A letter to my wife…

Dearest Juliana, 

Your birthday is here again today! Not only that, but it’s also our traditional marriage anniversary. Tomorrow will be our wedding anniversary. You know all this, and you might have heard it before, but it’s still important that you hear it again…that, 

you’re the best of life’s blessings to me and I am eternally grateful 

I have been grateful every single day since we set out on this journey less traveled by many for fear of many unknowns and heartbreaks. I don’t have to say it every single day for you to know I am, right? I know you’ll agree because even though I know your ears are so sweet and always wanting to hear something (news, gossips, sweet nothings), hearing the same thing everyday will bore you to death. See? I know you too well 😜.

Typical of me, I always lose some sleep on occasions like this watching you sleep soundly and also lost in thought over how far we’ve come and how grateful we should be for God’s divine providence that has kept us. I usually sing in my head a few lines from that our favorite song that goes like… 

“Your Grace and Mercy brought us through.

We living this moment because of You. 

We want to thank You and praise You too. 

For Your Grace and Mercy brought us through”

Sometimes I shed a few emotional tears that you never see, for a man must never be seen crying, even if they are tears of joy or gratitude for divine providence, right? 😂🙈


We were younger than most folks when we started out and still younger when we got married. I know how we always laugh when we remember how that “our very young members are getting married” announcement was made in Church and I know how that makes you feel 😜. I think laughing is one of our good perks because we always someway somehow find something to laugh about. I love that a lot…please don’t ever stop laughing with me? Aww! 😂

It feels like a lot of years have passed and we are still young and still stuck in our lovely twenties (we just can’t wait to get out of it huh? 😂). But the good thing about us being young is that we had a tremendous amount of zeal, faith and belief in what we had as true undying love that’s willing to go the extra mile. And surely the extra mile we went. I still see that zeal, faith and belief in you and it’s simply beautiful to behold, you never know…I see a lot of things. If you like call me “the seer” like we used to secretly call someone back in our school days. 😂🙈

Truth is we know our own love story and life story…nobody can tell it better than us. At best, they can only misrepresent it, even they that have been the closest to us. We know better all the things we have been through…the good, bad and ugly. I know you will laugh here because you know a lot of our folks think we’ve never seen ugly days 😂.

But all in all, the best part about you and I on this beautiful adventure has been God…how He keeps orchestrating things in our favour. 

With Him, our relationship has been one heaven of an adventure; one I wouldn’t trade for anything. It’s all been worth it…all the love, all the sacrifices. May we never take God for granted. 

Two years of distance marriage gave us academic laurels plus some beautiful life lessons and adorable memories of living apart. That was amazing, let’s try it again 😜.

One year living together has given us it’s own share of amazing memories topped with a beautiful bundle of joy that only you gets the privilege of naming “Sweet Face“. Such an adorable product of our secret antics in the night must surely have a sweet face 😂. I know you wished she came in your birth month December so you can boss over me but sorry she couldn’t wait to see me 😜.

Three years of marriage and we can finally say “me + you = three“. Trinity is good. 

Now we can go back to achieving some more academic laurels, or better still stay put and make more cuties and sweet faces? 😜

Truly, on this occasion of your birthday, I’m just thankful for how God has made it all work out so well for you and I’m proud to have you in my life. 

Now let the celebrations begin! Happy Birthday Dear! Savour every moment!

Yours truly,

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

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Seasons… 

Embrace every season you’re in and celebrate it.  It may not last long or forever…nothing in life does. 

There’s a blessing in every season of life. Celebrate your single season and enjoy the blessings. Soon that season will be over and what you learned at that stage may take you far. 

Soon will come marriage. Celebrate your married season too…it may also not last forever. Ideally it should, but life does not always give you what you want. There’s a limit to your efforts; the rest becomes the work of divine providence. 

Whiles you have life…learn to celebrate yourself through every season, through every phase of life! 

