"There is no more lovely, friendly or charming relationship, communion or company, than a good marriage." ~Martin Luther

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Parental Consent in Marriage

I was reading online about arranged marriages in some countries like Indian where the parents introduce a son or daugher to a potential spouse based on set criteria that they have. Most of these marriages seem to last (note this is not the same as forced marriages). This got me thinking about what impact parents have on their children having successful marriages. I believe even when you select your husband or wife to be- the blessing/approval of your parent is vital before you tie the knot. Now there are exceptions to the rule where some parents are just unreasonable for no just cause so this post isn’t dealing with such anomalies. I have found though that more often than not, godly parents who have been involved in the life of their children want what is best for them even in marriages.

From the movie: Father of the bride

There is a saying from my culture that goes, "a child may have many clothes like an adults but cannot have many rags like an adults." This means older people generally know more about life than younger people since they have gone through life and experienced life more. As a result when it comes to marriage, the criteria they have for choosing a partner might differ from what a young person considers as ideal. Parents in Nigeria (where I come from) look at things like background, the dynamics of the other family itself, status, health etc. Some even go as far as checking if there are any hereditary diseases in the other family.

From the little I have observed around me- when parents are against a union, few years down the line you beginning to hear of serious issues in that marriage sometimes resulting to separation or divorce. Please note I am not saying this happens all the time. Because we are so "in love" and on cloud 9, we cannot always see where our parents, our family or even friends are coming from when they say they have their doubts. Let your parents be a litmus test especially when you know they love you and want the best for you.

Deuteronomy 5:16 says- “Honour your father and your mother… then you will live a long full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you." This is the first commandment with a promise and such a powerful promise it is. The average person who gets married and lives long will spend most of his/her adult life married. So having a long full married life I believe will be covered by this promise if we honour our parents' perspective. Sometimes young people believe their knowledge of their particular situation is wiser than the wisdom of their parents whom God has ordained to lead/guide them.

Personally, I think every intended couple should endeavour to have their parents’ blessings before entering into marriage. In a scenario where the parents have their doubt, find out what it is and see if it is something you can clear up with them. Be honest with them and let them get to know your man/woman better. It might just be a case of a misunderstanding, misinformation or miscommunication.  If it is deeper than that and you are sure this is the man or woman for you, then go to God in prayer to change their heart. There is nothing impossible with God.

Of course there are cases of people who married their partners against their parents wish and are genuniely happy and sometimes the parents even came around. I personally would rather just have the approval (which I before tying the knot. Remember your parents will always be in your life and will also become grandparents to your children, so ask yourself if it is really worth getting married without their blessing.

Ultimately the success of a marriage depends on both people in the marriage, however the foundation of a marriage counts in this success as well.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think having your parents blessing or approval is important before you get married? If no, I’ll like to know more as I am sure some cases are not clear cut. Some people are still waiting for parents approval for years. I genuinely sympathise with you and pray God directs such people in the way to go.

Please note that this post doesn't address complex issues that may exist in some families. I am simply just sharing my point of view.

The book series will resume in the new year. Compliments of the season!!!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Understanding Each Other- Part III of the Communication Series

source: google images
Finally we address the last component of the communication process- Understanding. SH says "if every husband and wife spent as much time trying to understand their partner as they do in seeking to be understood, there would be fewer hassles and problems in marriage." When we aim to be understood and we are not, we end up feeling bitter, miserable and resentful but when we aim to understand our partner, our partner feels less defensive, opens up which in turns helps them to understand us. Understanding is putting yourself in the other person's shoes

Sometimes our partners behave in a way which causes us to be impatient or irritated with them. Our aim is first of all to try and understand why they behaved that way. According to psychologists "all behaviour is caused".  Something causes us to behave the way we do in any given situation.

Sometimes our behaviour is triggered by our upbringing or something someone said, or something that occurred. Some times you find out you are upset but can't remember what triggered it. With some digging you can almost pinpoint what caused you to feel that way.

Sometimes people bring situations from past relationships into their marriage- something SH terms as transference. "This is when a person projects a problem of the past- a bad relationship, a traumatic event onto a person or a situation in the present." It could be feelings towards an abusive father or ex boyfriend now projected on a husband, or the betrayal of an ex girlfriend which causes you to get defensive in your marriage. When couples communication at  level 4& 5 discussed in this post, issues like these are brought to the fore front and each person can understand where the other person is coming from.

