HE DOESN’T TRUST ME ANYMORE

Working-Black-Mother_t580My husband and I started having financial challenges two years after we got married epecially after having our first child. Then I got  a job outside town, I declined it because I didn’t want to be away from my family but he encouraged me to go because the pay is good. In my absense, I suspect he flirts with a colleague but I have no proof. Now he’s the one accusing me of being distant from him.  

I once saw a movie about a couple trying to make ends meet with the growing demands of the young family. While the wife was a work-at-home caterer, the man ran a book publishing consultancy. The man worked over 15 hours each day, both at the office and at home. His wife baked every other night just so she could have supplies in the morning. While this couple busied themselves in their not-so-bad jobs, they didn’t realize that they gradually become mere roommates until the wife got intimate with one of the men who patronized her, while the husband had already started an affair with one of his clients. It was just a movie quite alright but how very true.

While having more than one source of income (or more than one job) is encouraged, high discipline should be maintained so that the relationship between the couple can thrive in spite of how busy they become. Work (or ‘I need to make money for the family’) should not be an excuse to allow the happiness in the marriage suffer. Remember that even when there is no money that family will be all you have, so they really deserve the best of what you can offer now.

Nowadays, couples are less financially dependent on each other like it used to be when it did not matter if the woman had a job or not. There are now more women in the work force than there have ever been and they still face certain discrimination in some organizations and groups where they want to function. This unfairness causes most women to compromise – have affair with those who may stand in their way of climbing the ladder.

 Many marriages have been destroyed because of a career or job. In one of my former fellowships, one of the women I used to be close to told me of how her husband’s organization was planning to send him to an African country to start a branch with no plans of taking his family along. Just when the man was about to leave was when his wife got to know that it was a place far away in Europe. While she was excited about it she wished he would reject the offer so they could raise their four young children together. She could not stop him because she felt it may mean better opportunity and a fat salary to take care of them all and have more than enough. It is nearly over ten years now, that couple still live far apart with the woman mostly catering for the children.

Couples who already have more than a child have enough trouble maintaining their relationship as they share the time with the children and other aspects of their lives, let alone having more than one job. If this kind of couple is not careful they may neglect to nurture their intimate relationship because of all the external stress and this may cause one of the partners to go out and seek a short term satisfaction in terms of having an affair. Neglecting over time to nurture the husband-wife relationship between couples may cause them to fall out of love and fall in love with someone else.

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Is my career pursuit ruining my Marriage?

Choosing-The-Career-That-Is-Right-For-Youtemporarily moved into Canada last year for a Masters’program, even though this decision was mutually agreed upon with my husband things changed few months after leaving Nigeria. I thought it was because I left our two children with him. This year, I took the children with me back to Canada. Since then things had gone worse between us. My husband is having an affair and he did not deny it when I confronted him on phone. Instead he gave me a list of reason for his infidelity. I am confused and angry. I am considering divorcing him and facing my children and career.

 As a young Christian, I believed that divorcees were hellbound whatever the reason(s) for being divorced. Don’t condenm me yet. I always heard that “God hates divorce” but never bothered to see what else the Bible says about it. I had a judgmental attitude towards anyone who was divorced or even separated. The more I studied the Scripture the more my understanding got better and broader on what God really desires for us in marriage. Really, He hates divorce because He wants us to be happy with the one and only person we choose to spend the rest of our lives with. So in the entire Bible you discovered that no one is permitted to be in a state of divorced (separated) except for two reasons

1.      In case of marital unfaithfulness in which you can still choose to forgive and love that spouse again. Forgetting the hurts, pain and disappointments and loving the spouse like nothing happened.

2.       If an unbelieving spouse desires to leave the marriage for no justifiable reason. In which case you can make efforts to bring him or her back except if they have gone ahead to remarry. Then you are free to remarry if you want.

…and I will add

3.      If the partner is abusive especially when one’s life is threatened as a result of the abuse.

“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife (or her husband), except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her (or him) to become an adulterous, and anyone who marries the divorced woman (or man) commits adultery.” Matt 5:31-32

This was Jesus speaking here.

And this is what Apostle Paul added in 1 Cor 7:13-14

“And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.”