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Weddings and the choice of colors or styles

Any time wedding colors and style comes to mind, I can’t help but to be reminded of my wife’s obsession with the color fuchsia the time we were planning our own wedding. In all my life I have never heard of any such color before…not that I am very good at colors anyways. And I remember the troubles the one handling our wedding decorations went through getting that color…and my wife was unyielding in changing her very favorite yet difficult to find fuchsia. On my part I brought a teal blue suit with me from the UK which I just slid in with a bow tie and suit hankie that looked more violet than fuchsia. I ended up giving her the pet name my “Fuchsia Baby” and she on her part calls me her “Teal Blue Baby”. That was one fun part of our wedding colors and style choice. What’s more fun? Try pronouncing “Teal Blue Baby” 10 times without break and see if you will get it right…that became a game we enjoyed up until now.

Everything about a wedding is important. Choosing your wedding colors and style or outfits is one of the first and important decisions would-be couples make. The bride and grooms’ style is one of the defining features that makes their wedding beautiful in its own right. Of course, you will want to be looking at those wedding pictures and how elegant your outfits (suit and gown) and colors played out for many years to come and still want to look trendy.

For almost every wedding, color plays a major role in defining the décor and ultimate tone of the occasion. There is something really beautiful about the way a wedding comes together and a good choice of wedding colors or style makes your wedding stand out. Everybody is impressed by a beautiful wedding décor or color theme. Your wedding color or style may well be one of the most noticeable attractions of your “once in a lifetime” or “most beautiful” day.

When making that decision, it is important that you look at a number of different styles available in order to arrive at the best possible choice that brings out the best in you. I remember how my wife got so “hooked on” other people’s wedding pictures and videos on the internet trying to look out for one thing or the other that best suits her wedding ideas. Just like my wife, if you’re looking for inspiration for your upcoming wedding, I recommend you check out The Black Tux’s suit and tuxedo rentals selection which hosts a lot of amazing styles and color schemes for just the perfect wedding you dream of. Trust me, when it comes to weddings, using the right service and people specialized in the field goes a long way in making you pull off a wedding with no regrets.

At the most basic level, you may want to also choose colors or styles to match the season. There are some colors and styles that best fits the season in which one is getting married. Oh yes, there are summer colors, fall colors, spring colors and autumn colors. Just like in our normal daily life, there are some colors that one shouldn’t wear on a bright sunny day, etc., same way the experts know some colors and styles are best for or bring out the shine in the season in which one marries. Fall is here and I wanted to share with you some of the top trends for the season that I find very lovely, below. Seeing them makes me feel like getting married again.

blktux_wedding_color_trends_fall17_plum_v01@2xblktux_wedding_color_trends_fall17_orange_v02

blktux_wedding_color_trends_fall17_navy_v01@2x

It is also important to some people to choose colors based on their meanings and their personality types – what best represents them as a couple. One of the proven ways to know which color best suits one’s personality type is to take a color palette quiz and I would like to recommend one of such cool online quizzes I came across. Here: https://www.brandfolder.com/blog/quiz-whats-your-color-palette-personality/

Others also consider what mood the colors create. OK, so white I’m told is symbolic of purity, innocence and cleanliness. Yellow generally symbolizes wisdom, happiness and intellectual energy. Orange represents joyfulness, enthusiasm and optimism. Red they say is the color of strength, health, and vitality. Red-orange is symbolic of desire, sexual passion, pleasure, and a thirst for action. Pink also is a great symbol of love and beauty. Purple is the color of royalty and can represent magic, mystery, creativity and strength. Blue is symbolic of youth, spirituality, peace and tranquility. Green is the color of harmony and balance, renewal and peace. Olive green is the traditional color of peace. Gold is a symbol of wealth and also representative of good health.

In fact, the list is endless and so are your choices. But at the end of the day, you can never go wrong when you use the experts. Everybody’s got a dream wedding color or style, right? What’s yours?

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

Your financial vision…

​Everyone’s financial situation is different. So are their visions for life.

Some have no vision at all and only live for today. You can act poor today yet be rich tomorrow. You can also act rich today and yet remain poor tomorrow. It all depends on you.  

