happens when you have bridesmaids that just don’t care and want to be the centre of attention on your very own special day. Why? I don’t know. I guess we just have to find out after this post and I have given them a perfect name, they are called attention seeking bridesmaids. Are you one of them? Maybe yes or maybe no, you might be an attention seeking bridesmaid if you happen to fall into any one of the following categories:

a)Hairstyle: I have seen bridesmaid’s that want the same hairstyle and makeup as the bride, are you kidding me, no am not kidding. It happened at a wedding I went to two years ago, there was this bridesmaid that requested she has the same hair piece and makeup as the bride, everyone wasn’t too surprised when she came to the wedding with her own choice of hairstyle and it was even worse to find out she was the brides best friend. Now, that’s a bad friend right there.

b)Dress: Being the bride, you have to outshine your girls, yes it’s not bad to say so, it’s your very own special day and your girls should be polite enough to wear whatever you pick for them, can’t they just be happy with you for one day and stop questioning your instincts. For example: You want all the girls in a particular dress, all long and flowing, you have girl A obeying your order and the next girl B goes to her tailor to have the dress trimmed to her taste and style, in fact you wonder why she has her dress going from an evening dress to a cocktail dress. It happens, I have seen girls do it .

c)Shoes: You told all the girls that they had to wear silver shoes and one of your girls shows up with a black shoe. Why? You wonder, she just wants to be the centre of attention and make you mad, you have her removed from the bridal party at the last minute and she curses you out. Yeah we have bridesmaidzilla, where can we find such a word in the English dictionary. You tell me.

d)Not listening, ignoring her calls and showing up late: A lot of people think that most brides change to something else when it comes to planning their perfect wedding, they hate to see their friend shinning and getting all the attention on her special day, hence they want to make her mad by not listening to her tips, showing up late and just doing the unthinkable by ignoring her calls. Some girls even go as far as repaying a friend evil for evil based on something that occurred in the past. What a shame!

e)Not smiling: Attention seeking bridesmaid would go as far as not smiling to ruin your picture or spreading rumours during the photography section, they feel forced and jealous of you that they would strive to spoil your perfect picture moment by not smiling. Some even go as far as saying, “your white dress doesn’t look sexy or does your dress make you look fat?” Sucks right.

It’s best for every bride to beware of attention seeking bridesmaid knowing that you can never really tell if your sister or best friend might end up changing on your special D-day for worse. My best advice is for brides to choose their bridal party based on character and true friendship as opposed to numbers and looks. There’s more to it people and you want the very best on your special day.

Guest Post: Do Ask, Do Tell - Openness & Communication

14 Things the people are saying

This is a guest post from Kemi from ‘Till My Dying Day’. A recent newlywed, here she share her experiences around the importance of communication in relationships.

If there’s anything that I can say has helped myself and my husband navigate this our journey together it would be our commitment to communicate and be open with each other about everything.

Very early on in our relationship, and I mean very early on, Bolaji and I had a chat where somehow we both came up with a term “full disclosure”. I can’t remember for sure now but I think it was my determination to tell him about every single person in my past, the circumstances surrounding each relationship, how it ended, how I feel or still felt about how it ended. Not a lot of men are interested in hearing the sordid past of their new beau but I insisted and told him, well I want you to be the foremost authority on me so that no one out there would be able to tell you anything about me that you didn’t already know and we haven’t already discussed. He agreed and the term full disclosure was born. Full disclosure in our household means that you tell your partner everything about everything, no matter how difficult, how weird, how strange, how uncomfortable it makes you or you think it will make the other person. This applies especially to emotions. Whatever it is you are feeling about anything, it is your duty to share and discuss. This is the attitude we’ve carried along the entirety of our relationship. As long as we can discuss whatever issue, it will never destroy us or hold power over us.

In preparing for my marriage, I bought a lot of marriage self-help books. I wanted to hear and learn from others’ experience and use their knowledge to solidify my own marriage. One of the most useful books that I read during this period was written by Darrell L. Hines and is called “Resolving Conflict in Marriage”.

The book is filled with all kinds of practical insights but two chapters that really spoke to me are called “Talk About It” and “Tell the Truth and Keep No Secrets.” Hines goes on to say:

resolving marriage conflict book“If you want to avoid a great deal of conflict in your marriage, don’t hide things from your spouse.

Don’t hide phone numbers from your spouse.

Don’t hide purchases you’ve made that you know took you over budget.

