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10 Things You Must Know Before Going Into Marriage

In many cases people go into marriage without having slightest idea of what they are going into. By the time they realize this after they must have contracted the marriage it would have been too late. This leaves them with the statement: Had I know. Before going into marriage, there are number of factors that need to be known, failing which the marriage may be dead even before it is contracted. Some of the factors include, but not limited to, the ones explained below:


Financial Management

One of the principal factors that determine whether a marriage will withstand the test of time is finance. Marriage requires quite a lot of money to be sustained. Its adequacy or otherwise determines if the marital experience will be exciting or not. This will also say much about whether the marriage will succeed or not. There are several things that will require money before, during and after wedding. Some of them include, but not limited to, baby care, medicare, housing, car, clothing, and others. This therefore requires that couples going into marriage should give a primary consideration in their quest marital union to the issue of finance. No matter how small the family budget is, lack of money or inadequacy of it can cause serious crises in the family that will turn what would have been memorable and exciting experience to an unpalatable one. Lets avoid it. Let us plan ahead.


Sexual Desires & Concerns

Are you guys sexually compatible or not? If you are not then you guys need a rethink. Discuss it and dont feel shy. Be bold and courageous to discuss your sexual preferences with your partner. Dont pretend. Say it exactly the way it is. If you dont tell him/her then dont blame him/her. Many people go into marriage as pretenders, not willing to declare who they are sexually. And when their partners could not fathom what such desires and preferences are, then they remain unattended to. Frustrations arising from this could lead to communication gap, marital crisis and this may lead to eventual crash of such marriages.


Extended Family

Extended families are very important because they are the big trees from which our individual conjugal families come from. In other words, they are the sources of various nuclear families as we have them today. No doubt these families need their respective extended family members for one reason or another. But they should not be over relied upon. They should be dealt with cautiously. They should not be allowed to have over bearing influence on the nuclear families in such a way that they will start hurting the expression of the huge potentials that abound in the families. Couples should be careful at the beginning to ensure that what is happening in their homes are not dictated from outside in the name of extended family.


Friends’ Involvement

Both couples have friends, males and females. Some with good intentions, and others with bad intentions. You can hardly differentiate who is who because the holy book says, The heart of man is desperately wicked. Who can know it? Couples should take charge of what is happening within and among them. They should learn to treat their matters with minimum reliance on external parties called friend. Cases abound of where the so called friends took advantage of the gap between couples to scatter their marriages. Empathic communication among couples help removed such unpleasant experiences.


Household Chore Delegation

Who does household chores among the couples? Big question, right? Traditionally, one would say that this roles automatically goes to the woman of the house. But things have changed so dramatically since the modern industrial and technological era. As a matter of fact traditional roles of genders have been altered significantly. So caution is the word here. We have to face reality. Gone were the days when the woman will be doing all the house chores and the man will be sitting in the palour, reading newspaper or watching television. Both couples should make themselves available for domestic chores to help one another and to reduce tension in the family. This is a clear demonstration of love and spirit of helpfulness.


Career Aspirations

What does your marriage mean to your career plan? Death or growth? You need to sit down to talk about this. Everyone has lofty dreams before marriage. The question is, what happened to those lofty dreams after marriage? Will the woman still be allowed to chase the dreams or she will be asked to abandon them and stay at home all day long? Both couples should organize themselves in such a way that they can both pursue their respective careers to the glory of God. No one should be made to abandon his/her dreams. This is the least they could do to help themselves, their family and the society at large. 50/50 rule should apply here.


Parenting Philosophies

Parenting is a major aspect of family function that needs to be handled with great caution. Couples must agree on the belief and philosophy that will be deployed to guide childrens thought process and world view. If the parents are looking in different directions in this regard there will be confusion as the children may be lost as to which philosophy to adopt. The children may be left with no option than to chart new courses for themselves. This new direction may not be what the parents wish to have.


Relaxation Time (what they like to do in their free time)

This may sound funny but it has to be given all the seriousness it deserves. Having an idea of how, when and where you want to spend your spare time and sharing same with your partner may be a very powerful way to get yourself understood by your partner. This may in turn create room for mutual understanding and trust. For instance, if you have never told your wife that you enjoy attending night club at your leisure time and she discovers that you always go there, this may create trust issues and brewing point for crisis. Such crisis may shake the marriage to its foundation if it is not well managed.