But whatever you do, learn to make tomorrow easier on yourself than today. Don’t live like everyone! 

Every woman… 

Every woman has a longing. 

An innate desire of usefulness to a man because from man she came

But whether her value will go beyond the bedroom 

Beyond just being a man’s object of sexual gratification 

All depends on how she sees and carries herself 

The value she places on herself and sells out to the man she’s with

Will ultimately decide how her man will see her

Men always know the difference 

They know who makes it only to the bedroom as a “sin partner”

And who makes it to being a wife and a destiny partner

When all you bring to the table is your body and chopping of a man’s money

You’ve already decided where you will end

You hold the power to determine your usefulness.
©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author 

MARRIAGE IS FOR MEN, NOT BOYS. IT’S NO MONKEY BUSINESS

When it comes to marriage, the difference between a man and a boy is not about age but maturity of the mind, emotions, intellect, actions, etc. Maturity does matter; but not necessarily in terms of age. As John Grier is believed to have said, “You are only young once, but you can be immature for a lifetime”. See the difference?

A marriage between a 20 year old man and a 19 year old woman will be a rare occurrence in many parts of the world, where it appears the very first and sometimes most important determinant of the success of a marriage is the physical age of the people involved. In many such cultures and places the “a young man married is a man that’s marred” Shakespearean ideology rules.

Surprisingly though, the legal adult and marriageable age of 18 or lower is recognized for almost all purposes in this same places. It is well known that about 82% of the world’s countries and 67% of countries in Africa prescribe 18 years as the marriageable age. So what is the problem? Why hold strongly that marriage between 20 year olds will not succeed then?

Irrespective of all the benefits of marrying “young”, I always maintain that marriage is huge; very huge! Anybody entering that institution must thus “study to show himself approved” and anyone irrespective of the age (18 and above) who has done his or her homework well and has prepared adequately for it must be permitted to go in without raising of eyebrows simply because they are “young”. As the age old adage goes, “a child who learns to wash his hands well can eat with the elders”. Similarly, anybody no matter the age, who learns well the rudiments of marriage, can succeed in the institution. Or can we easily say as a fact that it is only at a particular age that people will be fully prepared for marriage and to succeed thereof?

Nonetheless, for a man, I think he should also make sure that aside every other thing, he is financially sound to run his family and if he can at 20, then glory hallelujah! And for a woman, if at the age of 19 she is well informed about marriage, motherhood and all wifely roles and is ready for it, glory hallelujah!

By 20 years however, most men and women in Africa and some parts of the world by the nature or structure of their educational and support systems would still be in school anyways. Funny enough, most will still be in high school anyways…and why think about marriage, sex, starting a family and all that when you are in school, probably still under your parents care and most definitely without any job anyways?

men-not-boys

“Marriage is no child’s play” does not mean a man/woman should be above 30/40 before marrying. There are no rules. It just means marriage is no monkey business; it’s not a frivolous venture, but is serious in content, attitude and behavior (and the list goes on). It’s a maturity issue and we do know that in many cases maturity is not commensurate with age. Proof is that we’ve seen so many old folks behaving so immature!

I do believe in marrying “young” but not rushing into marriage when one is not well prepared mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually…and all the “llys” one can think of.

Marriage is an exciting journey…so good luck to everyone considering it, irrespective of age. Just know it’s no monkey business.

Cheers!

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author

 

 

Marriage: a field of openness and accountability 

​A healthy relationship or marriage requires honesty in all things!

In marriage, your partner has every right to have access to your phone; and in fact, investigate whatever they want on it. It’s just not always recommended because of not wanting to encourage or breed unnecessary suspicious behaviours towards each other as couples. But the simple truth is that marriage is a field of openness and truthfulness.

A part of marriage means or involves accountability. If you don’t want to be accountable to your spouse then you don’t need marriage. I don’t see why you would want marriage yet not want to be accountable to your partner. 

