One of the questions I get asked from people after hearing my testimony about marriage is, ”What did you do to finally marry the right person?”
My answer is always the same. I got desperate and serious with God.
We all tend to think what we’ve been through is not a big deal, but it is. Especially if you come out smelling of the goodness of God, it is a super-duper BIG DEAL.
I will never take God’s blessings for granted, ever!
So I was at a stage in my life that I had everything else going for me except for one thing. Marriage. I was in my mid-30’s and that was the only thing missing from my life. I didn’t want another career or another weight loss idea. I didn’t need a manicure and pedicure, or a designer bag. I didn’t want another expensive holiday. Nothing could fill that yearning I had to be married and have children.
Well, I know some people will be offended by this post. That is all right. The truth sometimes hurts. Ouch!
My intention is not to offend but to bring awareness and correction to something that is an ongoing issue in our churches today.
I have lived on 3 continents; Africa, Europe and North America. Its is the same issue all over. This is not just an America issue.
If we call ourselves Christians, shouldn’t we act like one? Christian means to be Christ-like. Are you truly portraying Christ in the way you dress?
The line that once distinguished Christians from non Christians has become severely blurred.
It is easier to judge those in the world for their bad behaviors. They don’t know any better. They are not saved and their minds are not renewed. What then shall we say of our fellow sisters in the Lord showing off their blessed assurance for all to see? Are they still in the world, too? 1 Timothy 2:9 says, “ I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety.”Continue reading
Women are sometimes confused with what is classified as abusive behavior. It is not until he physically hits you. There are obvious signs along the way you might have chosen to ignore, that your friends and family can see them.
Call it whatever name you want to emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and domestic abuse. Abuse is abuse.
Often, it is kept as a secret because women usually blame themselves and they feel ashamed that they have permitted them.
Look, it happens to people, period! You name it; even to the most educated and intelligent person. Yes, you can have Ph.D., MBA… and still, make a bad choice in a partner.
Usually, the abusive person has issues, not you. Ok, you are the enabler in the name of “love”. Oh please! Not the “I love him all over again”.
Just because you are in a relationship does not mean that you should give up on your life. Just because you want love in your life does not mean that you should permit someone to abuse you
That is what we do when we allow other people to hurt us and we stay with them. In the US once you are 18 years and above, the law considers you are capable of making certain decisions for yourself. GROW up and take charge of your life!
Signs to look for.
1. Friends and families can’t stand him
2. He tells you that your friends are no good and he makes it almost impossible for you to have any friends. – He tells you what to wear.
3. He robbed you of your self-esteem and dignity by constantly telling you that you are; fat and ugly, no one else will have you. You should be happy and grateful you have him, you are nothing.
4. He destroys your personal belongings, personal pictures, wedding pictures, and heirlooms.
While visiting Dallas this week, we worshipped at Potter’s House in Dallas with Bishop TD Jakes, it was awesome, and we had a great time. I have always wanted to visit Potter’s House and experience it live and I was not disappointed at all. The Bishop was there while the praise and worship was phenomenal.
Bishop taught on Submission, whenever I have heard sermons on submission it is usually from a marriage perspective. I thought that was the angle he was going to teach from, oh boy! Was I wrong?
“For women at times, we don’t want to hear another sermon on submission. I don’t have issues with that topic at all; I learnt years ago that you cannot submit to a man until you submit to God first”
In-laws to most but Outlaws to a few! In-laws come with the marriage, whether you like them or not. It’s like living in Texas; you don’t have a choice about the sales tax.
When you marry, you do not only marry that person; you get the entire family. You cannot ignore that these people exist; you will have to form a relationship with them. If only because it makes your partner happy knowing how important they are to him.
Deal with it; your partner didn’t fall from the sky. Someone gave birth to him, loved, nurtured him, and who he is today because of their impact. Just as your parents loved and cared for you, the same goes for him too.
This is a crucial topic for everyone to discuss, especially for these two groups seriously.
A – Divorcee.
B – Single parent.
