A journey of love and friendship 

Today I said this sincere prayer:

Dear Lord, 

Thank you for 8 years of sweet friendship. Many couldn’t have it this way. 

Thank you for sending me to her door and thanks for that awkward moment that followed that knock on her door.

Thank you that it was never love at first sight, for the girl had no chill kora 😂😎

Thank you for the opportunity to experiment and grow our love.

Thank you that “better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof” 😋

Thank you that today, we can look back and see a glorious future and not a gloomy or dingy one.

Thank you for blessing us with so much that we cannot even see. 

Thank you for our journey thus far and the priceless lessons along the way.

Thank you that our years have been nothing short of amazing! 

Thank you that on this day, 8 years ago, our eyes met.

And because of that divine meeting we can today mark and celebrate…

8 years of solid friendship!

7 years, 4 months and 18 days of falling in love thereafter!  

2 years, 8 months and 11 days of a marriage we can be proud of ourselves!

Thank you that it is you…

“…who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way, with countless gifts of love and still is ours today” 

Finally Lord, thank you for what psychology says…😎


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Bonus Pictures:


©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author 

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Blame games 

Adam blamed his wife; Eve blamed the serpent. I’m sure the devil would have blamed God himself if God had asked his opinion. 

That wouldn’t be surprising because many of us blame God for our misfortunes. Everybody is tempted to blame somebody first of all for their misfortune. It’s often a battle before they accept they had a role to play in their own misfortune.  

Own up today! And after that, don’t sit down with a belly of regrets over the past. Leave the past behind…there’s a future waiting for you. 

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

#MandelaDay 

Today’s Nelson Mandela International Day (or Mandela Day), an annual international day in honour of our legendary African leader. The man who fought for social justice for 67 years!

As the day rolls to an end, I am reminded of my visit to his house and the Apartheid Museum last year. 


Not only that, but more importantly, I am reminded of his life and to keep fighting for whatever I hold dear…like my marriage! Freedom never comes with a fight, a conscious effort to break the status quo. I’m reminded to exert as much effort into my marriage as I can…only then can I reap the benefits thereof. 

Also I am reminded of one of his quotes:

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”

Freedom is surely coming tomorrow…

A luta continua, victória é certa! 

Being in a place of hope: my testimony

​Past times tell of how far we’ve come…whenever discouraged, we look back. 

Yesterday I was very troubled in mind, body, soul and spirit. I was because for sometime now I’ve not been too enthused about my life because I feel one aspect of my life isn’t working well the way I want it to. I am a very organized person, constantly making plans for my life, and putting things in order because I hate being in a situation where I’m caught off guard and have to just cling on hope. I want to always have a grip on my life and I feel I work so hard on myself to keep things that way.

 

But for some months now, life has kept me clinging on hope and I do hate it so much. I hate to be in a place where I can’t figure things out, have solutions to things and just have to hope it works out, hope I sail through, hope I survive. I hate to HOPE! I want to KNOW! 
I don’t like to hope I get to a certain destination in life, I want to know based on my plans for the journey, that I will surely get there. I always want to know and plan how my next one year will be like, how the house will run the next one year, how much should be put into savings or investments, etc. You know, that kind of thing.

But lately God has been scattering all my plans, or so it felt. And He allows certain situations to keep triggering that feeling of helplessness that makes you cling on hope.
Yes, so yesterday I couldn’t sleep. And I didn’t know what to do as I left the bedroom to just be in the hall all by myself at around midnight. Then after sitting for a while, something (I guess God) made me take my laptop, go grab my external drive and just go through the photo database I’ve created on it. Maybe that was just my way of passing the time, but then, God started whispering to me in my mind as I watched many pictures from as far back as I could to the present, that OUR PAST TIMES TELL OF HOW FAR WE’VE COME
I saw so many past blessings including the fact that I could afford my own flight ticket and we could afford my wife’s flight tickets every year all through her masters degree on a bursary that did not cover cost of flights. We could afford a descent accommodation and in fact, change accommodation 3 times in 2 years without exhausting all the rent period in the previous two and not even getting refunded. We’ve sacrificed to help many in times of their needs, amongst many other blessings. 

And the rhema God finally left me as I went back to bed around 3:30am, prayed till 4am, and then got up around 5:30am for work was that, WHENEVER I’M DISCOURAGED, I SHOULD LOOK BACK ON MY PAST. He categorically said I SHOULD NEVER FORGET MY PAST; I SHOULD NEVER FORGET WHERE MY BLESSINGS COME FROM
He said Son, don’t worry, I trained you that way to always be sure of what’s coming, but even when it looks like all you have is hope, I’VE GOT IT ALL UNDER CONTROL. 