The moment you decide to marry, you are saying you want to be responsible and you’re giving your partner exclusive rights to information on every detail of your life. Every action of yours affects your marriage, as such, it is every partner’s duty to keep the other in check. If you don’t want that, then you simply have to remain single because you can’t be married and still have singleness attitudes and mindsets.  

Singles are only accountable onto themselves but once married, you are accountable to each other. The marriage vow enjoins you to. 

Our accountability in marriage is not only in the eyes of God but also to our spouses; as such, you must not resent being checked by your spouse. 

The trademark of a strong Godly marriage is complete openness; a relationship where couples can talk freely about absolutely everything. If you are faithful, there is no reason to want to hide anything. What at all is on your phone that you are hiding from being seen by your spouse?

Some may say one’s partner may see something that may trigger mistrust but the point is, trust never happens in a vacuum. It’s based on actions…always! I can never wake up one day and just start trusting someone. I must see evidences of your actions over a period of time to conclude on trusting you. And who said trust is a one time thing? It never is. It is constantly being assessed and daily renewed. 

If a partner thinks once you marry, trust must just be there automatically, I don’t want to marry such a person. You need to continuously prove to me that I can trust you and I can never do that without genuine openness and accountability for your actions. 

So yes, If I chance on something unpleasant or suspicious on your phone, there is something called explanation, clearing of doubts or putting things in their right context. It’s only people who don’t want to be accountable that don’t like being questioned. And for me, once you don’t want to be accountable and subject yourself to scrutiny, then you are a questionable marriage material. Even Jesus Christ says he will judge us so we must be accountable and if that’s cool with us, then it must be cool that we are accountable to our marriage or partners. 

The simple truth is that in marriage, both of you need to take joint responsibility for how the marriage is doing. How do you do that when you want to keep some things a no-go area? 

Share your thoughts with us. 

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author 

The relevance of a wedding registry and how modern couples can make the most of it

Imagine receiving wedding gifts that you don’t get to use years after your wedding. How possible is that? Well, it is very possible and very true in my case. And I believe it’s not a unique experience but one that is very common to many marriages. It is often the case especially when your loved ones who gave the gifts didn’t know what exactly your needs were and were left to just assume what will be useful to the newly married couple.

Recently my wife and I decided to reorganize things in our home and in the process, we chanced on a number of things including boxes of porcelain dinner sets, spice containers and some cookwares which apparently were gifts on our wedding. There were also some fabrics which never got sewn because apparently, they have either gone out of fashion or were not our taste in clothes. Those are just a few examples but that’s not the first time we realized how some of our wedding gifts turned out not immediately useful to us, and it still reminded us of how we would have traded them in for something immediately more useful, or probably should have done things differently like using a wedding registry. We personally had a lot of those stuff before getting married and they just became needless. Imagine having a blender or a microwave and being gifted same as a wedding present. Do you throw them away, gift them to someone else or keep them hoping the ones you already have gets faulty so you can use the ones gifted to you?

Simply, we failed to use a wedding registry and that’s why we experienced all that!

So, should there be weddings without receiving of gifts then? Well, I don’t know, but I don’t think majority holds a wedding without expecting gifts. The purpose is not for gifts but we naturally do expect gifts. And this may be funny but for some people, weddings are a huge financial investment and as such, they attach with it high expectations of receiving something back at least, otherwise they get depressed.

Giving of gifts is just how we show our love to people who are getting married.

There were things we didn’t have when getting married and we would have appreciated those items more if we had received any of them as gifts. But how would our loved ones (guests) know or have the slightest idea of our real needs or wants? It’s never an easy job planning a beautiful wedding. It is neither easy trying to get a meaningful gift for modern couples; it’s a near mental torture because you want to give something that would suit the occasion and that would most importantly be appreciated because of how relevant or useful it would be to the recipients.

