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

God, Sex and Marriage

I subscribe to marriage devotionals always. That’s because I always do not like a day to end without reading something on marriage…just anything, as long as it’s related to marriage. I find Christian devotionals on marriage the best choice. 

This is what I’m currently subscribed to; and today’s reading was quite interesting that I felt I should share. 

So here it goes:

Title: God Has An Opinion About Sex

Everyone has an opinion about sex. But did you know that God also has an opinion… a definite, distinct perspective? Unfortunately, many Christians have confused the voice of Christian leaders for the opinion of God. When it comes to sex, Christian leaders throughout the ages have had differing opinions on the topic. Here’s a brief sample…

Nothing is so much to be shunned as sexual relations. ~~St. Augustine.

The Holy Spirit leaves the room when a married couple has sex, even if they do it without passion. ~~Peter Lombard, respected 12th century theologian.

Intercourse is never without sin. ~~Martin Luther.

If anyone says that sex itself is bad, Christianity contradicts him at once. ~~C.S. Lewis.

A married couple gives a severe blow to the head of that ancient serpent when they aim to give as much sexual satisfaction to each other as possible. ~~John Piper.

No wonder Christians are confused. Who speaks for God? 

Ultimately, God speaks for Himself through His inspired Word. If you want to know God’s opinion, look no further than the Bible. It may surprise you that the Bible has quite a bit to say on the topic. Some of it you’ll love and some of it is difficult to accept. 

When a person like you or me has an opinion, it’s just that – an opinion. When God has an opinion, we call it something else – the truth. Truth is the one opinion against which every other opinion is measured. 

We all have thoughts and beliefs about sex that are not based on truth. Perhaps your misinformation about sex even came from Christian sources. However, if you truly want to see the gift of sexuality as it was created to be experienced, you must be willing to expose the lies you’ve believed as measured by the truth of God’s Word. 

Questions to Ponder: What are the primary sources that formed your opinion on sex? Can you identify any lies you believe about sex?

The End

(PS: Hope you found it interesting too? Let me know what you think. Share your thoughts with us)  
© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

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

Nudity abounds in a society of lost morals

These pictures were circulated recently on social media and I’m like “why”? Why would my wife expose herself stark naked to the whole world? What will be the motivationMoney? Or you have to do it before people can be taught to appreciate their own bodies? What is posing nude for charity…what kind of charity is that? Sometimes I don’t get the message…except it is to lure people into unholy passions or for worldly fame. 

South African celebrity’s social media photo posing nude for charity

And then again I said to myself, “possibly they are not married because I can’t seem to wonder if any responsible married woman will do that just for the sake of trying to educate a section of society”. Or possibly, times have changed and we must just learn to cope with it? 😟

Photo posted on social media by Ghanaian actress

I know by including these pictures in my post, some will say I am contributing to it’s spread and indirectly helping their agenda. That’s a very fair point, I admit, but I feel obliged to so that my readers can really appreciate (or picture) what this post is addressing. So, my apologies to those who are offended by them. I am too, but had to do this last post on this issue. 

Seriously, the nudist culture (or nudism) is growing at a very fast pace and not only is it becoming a normal trend but it is being embraced or championed by even the very elite of society. I don’t have a problem with nakedness because I see myself and my wife naked every day. 😂 But, if exposing oneself stark naked on the cover of magazines and social media platforms is the only best way a dignified woman can see her beauty or embrace her sexuality or better appreciate her feminine figure, or even do some charitable work for society, then something fundamental is wrong somewhere. 

Yes, something perhaps is seriously going wrong in the minds of nudists. But maybe it’s not really their fault. Maybe it’s a human right movement problem…and the increasing pressure to accept just everything and anything as a person’s fundamental human right. Maybe it’s the mainstream media’s fault or society’s fault. When you’re well clothed, the media says nothing, not even the word “descent” is used to describe you. But when you’re nude, they say “hot and sexy body“, “gorgeous looks“, I mean all these nice descriptors. Who wouldn’t feel encouraged with these phrases? Who wouldn’t want to “break the internet” with some nudes since that’s all it is: a challenge, or competition, or a simple case of women empowerment or human rights/freedom, and nothing about questionable morals. 

With ideologies like this being pushed, what then is right and what then is wrong?

But reality is that, every man knows how a feminine figure looks like and there’s nothing else you can teach us when you expose yourselves like that, other than causing a surge in our sexual appetites and lusts. Or are men denying that the female figure is beautiful that’s why you are giving us “lessons” on appreciating the female figure through the naked displays? And for the men who do that too, are women in denial of the beauty of the male figure? 

The human body is a beautiful work of art, we know. Our stark naked portraits are gorgeous, we admit, but why not we hang them in your bedrooms? We don’t have to invite others to admire our nakedness or pay for it…I guess that’s what prostitutes do? So, how different are you then from a prostitute when you do that? Yet you feel insulted when per chance folks choose to drop the fact that you’re educated and decide to rather call you a prostitute 😂. You call that hate speech and not embracing one’s sexuality? 

How different is a learned or scholarly person who is a nudist by choice or for monetary gain from a prostitute? Isn’t there a thin line between those two? 

How can marriages and the moral fibre of society last when our young folks emulate these unmarried celebrity figures and soak in their lifestyles? Aren’t we already seeing signs of a breaking society with the rate at which our young girls who should be in school focusing on their studies are busy jumping on the nudity bandwagon and taking nude pictures of themselves, recording sex videos and sharing on social media as well as stripping on Facebook live?

Sadly, since society practically “hails” the educated adults doing it, we’re left with very little moral grounds to condemn the young ones who learn the same wrongs from the same adults they see as “role models”. When an adult who is supposed to know better does something wrong and is being praised for it and left justified, what lessons are there for the young ones not to thread the same paths? 

Nevertheless, the internet they say does not forget. One day your sons or daughters will grow and be mocked in school/community by their colleagues that their mother is a prostitute or they have their mother’s nude pictures or masturbate to their mother’s nude sexy pictures. I hope you conscientize or prepare their minds for that looming future and pray suicide does not become their option when they can’t overcome the shame of facing you in the face to report their abuses to you. 

Modesty is Godly, beautiful and rewarding

That being said, this one fact remains true: Responsible men don’t marry makeup or nakedness, they marry destiny. Let your body, breasts or vagina be the most beautiful on display on earth, a man will outgrow it. The only future or destiny he’ll see with you is a potential porn star in waiting. Perhaps today it means nothing, but his reputation in future will decide your place in his life. Where you put your self worth is how you will be valued and how lasting that value will be. 

God save His people! And I hope this blesses somebody?
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” – 1 John 1:5‭-‬6 KJV

“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother” – 1 John 3:10 KJV

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author 

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

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 

Don’t burn your bridges

I was your bridge when you needed one

Your life saving help

To cross that mighty ocean

That threatened to swallow you alive

No matter how small my bridge

It helped you cross over

I bet the feeling was great

Like that of being alive

A new year to behold

Like I was to you, many have been to me

Life does get so hard sometimes

That every once in a while

We all need bridges to ride over our fears

It’s human to require another’s help in times of need

But if the bridges we burn after crossing

If our promises we fail to honour

If our part of the bargain we fail to uphold

We demonstrate a limited insight into life’s uncertainties

But life has a way of bringing us back

To the same bridges we travelled in times past

For good or for bad, our fate then we will learn.

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

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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

 

 

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