With that assurance, I don’t know if my problem is solved, whether I won’t worry again the next time things are not moving on well according to my plans, but I learned it’s OK to be in A PLACE OF HOPE


©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Good hearts

God created some of us with a heart for others.

Yet it’s been trampled on many times.

And a million times we wanted to give up on people.

Yet He keeps whispering…

“Son, do not give up; I’ll be the strength you need”

Again and again He will say

“Just hang in a little, soon you will know why I needed you not to”

It can be difficult at times not to give up

When people take advantage of your good heart

But if the Master requires we don’t

His will we must obey

Maybe there’s a lesson in there for us

How He never gives up on us

For the many times His love for granted we took

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

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image source: Dreamstime.com

 

 

THE BEAUTY IN A WIFE

Everyone has beauty but not everyone sees it

But the beauty of a good wife speaks and shows for itself

A timeless beauty that is reflected in her soul

One that grows exponentially with each passing day

One that is evident in the passion she glamorously exhibits

And the unadulterated love she offers

Her heart is a fountain of unceasing love and forgiveness

Nothing measures up to the depth of warmth

And the fondness felt in the embrace of a good wife

In her embrace her spouse feels a sense of peace and security

In her embrace her spouse feels never alone

And never forgotten

In a world that can be so cruel

For your many beautiful acts of love

I say thank you, my love, my wife, my beautiful

On this International Women’s Day

For thou oh Julia art a woman worth celebrating everyday

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

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Spousal criticism…

Everybody has their own ideas about love and how to show it in their relationships. These are things people have naturally grown up with and thus, a man who perhaps gets home late everyday bearing flowers or gifts has grown wired to the idea as the way love must be shown. So is another man who chooses to get home early so he can spend time with his wife, yet never going home with any gift. What should be more important however is not how you think love should be shown to your partner/spouse but rather learning and focusing on how the other person needs and wants to be loved. Most often it gets communicated but we often are not alert or really listening so unable to see or hear it.

Criticism in marriage has often carried an overly bad image but not all spousal criticisms are aimed at undermining or belittling a spouse or targeted at destroying their self-esteem. Many times, some are simply small pleads for love…in the way the other person wants or desires to be loved. They are like guidelines trying to show a spouse how to do things in a way the other person likes. Not all of them are unnecessary complaints but rather genuine expressions of concern over how things should play out. At least that’s how it often starts, until when the plea goes unheeded too many times, and then it begins to graduate into something unpleasant.

I like the way T.D. Jakes puts it in the lyrics of one of his songs:

“If you want to love me the way I need to be loved, you need to learn to love me from MY side”

See? Not from YOUR side but MY side…what means and communicates love to ME. I’m sure as both partners develop a mentality of focusing rather on the other person, both will have their love needs met better than trying to show love just how you understand it and risk being criticized for it. Then also, there won’t be room for too many “unnecessary” criticisms or if you like, too many pleas or outcries for love that become unpleasant in the ears because of it being heard too many times.

Most people express love to another based on their understanding of what means love to them and as long as God has created us different, male and female, we are sure to hold different views of love and the exercising thereof. And we are sure to have misunderstandings even over our partner’s acts of love just because that’s not how we would love to be loved. We just can’t relate to their way of love; we want what we can relate to.

The way we want to be loved is usually the way we express love to others. It takes time to learn how to love someone exactly the way they want and not just how we feel love is to be shown. That requires a lot of patience and attention to detail and a great deal of communication on what works and what doesn’t work for each other. Otherwise, we will always battle with the issue of many unpleasant criticisms because we would not yet know what works and what doesn’t, and we will keep not being able to satisfy their needs.

criticism

“So you brought home your sheets and God knows you meant well. [But] You just can’t figure out, how did things still fail? Well, in the art of relationships, communication is the key. You both have different needs so understanding is a ministry. This time, start talking before you start giving so that you can see how much better a marriage is supposed to be”
–T.D. Jakes

T.D. Jakes again rightly captures it so well. And that’s a good foundation we must lay if we want to eliminate the unnecessary criticisms and experience ultimate joy and peace in our relationships and marriages.

Imagine the man who thinks bringing home gifts or flowers each day to the wife is what communicates love yet the wife receives it each day with smiles on her face but unfulfilled in her heart because deep down she wishes her husband knew what would have meant more to her than the flowers is he coming home early to share a lot more quality time with her. Over time, one wouldn’t need a magician to tell this could degenerate into something bigger and unmanageable when her constant pleas (imagine communicated) go unnoticed, misunderstood or taken for granted.

