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How To Avoid Living in Regret I walked into the Java Coffee house at Nyali Center not sure of what to expect. I was here to meet with a man who had called me early in the morning asking if I could accept to meet with him urgently....

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How Men Are Killing Themselves It was a sad funeral, a young man, Tim, just in his early 30s had committed suicide. His wife Mela became a widow at 29 and their son Mike was left to grow up without his father. Everyone was crying and...

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How To Avoid Messing Up Your Marriage Ann was unable to stop herself from crying and I could honestly say, I was feeling pretty awkward. Sitting in a restaurant with a crying woman is very unsettling. I was encouraged though by the presence...

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How To Avoid Messing Up Your Marriage Ann was unable to stop herself from crying and I could honestly say, I was feeling pretty awkward. Sitting in a restaurant with a crying woman is very unsettling. I was encouraged though by the presence...

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3 Important Lessons That Can Hinder Divorce David sat across the table from me with tears in his eyes as he lamented of the things he had done. He regretted divorcing his wife after six years of marriage but now, Sheila his ex wife and their four...

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Pointers That Build Relationships

Posted on : 30-08-2013 | By : Edward | In : Blog Home

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relationships depend on choicesJane and Albert were the typical newly married couple. In their late 20s, they had dated for nearly four years before getting married. They had the blessing of their parents, attended premarital counseling, and were on their way to living happily ever after — or so everyone thought. But marriage for Jane and Albert, like the majority of newlyweds, wasn’t all they hoped for. Each of them, for different reasons, felt like something was not right, they felt let down. Unlike the majority of couples, however, Jane and Albert talked openly about their feelings and decided to do something about it. They were determined to ensure their marriage worked even though they had realized their expectations of marriage were not being met.

People who knew them gave them all kinds of advice, “give it time, it will work out by itself” others told them maybe “they were not compatible”. After hearing all kinds of crazy ideas, they decided to seek for better and more objective help. They turned to a wise couple in their church whose marriage they admired and who seemed to be serious in their relationship. The couple pointed them to God’s word and to certain pointers that began to radically alter the way they viewed marriage, love and their relationship. Jane and Albert are now in their sixth year of marriage and they are madly in love and excited about their marriage and the days ahead. If it was not for the help and advice they received from this couple, Jane confesses their marriage would not have lasted even two years. I had the opportunity to sit down with Jane and Albert recently and sought to find out what are the top three pointers that have helped them this far. In our conversation, I got to point out to them that this pointers are not just for marriage, they actually apply in relationships, dating and courtship and even in marriage. Here are the pointers they shared and I hope you will learn from them, pick them and determine to live by them:

1. Relationships depend on choices in order to thrive  – even in challenges, relationships thrive when commitment it thereLove is actually a choice more than a feeling. I know you have been taught differently from a Hollywood angle but from God’s perspective, love is a choice. John 3:16, “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” is not about feelings but a choice. This ought to be very freeing to hear as a single person because it means you need to choose when that time comes, you need to choose whom you will love. If you wait for the day you will feel like your heart is going to burst or something, you might wait for a long time. Well, in the context of marriage, Jane and Albert had to choose to love each other amidst the pressures and challenges of life. They had to make choices daily to consider the other person, to do something good for the other and not just thing about themselves. They learnt to make choices that built each other and their marriage instead of tearing or destroying each other. Question to us today is, what choices are we making in our relationships and friendships? What choices are we making in our marriages? You can choose to think about yourself or you can choose to consider your spouse also. You can choose to be selfish or you can choose to care and bless your spouse. The choices we make determine how our relationships thrive.

2. Relationships rise and fall on Commitment  – many people marry the one they love, the one who makes their hearts stutter and causes them to have goose bumps all over but marriage is very different from courtship. In marriage, you get to live life in reality and not in a mythical world of red flowers and honey kisses. In the real world, your spouse might snore at night, not act as quickly as you wanted and may irritate you with an annoying habit. With such reality, do you stop loving them or do you choose to love them still? The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 that Love is patient, you get to choose patience when you choose to love the one you married. It also says that love is kind and you therefore choose to be kind to the one you married. Committing to love the one you married means you will not look elsewhere but will love and cherish your spouse.

3. Relationships grow through communicationcommunication builds relationshipIt is impossible to grow in a relationship with someone that you do not communicate with. Communication builds connection and creates intimacy. Through communication, a couple is able to plan together, pray together and pursue their dreams together. Jane and Albert were able to grow in their marriage through communication. They talked, they shared jokes, they talked about their dreams, their likes and dislikes and as they did these, their marriage grew. Any couple that wants their relationship to grow has to guard their communication like a hawk, they have to deal with the communication killers and ensure the channels or communication are not polluted by selfishness or blocked by bad habits. As communication grows, the relationship will thrive.

Jane and Albert are thriving and so can you. Trade your misconceptions, myths and all those unrealistic ideas of relationships and marriage and begin to build a meaningful relationship that is destined to thrive.

