Public Opinions

Sometimes in life, when you seek too many opinions from people, you never get to make any bold decision! And most times too, when you need others’ opinion, you never get it until after a decision is made and then their “expert opinions” on your decision (actions) come flying in torrents. “Oh, you should have done it like this or that, or you should have gone this other way”, etc., will always be the feedback from your critics, who funny enough, just sit and wait to offer their criticism only after an action is taken.

The spirit of unhealthy criticism seems to have gotten into many of us, and all we know and do lately, is turn ourselves into “social commentators” who just sit and talk (commenting) all day on other people’s life choices, especially all over the media platforms. Whenever news gets into our ears or our social media feeds, of people around us who are striving in life and daily putting themselves out there to make ends meet – often on the back of many critical personal decisions – we quickly zoom into our default criticism mode and make unwholesome comments about them. If only we are putting in the works ourselves, that could be cool, but no, we always forget we have so many decisions to make about our own lives that we ourselves are not even courageous enough to make. Sadly, instead of lifting people up with inspiring opinions, we instead specialize only in pointing out other’s faults, denigrating them or hating on them. This is becoming the growing trend with this new generation of ours, especially on social media platforms.

This unwholesome trend is making social media no longer fun for a lot of people. It is no longer a place for the faint hearted, but those who can grow the toughest skin to all manner of criticism, abuse or cyber bully. It is now a place where even a post with the most innocent of intentions can place you in deep waters of cyber bully which can cripple your very existence.

Funny enough, most of the people we always find expedient to criticize for making what to us are ‘wrong choices’, as if that is our paid job, are the ones not just sitting down like us, trying to act all clean and angelic. Rather, they are at least doing something with their life, they are the ones putting their hands to the plow and trying out what works or will not work for them, learning valuable lessons and making future improvements. One day, they are the ones that will grow to become resilient influencers and world game changers. On the contrary, it is we, the critics, who now call ourselves “social media commentators”, who will remain at the same place with apparently nothing better to do with our lives, other than offering vitriolic criticism.

Perhaps, the most talked about people are always people who are doing something and trying to get somewhere. Critics will always remain to talk down achievers, but may themselves not be achievers. Very few achievers seem to waste time talking down others.

Well, criticism in itself is not a bad thing, but it must be constructive. Otherwise, it is only damaging and never builds a person up. People struggle to turn out good when they constantly hear negative words thrown at them. Try that on your child or spouse and see how they turn out. Words carry power and our words must always be measured, even if we want to criticize. Negative environments are just so caustic, and we must do all that we can to avoid them – at least, for our own mental health.

©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Featured Image Credit: Instagram | @adina_thembi

https://instagram.com/adina_thembi?igshid=okjw7q120usi

God is sharing marriage partners 😊

God always brings the right person; but it’s your job to know and to take the chance. He obviously won’t just drop a perfect partner on your lap just because you’re the most faithful or committed Christian, so you can just take him/her and go. Or would He?

There’s something called searching and deciding (taking a step of faith) when it comes to landing a life partner. This is a personal commitment or personal effort. If you like, do nothing, just pray all you want and continue shying away from all the good guys and ladies (with all those flimsy excuses and wish lists) and see how that works out?

Well, the longer you wait for God to do some magic for you, the more the years come flying by. Well, miracles do happen, but, if you want it, you got to go out there, strategically position yourself and be discoverable. Of course, trust the hand of God in the process but also take personal responsibility and step out in faith.

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©Mark Gadogbe (2020)

A Philanthropist in Need?

Sometimes, the people who make the big sacrifices, who readily go out of their way to help others, don’t get help easily when they need it.

Maybe people just don’t believe their helpers can also ever be in need. How can a Philanthropist ever be in need?

But thank goodness there’s a God who supplies man’s every need.

Man out of his limited resources will draw, but God’s resources are limitless; what better helper than Him? He alone remains our help in ages past; our hope for years to come!

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©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Kneel down before I accept your marriage proposal

The convention in the Western world, and as depicted in many movies, is for a man to kneel down when proposing to his lady, especially if done in public. But, what happens when a guy doesn’t kneel down when proposing?

Well, below is a short excerpt from a marriage proposal video (involving two African lovers in Africa) that made rounds recently on social media, and that has divided opinions among our African brothers and sisters.