That’s where a wedding registry like Zola comes in as a very beautiful resource for wedding planning and creating a unique wedding registry that represents a couple’s personality and style. Their beautiful online registry is very catchy, with easy starter guides and should typically be the go-to for modern couples that would love to create a free registry. The couple can choose a wide variety of wedding gifts they want (from a lot of major brands) and then their friends and family can access their gift list on the online store. It’s simple, fun, fully personalized and offers a lot of possibilities beyond the traditional way of doing things. A couple can get just anything imaginable.

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A wedding registry is like a wish list but not a secret one hidden in your heart; but one that openly communicates to your family and friends (wedding guests) the items that you would love as gifts and that will be useful to you in your home. It’s like telling your guests literally “if you want to buy me a gift, this is what I want”. See it like someone asking you out for a drink and asking you what would you have. It’s a beautiful and elegant way or platform to ask for gifts tailored to your tastes and Zola is a sure bet.

It’s a great resource as it saves your loved ones the mental agony we all go through when picking a gift for someone because nobody likes to give a “not so useful” gift and nobody loves to receive one, especially not us modern couples whose tastes are quickly changing. Ever experienced how awful it feels when you give someone a gift and you never see them use it? Also, with the registry, when an item on the list has already been purchased, you will know so you wouldn’t have to purchase the same thing and the couple ends up having three blenders and not knowing what to do with them or having to trade them off for something else (if the registry has a good return policy). In essence, with a wedding registry a couple avoids ending up with a bunch of gifts they may not like or need.

A wedding registry is an amazing life saver for millennial couples and there’s a lot you can get out of the best ones like Zola.

Even if it is cash gifts you end up receiving from your guests, you can personally purchase the specific lovely items listed in your registry and it is always a joy for your guests knowing they contributed to or helped you get the best gifts you needed (must-haves) even if they didn’t personally purchase them for you.

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Where to start on creating an awesome wedding registry then? It is always important to work together with one’s partner to set up a registry that captures the needs of (or gift items for) both partners and make sure there’s a wide price range of quality gifts (that can be cherished for many years) that your guests can select from. They must be gifts that suit or reflects your unique lifestyles or personalities and things that you will regularly use. The common things are mostly good kitchen or culinary items because you will always cook as a couple or host a lot of friends and family for dinner; or bathroom and bedroom items because a lot of sizzling moments are shared together there; or general items for the living room like decors that makes it shine because it’s the first space people see in your home. That pretty much covers every room in a modern couple’s home, right?

You may also include gadgets for family entertainment or items for outdoor life and travel because you will be having a lot of romantic getaways. You can also include some exclusive or fashionable items that you may only have a once in a lifetime chance of acquiring on a normal regular shopping spree but that you will adore forever. We all have that one thing that we only get to admire during window shopping and who knows, dreams do come true and by including that in your wedding registry somebody may just surprise you and give you a joy of a lifetime.

Nonetheless, you must know your target group (guest list) and know what they can afford so you can structure your registry accordingly. And not just what they can afford, but when you keep your family and friends in mind when choosing items for your wedding registry, you can almost guess what category of gift item each of them might give you. That maximizes your chances. And it will be important to set up your registry early to give your family and friends ample time to make purchases. Never also forget to send a thank you to anyone who manages to get you a gift. It’s just nice to be appreciated I think.

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Sample personalized registries on Zola

Anything is possible with a wedding registry because you are in control. So, jump onto Zola for your next big celebration and have fun with it. We all enjoy the experience of doing something new and there’s always new ways of doing things and achieving great results.

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

Relationships and the crazy things we do for love

Today is the 3rd anniversary of the day I officially proposed marriage to my wife with a ring. I used the word officially because I have always known in my heart that I didn’t need to pose the question “will you marry me?” before I can be sure that she would or wouldn’t accept to marry me. 

The circumstances of our relationship made me feel popping the question was just the Western world or movies thing that has become many African lady’s fantasy and I felt I was not cut out for that. That’s because for us, we have throughout the relationship made each other know clearly that it is a relationship leading to marriage and not just a short-term romantic relationship or testing of the waters or the “you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your Prince” thing. She was my first love relationship and I didn’t plan on jumping into a series of relationships. 