Don’t hide ‘friends’ from your spouse.

Don’t hide your activities from your spouse.

Don’t hide your whereabouts from your spouse.”

He goes on to say…

“For a person to ‘submit’ to another person, trust must be in place. You can’t submit to someone you don’t trust. And you can’t trust a person who is untrue to his or her words or who fails to have integrity when it comes to following through on that word.”

As mentioned earlier part of communicating is also sharing your feelings or emotions about any thing. If your spouse has found the job of his dreams in Wisconsin but you don’t want to move to Wisconsin, don’t hold it in. Share the feelings and talk about it. Work out a plan. If your spouse leaves their clothes on the floor for you to trip over every morning, talk about how that makes you feel. Discuss it in a loving manner and you’ll find that you’re able to find a solution.

Bolaji and I recently had a discussion where I shared my feelings on how difficult I find it sometimes coming home from a long hard day at work and having to start dinner and have dinner ready by the time he comes home. Of course he’s very supportive and understanding about everything but I also shared with him the amount of guilt I feel whenever he doesn’t come home to a nice meal. We talked about it and tried to find a solution for both of us. That was difficult for me personally because I thought he would think, “what kind of wife have I married?” but I’m glad I shared my feelings and let it out so it won’t fester and turn into resentment later on in my marriage. There are simple things too that I just think I don’t have to share that I didn’t actually do that proposal that I was supposed to do. He won’t ask me anyway so I’ll keep it. But then I always remember our vow of full disclosure and share everything. He’ll express his disappointment yes, but also ask me why I didn’t feel like doing it and then we talk about it together.

We have to be careful though whenever we talk about communication as there are right and wrong ways to communicate. I’ve found that it’s better to say how something makes you feel rather than focusing on the circumstances. Usually there’s a feeling behind every issue whether it’s feeling frustrated, unappreciated, anxious, unloved, or whatever. Communicate the feeling.

Being open with each other and sharing every experience and emotion has brought myself and my husband closer together than any other thing has. I enjoy working things out together and truly feel that so long as we share and discuss we can conquer ANY thing. I truly believe that when the devil sees a great union, a great marriage he starts plotting ways to destroy it right from the beginning. The Yoruba have a saying that where there’s no crack in the wall, a lizard cannot crawl into it. Lack of communication, and lack of “full disclosure” is one of the easiest ways for the devil to crawl in and create seeds of discord, distrust, unhappiness, and un-fulfilment.

Darrell Hines writes in his book, “Do ask. Do tell. What you reveal is what can be healed, forgiven, discussed, restored, and improved!”

Image {source}

Guest Post: Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? A review.

10 Things the people are saying

This guest post is from Good Naija Girl who currently resides in the Canada and has been working very hard with the Nigerian Blog awards. A woman of many talents she also has a further blog All my singles ladies. Check them out!

I can’t remember where I first heard of the book Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? Trusting God With A Hope Deferred, but from the title and from reading what the book was about, it was apparent that I, then a 30 year old, single Christian woman, would benefit from it. I bought the book several months ago, and it sat collecting dust as I bought and read another book on relationships, one with a catchier title, written for a secular audience, which was a lot easier to read (as is often the case for me with secular versus Christian books).

I’m glad that Chichi’s invitation to guest blog stirred me to read this book and I’m here to share my first impressions after just finishing it.

When I told people I was reading this book, some mentioned that those sounded like good books to read. But no, that long title is for one book! Some also made an immediate connection to Joshua Harris’s book I Kissed Dating Goodbye (which I haven’t read), and it turns out that Harris was the one who gave author Carolyn McCulley the title for her book, and he wrote the forward for Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?

One thing that was interesting to me is the fact that Carolyn McCulley wrote this book from experience: although she’s now 46, she was 40 years old when she wrote the book. She’s a Christian woman who is very active in her church and countless other Christian ministries. And she is a single woman. It was important to me to read a book from the perspective of a woman who was still experiencing what she was writing about at the time she wrote the book (and beyond, as it would appear), because it lends an authenticity to instances where she says that she knows how you, the reader, feels.

Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? is divided into three parts: Surveying Singleness, Finding a Guide for Relationships in the Proverbs 31 Woman, and Finding a Guide for Daily Life in the Proverbs 31 Woman. Not surprisingly, Proverbs 31 is the key reference of this book. Most Christian women preparing for marriage know Proverbs 31 well, and many churches prescribe it as essential reading for women planning to marry one day. My introduction to the Proverbs 31 woman is recent (only in the last few years), and I’d hardly say I’ve really studied it. I’ve read it several times and concluded that I am not ready for marriage (even though I would like to be married soon), but that is not going to change matters, is it? I need to read the words and really meditate over them, and see how I can apply them to my current life and the future I desire. Reading this book is a first step that allows the reader to do just that.

To be honest, there is too much to say on the book, so I’ll have to focus on what I learned and found encouraging, and I'll share some difficult parts too.

I learned that:

  1. Singleness is a gift, just as marriage is a gift

    If you’ve been single as long as I have, it might be hard for you to consistently think of singleness as a gift (and there’s a passage early in the book about singleness being a gift you don’t recall asking for that will make you laugh). You may have married friends who have told you that you’re “so lucky” that you’re single and you can do what you want when you want. When you’re trying to leave the single life behind, these words provide little comfort.

    But if you believe that God only gives good gifts, and that God’s measuring stick for what makes a gift good or bad is not the same as a human measuring stick, you will open yourself up to seeing how your singleness is a blessing and how much you can bless others while single (and this book will help you realize both of those goals).

  2. Our time on earth is fleeting, and our concern should be on eternal things

    This was encouraging but also difficult. We all know that this world is fleeting and we should be preparing for eternity in heaven, but it’s so easy to get caught up in earthly matters and events, and for women who have dreamed all their lives of being married and having kids, it is very eye-opening to be reminded that the things of this world will not last! Our time fretting over our single status would be better spent doing God’s work here on earth, preparing for eternal future, rather than wondering whether marriage is part of God’s divine plan for us. There are countless ways that we can use some of the advantages of being single to bless others around us (and there are so many in need of this blessing), and the book shares many of these with the reader.

  3. Single women are called to be Proverbs 31 women

    If like me you’ve been thinking that you have at least your dating life (prior to marriage) to become the Proverbs 31 woman, this book will jolt you from that “I have time!” mentality. We are called to be Proverbs 31 women today, no procrastination allowed! We are to be women of noble character; we are to make decisions about our life today that will affect the kind of wife we may become in the future, decisions like learning submission (always a hot topic in the Christian walk for women!), and you’ll be interested to see ways in which McCulley suggests we can practice submission. We are to learn the many facets of hospitality (Proverbs 31: 14-15); enter into home ownership, if it's feasible, even without a husband (Proverbs 31: 16-19); and single women can have children “who rise up and call her [us] blessed”, as it says in Proverbs 31: 28, even before we have our own biological children (if that is God's plan). I hope you're intrigued enough to want to read the book for yourself and learn much more about how to be a Proverbs 31 woman, something that will serve you well regardless of whether or not you marry in the future.

Don’t let the above deceive you into thinking I found the book easy to read. There were some difficult parts, difficult because the book convicts you and shows you some of your sin. It may also expose some of the weaknesses in your walk with Christ and that can be very uncomfortable. I was personally reminded that my faith is weak and I have to work harder to make time with God a priority in my life.The more time I invest in God's words, the easier it will be to draw on His Word when I am finding it hard to wait on God for a husband.

I was a bit discouraged to learn that the author is still single, but if you look at all that she’s doing with her life, my sentiment is unnecessary−she’s certainly not sitting around feeling sorry for herself! I may have my own selfish reasons for feeling sorry for her: maybe I’m afraid that I will be single 15 years from now and I find that scary. When I start to feel this way, I remember that God, not (a) man, is in control of my life, and I remind myself to have faith that God will answer my prayers in the best way. That is encouraging and quite uplifting.

For those who have wondered if maybe it’s their external appearance (those 50 extra pounds, *ahem*) that is keeping them from catching the eye of a godly man, there is an excellent “Heart Check” on Beauty” at the end of Chapter 10, 10 questions that help you put things in perspective and ensure that your reasons for focusing on your outwardly appearance so much are reasons that are God-honouring. There's also a reminder that it’s our inner beauty that God is concerned about, and that we should also be focusing on (not that McCulley doesn't address outer appearance too). It was all eye opening to me.

There are so many things to appreciate about this book: the fact that McCulley supports her points with biblical references as well as references to resources from other Christian writers, the list of additional reading resources she provides at the end of each chapter, and her sense of humour to name a few. Since I wanted you to read this to the end, I tried to keep it short (well, my definition of short), but don’t think I have spoiled the book or shared all that it has to offer. I truly encourage you to pick up Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? Trusting God With A Hope Deferred if you want a bible-based book on how to navigate through your season of singleness. If you’re not ready to commit, the first two chapters are available here.

