Sacrificing Dreams: A Common Reality in Marriage

Sometimes when people sacrifice their dreams for the sake of their partners, they are not really being stupid as some may think them to be. They just found out some things are more important than others, and some worth letting go temporarily or even permanently. There’s no guarantee though, that in the end, they will look back and say their sacrifice was worth it or that they were foolish not to have pursued their dreams.

“Whatever the end will be, it’s not promised…it’s just a chance we all take, hoping for the best, hoping our sacrifices are not taken for granted or end up being in vain”

However, I think when you find someone to share your life with, you realize much more happiness compared to whatever career accomplishment brings when you have no special someone (or family) to share it with. It sure gets lonely at the top having achieved everything, at the expense of love or family.

There are some things that career women especially do not understand. Of course they don’t want anybody to belittle them when they choose career over love or family because gone are the days when a graduate degree was enough to plunge a woman into an early successful career. Today, post-graduate degrees are even no longer a woman’s minimum and though she would settle and start a family, the family aspect must be on hold until she reaches the very peak of her career. Yes, to her, marriage/family must not break the chain because these (career/professional qualifications and aspirations) are no longer things to do after marriage but must come first. Everything else can wait.

That’s good. Yet again, many women (including men) walked this path and in the end became quite desperate and sometimes loneliest of beings. Yes everybody must reach their peak in their career if they can and so desire it, but sometimes I do wish we don’t always choose career over love or family. When you have the opportunity, pursue both if you can; but always strike a balance. Why? Maybe it’s just because I’ve realized many times career never really truly satisfies and leaves us wanting more and more success? Maybe because with career there will always be the next big thing? Plus, it always makes us push love and family every time down the priority list?

In explaining why maintaining a good balance is very important, someone said:

“You might get the perfect job, but if you lose your spouse, that job may not look so perfect in the long run”

The benefits of career accomplishment may never make up for the emotional wreckage. Plus, God always remembers to reward that which was done for others or for the good of all; and not that which must benefit us only.

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Many established successful people have indicated that even though it’s always a constant battle between career and family, they will always choose or value family more.

“Why marriage or family will be more important to people than career I believe is because it provides a kind of intimacy, fulfillment and personal attachment that nothing else is able to offer”

William James was quoted in Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” as saying “Many men who wouldn’t dream of speaking sharply to a customer, or even to their partners in business, think nothing of barking at their wives. Yet, for their personal happiness, marriage is far more important to them, far more vital, than business. In the same book, Turgenev, the great Russian novelist, who was acclaimed all over the civilized world was quoted as once saying: “I would give up all my genius, and all my books, if there were only some woman, somewhere, who cared whether or not I came home late for dinner

I’m also reminded of a recent discussion with a friend about opportunities and interests. He made a point we both agreed on that, just as some opportunities come but once, so do our interests and desires in and for certain things quickly change with time. As such, one moment you may have a strong interest in something and then the next moment that desire just dies down and is replaced with something else.

He tried to substantiate the point with a story of a guy and a lady who have been dating for quiet some years. Along the line the guy was interested in settling down and starting a family but anytime he brings up the topic of marriage, the lady will say she is not ready because of a tall list of career accomplishments she has to pursue first; as such marriage will stand in her way. Over time, the guy stopped raising the issue of marriage and found something to invest his time and the monies he was apparently saving for marriage in and that now occupied his interest. After some years, the lady (though not having achieved all her list of career dreams or accomplishments) now brings up the topic of marriage and her readiness of starting a family; an interest that has eventually fallen low on the guy’s priority list. And as it is, they are still dating but the interest in marriage and starting a family is now being built slowly. Sad? Maybe.

In today’s world, not every woman lets go of her dreams easily to share in the dreams of a man and build a life together. So let all men respect the women who make sacrifices every day just to stay in their lives.

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That’s not to say only women make sacrifices for men; both men and women make career sacrifices in the interest of the other. Marriage is often about sacrifices and compromise, as such, most marriages are presented with such situations. What is important I believe is that couples must try not to let dreams that was very dear to their spouses but had to be sacrificed at some point die completely. Later in life when conditions become favourable to enable the resurrection and pursuit of such dreams, couples must encourage and support each other to achieve those dreams. Dreams postponed only die completely when one’s partner isn’t supportive or when we give up all hopes of making our dreams come through ourselves.

Every partner must thus consciously note every dream that his/her spouse had to sacrifice in the course of their lives together and later (when conditions will allow it) keep reminding and encouraging them to pursue it.

Regardless however, I believe whatever trade-offs we make, we must be ready to accept and live with our choices as we hope for the best out of our marriages.

God help us!