Personality Traits

Do you know the personality traits of your partner? Is he/she short tempered, gentle, aggressive, etc? Is he/she gentle, harsh or calm? People are not the same on all these traits. And the traits each of the couples has will go a long way to affect his/her approach to the other partner. This in turn may have serious implications for the marriage.

Similarities & Differences of the Families couples grew up from

The Similarities between the families the couples come from may go a long way and overall stability of their homes. Although this is not a guarantee but the chances of success could be high. This explains why people are often afraid of going into inter-ethnic marriage.

Indicators of Crisis in Your Marriage & Family Part 1

Introduction

Broken marriages and homes are not what anyone or society would want to have for several reasons. They have negative consequences for the individuals, marriages, families and societies involved. So, it is important for us to be able to detect the signals threatening these social sub-systems when they start unfolding. This is important so that they can be nipped in the bud before they get to uncontrollable level. The thrust of this write-up is to identify these destructive factors for appropriate treatments.

  1. Does your partner have child/children outside wedlock?

Sometimes spouses discover that their partners are having children outside. This may be before or after the marriage. This shows that something is wrong with such marriage. It is a sign that loyalty has been divided. The relationship may not be the same again. The children outside the wedlock are now part of the family. There is no such thing as bastard child in Africa. Same for most part of the globe.

Possible reasons for having children outside wedlock.

Why on earth will a man/woman go outside to have children? The reasons for this are many. It could be as a result of pre-marital sex. Another reason is perceived barrenness of one of the spouses. Outright infidelity on the part of one of the partners or both is a factor too. Some are due to prolonged differences between the couples. The man’s desperate search for a male child may be a factor too. Whatever the reason may be the relationship has been altered. The interaction will take a new look. The situation should be well managed to avoid divorce and other forms of reactions that could throw the marriage into devastating crises.

  1. Infidelity

This is another red flag to show that there is a problem in a marriage. Infidelity could involve the husband, wife or both. Whoever that is involved is not a good story for the union of the spouses and their children. It takes attention away from home. This is a distraction from the primary responsibility of the spouses to their marriage and family. Infidelity takes the resources that are meant for the family to a third party. Among such resources are quality time with family members, efforts, finances and others. This third party is a parasite or worm that is eating deep into the family’s resource reserve. He/she will soon leave as soon as the resource is completely depleted.

The effects of infidelity on the marriage and family.

Where infidelity has taken its firm grip on a marriage and family the spouse’s emotional feeling will run dry. Sex between the spouses will suffer serious setback. Mutual care will nosedive. Children’s welfare will suffer, and the entire marriage and family will be in disarray. At this stage, divorce and other dangerous consequences of such dysfunctional relationship may just be around the corner.

Paternity controversy arising from infidelity.

Apart from the above, infidelity could result in a very serious paternity crisis. For example, there was a married woman who was also involved in a discrete relationship with another man. On a particular day, after her husband had gone to work, she went to meet her man friend. They both had several rounds of sexual intercourse. When her husband returned from work, he demanded for sex from his wife. So they both had sex again. Weeks after pregnancy occurred. The question is who is the true biological father of the child?  Is it the concubine or the husband? The woman is yet to answer the question up till now. What will happen when the husband gets to know that this little innocent boy is not his biological son?

  1. Lack of transparency.

There is an adage that says that “A house built with saliva will soon be washed away by the falling dew”. Literally, this can be interpreted to mean a foundation built on falsehood will crumble in no time. So if marriage must survive the test of time, it has to be built on transparency on the parts of both partners. This is particularly the case in the areas of past relationships. The number of kids already gotten (if any) and finances should be declared, Couple should able to share information on each other’s family background, sexual preferences, and others.

Implications of lack of transparency.

Any hidden information in any of these areas has a way of coming to hunt whoever that is hiding it later. When the right thing is done, the integrity rating of the affected couple before his/her partner will be enhanced. The reverse of this could be very disastrous. The integrity of the couple will hit the ground in  seconds. That may even decide how long the relationship will endure. So the question is:  why hiding what will soon be known?

  1. Poor temperament.

People who are highly temperamental or shot tempered are highly unpredictable. They could be very deadly when they have cause to be angry. They often take their anger out of proportion when least provoked. When you discover that your marital partner or would-be partner is in this category, it is an indication that you have a lot of work to do. You must prepare to exercise reasonable amount of patience and maturity in handling him/her.