Are you married? Do not seek a divorce – 1 Cor 7:27

Sadly, this is no longer the case as many married people have other reasons apart from what is in the Bible to be divorced from their spouse so they could marry someone else. Sometime ago, I learnt of a popular preacher whose wife went for further study abroad for about a year leaving their three young children for him to look after. After graduation she took up another course that would run for eighteen months. She didn’t check with her husband before taking up the second program but he didn’t object. The more she stayed and studied the more she felt her family should have been living in America in the first place – they had so many opportunities for students that she felt she was finally going to live her dream of being a writer. Good enough a publisher had accepted her first book in America! Three years later she settled into living in America, that she suggested relocating the entire family. Her husband did not buy into the idea; the church was a growing one and needed him to be there.  When her book made the best seller list she got convinced that she should truly stay in America. Taking the children with her, she relocated against the desire of her husband. In less than a year church members had noticed that there was a problem with the marriage, not only were there rumours of the pastor keeping questionable female friends, there were rumours that his wife was involved with someone abroad.

These days attitude towards separation or divorce may be seen as a normal life course even for Christians who are supposed to be examples of what godly marriage should be. Separation, divorce and remarriage have become an expectation once a spouse decides to pursue an education and career or even other selfish desires. Divorce is seen as the best and easy way out when the marriage is not working. Some call it irreconcilable difference! It now seem like the vow made – to “love till death do us part” is not as strong as it once was, not strong enough as individual desires at the expense of the success of the marriage comes first.

When a spouse chooses a life course above his/her marriage, it leaves the door open for the devil to begin to suggest other ways to fulfil marital desires especially for sexual satisfaction.

I am not a big fan of couples living apart for whatever reasons especially such as just to pursue a career or education. There have been cases where a spouse is living abroad because they got a job or the need to further education while the other is in another part of the planet ‘suffering emotionally’. I am not saying this is wrong after all, the Bible says we all have certain measure of grace. If you do not have the grace to live apart from your spouse for such a long time then don’t even settle for it.  

Remember also that nearness is dearest. I wish your marriage the best

Photo source: thecorporatesister.com

THE MOMENT OF THE RED STEW

desperateSome years ago when I was job hunting I sent applications to various firms that I lost count of . I had been looking for a job for a long time so I became very desperate. It was becoming almost unbearable just sitting at home especially with bills pilling and taking care of daily needs. Although some firms had offered me employment, I wanted to work in a media firm or at least somewhere that would encourage my career in writing but when I became desperate I didn’t mind if I got a job at a resturant! I wrote several tests and attended numerous interviews. The responses were positive but I didn’t get any letter of appointment or any calls asking me to resume work. Maybe my patience was also too thin to wait!

Few months later, I decided I was going to just work anywhere irrespective of the pay or what the company does. Then came this small firm asking me to come head their media unit, the pay was small because it was a new firm but I jumped at it and started work the following week! As soon as I took on this job, calls started coming in from the places I wrote tests or got interviewed. I was already fully committed in this new place and had started working on some projects. Three weeks later, one of the big companies where I was interviewed called me to resume work as soon as possible because they have been trying to reach me! I could have followed up on and waited for what  I really wanted but I didn’t.

Have you been in similar situation that you really wanted something so bad that you would just accept whatever alternatives regardless of what the consequences may be later? That moment of your life that you are ready to trade off some important personal entitlement with the hope that you will get it back as soon are you are through with the phase? That moment of your life that you thought if you didn’t get that job, car, dress, house, money etc, you would never be happier. Then you got all these and nothing changed and you have given up your gold to acquire these. You cannot get it back.

Sometimes though, when one is desperate, the consequences of his/her action is not even thought about. We are not even conscious of our own desperation and some people get offended when they are cautioned to slow down. As humans, sometimes once we want something, we just want it NOW! And even when/if it will put our intergrity to question. We conclude that we can mend the repercussion later. Some people have given up important positions, names, relationships, titles in that fleet moment of desperation – The Red Stew Moment. Just like Esau in the bible.

“Jacob was boiling pottage (lentil stew) one day, when Esau came from the field and was faint (with hunger). And Esau said to Jacob, I beg of you, let me have some if that red lentil stew to eat, for I am faint and farmished! That is why his name was called Edom (red). Jacob answered, Then sell me today your birthright (the rights of a firstborn). Esau said, See here, I am at the point of death ; what good can this birthright do to me? Jacob said, Swear to me today (that you are selling it to me); and he swore to (Jacob) and sold him his birthright. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils, and he ate and drank and rose up and went his way. Thus Esau scorned his birthright as beneath his notice. – Gen 25: 29- 34

Ordinarily, birthright is a position of birth, but it could also mean a position of authority and influence. The essense of a person! Esau in a moment of hunger and desperately wanted to have stew and bread, sold his position as the firstborn. He sold his first-born blessings for STEW! He forgot who he was at the sight of stew. He gambled with what would have given him an edge over his brother and comtemporaries; he disregarded his place of authority and influence in that moment of desperation. The hunger wouldn’t have killed him had he waited to prepare his own meal or agreeing to compromise with something other than his birthright.

