"" From Now Till 'I Do'...: March 2011

Time to say goodbye

6 Things the people are saying

…to my wedding dress that is!

I mentioned a couple of weeks back that I have decided to sell my wedding dress.

Well here are the details:

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Beautiful Maggie Sottero 'Harriet' wedding dress.

Worn only once.

Description: One-piece, strapless, A-line gown with corset closure. This style features an asymmetrically draped A-line silhouette with Duchess Organza creating an airy lightness. Lovely embellished lace motifs decorate the bodice, skirt and train.

Colour: Diamond White

Size: 14

Alterations: 2" extra in length and bustle at the back

Price £500 {open to offers}

Wedding dress for sale Wedding dress for sale

If you’re interested or know anyone who is, please get in touch.

Ideally I would prefer collection {live in Essex}, rather than to post her out (she is rather huge!)

For more pictures, please feel free to check out this post.

Five things that will destroy your marriage

3 Things the people are saying

One of the great things about the internet is that it provides an international church community.

I might not be able to fly across to Charlotte, NC to hear Steve Furtick at Elevation Church or visit Green Bay, WI to see Mark Gungor at Celebration Church but through the power of technology I can watch or listen to their sermons whenever or wherever I like.

Recently I stumbled across Pete Wilson from Cross Point Church, Nashville. They are currently doing a series called ‘5 Things’, where they are looking at five things which will destroy your marriage. They have labelled  the series “An essential guide for those who are married and a cheat sheet for those who are single.”

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The five things they have highlighted that will destroy your marriage {in order of the series} are:

- Leftovers

- Expectations

- Leaving God out

- Failing to forgive

- Withheld truth

One thing that stuck out for me in his first teaching on Leftovers (i.e. given your spouse what’s leftover} is that it is “so easy to fall in love, but we’re dangerously ill-equipped to stay in love”.

I love a quote by J.John, which says

‘if there was more courting in marriage, there would be less marriage in court’

If you were rating your marriage today out of 10, what would you give it?

Often it can be so easy to settle for 6/10 marriage because things are ‘fine’, you’re not fighting etc. We should always be striving for 10/10. We need to make a conscious effort to put the love and romance back into our marriages and not to be complacent about it.

Also as a reminder he said that…

Marriage is not a strategy for wholeness.

Marriage is not a cure for loneliness

Marriage is not an escape from boredom

The whole series is addressed to both single and married people and is available online for you to watch or listen. I am following and have been blessed. If you get the opportunity, hope over and have a listen.

In the meantime, here is a fun video Pete made with his wife Brandi about ‘expectations’.

See if you can relate!

Expectations // Illustration from Cross Point Church on Vimeo.

Feel free to share your expectations of marriage in comments!

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The real job description

5 Things the people are saying

I’ve just finished reading a fantastic book called Feminine Appeal: 7 Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Caroline Mahaney and it got me thinking about marriage and God’s purpose for wives.

Feminine Appeal

The book is based on Titus 2 and the seven virtues that women should possess. Which are to…

love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands’ (Titus 2: 4-5)

A job description if you may.

The Contemporary English Version says:

Each of the younger women must be sensible and kind, as well as a good homemaker, who puts her own husband first. {emphasis mine}

Many times I know what is right but don’t quite want to admit it and this book really challenged me about my attitude to certain aspects of my role as a wife. The two things that stuck out for me were ‘good homemaker’ {the bible actually affirms our responsibilities in our homes} and ‘puts her own husband first’. After God, my husband is my number one responsibility and priority.

As a wife there is this constant desire for perfection; house in order, dinner on the table, laundry all complete, always submissive but the honest truth is that I’m not there yet. I am very much a work in progress.

However, everyday I pray for grace.

Grace to always respectfully submit.

Grace to accept situations and react appropriately.

Grace to say ‘no’ and maintain the right priorities.

Grace to admit when I am wrong, humble myself and apologise.

She is strong and graceful, as well as cheerful about the future. Her words are sensible, and her advice is thoughtful.

She takes good care of her family and is never lazy.

Her children praise her, and with great pride her husband says, "There are many good women, but you are the best!" {Proverbs 31: 25-28}

Grace to ultimately allow God to refine me into the woman He wants me to become.

That is my heart.

My other family

7 Things the people are saying
When I got married, I officially became part of another family. I became a daughter to a new set of parents and became inaugurated as the newest member of their 'club'. The nice thing was, this process did not start after the wedding but long before.

