It's the start of a new week. I was given a lot of food for thought this last weekend. I was thinking about the problems we have in Africa on Friday. About the huge potential we've got to be such a great continent. We've got an abundance of natural resources, we've got our beautiful mostly unspoilt landscapes, we've got rich our cultural heritage, we've got talents and so much more. But we've also been plagued by bad leadership, greed, mismanagement and selfishness. We've been plundered and exploited by our fellow human beings. We've been uncooperative amongst ourselves. We have allowed rifts, division and war to tear us apart. And it is so saddening because we are our own worst enemy.
On Saturday I was given more food for thought. We attended a marriage seminar aimed at couples who had been married for less than five years. It was great! I met a few of my friends there, couples like us. The aim was to give us pointers that will help us in our journey, since we might have forgotten all they told us before we took the plunge! You know, sometimes the advice you are given before marriage doesn't really sink in because you are not in it yet. Now that we had crossed into marriage, advice given would be more relevant because we can get stuck-in to ensure that our relationships continue on the good note that they started. It was a very enlightening session and I learnt more practical and useful stuff. The speaker was someone who had been married for 28 years. He and his wife had been through a lot together, but it is obvious they still love each other, and their relationship is still going strong. So I guess he knows what he was talking about. One of the things he said was that, a lot of couples don't understand the implication of what they do on their wedding day. People see the superficial stuff like the clothes of the bride and her train, the nice food and music etc. But what is actually happening? He broke it down like this: when two people get married, what they are doing in essence is a sacrifice. They are sacrificing their self-interests. They are saying, from now on, I will put my spouse's interest before my own. They are saying that they will do all they can to make the other person happy, even when it is inconvenient. That is the ultimate sacrifice because as human beings, we are all inherently selfish. And it takes great humility to put somebody else first. You know nowadays, it is all about 'looking after number one' meaning you look out for yourself and no one else. In a marriage, that won't work. He added that we should see ourselves as one. So now there is no more about me, mine, myself and I. It is now about us, we and ours. So you can't say: my money, my car, my house or my career. Whatever we have and whatever we achieve should be of benefit to the two of us.
He also read out our marriage vows to us, in case we had forgotten...lol. And he emphasised that when we made these vows in the presence of God and man, it was for real, i.e. we were not actors in a movie. We said we would cherish, respect, love and honour our spouse for the rest of our lives. We said we would 'forsake all others' and remain faithful to the person we married till death do us part. For me the weight of those words sunk in afresh. Like wow, I did say those words to my husband. And God is holding me to account. Am I living out those promises, or am I doing my own thing? I must be careful not to break those vows, especially the one of - respect. That one is taken directly from the bible "Husbands love your wives, and wives see that you respect your husbands".
Something else that was touched on, is the tendency for us to expect our spouse to be like our parents. You know, where the man expects his wife to behave exactly like his mum, and the lady expects the guy to behave like her dad. While it is understandable for us to think this way, it is very unfair. We should see our spouses for who they are, rather than who we expect them to be. Otherwise, we would set our spouse up for failure even though it's not their fault.
There were lots of other issues discussed, and there was a question and answer session, and we had to do some exercises! We were told to write our primary and secondary love languages, and also guess those of our spouse. Hubby and I both got our love languages right. Overall, I had a nice time at the seminar and I learnt a lot of things. Now putting them into practice is the hard bit. Marriage is fun, once we have got the basics right. I'm determined to make mine the best ever :-)
After the seminar, we decided to go and visit hubby's brother and his family. We swapped gists, played with the kids, watched a movie and just enjoyed spending time with them. They didn't want us to leave so we told them we had to go and practice what we had learnt earlier.. lol.
Sunday was cool, after church we had lunch with a family in our church. It was a proper English dinner with proper English people so we were on our best behaviour. They are nice people though, we get on well. We've had them over for a meal once and I served them plantain and since then they've always asked me to buy plantain for them. They've even fallen in love with jollof rice and they want me to cook it for them next week! I'll see sha.
So that was my weekend, it went too quickly. Now, it's back to my working week. *Sigh*