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

Sex and Marriage

“The best kind of sex in marriage is when a husband is cherishing his wife and the wife is cherishing her husband. Sex affirms each other’s beauty, worth and desirability. Neurologically, the more you have sex with each other, the more you desire each other and the less attractive other women become. This is basic brain chemistry”

~~Gary Thomas
#MarriageGoals

True love: how do I make the choice?

The biblical recommendation that we love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength shows us that for love to be complete, genuine, real… and for love to thrive between two beings, we must have a connection in all those dimensions.

We must not only have emotional (heart) connection with someone to know it is love and that it is true…but we must also have spiritual (soul) connection, intellectual (mind) connection and physical or bodily (strength) connection.

I think those are the complete dimensions of love we must watch and exercise…and also ensure that they are all present and that there’s a good balance and interplay.

Many times when people are confused about their choice of love or lover, they are often instructed to “follow your heart” or by extension, to focus on your emotions. Though the heart is important and should be at the core of every decision, we must not always only follow our heart; we must follow as well the other three “determinants of love”. The heart is desperately wicked and deceptive says the Bible. Hearts do deceive, even more so because what’s in the heart is not always seen on the face.

People also advice when it comes to finding true love that you “use your heart and your head“, in trying to say don’t love blindly. Meaning whatever your heart tells you, give it good thought before acting. Don’t just act on your feelings, do some critical thinking as well. This is great but must we leave out the spirit?

Choosing a life partner or entering into a love relationship is as much a spiritual exercise as it is a physical one. It’s a matter of your soul.

Remember we are not to be unequally yoked per biblical instructions? How do we do that when we don’t wait to determine first if there’s a spiritual connection between us and the ones we are going to give our heart, emotions and body to? Would you want to blindly (without careful considerations) fall in love with someone who will sell your soul to the devil and lead you down the path of ungodliness? Your decision to love someone (choose them as a life partner) is not complete without you weighing in on your spiritual connection or compatibility with the person.

Physical attraction, the fourth dimension or determinant of love is also a good ingredient. I know some over-spiritual brothers and sisters always downplay this…and then find themselves hooked to some unattractive guy/lady only to keep fighting for the rest of their lives some temptations coming their way from some very fine babes/dudes.

You see, I believe that somebody you are not physically attracted to, you cannot be sexually attracted to. Unless you are one of those not so normal people who would sleep with just anything that bears the name female or male.

The sexual lives of countless of marriages are in red zone just because either one of the couples have gone out of shape or more bluntly have become ‘unattractive”. He saw many ‘fat’ women but decided on a person of your figure because that is where the attraction was and so when you let yourself go too much and you become too ‘fat’, you know what might happen? Similarly, he saw many slim ladies but his attraction never was tickled until he saw the big fat you and so when you overdo that slimming course and become as thin as a stick, you might just be making yourself an attraction for another man who has got that taste, not him.

Body image means a lot to many people when it comes to love and you must always have that open discussion so that you know you can always have his or her support and love when those times come that you need some motivation to get back into shape.

That thing we say sometimes that you must love me just the way I am so that you can just let yourself go from say slim to obese after choking down all the junk foods in the world may just not work out for you sometimes. Perhaps s/he will still love you alright, but you may just not be sexually attractive enough for him/her again as you used to…and sometimes you just have to live with that or get back to work!

So there you have it. If we agree that love is not just a feeling but much more a choice, then we must be holistic in the choices we make. We must not be only feelings driven; we must exercise all the four dimensions in determining true, genuine, complete, compatible love that lasts…I think.

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

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Distance can do strange things to people

Nothing can replace physical presence in relationships or marriage. Long distance is not for you if you just can’t do without physical love for a period of time. You may die from the lack of companionship, the touch of a hand, hugs and kisses, reassuring glances and smiles, romantic moments, etc.

Long distance relationships (LDRs) or long distance marriages do not thrive on physical love; they thrive on love or connection that exudes from your heart, mind and soul only. LDRs are mainly full of mere promises of love and hope…that things will be better or great when you are together again. But then when you are together, you have the problem of having to work out all the relational differences brought about by the distance and figure out how to re-bond physically again. The “sweet nothing” promises is what keeps it going, what keeps it alive…and things may begin to take a downturn when promises begin to fail, postponed or not honoured.

They say if you love someone, it doesn’t matter if you are miles apart because the heart will always do the connection. Well, the miles actually do matter! They only will not matter much if you know that it is but for a short while or a definite length of time. But the miles will matter if it’s for a seemingly endless journey of separation beyond what you can bear or sacrifice for. Your heart, feelings, emotions and affections can still be with someone far away from you…there’s no doubt about that. You will keep dreaming about them and wishing you are together again. But if that someone is not coming back anytime soon, anytime definite, or keeps postponing the reunion, your love may die along the line because there is no timeline for you to keep it alive and there’s little hope to nurture it.