I am genuinely blessed to have great in-laws and love my father and mother in law dearly.  They are God-fearing people who are kind, wise and care for me as if I was their own and they have taken deliberate steps to bring me into their family.

Relationships with your in-laws are really important. We've all heard the horror stories about how this relationship could turn out, so my tips below are based on my own experiences. Afam's parents do not live in the same country as us, so that obviously influences the relationship but I know that if they were here, we would love to spend more time with them for sure.

Tips for developing your in-law relationship:

1. Take time to get to know them. They are the people that brought your husband into the world and raised him. Similar to your own parents they will have had their own life experiences and may have valuable knowledge to share and wisdom to impart. Looking from their perspective, they too want to know more about you, this woman who has won their son's heart. Allow them to get to know you, as you get to know them.

2. Take time to get to know his siblings. If he has sisters, especially get to know them. (You do know they have the deciding vote right - kidding!). Not only can they tell you great stories about your husband from his younger days, but again they can offer valuable advice on the family dynamics. If you've never had siblings, your brother/sister in law relationship will give you an opportunity to develop that.

3. Make an effort to communicate with them off your own back. i.e. don't only speak to them when your spouse hands over the phone, after they have finished speaking with them. Take the opportunity to give them a call or text yourself. They will be pleased to hear from you. This is something I am guilty of and trying to improve upon.

4. Treat and respect them as you would your own parents, but equally establish clear boundaries as to what aspects of your lives they will and won't be involved in.

5. Ladies, when you're visiting their home especially for the first time, do not sit around, offer to help. Even if your help is refused, the fact that you offered will be noted and remember first impressions count! I know a story of a girl who when she visited the home of her future in-laws, did not enter the kitchen once and spent most of her time in the bedroom. Not a good look! When I visited Nigeria last year, the house was full of house helps who did everything, however I made an effort to spend time in the kitchen. There were a few dishes I wanted to learn, so this was a great bonding experience for me and my mother in law.

Do you have any other tips for building your in-law relationships?

Finding your way around - archives

2 Things the people are saying
Just a bit of housekeeping...

To help you guys find older posts (especially newer readers to the blog), I've set up an archives page. You can find it under the 'about' tab.

It lists all the posts ever written to help you navigate around the site better.

I've also moved the book list  to favourites (in case you were looking for it!)

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Potential - A follow Up

5 Things the people are saying

Last week's post on Potential raised a number of comments and debate both here on the blog and on Facebook. Rather than write individual responses, I thought it would be better to do a follow up post.

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Essentially what it comes down to is 'what do you want in a husband'?

This could be based on material qualifications , life goals and/or character.

We all want different things in life and look out for various qualities in the man that we want to marry. What you need to determine is whether those qualities are already evident in his life. Sometimes these qualities may just be at the seed stage, which means they have not yet blossomed but glimpses of it are beginning to spring forth.

Maybe he is not yet the President of the USA but he's a cell leader at church, demonstrating leadership skills. Maybe he's not the CEO of a fortune 500 company but he is diligently running his own small business which is successful and shows that he has vision and can be consistent with something.

Just like in a job interview where they ask you to give examples of particular competencies i.e leadership, teamwork, problem solver in order to establish whether you have the potential to develop those skills in the role that they are offering, whatever the scenario you need to be able to identify those seeds of potential.

Luke 16:10 reminds us "If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities.'

It is good to have standards but not to the point where you let really great guys pass you by because you're not willing to invest the time to grow with him.

Potential vs Liability
Potential and liability may look the same on paper but they are clearly distinct.

Potential = positive risk

Liability = negative risk

Yes Barrack had no job and his car had a hole, but he was also a Harvard Law graduate with a plan and pretty clear goals, something Michelle obviously saw and admired.

When I met Afam he was a masters student, I was a manager in my place of work. Yes we were on different rungs on the ladder, but similar to what Buky said in her comment, after sitting down and discussing with him, it was clear that he was a very focused man who knew where he was going in life. He had evidence to support his words and also demonstrated the traits of what I was looking for in a husband. Today he is well on his way to realising his potential.

Here are some questions to ask yourself...
1. What vision does he have for his life and what steps is he taking to get there?