We all have an inner child which influences and interferes with our adult lives and relationships. Learning to spot the inner child- both in yourself and your partner will help you to understand yourself and your partner better.

Our upbringing has a great impact on our lives. For example- when a wife nag her husband, he is reminded of his mother's constant correcting as a child and his inner child reacts in defence. It is paramount that we observe our partners, what they like or dislike, what triggers positive and negative reactions in them. By doing this we can aim to eradicate what triggers the negative and enhance the happy triggers. We then open up the lines of communication.

So next time your husband or wife behave in a strange manner, do some digging to try and understand why. Pray that the Lord will grant you the grace to understand them rather than to be understood. By practising the other two components- speaking and listening with understanding you are on your way to establishing effective communication which will transform your marriage.

Future reading- A post on Understanding by Favoured Girl.

You can subscribe or follow us so you don't miss a post. Till next time!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Listening Effectively- Part II of the Communication Series

Today we continue discussing effective communication. Check out Part I on Talking here.

Listening is the second most important aspect of good communication. Most people will rather talk than listen. Especially when we are upset or hurt, we want to be assertive and get our feelings out there!

source: google images
James 1:19 says- Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak , slow to take offense and to get angry. 

Listening means making an effort to concentrate on what a person is saying, and being as eager to listen as you are to speak. Someone once said- the reason why God made us with one mouth and two ears is because he wanted us to listen twice as much as we speak. I mean, think about it, makes sense doesn't it?

SH mentioned that communication experts have a term to describe poor listening habits- 'egospeak'. This is when you are already thinking of what you are going to say once the other person has stopped talking. Or jumping in before the other person has finished speaking. Do you see yourself having egospeak. I think most of us have it!

Good listening has to be learnt as it doesn't come naturally to us. Here are some pointers SH presenter:

Recognise the obstacles that prevent effective listening and work on practical steps to eliminating them. One major obstacle is defensiveness. Think about it, when you are defensive all you are thinking about is how to make your position on an issue known, shooting down the other person's comments and why they are wrong and why you are right. You think less of what the other person has to say.

Another obstacle is self centredness or self preoccupation. This is where ego comes in. The ego need to talk rather than to listen. You know, when you are more interested in yourself than in your partner. If we focus on developing genuine love we can become better listeners.

Another obstacle to good listening is physical or mental fatigue. When you try to discuss important issues at the wrong time, listening becomes a great burden. Observe your partner and know when they are more alert and rested before trying to discuss serious matters.

Can you think of any other obstacles to effective listening??

Learn to listen to the feelings behind a person's words and not just the words. SH says- "there is no better way of assuring a person that you are a perspective listener than when you identify the feelings that lies underneath the words." It is the quickest way of making a person feel understood and when a person feels understood, they become less defensive and more cooperative. This takes discipline and practice but often yields great results.

SH gave an exercise in the book with some statements and a list of feelings to associate with those statements.

One way to develop perspective listening is repeating to your partner precisely what you have heard them say. This gives them a chance to confirm or deny the accuracy of what you have understood them say as communication could get distorted between sender and receiver.  Of course this shouldn't be done for every single conversation but for the specially important and crucial conversations.  Most times we assume we know where the other person is going with a conversation which ends up not being the case.  Restating what your partner says indicates a commitment to your partner's well being. You are letting him or her know that you are interested and care about how he or she feels.

Learn to listen as it can bring about a transformation in your marriage.

I have missed some parts in this section as it was more practical with scenarios but hopefully the points above will still be helpful. We will discuss "Understanding", the last important component of effective communication next time.  

I found this picture online and though it seems funny the message is simple and makes plenty sense :)

source: google images.

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Have a great week!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Speak the Truth In Love- Part I of the Communication Series

Many of you will agree that one of the greatest obstacles to a successful marriage is the inability to communicate. It is imperative that the lines of communication be open at ALL COST between a husband and wife.