“We are trying hard, but we simply don’t know some of the things that matter most to our mate. We don’t “get” some of their deepest needs. We honestly don’t recognize their hidden vulnerabilities, fears and insecurities. So we are trying hard in the wrong areas. Or worse, we hurt them without intending to. So we get upset and demoralized that she doesn’t appreciate everything I do for her. Or he doesn’t care about me. We respond defensively, or out of our hurt – and the whole thing spirals down”
– Shaunti Feldhahn

So here’s the key. What works for you may not work for your spouse/partner, so begin to watch your partner closely to understand even what they are not verbally communicating but could mean so much to them. Those many complaints or grumbling expressions that worry you so much could merely be communicating a plea for love in a way you have closed your eyes on.

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

The soul mate race…

No matter how many times you fail in life or in a competition the rules will never change for you…it remains the same. Same applies to relationships and the race to winning a soul mate and life companion. It wouldn’t matter how many heartbreaks or disappointments you experienced in your search, the rules and people will not change for you…you still got to try over and over again. The work lies with you, not with them. You can sit and lament all you want, blame a million people if you like…but that will not change your status. If you still want it, then you got to go for it again and again…the Philippians 3:13 style (forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead).

 

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

 

Marriage on a mission

Is your marriage on a mission? Ours is! We believe God has a mission for every marriage. He has a mental picture of how He wants every marriage to turn out.

Part of our marriage mission is:

“Our God wants from us a compellingly attractive marriage that turns people’s head and makes them want to know how much more beautiful God’s love for mankind is”

A lot of people have criticized us many times on how our open or public demonstration of love makes them uncomfortable and how immature it makes us. However, as often as we can, we try to remind ourselves of that ultimate call on our marriage so we can exert ourselves the best ways we can in accomplishing that calling or mission. And we evaluate our marriage and relationship often in light of that so we identify areas where more works needs to be done. At least when God was putting us together He didn’t say we were too immature so we’ve learned to ward off a lot of criticism.

Got a marriage/relationship mission you commit to? Or you are just living through the motion?

A great marriage requires a lifetime’s worth of dedicated work and having a marriage mission is like a shared goal that builds teamwork and the bonds of the marriage thereof.

We believe that in God’s mind, marriage is a tool for evangelism because the love we demonstrate in marriage reflects God’s love for all humankind. How we treat our spouses must reflect or mirror God; our love for our spouses must show in ways that make people around us take notice. John 13:35 says “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”.

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I once wrote a post where I advocated that we celebrate openly our marital blessings because it is through doing that people can see what the glory of God in marriage looks like. It’s just like in Matthew 7:16-17, people will only know your fruits if they can see it. If they don’t see the flowers of a plant in beautiful display they can’t be attracted to it and can’t glorify it. Similarly, people will never know about the goodness of God unless we make them see it some way or the other.

Christian marriages can do that and Christians might want to begin to see their marriages as effective tools for evangelism. Like it is said in Romans 10:14, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” See? Evidence-based! And the evidences are in the daily blessings poured out on our marriages that we are always tempted to hide.

There are however people who do not believe in making a public spectacle of their marriages, kids, blessings, etc for some very good personal reasons. Many others also believe that the more they “glorify” their marriage or blessings, the more they expose their marriage or relationship to the radar of Satan and evil people so they are better off hiding in some corner. Well, if the motive is good, stick to it.

However, fear only begets more fear and you will never be able to overcome your fears while still living in fear. The fear of Satan and his many evil works will only make him have more control over you and eventually cripple your public testimony of God’s goodness. And that’s always the goal of the enemy.

Someone once wrote:

“If all we who call ourselves Christians loved our spouses in a deep, real, vibrant and obvious way, imagine what it would do to the world. Imagine if it were undeniable that those who follow Jesus are more in love, more happily married, more sexually satisfied, and just had better marriages all around. In a world full of divorce and troubled marriages, such a public testimony would show people that faith in Jesus is more than just a claim”

Think about it!

Cheers!

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

​IN TIMES OF NEED…

I was in need.
But instead of helping me

I helped you. 

I did because I realized 

Your need was greater than mine.

But did that erase my own needs?

No, it delayed my own needs being met. 

It’s called sacrifice, fellow feeling.

Being Christian, maybe.  

But after your needs got met

You forgot to “help me help me”.

Somehow you forgot that sometimes 

Unmet needs produce more needs.

So eventually my needs did increase. 

Maybe I did mention my needs at a point.

Maybe I never did.

But somehow I thought you will just know

One good turn deserves another.

Maybe I thought you knew

How unwise it is not to return a help.

I thought you knew

Not keeping to a promise creates unsavoury reputation 

And breaks the beautiful chain 

Of being a blessing to others.

Maybe I got it all wrong.

Maybe I should have just rather helped me. 

But by not helping me help me, 

You have now created in me

A fear of helping others. 

But no, others we must continue to help

Because it’s our Christian duty to.

And our defaulters we must forgive.
©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2016

Marriage & Personal Development Author