2. As actions speak louder than words, what 'fruits' is he exhibiting in his life?

3. What are the opinions of those around him? Who are his friends? As Christiana wrote in a very similar post, our closest friends are usually one of two things a) A reflection of who we are, b) An indication of what we will be

4. How does he treat those around him?
Like I said a lot of what you observe will depend on what you're looking for but if you start to see any red flags do not dismiss them.

Potential and Character
The search for a mate has its own checks and balances and there are things, which if identified should not be ignored. The character of your future husband is fundamental in knowing his potential.

Traits in a man such as womanising, abuse or addiction (drink, drugs, porn) should not be overlooked. That is not what I mean by potential. Such a man is not ready to be a husband and it doesn't matter how much so called potential you think he has in other areas.

A story on potential
Here in the UK you would have seen the sports headlines a few weeks ago where Liverpool Football Club purchased Andy Carroll for £35 million. Now Carrol is no Rooney or even a Torres. He is not yet established or well known in the International Leagues. He is merely a rising star in the Premiership. So why that much money?

Because Liverpool saw in him, a 22 year old with great promise to become a Rooney or Torres, coupled with many more years of football, left in him. They recognised his potential and were prepared to pay the money. A risk? Maybe. But the reward would be worth it. That is how potential is. It is so glaring that you are prepared to pay a price to see it realised.

Potential = Faith
Ultimately in all of this, it all comes down to faith. Nothing in life is certain. Each day we make decisions and take steps based on the information in front of us at that moment in time, something I know too well.

Through prayer, we ask God to give us wisdom and then allow Him to have His way. The same goes for choosing your future spouse.

Yes there are risks involved but God gives us the grace to handle each situation he presents before us and he also guides us to make the right choices.

Remember that faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. {Hebrews 11:1}

Now that is what potential is all about.

Potential

18 Things the people are saying

Preparing for Marriage Header 

She’s a 4th Year attorney at a very prestigious Chicago law firm, who’s doing really well.

She’s on her way to becoming partner.

A guy wants to date her, who just got out of school, didn’t have a job, had a car with a hole in it. Had no money.

But she is a very successful lawyer and she’s even practicing in her home town. He’s not even from the town, he doesn’t know anybody.

She saw potential in him. In fact she saw it so much that when they got married, she was the primary bread winner in the family for the first 10, maybe more years.

Potential.

Now he’s the President of the United States and she’s the first Lady.

Potential - barack_and_michelle - From Now Till I Do

If you were in Michelle’s position, how would you have responded?

Would you have:

a) Looked at his status, lack of money, lack of job and possessions, kissed your teeth and told him off for even thinking he could talk to you.

or

b) Look beyond his current situation and see the potential standing before you.

If you answered a – you join the growing group of young women today who base their relationships on the current status of a man and not where he could be in the future. It’s a sad situation because you may be rejecting a man that God has chosen for you by basing your judgements on outwardly appearances alone.

Great men do not appear overnight. They are moulded, developed and grown as God sows into their lives. Through your encouragement, prayer, support and love, an ordinary man can become an extraordinary man.

If you speak to most men who are searching for a wife, they will tell you that at this crucial stage of their lives, they are searching and need a woman who will believe in them. As a woman you have the power to influence a man’s life positively or negatively. Which one will you choose?

Similarly comparing a man to your father or another male figure in your life, can be equally as dangerous. Those men as wonderful as they are did not start out that way and like a fine wine took time to reach the quality they are at now. By making comparisons it prevents you from appreciating what you have before you.

Zechariah 4:10 tells us not to despise the days of small beginnings.

Do you appreciate the potential in people or do you judge based on what you ‘see’?

{This post kicks off our Ready for Marriage series, where every Monday I will be talking through different topics to help you as you prepare yourself for the one God has for you.}

Image {Source}

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Lost comments

2 Things the people are saying
So those of you who are regular commenters on here will notice that I use Intensedebate as the comment platform. That is until today.

Basically it has been playing up recently; losing comments, switching between Blogger comments and Intensedebate comments. It is very frustrating.

So today I have decided to remove it completely and go back to Blogger's comment platform. What that means is that all the comments made from September last year have 'disappeared'.

The fortunate thing is while they have'disappeared' from Blogger, they will reappear later on in the year when the blog moves over to Wordpress - Yay!!!

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Hephzibah Bride

3 Things the people are saying

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The lovely Modupe of “my gorgeous wedding” has recently launched a new blog.

Hephzibah Bride is a  Christian wedding blog that  is filled with gorgeous wedding ideas (yes, Christians have gorgeous weddings!) and also includes details of resources for Christian marriage preparation – after all, the wedding is only the beginning!