Dangers of high temper.

There are cases of short tempered individuals who have had cause to kill their loved ones not necessarily because they wanted to but because they could not control their emotions. It becomes a double tragedy where the two partners are both temperamental. In such situation, anything can happen. If you have a personality of this nature as your partner and the two of you have not married officially, you need to carry out a self-assessment to determine if you have the capacity to manage such person. If you realize that you are incapable of doing so, you are kindly advised to cut short the relationship before it is too late.

  1. Constant infection with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). STDs like gonorrhea, staphylococcus, syphilis, HIV/AIDs and others are serious health conditions. They usually come with unguided sexual behaviours. This may be on the part of the male or female partner or both. It could be very embarrassing when this keeps happening and you are very sure that you have been faithful in your sexual activities. It is either because your partner has not recovered from the previous treatments if he/she had been treated for STDs. The fact may even be that he/she has not stopped his/her unfaithful act. This may be a sign of unprotected sex outside wedlock.

 

What could go wrong?

There are serious biological and medical consequences associated with cheating on your spouse. Some of them could be death, infertility/childlessness, blindness, brain damage and so on. Where it is necessary you are advised to opt out of the relationship in your own interest and in the interest of your family.

  1. Lack of sexual satisfaction.

Sex between couples is meant to be enjoyed and very seriously so. Lack of satisfaction for whatever reason on the part of any of the couples could lead to frustration that may eventually spell doom for the marriage. This may also affect the upbringing of the children and the family as a whole. It is an unpleasant situation that right thinking couples would want to avoid. Therefore it is imperative that couples should consciously strive to make their sexual engagement a very memorable experience that is worthy of being craved for all the time.

What should be done?

Couples should ensure that there is open communications on sex among themselves. There is no point hiding anything from each other. They are strongly encouraged to discuss topics like their sex preferences, positions and styles, timing, among others. There should be openness as this is only way they can of help to themselves. It is better to share all these information among themselves and understand each other in the process. This will prevent looking outside for satisfaction that may tear the marriage and family apart.

  1. Denying spouse of sex.

The three letter word called sex is about the most powerful tool that God who brought about the institution of marriage has created for lubricating it. A marriage without sex is a dead one. The parties may be pretending that all is well. But the truth of the matter is that the marriage is dead and they know. So why would the couples deny themselves of sex?  Lack of sexual satisfaction as discussed in 6 above has serious consequences.

Possible Reasons for sex denials.

This is worsened when the search for sexual satisfaction leads to infidelity or masturbation. Another important reason is that some partners in the face of financial inducement get entangled in infidelity such that they no longer see satisfaction in their partners at home. Impotence, either partial or full, is another reason for sex denials among couples. The cause of impotence could be as a result of many factors like work/social pressures, accident, infections, and others. Sex denials may also be as a result of the fact that couples are separated by long distances because of differences in work locations. And of course prolonged and unresolved differences among couples could be a factor in their not havang sex any more. Whatever the reason for not having sex regularly or at all is unique to the particular couples. They should make conscious efforts at addressing such issue(s) in the overall interest of peace, harmony and positive emotional feelings in their marriage.

This discussion will continue in the subsequent parts of this write up.. Please watch out.

Tips on How to Run Cost Effective Family

Introduction

Running a family could be very expensive and stressful. You cannot run away from such stress as long as you are saddled with the responsibility of leading and managing a home that you, your spouse and children will be proud of. But you can make the task less stressful if you can follow some of the tips highlighted below. So why not take off the needless pressures on you and feel proud of your achievements and let your family members feel the same way too? These are the tips. So let us read on.

Reasonable and Qualitative Education.

Your children need good quality education to prepare them for their adult life. This does not have to cost you all your limited resources. All you need to do is to gather information about the creches, kindergartens, nursery, primary and secondary schools in your neighbourhood. Get information about their cost and quality of their services and choose the one that is most suitable to your budget. Many of the highly expensive educational institutions around are not special in any way. All their claims are hypes. Do not fall for it. Go to where you will get value for your money.

Affordable Accommodation.