Picture taken by Good Naija Girl.

Guest Post: Tips for planning your wedding - what every bride needs to know

4 Things the people are saying

This is a guest post from YNC from YNC Lounge.

Not in any particular order but some tips to help you as you plan your big day.

a) Makeup and good hair is a must and it has to be very good. When planning a wedding, you need to ensure that you have your makeup and hair done different, don’t just do it yourself, hire a professional and see yourself looking like a celebrity for one day. Even if you are the type of girl that avoids wearing makeup, take risk and be that glowing bride for one day.

b) Lighting can break or make your pictures, ensure that it is great. I have seen wedding pictures that suck and they really do, yes it’s not the photographer that was bad, it was their choice of lightening, a lot of brides tend to worry about venue pricing more than the lightening of their venue. You need to ensure that the place you would be exchanging your vows or celebrating your reception is well light to allow for good photography. The beauty of good lighting can be well reflected in your pictures and everyone not just yourself will be able to tell the difference.

c) A good DJ that knows how to blend old school music with more contemporary ones based on your guest list type. In picking a perfect DJ for your dream wedding, I would say the first thing is to know your guest list, what type of guest are you expecting at your wedding, is it a pure African wedding or a diverse crowd, ensure that your DJ knows how to blend the music to flow in a particular order, you don’t want to have your guests confused during the dance routine, mix up the music and you would have guest talking about your party for years to come.

d) A good and friendly planner that you feel comfortable talking to at all times: if you see certain behaviours when interviewing them, it’s best not to hire them as your wedding planner, it’s as simple as that. Always ensure that your planner is pleasant and very informative about the whole wedding planning process, ensure you check out their previous work to be on the safe side to avoid confusion.

e) Bridal party that you can trust at all times and will do their best to ensure your day is awesome. What more can be said about a bridal party that one can trust, you will need your girls and they should be able to have your back when things go wrong, they should be willing and friendly to help you into your dress, take you to the bathroom when it’s time to pee and just be super supportive. Just to name a few.

f) Good food that tastes fresh knowing that your guests will be disappointed if the food isn’t right: Have you ever been to a wedding that the food just wasn’t right, I hate to admit it but a wedding where the food just don’t taste right is not a wedding at all. In as much as your vows have been said and you are now man and woman, your food says a lot about you, your class and whether you care about your guest. You need to ensure that the food that would be served at your reception or during the cocktail hour is fresh and tasty at all times. Don’t forget the drinks too, chilled and one of a kind, you would have your guest saying…Wow!

g) Emergency kits kept at all times in case of the unthinkable: Yes, things might go wrong on your special day and an emergency kit is your best saviour when such occurs. You would need things like safety pins, extra brush, face or blotting paper, eye brow pencil, lip gloss, cream for ashy legs, just the little things people fail to carry with them.

h) Plan your menstrual cycle to avoid having your period on your wedding day. I have seen brides that fail to plan their menstrual cycle with their wedding dates and end up being very uncomfortable plus stressed out a day before the wedding. If you must mark your calendar for your dream wedding, ensure you plan alongside your menstrual cycle, see a gynaecologist to ensure that no disaster happens on your special day.

I) Relaxation is key on your special day, learn to stress not: I have seen brides that stress out when it comes time to planning their big day. There is no perfect wedding but a creative and unique wedding. Don’t’ fret the small stuff or worry over how the day will play out. 90% of brides who worry about having a perfect wedding end up not enjoying their special day, just learn to breathe and enjoy every moment. You can still check to ensure everything goes well but don’t stress over everything, knowing nothing is ever 100% perfect

j) Respect is Key. Avoid being rude to everyone on your special day, the people in your life that are attending and helping you plan your wedding still deserve for your respect.

k) Creativity: You want your wedding to be unique and different from the other girl next door, try to challenge yourself with your wedding, explore colours and use the best of your imagination, it’s your wedding. Make it the very best you can!

Guest Post: Courtship

15 Things the people are saying

This is a guest post from Le Dynamique Professeur who is a wonderful blogger friend and encourager. I asked him to write on this topic following his comments to a post Shona wrote a couple of weeks back, asking whether it is still practical in this day and age to “court” someone. Have a read and let me know what you think. 