I would suggest they really discuss these issues fully since they may have had a brush with the outlaws’ in-laws in their previous relationship, especially If it was negative. They want to be very careful not to bring that bad experience over into a new relationship.
I am enjoying and loving my in-laws. They are not in-laws anymore; they are my family. I had a really nasty not so good experience in my formal life, but thank God that’s all in the past. Honestly, I never thought it was possible to have good in-laws, but I am here to tell you it’s possible. God is truly a God of restoration, and He makes all things new and wonderful.
For the single mom coming into a new family, exercise much patience, and not be defensive. Give your new family time to bond with you and your child/ren. Your spouse’s support is critical, and you have that already or won’t be at this stage. As much as you may want everyone to get along, your primary focus is your initial family. Ensure that the bond with your spouse and child/ren is good because, ultimately, you all have to live together.
We’ve all heard the Mother-in-law jokes; that’s some people’s reality.
Everybody Loves Raymond is an American sitcom. The Mother-in-law, played by Marie Janella Barone, is one of the show’s stars, played by the lovely Doris Roberts. My husband and I love watching it. As funny as it is, I can’t help feeling sorry for Debra (Patricia Heaton), Ray’s wife. The mother-in-law is lovable but also very manipulating. I usually joke with my husband after watching an episode that there is no way I can live next door to Doris; I’d rather leave an entire State for her.
Why discuss in-laws before marriage?
In-laws can either help or break your marriage. It is best to be on their good side. Yes, you can’t please some people no matter what you do, but you can choose to walk in love and forgiveness with them regardless of how they treat you. There is a saying that goes, “keeps your friends close, and your enemy closer” is true. Treat your in-laws with kid gloves and be respectful.
God is the author of marriage, and He should be the foundation. When you make God the foundation of your marriage, nobody can destroy it, they may try, but they will not succeed. That is why it is vital to get the foundation right, avoid building on a shaky foundation. We are to count the cost before building (Luke 14:28)
Know who you are marrying.
What do I mean by this? It is very critical that you understand the relationship your husband-to-be has with his family. Their closeness might have been an attractive quality to you while dating but being married is different. Depending on who you are marrying, there comes certain responsibilities and duties, and you need to be aware of that.
Is he the first or only child?
Traditionally, the family’s first child has a role to play, whether they agreed to it or not. They are born with the role of a leader, the go-to-person in the time of problems. In the absence of the parent, they become the head of the family.
The first or only child – Parents have heavily invested in the first and only child. A lot of sweat equity has gone into the child. Especially if it’s a male child, they are often burdened by exceedingly high parental expectations. Their failures and successes become their parents’ too.
The parents (especially the mother) feels strongly connected to them and won’t let anybody knock her out of his life. You ain’t going to get mama out-of-the-way just like that. She has been No.1 and intends to remain the reigning queen, whether you like it or not. You have to work with your husband in wisdom for the reversal of roles over time.
Ok, as a mom myself, I get it! Although I don’t plan to be the MILH (Mother-In-Law from Hell). We tried for a while before conceiving our first child. Oh boy! I had never prayed as much as I did when we were trying to get pregnant. I had her by C-Section, and nothing has been the same ever since we brought her home. She is perfect, and we adore her. I would hate for her to get married to some hotshot who thinks we are not important anymore. Just the thought of that makes me break out in tongues (speaking in tongues).
So I know how tough it is for moms, especially – I have been on both sides, and I know that will make me embrace my future son and daughters-in-law. Furthermore, having good In-laws have taught me a better way, and I see the benefits of a wonderful family.
I am older, and just a little bit wiser, that not-so-good experience I had in the past taught me a lot. I don’t recommend that you need to experience divorce to learn these lessons. I honestly believe that sometimes as a new bride, one can be clueless about dealing with the in-laws and mess a good thing up due to lack of wisdom. The incoming daughter should give the new family a chance; relationships will not blossom overnight. Marriage is not a race but a marathon, don’t rush in expecting to be best friends; give it some time. It will take some time for roles to change, be patient, and you will enjoy your new family in time to come.