SH mentioned Josh Powell's five level of communication:

Level 1: Cliche conversation. This is where a person hides behind the safety of cliches. No personal sharing is involved. Cliches such as  'how are you today?' or 'Looks like it is going to rain today'
Level 2: reporting facts about others. Here people mention what others have said to them but offer no personal views on those facts. You know, reporting facts like a newsreader
Level 3: ideas and judgements. This is where real communication begins. A person is willing to step out of the cliche screen and risk sharing his/her ideas and judgements.
Level 4: feelings and emotions. A person shares his feelings about issues. This is where effective communication starts. Couples need to interact at a level where you know what each other feels about vital issues
Level 5: openness and honesty. This is the ultimate level. All deep relationships especialy marriage must be based on honest communication if not the marriage will suffer.

The communication process in marriage (and even other aspects of life) comprises of three simple but very powerful rules: talking, listening and understanding. We would address each one separately.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Role of A Wife

Last weekend, we started the topic "Who is in Charge?" and discussed the role of the husband in a marriage. From the comments we received here and on twitter it was clear that God is in charge however, the man has been commanded to be the head and loving leader in a marriage. Today we look at the role of the wife.

"The major function of a woman in marriage is that of submission to her husband's leadership". Hmm that word submission for a lot of people has a negative connotation. I certainly didn't like that word a lot before I got married. Submit? Whyyy? Writefreak blogged about this a while back as a lot of women see submission as a form of slavery. You can check the post here. The comments were really interesting.

Ephesians 5:22-24 New International Version (NIV) Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Image from google images
Some women say well my husband can be the head while I am the neck and I can turn him whichever way I want. lol, That seems funny but in reality that is how a number of women have decided to resolve this submission matter.  Our attitude towards submission shouldn't be one of fear but it is "to be enjoyed, and when rightly understood and practised, it helps a woman experience the security she needs."

So the multimillion dollar question is what exactly is submission?

SH says "submission is really an attitude or a frame of mind. It recognises that just as Christ was subject to God, and that the church is subject to Christ, so a woman ought to be subject to her husband. By this attitude she is saying 'I believe God has arranged the structure of marriage in harmony with the highest principles of the universe. And one of those principles is submission to a higher authority. God has placed my husband above me, not to be superior to me, but to be my spiritual covering and protection. God will protect me from harm through him and as I recognise this principle and live happily and contentedly beneath it, I shall be relieved of a great deal of the stresses and strains of life because Gd has arranged and equipped my husband to carry them.'"

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Who is in Charge?

This topic is a very interesting one and could be seen as controversial but I enjoyed reading and learning from it. Remember we are using the book- Marriage as God intended as a study guide and the book is based on biblical principles. As a result this topic is being addressed from a Christian viewpoint. You can take this as a disclaimer if you wish. ;).  Please note this topic isn't only for the Married but also for the Singles. Better to know all about these things before signing the dotted line.

Some marriages today are in trouble because there are two people trying to be leaders. Billy Graham's wife Ruth said in an interview once "if there are two leaders in a marriage then one of them is unnecessary". According to SH "roles determine relationships". He said "show me a marriage in which the roles are clearly defined, clearly understood and acted upon, and I will show you a marriage where relationships blossom like a beautiful flower." Someone might say "what roles?" We are leaving in a society where these distinct roles have become blurred. The feminist movement believe that apart from the ability to bear children there are no differences between men and women. However this according to the bible is not true. Paul was able to break the roles down in the book of Ephesians 5. Verse 23, 25 say that the husband is the head of the wife and must love his wife as Christ loves the church. While verse 24 say the wife is to submit herself to her husband in the same way that the church is subject to Christ. Lets us break these two roles down a bit further.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

What’s happening to marriage?

Today we shall begin our discussion on Selwyn Hughes (SH) book- “Marriage as God intended”. This chapter addresses why marriages break up.  Please note that throughout the book discussion over the next couple of weeks we would be picking key points from the chapters whilst adding in our own thoughts and not rewriting the whole book so I’ll highly recommended like I did last time that you get the book.

Let’s go there…. (I just had to chip that

Ok so I won’t go into all the scary statistics but it is not news today that a lot of marriages are in trouble. We have all heard about Kim K's 72 days of marriage resulting in divorce. What a shame! A lot of marriages around us are breaking up and the numbers keep increasing by the day. Which worries me because it shows that marriage and family are becoming less and less important to people.