First I would like to thank Mrs E for this opportunity. It’s a privilege I really appreciate. So, as the topic goes… Courtship and how I (we) have approached it. I guess I will have to tell a short story about me with respect to relationships so you can picture where I am coming from. I am the sort with more female friends than male folks. I perhaps feel comfortable sharing with the female folks than the male ones. I think that is justifiable since I am not gay right *laughs*. On that note, it appears I have this feminine side when it comes to relationships. I give it my entirety; my heart, my soul, my energy, my time - my everything! As you’d probably be guessing, I have been heartbroken a few times; not too many. When I meet a lady and I like her, the first person that often comes to mind to share with is my Dad. Most times, when I tell him about my feelings towards a lady, he is fond of saying, “Samuel, enjoy the friendship”. Sometimes I listen, most times I don’t. Thank God I grew to understand why he always said that to me.

Three years ago, I met my fiancĂ©. A few months into the friendship, my feelings for her had started to develop. As usual, I told Dad about it and he didn’t hesitate to say it again, “Son, enjoy the friendship.” This time, I obeyed. I was enjoying the friendship and the friendship grew till we became close friends. While I had intentions of taking it further, I was waiting upon two things – one, God’s take on it and Dad’s special advice. While the former is what I’d never done before and didn’t know what to expect; the latter seem to me like one of those times I’d gone to Dad for such. I was not expecting him to say anything else than “Son, keep enjoying the friendship”. Amazingly, I heard from God about her and days after, Dad himself called me to confirm it. To cut the long story short, months after, she heard God herself and the relationship began. We really ‘enjoyed the friendship’ and I must say, that helped and is still helping us till date.

Considering the limitation of space, I’d share two main nuggets on courtship, the way we have approached ours.

1. The couple that prays together stays together: one thing we have always done even from the days of ‘enjoying the friendship’ till now is to ensure we have a day in the week to fast and pray. While it could be tough praying on the day we have chosen sometimes, due to the distance that currently separates us; we make sure we fix another time to ensure it is done. In the event we fail to do so, we ask for forgiveness. That’s how serious we take it.

2. We endeavour to share everything and anything: Communication, I believe is critical to the success of any relationship. We never fail to communicate daily – we share even the most trivial of things: from revelations and rhema from our quiet times and church services to lessons from books read in our private times and movies we see and so on. This, I notice creates an atmosphere of openness, where neither of us feels like the other is trying to hide something.

3. We have learnt to forgive as quickly as possible: As you know, in any relationship, misunderstandings are inevitable; however, in our case, one thing God has helped us with is that grace for a quick resolve. We don’t let it slip into the next day. The importance of this, I guess is that, the devil is always looking for a hole to pull couples apart and one of such holes is unsettled quarrels. The earlier misunderstandings are settled, the better for a relationship seeking to prosper.

4. None for one, all for all. Ever since we started our relationship, we took it upon us to ensure our parents are no longer addressed as ‘mine’ or ‘yours’. Her parents have become mine and mine hers. In fact, we refer to them as Daddy & Mummy A for hers and Daddy and Mummy E for mine. Instead of saying, your Dad or my Dad. The same goes for new things we buy, like books for example. It now bears both of our names… even gifts we give to our parents.

I shall stop at these nuggets. I hope you enjoyed reading. God bless you.

Guest Post: Reality as a Newly-Wed!

5 Things the people are saying

Written by Downtheaisle who has been a great blogger friend over the last few weeks. Sending encouraging emails and praying for me during this time. As a fellow newlywed, she knows how it is!

I can't stop thinking about it all: how well the day went, how beautiful I was and how colourful the occasion was.

I have fleeting glimpses of specific moments the walk down the aisle, the kiss, the vows (I barely remember this, I rushed it, reading it all over again I begin to realize the gravity of the words I said just as mere words), the exchange of rings, the dancing, and how I did not taste the food!

I married my prince charming, my honeymoon was a blast, it should be a tradition every year in our marriage.

I’m back -- and not just back from our trip.  Back to 'normal' life, back to my new home, it feels strange. The thought of marriage makes me feel older, more responsible.  A life where I am constantly reminded of my new status, the society expects so much from me already, my in-laws expect a bump in the next 2 months, my parents can’t wait to become expectant grand-parents. The new weight on my fingers-the rock and the metal!!! An absolute beauty and treasure! It was carefully picked. It’s one of the symbols that reminds me that this is forever.