A lady refused a guy’s public proposal because he refused to kneel down while proposing. The lady says that’s embarrassing and cannot fathom why he wouldn’t kneel down for her. The guy says kneeling down is not what proves he loves her, and in any case, during church weddings, Pastors don’t ask the groom to kneel down before his bride when exchanging vows (putting on the ring).

This is the matter they have been trying to settle since 😊🙈. Your opinion may help our dear African brother and sister who apparently were madly in love, until the proposal 😊🤷🏽‍♂.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram | hazelandgraceillustrations

Too much “spiritual self-confidence”

Ye whose love is fervent, whose faith is constant, whose hopes are bright, say not, “We shall never sin,” but rather cry, “Lead us not into temptation.”

Who would have dreamt that righteous Lot could be found drunken, and committing uncleanness?

It is not for nothing that Scripture says in 1 Corinthians 10:12 that “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

May infinite wisdom cure us of the madness of self-confidence that makes us so quick to judge others!!!

©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Know your worth?

I met a sales guy the other day. He was coming from behind me and called out to me. When he got closer he said “Boss, I saw in a revelation that your girl was going to leave you for somebody else, probably me”. Apparently that was his way of striking a conversation. Wierd, right? Lol.

But I think my response struck him when I said “Wow, that’s cool bro. No problem at all”.
He was like “I thought you would have a problem with that and will you just let her go easy like that? Won’t you fight for her to prove you love her?”

I laughed and told him to forget that Hollywood stuff and that she can go all the way to Hell if she wants to.

He asked why and I said to him “Whoever does not value you enough to leave your life for another, you must let go and close the door. Life is simple and you will always find better”.

He nodded in agreement with a broad smile on his face and we got into other important sales matters.

(But why I’m I sharing this? Lol)

Let’s just say, it’s a fun post to usher in yet another new month of being alive…amidst all the COVID-19 ‘tribulations’. Dear July, be good to us and keep us safe! 🙏🏾

Witnessed a mix of good and bad fatherhood

Our fathers are great (not all though), but we do not want to be like them when we become fathers…we want to be better. Yes, better than they are or were! Come on fathers, a charge to keep we have…!

A charge to keep…🤔

My view of fatherhood has been a balanced one because of my personal experiences. Even though I focus most on the good, I appreciate the ‘bad’ as well.

Ultimately, dad has been a great dad, but he had his good times and bad times with parenting. I had a fairly balanced experience of fatherhood growing up. I grew up to witness at first hand, both the good and the bad. Dad had largely been a great dad; but at a point, he admittedly became a bad dad and neglected his responsibilities towards us. I wouldn’t say he is fully to blame for my parents’ divorce and our bitter experiences of growing up in a broken home, but he obviously contributed. Mum single handedly shouldered a lot of responsibilities until her untimely demise. But I’ve been blessed to also see Dad acknowledge his shortcomings openly to us following mum’s death and trying his best to make amends. I have seen a beautiful lesson of a Dad pick himself up and try to be better.

Even though it had to take the shock of mum’s death to perhaps bring our Dad back to his senses, I guess he really did his best to reunite with his children. Ten years on, after mum’s demise, he’s still trying his best to be there for us in every capacity as a Dad, obviously having learned his lessons. On our part as his children, I wouldn’t say there’s still any bitterness towards him for the way things went (trust me, words can’t describe how really broken our relationship with Dad was), except that we do sometimes wish mum hadn’t gone that early.

But we also do know that there are no guarantees in this life and that our story or experiences is obviously still better than many people who had to go through worse. Whether we like it or not, the obvious truth is that, there are families much more devastated by divorce and failings of parents. It is therefore important to have that balanced thought and always be reminded that, no matter what we are going through or facing today, our story is still better than millions out there.

So, on every Father’s Day going forward, we just feel blessed that things turned around for us and our Dad, when we never even imagined it would. And then, we also remind ourselves of our resolve to do better and be better.

Indeed, a charge to keep we have and a God to glorify! Happy Father’s Day to all you amazing fathers out there! Keep giving fatherhood your best shot, God being our help! 🙏🏾

Been grateful for this one thing…all my life 😊😁

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©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

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.

zola 1

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.

zola 2

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.

zola 3 -sample registry
Sample personalized registries on Zola

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.

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.

zola registry

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