SH highlights 4 main reasons why marriages are going downhill:

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Marriage as God intended

During the premarital counselling session my husband and I attended about 4 years ago in church, my pastor used the book "Marriage as God intended" by Selwyn Hughes as a lesson guide. The book was full of profound words I promptly got a copy after the classes so I could refer to the book again.  I dug out the book just recently to read again and I thought it would be a good idea for us to share some key points from the book over the next few weeks with our readers.

I recommend the book to singles, those about to get married and even those that are already married.  It covers resolving conflict, adjusting to parents and in- laws, how not to fall into adulterous sin by remarrying, extra-marital affairs. In short it covers the factors that effect and affect a marriage.

So that it doesn't appear like I am biased or making things up, here are some reviews on the book I found online:

"This book is wonderful! I have found this the best book I have read on marriage. It addresses many important areas including communication and in-laws. It has a peace pact and a very constructive way of dealing with conflict. This is a must-have book for those who are in a relationship, engaged, or married. There is so much to be learnt from this book for both believers and non believers. I could not recommend this book more highly."

"A very practical book based on the many real examples of couples seeking marriage counselling. It helps to prepare couples, particularly Christians to get ready for their married life. For non-Christians, this book also helps both sides to understand more about different important aspects in marriage, like in-laws, roles, communication, etc and suggested practical ways to improve things or avoid big mistakes. Highly-Recommended. I was given one when doing the marriage preparation and bought one for a good friend who's getting married."
Some of you might know the late Selwyn Hughes. He is the author of "Everyday with Jesus" Devotionals. He has written such amazing and inspiring daily devotionals. 

If you have a copy of the book you can read along and share your thoughts. Alternatively, you could check if your local library has a copy that you can borrow (not sure if local libraries exist in Nigeria). Or better still buy the book! I promise you the book is worth having in your library. 

We haven't figured out what day of the week we would be writing the posts but it would most likely be up on the weekends for the next couple of weeks. Writefreak and I would be sharing different chapters so watch this space!

God bless


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

"I will wait for you"

Saw this thought provoking video on chichi's blog and thought to share with y'all. Hope it blesses you.


Thursday, 6 October 2011

Dealing with a heartbreak

Every one or at least most people want to be loved. We dream of meeting the one and spending our lives with them forever. We meet someone who "fits the bill", we give our all, we get vulnerable with them, we open up our hearts, we share our lives, money, (maybe) bed, and hopes with them. Everything seems great till the big bubble bursts. They leave us high and dry; Your expectation is cut short. We become heart broken. Sounds familiar? Sometimes you might even be the one that called it off but your heart still gets broken all the same.

Some heartbreak journeys are easier to manage than others, while some take a long time to recover from. Whatever the case we need to deal with it  appropriately so we can move on to a better future.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Slight Change in Direction

Hello people. we hope you are doing well?

Just a quick note to give you a heads-up on the direction of this blog. Apart from focuing on just singles, we have decided to focus on relationships in general still from a Godly perspective. This means we would also have posts on marriage, parenting etc as well.

The devil is out to ruin relationships, but as children of the Most High we cannot be ignorant of the devices of the enemy. We hope with this blog we can help people learn how to guard their relationships from any attacks and be a light to the world, so that they can learn and come to the knowledge of Chrits.

We welcome your thoughts, questions and suggestions on topics to cover. Please leave us your comments or drop us an email at

Thanks for all your support.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Single and Happy Part 2.

Hello People!

We hope you have been keeping well? We apologise (yet again) for the infrequent blog posts.

Here's a continuation from last time's post on being single and happy. We have the pleasure of having Rita of eroinspirations share her experience with us.

Let us know your thoughts. Stay blessed

The Soulsistas


When I was single, I could not understand how someone could be single and happy. I felt that once I had a partner, even if it was just a boyfriend, I would be happy and complete. It was not easy hearing about every other person's boyfriend, engagement and ultimately marriage. It was not easy knowing my closest friend was having her 2nd child while I was still struggling to find Mr. Right. I know it is not easy to be single and happy.