Respect your In-Laws
This is sometimes harder to do when there is fracas already. Respecting them will help you in the long-run. You love their son, therefore respect them. Respect their home when you visit them, mind your language when you are around them. Respect their boundaries even if you don’t understand it. Understand that there is a generation gap, and it seems so 1920’s. Respect that they raised your husband-to-be, so they have done something right. Dress appropriately when you visit them, keep your negative feedback to yourself. They are not your parents, who you might feel you are free to talk to however you like to.
Oh boy! Conflicts with the in-laws are not a good step forward, but it can eventually be resolved. The best thing to do from now is to maintain a dignified silence. You have probably said too much already. One of the worst things you can do is vent your feelings and tell your In-laws how you really feel about them. The Bible says a wise man ponders his thoughts. Silence is truly golden sometimes.
Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue; Proverbs 17:28
Save your energy and please don’t try and prove any point to your in-laws. Invest your time in working things out with your husband to make peace.
If you find yourself having to defend yourself against them: then maybe your spouse has dropped the ball. It’s not your job to fight or defend yourself; that’s for him to do and vice visa. He knows his family better, he knows the best way to approach them than you, and they will always forgive him.
Sometimes the young and inexperienced wife does not help by the way she handles matters. Coming into marriage with unrealistic expectations, thinking he loves her and should straighten his mom and family up. That just won’t cut it, remember he knows them the longest and is fiercely loyal to them. He sees them through the eyes of love, they know his weaknesses and strengths, and they have been there a long time before you showed up “looking fine.” It will take time for him to see them any other way, and nagging him will not get him there faster, if at all.
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the
foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1
Prayer – There is power in prayer; instead of venting all your feelings to the In-Laws, vent your feelings to God. Learn to fight your battles on your knees in prayer. Let God fight your battles, and you keep your peace and be still.
James 5:16: The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Take your issues to God and see how He will turn them around. Remember to continue to keep a dignified silence, walk in love, and forgiveness.
We must continue to keep in front of us the ultimate goal, which is two becoming one. This process will take time, and we must never forget that we are on the same side.
It is better to discuss these issues and be honest about your families before you say ‘I Do.’
Christmas Holiday – Is it a tradition to spend festive time with the in-laws?
Find out what he has already told his family about you.
Find out what their personalities are like; that way, you identify them, and that will save you from getting mad over nothing.
When visiting in-laws, where do you stay? Hotel or in-law’s home?
There is no easy way to broach this subject, so we might as well dive into it.
It is just 3 letters, S-E-X, yet very powerful.
When I first mentioned to a friend that I’m writing about the types of questions you should ask before saying “I Do” and mentioned “sex,” she was somewhat surprised that these questions would be brought up before marriage – and I know exactly where she’s coming from.
As a born again and spirit-filled Christian that isn’t engaging or participating in anything of a sexual nature before wedlock, how can you talk about S-E-X?
Well, there are ways to talk about sex without it being sexual. This is not a conversation to have in your “boudoir” with Marvin Gaye playing in the background. You must be conscious of every appearance of evil.
God created sex, and it is a good thing. God is not in the habit of creating bad stuff. I have heard people say that the Church has an obligation to talk more about these issues. However, we have become a nation of people who love passing on our personal responsibilities to others. What next are we going to ask the Church to do, give us sex lessons? Oh, please, don’t get me started!
I beg to differ, it is a sensitive subject, and I surely do not want to have these discussions in the same room as my friend’s parent, huh! Anyway, back to the discussion at hand.
Why discuss sex? Communication is an essential part of marriage.
The Bible says: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
The goal is to become ONE. For that to happen, there has to be a lot of letting go of how it was done in the past. We have to start afresh and learn together as one.
The word “cleave” means to cut off, cling to, hold on to, separate from the old, and embrace the new. To put behind you everything you knew before, every habit, every way of doing it with others. To start afresh with your new partner, learn together, and be one.
Therefore, you need to discuss sex, and here are several good reasons why:
Your future partner (FP) may be sexually more advanced than you. It would help if you found out what his/her expectations are.