“How long is this forever? I wonder”. “What if I can’t go the whole forever?”

Now, my schedules are kinda clear, no vendors to meet,  no marriage counselling..., no venues to visit, no more wedding sites for inspiration. I have suddenly become the newly-wed!

This is it!!! The Marriage Scene begins.

Now, it dawns, the only reason I had planned and saved so hard for a day's event is because of this scene...the marriage!

Now, I scurry to the internet, ‘survival tips for newly-weds’, ‘My first week as a newly-wed’, ‘Furnishing our new home’ , ‘our first home-made dinner’ etc, etc.

Now, I am stuck with nurturing my own experiences?

· No two marriages are the same, learn to stay with what works for you.

· Communication and talking are two different things.

· Sex is meant to be enjoyed, not endured. It is more spiritual than physical. It represents a giving of one’s self. I expect my spouse to tell me how well I am doing sexually.

· Marriage gives you a life-long opportunity to spend time together. There's never been a better time to get to know each other better.

· You will need to master the art of compromise, it’s not as easy as it sounds, in fact I hate it, but you know what, its creates a middle ground.

· Marriage makes me feel older...another feeling I hate!!! Why can’t I rewind to 10yrs earlier.

· Talk about how money is spent, if joint-account works fine! If not...avoid it. It may be right for accountability, but if it makes you spy over your spouse and may leave distrust then my advice...avoid it!

· Let everyone including your in-laws and parents know how important your spouse is to you.

· It feels good to overhear my husband mention ‘wife’ over the phone, but that word makes me feel responsible for another human being.

Need I say more, marriage is honourable, happy endings are still very common!

I am working at my own happy ending…

What’s yours?

Guest Post: Choosing to love

6 Things the people are saying

This is a guest post from Shona from Dance with Me. I really enjoyed it, I hope you do too!

Love

Love’s Dimensions: Love as a decision put into action

They were like peas in a pod. When you saw one of them you knew that the other was not far off. Just by watching the way they interacted with each other it was easy for one to see that they were two people who were very much in love and enjoyed their marriage. I am talking about my aunty M and uncle B. Even my mum was impressed by their relationship and shared with us what she had seen when she had visited them at their house and her conclusion was that they were a blessed couple because even when you entered their home you could feel their love enveloping you because they were a couple who walked in love not only for each other but also for others.

I use the past tense because uncle B passed away suddenly a while back and most of my relatives including myself could not help but wonder how aunty M would cope with the loss but cope she did, actually way better than we had expected. In 2007 I got a chance to spend some quality time with her and I could not help but ask her about her relationship with uncle B, I am glad I did. The story she told me is one which inspired me beyond measure.

The initial years of their marriage had not been good ones. She told me how she had been a short tempered person, argumentative and had struggled with trusting and giving her heart to her husband because of past hurts. In contrast to her, uncle B had been a gentle, free spirited person who hated arguments and loved her with a passion. Whenever she tried to draw him into an argument (something she constantly did during those early years) he either laughed or made light of the situation or would gently say to her ‘M darling we can talk about it when you have calmed down’, this would infuriate her even more.

But as time went on because of her mood swings and constant complaining and bickering even he a very patient and loving man was starting to lose his patience. She said that one day she woke up and realized she was losing him and her marriage was becoming something that she did not like. That thought scared her to bits because she knew with no doubt that she was married to a good man and losing his love was something she did not think she could bear. It was then that she made up her mind that she was going to start afresh and do her best to become a better wife and she became one who was on a mission to save her marriage. She admitted that changing was one of the most difficult things to do because it meant putting aside her pride, of which she had tones but she was determined. She began with the small things like paying more attention to her husband, biting her tongue when she felt like blurting out stuff and doing small acts of love for her husband that she never did before and most of all she prayed a lot for strength because she knew on her own she would not be able to make it.

Slowly, she said she witnessed a revival in her marriage, her husband responded to her efforts and after a while though she did not become perfect and still lost her temper here and there, she said she learned to be open up to her husband, share her feelings and apologize when she wronged him. It was a journey she told me, one she was happy she made a decision to take and one she was glad her husband was willing to travel with her. That was how their relationship had blossomed, how they had grown to be best friends, becoming a team in whatever they did and look back they never did.