In her own words…

Hephzibah means ‘His delight is in her’ in Hebrew {Isaiah 62:4}. I’m assuming (hoping) that a Christian bride would want the Lord to take delight in the choices she makes regarding her wedding  {1st Corinthians 10:31}.

If you’re recently engaged and/or are planning a wedding– head over to Hephzibah Bride today for some God centred inspiration.

{Photo credit: Adebanji Alade}

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Blog Birthday Giveaway Winner!

0 Things the people are saying

Thanks for all your lovely birthday messages yesterday via Facebook, Twitter and the blog. I had a fantastic day and Afam spoilt me rotten. From breakfast in bed to a day at the spa, it made me think can’t every day be a birthday!

To all of you who commented for the giveaway, thanks for entering. I have done the draw and the winner is below.

Random Draw

  1. Sophie
  2. Beeba
  3. Niki
  4. Allisblog
  5. Sandie
  6. Domestic Diva
  7. JoBryan
  8. Shona
  9. Gina
  10. shala_darkstone
  11. Liz

Congratulations to Sandie. Details of your voucher will be on its way to you.

Sandie win

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Birthday Blessings

2 Things the people are saying

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Count your blessings, name them one by one
Count your blessings see what God has done
Count your blessings
Name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done

Today is my birthday and I am counting my blessings.

God has given me another year and I am grateful to Him for all that He has done.

This past week I have been meditating on Psalm 103 and it has been a wonderful reminder of just how much God loves and cares for me. Sometimes it can be easy to forget to give recognition, where it is due.

So today Lord, as I reflect on your grace, provision, love and mercy over my life, I want to say thank you!

Picture {source}

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Singleness, Marriage and Sex

0 Things the people are saying
That was the title of the sermon at church yesterday.

We are currently going through 1 Corinthians and when I saw this topic on the schedule for last week, I have to admit I was looking forward to it. Not all churches talk about sex and I was interested to see how this topic would be handled. 

The thing about sex in particular is that it is discussed so much outside of the church, whether it be in our schools, in the media, on the TV or in our magazines. Unfortunately most of the time, the truth is not spoken,
which is why I feel the church has a huge responsibility to talk about it. After all it is God's design.

While some of Sunday's message was not new to me, I was blessed and God spoke to me. 

Singleness
He started by going back to basics: what is God's mind on the topic?

In Genesis 2:18-24 we read that it was God who decided that it was not good for a man to be alone and that he would create a suitable helper for him  This tells us that the desire to have a partner is not new but was God's idea and in His kindness He will provide a partner who will be suitable for us. He will not bring someone into your life to cause you pain as the person you marry will affect your destiny. You only need to look at Samson to know that this is true.

On this point I find it interesting that some men do not fully understand the implications of what this means. God has created a woman for you, who will be your helper. I find it sad when I see men who shut their wives out of their lives, never consult them, trying to do things on their own and wonder why they don't succeed. Men, let us help you...that is our role!

Another key thing to note is that after God created Eve, He brought her to Adam (v22). He did the introduction. The steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord (Proverbs 19:6). God will orchestrate our relationships if we let Him. This does not mean that you sit back and do nothing either. The least that is expected of a believer, is to ask God to lead and allow Him to take control. As a single person, start praying for your prospective spouse that God would keep them, protect them etc.

Darkness and light cannot walk together. This means that one should not enter into a relationship with someone who is not a follower of Jesus. Where you have light and darkness walking together, after a while darkness will begin to take over the light. Without light you cannot see your way and will eventually fall into a 'ditch'. Bottom line, just don't go there.

One of the great things about being single is that you are able to give yourself fully to God without any distractions. 1 Corinthians 7:32-34

Marriage
Where marriage is concerned the words covenant and contract were discussed and compared. Marriage is not a contract but a covenant. A contract has conditions, is limited by time and continuance is dependent on the performance of the other person. The marriage covenant on the other hand is a sacred life long bond which illustrates the love relationship Christ has for the church. It is instituted by God and for God (Matthew 19:6).
 
Sex
Finally on sex, the importance of abstaining from sex outside marriage was emphasised. However for anyone who has made a mistake in the past or is currently living in disobedience to God's word, its not too late to repent and turn to God. He is gracious, He will forgive and will help you out of that situation.

What are your views on the subjects of singleness, marriage and sex?

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