What if your FP has what you may consider as ‘sick fantasies’? You will need to flesh them out before you say, “I Do.”
You need to know about their sexual appetite – i.e., how frequently you are expected to do the “marital dance.”
What kind of dance do they have in mind, is it the Tango, Waltz, Quickstep or the Paso Doble? This is the time to lay it all out, what you will and will not engage in.
Sex should be between a man and a woman, but you may be surprised to find out that your Christian FP may also think it’s okay to bring visual aids, such as porn or making your own “home movies” into your marital bedroom. You need to know right now before you say, “I Do.” We are all at different levels in our walk of faith; do not ever assume that they do not have an obscure way of thinking because they are believers. FYI: You are not marrying Jesus.
Children love roleplaying, but what if your ‘mature’ FP still wants to role-play? Are you game for playing nurse or patient or maybe daffy duck? Huh!
Will they be willing to have a blood test done before you say ”I Do”?
Are they on the sex offenders register for something they had done in the past before coming to the Lord? This is a must for single moms.
I watched a disturbing documentary about this issue when a pedophile bounded with a single mom; she ended marrying the man because of his relationship with her child, only discovering the damage he had done.
It is also important to find out if they’d ever engaged in same-sex relationships or fantasized about it.
Be clear about what your boundaries are and make it plain.
How comfortable is your FP about talking about sex? What else are they not comfortable discussing with you? After all, you guys are planning to spend the rest of your lives together.
What if they don’t want to engage in sex at all? Shocking! Right? You’ll never know until you ask before you say ”I Do”.
If you think these questions are unnecessary or difficult to discuss before you say “I Do,” then maybe you are not ready to say “I Do” just yet.
There are many gray areas to be discussed before you say, “I DO.” It is a well-known fact that some of the reasons for marital problems are;
1, Money issues,
3, In-Laws (outlaws!),
Some people are not comfortable talking about money or sex. Hence, why the right questions are not asked before they say I do.
No wonder after you’re married, you discover that you have been lied to. Could it be that you did not ask the right questions?
Men do not talk much; as we all know, men are very different from women (thank God!). A man may not offer to tell you some personal information that a woman would consider relevant. Therefore, what is relevant to a woman is not necessarily so to a man.
Asking the right questions will eliminate some of the confusion that will surely arise later after the wedlock.
In this part, let us talk about Money, Money, and Money!
In a marriage, there is no such thing as my money and your money. It is our money; it cannot be separated.
Salary – How much do you earn? It sounds so simple, yet you won’t believe that some women do not know how much their spouse earns? The main salary before overtime, do not estimate for income that is not guaranteed.
Savings – How crucial is savings to you? As one who loves to save, you really need to find out if you are marrying a spender or a saver. Just in case he’s a spender, that is not the ground not to marry him. Know whom you are marrying; that is the whole point.
FICO score: Find out what the FICO score is now. If you do not ask now, you will pay the price later. Why not at least know what price you are willing to pay. If you do not know what a FICO score is (USA), maybe you are not ready to get married just yet.
Credit Cards – How much debt do they have on their credit cards? You may be surprised to find out that all that eating out he’s been paying for with his credit card, you will help him pay it back with interest afterward.
How many credit cards does he have? How many is too much?
Car Note – How much car note is outstanding and at what rate of interest. How long does he intend to pay it off for?
Does he own his car, or is he leasing? If leasing, why? This may not apply if he owns his business.
Is he/she financially responsible for any family members? Ok, let me make this clearer. This may not apply to everyone, but if you marry anyone of African descent, you’d better ask quickly! Usually, we are our parents’ social security, pension, and healthcare plan. We also have uncle, aunties, nieces, and nephews on our payroll. I really cannot get into that right now. It is a whole enchilada!
How much has he already committed to helping families and friends before you arrived on the scene? It is very vital to find out; these are commitments he made in the past.
You need to discuss and find out if he is open to renegotiating or forgoing some of those commitments. You both must consider that a single lifestyle and marriage are very different, especially in cost terms.
