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 

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Abuse of the marriage covenant

Here’s a great marriage vow:

“I will be with you, no matter what happens to us and between us.  If you should become blind tomorrow, I will be there.  If you achieve no success and attain no status in our society, I will be there.  When we argue and are angry, as we inevitably will, I will work to bring us together.  When we seem totally at odds and neither of us is having needs fulfilled, I will persist in trying to understand and in trying to restore our relationship.  When our marriage seems utterly sterile and going nowhere at all, I will believe that it can work and I will want it to work and I will do my part to make it work.  And when all is wonderful and we are happy, I will rejoice over our life together, and continue to strive to keep our relationship growing and strong.” ~~ Elizabeth Achtemeier

I don’t know how different it is from the usual “for better for worse, till death do us part” Church vow. But when we say the marriage vow in Church, we are literally saying our spouses are supposed to love us “no matter what” and always find us beautiful or handsome, no questions asked. Of course, that’s the essence of the marriage vow.

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But sometimes we take advantage of that binding agreement and just let ourselves go intentionally in so many ways. We go like, oh how great it feels that we’ve just signed a contract that binds the other person to us for their whole life and nothing, except sexual infidelity, can save their skin! Sweet! Now I can relax, for every bad action or inaction of mine as long as it is not infidelity, should technically be coped with, endured and at best forgiven. Per the vow or covenant we’ve just entered into, everything is allowed as long as it does not border on infidelity…Hurray!

I vowed to love you “no matter what” so now you are at liberty to take your looks for granted! You can now just let yourself eat all the junk foods ever made, grow fat and out of shape. Oh, he should just understand that I’m now a mother and childbirth, raising children, taking care of him and all that just makes many a woman get out of shape. She should just understand that the ever-increasing responsibilities, stressful nature of my job, late night eating and all that just makes many a man develop a pot belly. Just understand and accept it as it is…so I wouldn’t have to put in any effort.

The deed is done, you have now taken the “no matter what” vow, so you can now stop giving much attention to your physique and every other thing as you used to and just corner your partner with the “no matter what” attitude whenever he/she raises a concern. Just remind him/her of the “no matter what” vow they took so they can stop whining about things you feel you cannot change. You think that’s a really safe zone? How sweet!

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Well, these and many others are the sentiments/frustrations shared by many. Problem is too many people treat marriage as a place of arrival, acceptance and comfort; a kind of destination that they arrive at and then everything else in terms of effort stops. People don’t put as much effort into bettering themselves in marriage like they did in the dating phase. After all, if it’s Christian, it never should be broken on any other grounds, right? And then upon that, if you are a man, you are allowed to force your wife into subjection no matter all the ills you do, right? How sad. That’s how God wants it?

“It is so easy to take a spouse for granted, and to take intimacy for license. We can subconsciously think since we’re married, I don’t have to be careful to be polite. We have to love each other regardless, so I can just speak without thinking about how it is perceived” ~~ Shaunti Feldhahn

Right after marriage, many people begin to take so many things for granted. The problem is not the reality that the “no matter what” covenant marriage puts us in. The problem is to be a Christian yet hide consciously or unconsciously behind that and not put in any effort to better anything. I think that is a way of dishonoring your partner and your marriage and making God look stupid for instituting marriage and giving ground rules. Nothing must be taken for granted in marriage. Marriage (and all that comes with it) should not put an end to personal development. We must not pick up a habit of putting our spouses through the “no matter what” test, especially when it is something we can make the effort to change for the betterment of the union.

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The caution is that sometimes it becomes too late to salvage anything and we must not let ourselves get to that point. And I hope it is the Bible that said:

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin”
~~ James 4:17

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

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Image source: www.federalna.ba

Don’t wait until marriage… 

​A man doesn’t have to wait until he marries before taking on the role of spiritual headship of his love relationship. 

It is easier to lead the woman you plan on marrying in the right spiritual direction and get her to respect your spiritual headship when she sees that in you or see you exercising that role way before the marriage covenant is even entered into. And it may be more easier to sustain it way into marriage when you’ve cultivated it early in the relationship.

Yes, be romantic towards her; but be all the more spiritual towards her. 

Women need leading; if you fail to lead her, she will lead you. Just don’t resent it when she eventually takes over your roles and you begin to feel (spiritually) irrelevant. 

Many men are in serious love relationships but don’t command prayer times together for the relationship, they don’t command fastings, they don’t command Bible study and devotions; they don’t even pray themselves for the relationship! Yet, they want the best out of the relationship, they want everything to just go smoothly, they want spiritual and character compatibility or synchronization? 

Well…maybe things do fall in place effortlessly for some people.
©Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author