Money is too difficult to get that one cannot choose to be throwing it out anyhow. When searching for accommodation for you and your family, good neighbourhood is good and important. But is that all? Perhaps that is not. You also have to think about affordability. And affordability has to be defined from the point of view of how big and loaded your pocket is because you are the one that will pay the rent and continue to renew it for as long as you are still there. So go for accommodation that will agree with your pocket size. Avoid looking at your rent with another person’s lens. Use your own lens.

Living Within Your Means.

Living within your means is the best and most respectable of living. If you choose to opt for luxuries that your earnings cannot finance you are not doing yourself any good. Instead you are pushing yourself and family to the point of embarrassment. This is what we call fake life. Unchecked fake life can bring about depression and all the attendant negative consequences. Fake lifestyle can compelled you and any member of your family to try to indulge in stealing, armed robbery, fraud, drug peddling, rituals, and other forms of criminality in other to get what is illegitimately theirs in order to fill up the gap created through fake living.

Cheaper And Efficient Solutions.

Be creative and innovative in your search for solutions to your family’s problems or challenges. This brings down the cost of running your homes with better results to show for it. High quality does not have to come at a very high cost. When you cook from home the cost is by far cheaper than buying piece meal from food vendors. Teaching your children to do their laundry themselves will help the family to drive down the cost. And at a point they can also assist daddy and mummy to do their own laundry too. I call this return on investment (ROI) on the time and efforts used to train the kids Apart from this, it also helps to prepare the children for responsible adulthood..

Health and Nutrition.

Adopt preventive medicine practice in your family by making sure your spouse and children eat healthy foods because doing so is better and cheaper than cure. Healthy foodstuffs and fruits are available everywhere. And they are relatively cheap compare to the cost of treating ailments arising from poor nutrition. Good hygiene and other healthy practices should also be embraced to prevent frequent illness by members of your family. Using treated net to prevent mosquito bites is an excellent idea. Make sure that all prescriptions are used as recommended by medical professionals.

Choose Lifestyle Your Earnings Can Accommodate.

While it may be good to follow examples of some people’s lifestyles, it is equally important that you have what it takes to be able to follow seamlessly. It will be highly ridiculous for you to want to acquire an expensive car simply because you want to fall within the same category of a friend that just did the same thing. This person may be your friend but the two of you may not in the same class. That is the truth. And you should not be in the same class to be friends. Do not impose undue pressure on yourself and your family. Get off it.

Build Your Social Life Around Sensible and Realistic People.

“Show me your friends and I will know who you are.” That is an age long adage that underscores how important the people you have chosen as your friends can be in your life. Get positive vibes by surrounding yourself with sensible people and vice versa. Wrong people will impose on you wrong values and decisions that will take you off track, and by extension your family. Good and realistic people will live exemplary live that will serve as inspiration for you. They will also counsel and guide you to prevent you from going astray.

Appreciate God Factor In Your Life and Family.

Believe and accept God’s position and role in your life. God can do without us, but we cannot do without God in our individual and collective lives. Constant prayer for His guidance on daily basis and on all issues is a must. There is no alternative to that. You can have all the best ideas in this world but if God does not have hands in them they will not come to fruition. So do not fool around. Be with God at all times because the one with God is the majority. You will not be let down.

Integrity

Be a person of integrity simply means being the person you claim you are. Let your action be a true reflection of what you say. Your spouse is watching you, and so are your children. Let your YES be YES and your NO be NO. Lack of congruence in this regard may generate questions that may be difficult to resolve by you. This will obviously increase the pressure on you. It is better you under promise and over deliver than to over promise and under deliver.

Hard Work.

Work very hard to meet your expectations from spouse and other family members. Do not be lazy about it. Anything short of this will bring down your integrity rating before your family.

 Planning is Key to Family Success.

Effective and successful family is not by happenstance. It is a direct result of careful planning and hard work to make the planning come to fruition. Hence the saying that, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” It is not just enough to draw up plans, try to follow your plans through to ensure the objectives are achieved as planned. You must have realistic budget to back your plans. Operate within budgetary limits. Do not do more than your budget can accommodate. Nobody will give you any award for running or leading the most expensive and extravagant family. So what are we killing ourselves for?

Being Yourself and Real.

Do not disguise yourself and your family as well. Nobody is going to kill you by saying you are from a humble background. How you were born is not your fault. What you are, and what you will be, is your fault..