Lending Money – an essential topic to hash or thrash out now before you say I do. Your man/woman could be a very generous person who thinks it’s ok to lend money to everyone. Some will even co-sign without discussing with their spouse. Lending money and co-signing for friends and families are very sensitive topics; tread very carefully.
Buying or Renting – Your first home – where are you going to live? Do you rent or buy? Do we move into your current home or rented accommodation?
Joint or separate accounts?
Whose money is it anyway?
Wedding cost – Who is paying for what? How big, how small. I know it is customary for the groom and bride’s parents to take on different parts of the bill. What if none of your parents are alive or could afford it? Dish traditions and plan a wedding you can both afford. Do not assume your partner wants a big wedding, and that is your motivation for one. You might end up footing a wedding neither of you wanted.
Divorced and Single Parent Issues – How much is the Alimony, how much is the child maintenance? Does he/she owe any back payment, and how will this affect the income? What kind of agreement do they have in place right now? Child visitation rights etc.
Identify the best person for handling money and let them be in charge of paying bills. The other partner must show interest and know how much the monthly expenses are. It is not just one person’s job. If the other partner does not get involved, you open yourself for abuse to occur.
Financial Goals. What are your financial goals? What big project do you have in mind for the future? Now that two are becoming one, there has to be some compromise. Except if you are a millionaire, you cannot have it all.
Financial secrets – After you have discussed all the questions. Ask them if they want to own up to any financial secrets or shame. Such as a Foreclosure or Bankruptcy. Allow them to talk freely.
These are just guidelines to start the discussion. There are many more questions you can think of.
Most people start the new year with a set of goals and visions. I certainly had my list too.
I’ve run out of excuses for not achieving my goals.
Enough is enough, it’s time to grow up and be an adult. There will always be something that’s preventing us from achieving our goals if we let it. Life is about seasons. Identify your current season, then set realistic goals.
Don’t get me wrong marriage is great, I am very happy with mine, but there are some truths about marriage your married friends may not have told you.
Most times, you will only find out the truth during a divorce, how miserable the relationship was, even though at the time they appeared like the perfect couple!
There are different kinds of marriages out there; you will be amazed that your motives for getting married are different from your partner.
You’d better ask the right questions before you say I do, just don’t assume their motives are the same as yours. Hello! You really don’t know anyone that well except for what they are willing to share with you.
15 Truths You Need To Know Before Getting Married.
1. Marriage will not make you happier if you weren’t already.
2. If you are a boring Singleton, you are likely to become more boring especially if you are not open to new ideas.
3. Marriage will not change who you already are, rather reveal your true-self.
4. Marriage will not solve your problem, it would more than likely create additional problems.
5. Marriage is for mature people and maturity has nothing to do with age.
6. Marriage isn’t cheap. There are more bills to be paid when you get married. If you can’t pay your bills now then you are going to struggle with debt.
7. Men – If you don’t like to talk, don’t get married because women love to talk especially with their husband.
8. If you enjoy the freedom of being single, keep on enjoying it, because marriage will place a demand on your time. It’s not all about you anymore.
9. Marriage can be stressful, and stress is bad for your health.
10. Marriage does not mean more sex. Nah!
11. You are not just marrying your partner, you get the entire family!
12. Getting married is cheap but divorce is expensive and can give you a bad credit.
13. You are likely to put on weight.
14. You become a better actor/actress in marriage by pretending not to notice how embarrassing your partner behave sometimes.
15. You really discover who you’re married to later not before.
Little is written about Joseph the carpenter, the father of Jesus. Joseph represents A man of great courage, integrity, obedience, and great faith. These are qualities one should look out for in a man.
Nothing could have prepared him for the route his life took. Let us travel in Joseph’s shoes for a moment. In his late teens, Joseph fell in love with a maiden by the name of Mary, with the hope that they will get married. I guess they were just like normal teenagers in their time, excited about what the future will be ahead for them.
I bet not in a million years did they think that their lives would change the way it did. Just like you and I today, some of the things we had being or going through, we never thought we would be where we are today. Reality is always different from what we imagined; reality is what we all do, not fantasy. Continue reading