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Love doesn’t thrive in a lot of uncertainties. And going long distance with no clear cut end in sight is dangerous. Studies have shown that couples tend to be happier and less distressed only when distance is understood to be temporary; otherwise, the relationship seems doomed.

It’s easier to commit to a relationship that you know is going somewhere definite than one that you can’t easily put a finger on. It’s easier to make sacrifices and commit to something whose end you know than that which seems not to have a definite end time. When he/she is supposed to wait for you a week and then a week turns into a month and then a year…you are weakening the strength of the commitment. The strength, energy and success of sacrifices and commitments, find their foundation in what is known/definite and not otherwise.

People naturally grow tired waiting too long and that’s why married couples are often advised not to stay apart for too long. The lack of physical, emotional and sexual intimacy or bonding will be a huge drain on the union when care and wisdom is not exercised in prolonging the times apart.

Nonetheless, just saying you are not a long distance relationship person and so keep throwing relationships away would be a little unwise, don’t you think? Like I wrote in an earlier post I CANT BE IN A LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP, you may be able to avoid it prior to marriage but may not be able to run away from it when it shows up its ugly heads in your marriage.

The tendency of every marriage experiencing a period of separation is very high. Nobody is born a long distance relationship person; nobody wishes for it either. But sometimes it’s just a good test of love…and hey, love’s got to be tested to be true, abi?

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

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Temptations…

A holy character does not stop one from being tempted. Neither does seclusion nor the utmost consecration of spirit.

Remember our Lord Jesus Christ, most Holy and full of the Holy Spirit was tempted even while in the wilderness?

Temptation does not respect many things; it will always knock on your door. And you can’t only choose to pray it away…you must resist also. That means work on your part; not the tempter’s part. Marriage does not ward off temptation either; marriages face their own dose of temptations. Your actions will determine whether or not the temptation will lurk in the darkness to continually afflict you. With every form of temptation, you’ve got to make a choice. According to the wisdom of Martin Luther:

“You can’t prevent the birds of the air from flying over your head, but you don’t need to let them build a nest in your hair”.

That means you may not be able to prevent temptations from coming your way, but you have a choice to make.

For married people, one Dr. Beverly Yahnke, a Christian psychologist admonishes that we:

“make the tough decision to honour your spouse even if it means you won’t ever know what a relationship with someone else would have been like”.

Perhaps the grass on the other side that looks so green, tempting and relishing to you is just artificial grass. Better still, if you would focus on your own grass and put in the work, and create favourable conditions for growth, sooner or later your own grass would be greener…and rather more tempting to others (but there too you will have a problem o. Haha).

Many times we make the mistake of thinking that what we can bear, our partner can also. We are all different and the very thing you take for granted because for you it can never lead you into temptation is what will lead your partner into it. Someone said he’s been away from his wife for 3 years and all the while didn’t cheat on her and doesn’t understand why the wife did. Well, maybe you could handle that length of distance; maybe she couldn’t (not justifying her action). But the posture of taking it for granted that absence easily predisposes her to temptation than you should not be encouraged. Maybe you don’t crave attention so don’t see the need to offer it…but maybe for your partner, that’s what feeds his/her love and without it can predispose him/her to temptations. Maybe you can do without sex for days; maybe your partner can’t and will fall without it. Maybe outings don’t mean anything to you; maybe it’s the prime need of your partner. Maybe public display of affection (PDA) means nothing to you; maybe that’s what makes your spouse feel super and as little or frivolous as you may think that need is, don’t do it and you put him/her at risk of nursing feelings for someone who does. Maybe you think building heart-to-heart friendship with your spouse is a waste of time and that women are just too annoyingly emotional; maybe they will soon fall for someone who tries to bond with them at that emotional heart-t0-heart level. Don’t take things for granted.

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May God grant grace that we do not create unfavourable conditions in our marriages/relationships that easily predisposes our partners to give in to all manner of temptations. May we find grace to create suitable environments in our marriages that our partners will not be drawn to nursing thoughts of looking elsewhere to have their needs met…but can look to us and have their every need met.

So get to work and watch those prime needs now…don’t leave them unmet! It could be a need for attention, friendship, companionship, a lot more affection, cutting down the times apart, a lot more talking, a lot more kind words, a lot more playfulness or fun time together, a lot more sex, a lot more respect, a lot more empathy, a lot more creativity or spice, a lot more surprises,….a lot more of everything! If you have to, readjust your plans or life goals to create the much needed balance all marriages need.