 

Important Note: In the month of September at International Christian Centre Mombasa (ICC Mombasa) we are embarking on a four weeks sermon series in our services talking about marriage and relationships and how to thrive in the same. The sermon series is dubbed “Sugar and Spice” and I believe it will be a great blessing to many people both singles and those that are married. If you live in Mombasa or know any one in Mombasa, invite them in. This is one sermon series that everyone should listen to. I dare you to be there every Sunday and to invite everyone. Bring your whole office, bring your friends and don’t leave anyone behind.

10 Important Things That Every Wife Needs To Know

Posted on : 16-08-2013 | By : Edward | In : Blog Home

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Judy came to see me at the office a few days ago with a simple request, “could I do a blog post on ten things every wife needs to know about her husband?” Her request was triggered by her reading “ten important things that every husband needs to know”.  Her husband had read the article and had changed a lot since then. The last time I had an opportunity to sit and talk with Judy, she had nothing good to say about her marriage nor her husband and seemed to be waiting for the any sort of trigger in order to call it quits in the marriage but this time round, she was different. She was excited about marriage and her husband, James seemed to have put a lot of work into his marriage and taking care of his wife that Judy had been swept off her feet.

As we talked, Judy told me that she had realized that marriages tend to cool off and die away when the couple forget to work at the relationship, when they stop seeking to please each other and begin to tolerate each other and sometimes even finding their partners as stumbling blocks to their life and fun. She had determined to work at her marriage and to be the best she could ever be as a wife to James. Her excitement quickly rubbed of on me and within hours, I had put together a few thoughts for her to work on. Find those thoughts in an expanded form below for your reading.

Things that every wife can work on for a better marriage and relationship with her husband:

 

1. He needs simple and clear communication – As a wife, learn to speak to your man as a man not another woman. Men do better with clear and concise communication. When you begin telling him about what he did last month and the month before that and end up talking about how he left his socks under the cushions, chances are, he is no longer listening to you or he is feeling attacked as though he never does anything right. Simply tell him that his socks missed being washed as they were hidden under the sofa and its a good thing to be putting them in the dirty clothes basket. Simple, clear and concise and I bet he will even apologize for it instead of arguing.

2. Husbands love to show their love using actions, learn to notice – Women love words, they love to be told how much they are loved but men love action. No wonder men think “girly” movies are boring and women think “real movies” are noisy with little talking. Men show their love by the things they do. A man will overwork, run a thousand projects at a go and worked hard to earn extra money just to make sure his family is comfortable. He does all these because he loves his wife (and children). As a wife, learn to appreciate his efforts. When he calls, acknowledge it is his way of saying “I love you” even though he did not say it. When he does what you asked him even though he would not have otherwise done it, he is doing it because he loves you. Learn to notice and appreciate.

3. wife playing with husband romanticallyEvery man has a hero gene in them, turn him into your hero – praise him, let him know he is your man. He longs to feel needed, wanted and valuable. As a wife, learn to let him know you need him and do depend on him because he is tough and able. Don’t ridicule and put him down because of his weaknesses but learn to see his strengths and praise him for these. When you recognize him as your “superman” he will always be looking for opportunities to fly in and be with you.

4. Once in a while, a man just wants to be alone, give him space – sometimes a man wants to just sit and do nothing, trust me, even thinking gets suspended sometimes. When you ask him what he is thinking and he says “nothing” it might be true. Other times, he wants to sit and read or watch a program without talking. Men will look for this alone time by staying long in the toilet or sitting in the car or even just driving to nowhere. Please don’t rob your man of his alone time. He is not ignoring you, he just needs the time and the alone time actually helps him cope when you spend time with him and you want him to listen to all your stories.

5. Men do feel insecure sometimes, affirm your man – Sometime we men tend to feel insecure, we wonder whether we are strong enough, sharp enough, smart enough and we battle this more than women realize. Our ego gets bruised easily, we can be built or destroyed by the words you speak or treat us. As a wife, learn to affirm your man. Never ever and I say again, please, never ever criticize your husband publicly or correct him in public. You will have bruised him badly.

6. BLD080952Men have selective loss of hearing, avoid nagging him – If you repeat something to a man all the time, his stubbornness gets activated and he might never do what you are asking. Telling him more than twice to do something will cause him to decide not to do it at all. I have no idea why men behave like this but I am suspicious it a hidden trait in every man. Bottom-line, men hate to be nagged and as a wife, you will be wise to cut it out of your life. Bring in respect, compliments and praise instead of nagging and you will be shocked at the change in your husband.

7. Men need emotional intimacy also, allow him to be intimate his way – women get intimate by sharing secrets, whispering in the ears, talking, cuddling and stuff like that but men, yes, men do get intimate but it is by doing something together like jogging, watching football going on a road trip or building something together. When my wife joins me in doing something, she is not intruding or being a nuisance, I actually love doing things with her. I love going places with her, watching movies or documentaries (real movies and not girly stuff), I even love just sitting and reading with her. As a wife, seek to do things with your husband. If he asks you to go with him to places, build intimacy with him by going.