From Aunty M’s story I picked out some important lessons about love, marriage and relationships that I will never forget namely:-

1. Love is a two way street. No matter how much the other person might love if they feel their love is not returned – death of that relationship is most likely assured. (I can see that Chichi has the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman on her side bar it is an excellent book about learning to express love in a language that one understands. I would go as far as to say this book is a must read to anyone who wants to express love to others effectively).

2. Most likely than not people always respond to love. When they feel loved they usually respond in love.

3. Loving someone is a decision and it does not end there but requires that the decision be put into action. It may not be necessarily easy initially but it can still be done anyway – why? Because it is a choice.

4. When we hear or see couples who have a good relationship even after decades and decades of years of marriage it just did not just happen but it took commitment and lots work. I can liken marriage to a car which requires two full time mechanics in order for it to keep running efficiently.

5. It is not a myth that there are people who have good marriages, who enjoy their marriages hence making it possible for anyone to have such an experience. But then it boils down to how much do you want it and are you willing do what it takes to have it?

Congratulations Chichi and Afam!!!! May God bless you and be your guide as you start a life together. Lots of love and blessings to you.

{Picture source}

Well deserved break!

3 Things the people are saying

This week begins a month of guest posts. I asked a selection of my favourite bloggers and readers to stand in for me and they have kindly agreed!

I have been overwhelmed and touched by the love, support, encouragement and prayers you have showered on me in recent months and I can’t thank you enough.

Over the next month please look out for posts from:

Le Dynamique Professeur

Good Naija Girl

Yankeenaijababe from YNC Lounge

downtheaisle

Shona from Dance with Me

Kemi from Till my Dying Day

Vera from Verastically Livin'

Jaycee from Light-A-Lamp

Blessing from Blessing’s Outlet

Favoured Girl

Niki who is not a blogger {yet}, but a loyal reader

plus some extra surprises…

I know you will thoroughly enjoy all the guest posts in my absence, so please continue to stop by.

Thank you for being part of this journey…I will be back in August!

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Changes

19 Things the people are saying

I love being married.

There is just something about looking across a room at another human being, knowing that you are together, forever and whatever happens, it just the two of you…against the world.

Hello world...meet my husband. I love him very much.

P1020541

Our mini-moon is officially over as Mr E is back to work today, but I return on Monday, so I’m spending the next couple of days finishing off wedding stuff {will it ever end}, sifting through cards and gifts and writing my new signature on official documents!

Now that Mr E is back to work, we are no longer in the same place as Mr E got himself a new job back in May which resulted in him relocating to London. I am still in Birmingham and we’re trusting God that I will be able to transfer down there as soon as possible as it’s no fun not being in the same place as your husband! I am awaiting the results of an interview I had just before I left for the wedding, so please keep me in your prayers for success.

The week leading up to Saturday was a roller coaster of emotion and stress which culminated in me spending the night before the wedding in A&E, having experienced a panic attack and collapsing. Up until that point I had been relatively calm about everything, at least outwardly but I guess my body knew best and decide to shut down to ensure I got some proper rest.

It was not quite how I envisaged the night before the wedding but my sister spent the night with me when I got home and I woke up on Saturday morning really rested. God is good!  The unfortunate thing is that it did throw our plans out in the morning as I didn’t stay overnight in the hotel, resulting in me being late, which I really didn’t want to be.

Squeezing in a World Cup update…God does move in mysterious ways. Nigeria didn’t qualify and England came second in their group and played on Sunday, so in the end we experienced no World Cup interference!

wife bank blog

Post wedding, things feel different. Things are different. I am the “Iyawo” or “new wife” {for those non-Yoruba speaking people} as people keep calling me. People are even treating me differently…with more respect. It's slightly amusing, but nice all the same.

Writing my new signature at the bank this week and filling out the paperwork, I spotted the part where the form asked for ‘relationship to customer’ and in the box the clerk wrote ‘wife’. It was a nice feeling.

So speaking of wife and how we all know a wise woman builds her house, I've decided to take a 'lil break from blogging.

It’s not a permanent thing but just for this month of July. There is so much going on in our lives right now {relocation, travel, job changes} and so much to update you on, but there is also life itself to live and a husband to take care of. So, I will be posting up until Saturday and will return back in August once things settle with wedding recaps, pro pics and news about life on the other side.

Hope you don’t mind!

back look edit 

p.s. In my absence I have a whole host of fantastic bloggers/friends who will holding the fort, so do not fear.  Look out for some great guest posts during this month!

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