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God help us!

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

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unveiledwife.com

 

Complaints

Complains should not take the place of prayer in your marriage and love relationship. Learn to call God into every situation.

Pray about everything…including sex.

Many couples don’t get it when you say pray about sex. They are like…how? They never ask why because I believe they already know all the reasons why they ought to. I bet they just don’t know how to go about the prayers. Lol

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Well, God already knows what you want when it comes to sex…so pray that! It can feel like a weird or awkward thing to do, I know, especially when praying together…but if it helps, you can think about it as fun. Lol

Be a praying spouse! A lot in marriage and relationships depend on it. Marital success is not always about what you know, “for by strength shall no man prevail” (1 Samuel 2:9).

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Giving

Real giving is when we give to our spouses what’s important to them, whether we understand it, like it, agree with it, or not.

—Michele Weiner-Davis

 

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The Giving Praise Challenge

 

MARRIAGE IS ENJOYABLY HARD

Marriage is the hardest work that you still enjoy best. A lot of people complain about many things in their marriage that stresses them out yet when asked if they are willing to let it all go on those grounds for an independent solitary life are quick to say no. Of course we human beings are created with a high need for intimacy and an attraction to something quite different from the stuffs we are made of. The attraction is not the problem but living with and accommodating the differences is the real stress, but who can do without interdependence?

Knowing how to disagree and work through your disagreements is thus a vital key in holding marriages together because whether you like it or not you will have so many things to disagree about in marriage.

I am not exempted because my wife and I do have many disagreements too. But the thing is many of these disagreements I do not even remember anymore because the initial hurts seem no longer there because we’ve quickly worked through it. Many of the disagreements you even think back on and find to be very funny, trivial, unnecessary and avoidable…and yet which could have rocked your marital boat or relationship so bad beyond repairs.

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Guess all we humans tend to either focus or dwell too much on the bad stuffs in relationships than the good stuffs. One silly or even accidental mistake from one partner will just within minutes cancel out all the million good deeds and nature of the person! It gives a feeling like you’ve just been bad and worse all your life or all the period you’ve being with each other and that’s so deadening! Nobody just wants to make room for the bad stuffs at all…just the good! Meanwhile, life as well as marriage is made of both good and bad moments. The heartbreaking part is that in majority of cases, only a few of those bad actions are even done intentionally to hurt the other.

Many times I have realized that one of the quickest way my wife and I have ended disagreements and hurtful feelings for the other out of one person’s actions or inactions is when any of us are quick to remember and tell the other something like “Honey, you know I wouldn’t intentionally do anything to hurt you right? I didn’t mean to offend you…it wasn’t intentional”. And like magic that begins to calm the storm. Of course, that’s not what entirely calms it but it starts the process because we both are fully convinced that all things being equal, we wouldn’t intentionally seek to hurt each other. And once that reminder comes, all other things begin to fall in place.

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I believe no conflict in marriage should be unsolvable. Well, that’s how God intentioned it when He instituted marriage. No wonder Jesus said even divorce on whatever grounds was not permitted by God in the original intent (Ref: Matthew 19:8). God wouldn’t have loosened up on His original intent to now permit divorce on the grounds of sexual immorality if not for the hardness of man’s heart (Ref: Matthew 19:9). But even with this permission I believe God is still not pleased with the breaking of marriage on grounds of sexual immorality looking at the fact that considering all the heinous sins of man He still doesn’t throw man away but picks him up, forgives him, cleans him up and relates with him like nothing has happened. I believe He expects close to same with all marriages; that no sin in marriage should be too difficult to forgive once forgiveness is sought.

No wonder the caution to love her like Christ’s undying love for the Church is a very deep and spiritual thing that the physical/carnal man cannot do. It takes a very spiritual husband/wife to forgive and still remain married to an unfaithful partner whether or not such a partner has repented of the act. I guess someone will begin to use that as a criterion for choosing a marriage partner. Good luck! Haha.

But seriously, a Church/creation lost in sexual immorality Christ will still reach out to, forgive and bring back to himself as long as genuine repentance is made. The same attitude I believe God expects of all marriages under the New Covenant even though permission has been given for divorce. This is why marriage is serious business to God and should not be trivialized.

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Attitude and behavior I was taught are the major sources of conflict in marriage and as long as with the help of God we develop good Christian attitude and wisdom in handling our marriages, we are sure to save them and fulfill God’s intent for establishing it. “So many people have the will to have a strong marriage but don’t have the skill” Kathy Beirne said. I pray the Holy Spirit teaches everyone the skills we need to make our relationships and marriages work.

worksThanks for your attention dear reader!

God bless!

~Mark Gadogbe (McApple)