Sadly, some of us are like Esau, we appear to be in dire need of something and are prepared to give anything to get it without even counting the cost. That was me!

For that period I was job hunting, I forgot I was not just a university graduate but with several profession trainings in not less than three fields. I wanted just what would satisfy the moment!

In Esua’s story above, when it was time for their father to bless the boys, he gave the firstborn blessings to Jacob (the younger brother who ‘bought’ the birthright) and Esau cried when he found out. How could he have forgotten that he sold that position for just bread and stew! And that is how some of us are. We gamble with our priced possession, give it away and expect it will still be available when we need it. Then we fast, pray and attend vigils! Thank God for His mercies and His power to restore when we ask for His forgiveness and help.

This reminds me of a lady I met sometime ago. She was involved with a married man. I strongly encouraged her to discontinue the affair but she wouldn’t. Her reason was that he was paying her fees and taking care of other bills. But she didn’t even stop there; she was desperate for more and went ahead to get pregnant for him. After the baby was born, he denied her and the baby because he wanted to protect his marriage.

When we find ourselves getting desparate about something or someone, it could be an indication that our motive about that thing may not be right. Pause and take a rethink. This may be difficult too because when desperation sets in all a person wants it to get it DONE. It is also a time to reconsider WHY you want to do what you want to do and if it is really worth it. If someone suggests to you to slow down on a decision, consider the reasons seriously and weigh your actions even before you take them.

One of the biggest ills of being desperate is that it prevents you from hearing or receiving from God. It shuts out the voice of God and the possibility of Him getting it done for you; and I am sure this is not what you desire. If you feel your blessing is delayed, keep praying and waiting on God expectantly. He never fail those who trust in Him.

Just A Little Act Of Kindness

ragEarly last December, my husband and I were clearing our house in readiness for the holiday when we discovered that we had so many old stuff that we needed to do away with. We started with the children’s clothes. We were surprised to see how much children’s clothes and shoes we didn’t have need of. They were so much that they filled more than three large boxes, this was not inclusive of toys! We decided we would give them to charity but we did not act on that decision immediately. Weeks past and nothing was done. Then one day, a former colleague came visiting and told us of how things were not financially stable for them and they needed to buy clothes and shoes for their children. I thought about the shoes and clothes, even though most of them were still in very good state, I wasn’t sure if they would want used stuff. We asked if they wanted to go through these boxes and see if they could find anything that could be useful to them. Few minutes later, they selected some clothes and shoes. They left excitedly full of gratitude. Two days after Christmas, the couple came to visit us with their children dressed in those clothes and shoes. I almost could not recognise they were same clothes! Their expression drove me to tears! Those were clothes we have abandoned for at least two years. Clothes we were not sure anyone could find useful let alone use for a festive season. It even hurt the more knowing there were children I may know who didn’t have clothes or shoes for Christmas. Yet I had shopped for new ones already!

We were glad to be a blessing to this couple but it left an impression in my heart. There would always be someone in some sort of need we can meet if we really care. Most of the time that person is just around the corner, someone we probably see and maybe talk with often. And sometimes someone’s biggest need may be something that is almost irrelevant to us.

Do you still have clothes, shoes and other household stuff you no longer use? Do you have food enough that sharing with someone won’t mean anything to you? You do not need to have in excess before you can share with someone. You just need to have the heart; a mind that remembers that while you change your wardrobe nearly every month, there is someone who has never worn a new cloth or shoes. While you have much left-overs from your dinning table, there is someone who those left-overs may mean the best food they had eaten in whole year! You do not have to be rich and famous to make a positive impression in the life of someone. You do not need to have all the money in the world to put a smile on someone’s face. You do not need to have or join an NGO to show just a little kindness.

God is a giver and as His children the bible encourages us to be same. Never think you do not have anything you can give to put a smile on someone’s face. Besides giving material things, what about giving your time, a listening ear, lending a hand of help, a soothing pat, a kind word spoken in season. There is just so much we can give!

The world would be a better place if we would just keep on showing that little act of kindness.