That’s the level of commitment we started with from day one and because of that we had countless times discussed topics relating to marriage and her actions have always proved she can’t possibly say no to marriage if I should pop the question anyday. In fact, I was not even planning on doing that “will you marry me” proposal thing but something happened and I figured it seems almost every lady wants the proposal with rings to happen as a way of launching the marriage phase before actually starting preparations for marriage. 

But for a guy like me who always wants value for money, I didn’t see why I should spend money on a ring that she may not even wear in public because of our cultural, societal and religious perceptions. At the time, though just 3 years ago, there was no way she was going to wear that ring to church (we being choristers and all the “pious standards” that makes you feel having a boyfriend is even a sin? 😂) or in public without having to answer to so many people who would ask too many unwarranted questions. 

It’s not like these days that rings have become a fashion thing that we see ladies wearing rings on all five fingers and nobody cares. And truly I don’t really remember she wearing that ring freely in the open…coupled with that confusion out there over which finger wears such rings, whether the marriage ring finger or middle finger and all that? 😂 So many different views out there on that thing…smh. Those days the old men and old ladies of the church will never spare you with a ring on whichever finger when not married 😂. Plus the fact that even if she wears it even, it will be for barely some two or three months before marriage made little economic sense to me at the time. But I’ve never regretted it because it makes a lot of romantic or emotional sense to women and we get to benefit from satisfying that need anyways 😂. 

OK, so back to what I actually wanted to share? Today’s anniversary made me remember possibly the craziest thing I made my wife do. We had started marriage counselling then I guess, and on one evening outing, I forced her to wear some miniskirt I bought for her during my studies in UK. 

It was a crazy suggestion and the way she looked at me in bewilderment spoke volumes. She’s not a miniskirt person and had never worn any before…none that very short. If you’re a committed church person like her, you would know she’s the type that obeys the “skirt must not go above the knee” rule to the core.  

And here I was suggesting she wears one so short that it can practically reveal her bum. 😂 She blatantly refused and even after I kept convincing her by suggesting she “do something crazy for once in your life“, she went like “what if we meet our Pastor or someone from the church?” That phrase got me, and I couldn’t stop laughing and all the while thinking “like seriously? who cares?” 

As usual I think I gave her all the arguments of whether she thinks Pastors are saints, whether she knows what their wives wear for them at home, whether she thinks Pastor’s wives don’t wear g-strings, whether Pastors never feel sexy and act like really bad boys in bed with all the Playboy moves or she thinks they quote scriptures when coming to sleep with their wives. 

I’m sure all that line of argument for a simple question bored her into just giving in and wearing the damn thing 😂. And I secretly took my camera along cos there was no way I was going to let that rare moment pass. 

But I can tell you the walk to the neighborhood restaurant to just grab some khebab and drinks and enjoy outdoor fresh air was her longest walk ever and the most sluggish and uncomfortable walk of her life. Nothing is ever so priceless as that crazy miniskirt night 😂.

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author 

THE CHOSEN

From many I chose you

‘Cos you were the most favourable amongst them

Your lovely character seduced me

And played tricks on my emotions

A part of me gets excited at thy graceful sight

An excitement that heightens

With every lovely thought of you

You are so amazing a figure

A blessing amongst all the Lord’s carvings

So beautiful a living monument

So sweet a manifestation

Of God’s gift of love to me

My heart craves strongly for thy love

And breaks whenever thy love

So rich and true

Is far from reach

Inside my emotions are stacked up

Like full old wineskins ready to burst

I have been looking for so long

And I bless the day I found you

‘Cos you brought light to my spirit

Oh how the light of my soul shone the brightest

The day you accepted as true, promising and trustworthy

Those carefully chosen and well rehearsed sugar-coated words

In your eyes I find the radiance of true love

Your lips are so blessed with soothing words

That puts my agitated spirit to a sweet sound rest

That reassures my soul of a hope

And a future not too far away

A life together and forever

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

(PS: A poem to mark the celebration of our marriage proposal anniversary today)