8. Men love challenges, competition and solving problems, learn to let him be – From supporting his favorite football team, to politics to being so focused on a project that he ends up ignoring you, men love to compete and win. Men feel better when they solve a problem whereas women feel better when they talk about the problem. couple working togetherWomen wonder why a man does not talk about a problem without realizing that men will feel better and successful when they solve the problem. As a wife, don’t try to stop your man, get on with him and cheer him on as he solves the problem, deals with the challenge. Don’t gloat when he losses but celebrate with him when he wins.

9. Men need respect more than they need air to breathe, respect him – with your words and actions, respect him. Don’t wait for him to earn it, give it. When a wife respects her husband, she helps him to become respectable outside the home. If you want your man to be respected, respect him. If you want him to be great outside the home, treat him as a great man at home. Respect grows men more than women ever realize. Many men do not cheat on their wives because they need sex, they do it because they are looking for respect. A man will protect, provide and do anything for the woman who respects him, as a wife, always remember this and you will do well.

10. Finally, your man needs sexual intimacy, be available – As a wife, be available for your man. Kick the excuses and go on and admit it, you do long for sexual intimacy also. Look for him, seduce him, make yourself attractive for him and release yourself to enjoy sexual intimacy. There is nothing wrong with sex within the boundaries of marriage. If you are not enjoying it, talk about it, work together to ensure it is enjoyable to the both of you.

There you are Judy and other ladies, ten things that every lady needs to know and do. I pray and trust you will add to this list depending on the man in your life but above this, I pray that you will work hard at your marriage and build the best marriage. If you need to read further on these issues, check out the book, “Seven questions to ask before and after you marry”. It has some very sobering thoughts and discussions on marriage. If you have thoughts, additional points and such, just post them through the comments section below and may you be blessed in every way.

 

 

Five Practices of Successful Couples

Posted on : 29-07-2013 | By : Edward | In : Blog Home

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“Do you know of any successful couples?” David asked me this the moment I stepped out of my car outside our offices today. He must have been waiting for me for a while, he looked beaten, worn out and did not seem to have slept much. After the usual greetings, David blurted out his story. black-couple-on-beachHis wife left him and went back to her parents home yesterday. He loved her, he wanted their marriage of four years to work but they seemed doomed to never make it. He had come looking for me with a simple question, “is it possible in our day to find successful couples?” Couples who are thriving in their relationships and marriages? If such couples are there, what are their common habits? What things are common to them that may be contributing to their success?

David wanted a thriving, happiness full and growing relationship not the dull, boring and full of fighting “thing” that they were currently having. As I embarked to answer David, I began thinking through the couples I know and if they were happily married and successful and for sure, they are there and they are many. Too many times we do not celebrate the marriages that are working and thriving because we are obsessed with the ones in trouble. I told David that I knew many successful couples and we began writing down the practices or habits that are common in them. We had a list of about twelve habits but for this blog post, allow me to narrow them to five. Here they are:

1. They have no walls against each other – The successful couples I know are always ready to connect regardless of what is going on. They can be in the middle of a conflict but they will greet each other cordially, smile at each other and be able to sit and talk about stuff. Many couples that end up in relational trouble do so because they tend to build walls against each other. They give each other the cold shoulder or silent treatment, they avoid smiling at each other and turn their home into some crazy cold environment that can even rival the Antarctica. couple discussingThese walls that they put up thinking they are protecting themselves end up being the walls that destroy their marriages. Successful couples have no walls, no defenses against each other. They forgive easily and hold no grudges against each other and this creates opportunity for them to reconcile fast, work together well and builds them into a formidable team. Learn to treat your spouse better than you treat other people. Be open, be courteous.

2. They fight their problems and not each other – Successful couples may fight often but they fight fair. They do not attack each other or view each other as the problem. They look for the problem and attack that. It might be the habit of leaving shoes and socks every where or watching too much television, it might be the habit of coming home late or spending money without budgeting but the problem is not the spouse. Recently, my wife asked me for help. She wanted me to help her as there was a problem she was facing due to my working hard and having less time available for her. I immediately understood what she was saying but I never felt attacked at all. I was ready to help the moment she asked for help. The problem would have been much more harder to deal with if she would have attacked me by saying, “You have been neglecting me and working late and working long. Did you get married to me or to the church?” same thing but said differently. One would have been an attack on me and it would have caused more problems as I would have gone into defense mode. To be a successful couple, don’t attack and fight each other, make it your habit to fight the problem always but not each other.family making sand castle together on beach

3. They play often and play with each other – who said that when you get married you can no longer share jokes, laugh together and even play with each other? In my family, we tickle each other, we laugh together, we look for jokes to tell when we get home and even text such to each other. Life is hard, don’t make it harder by being too stiff, loosen up and have a good time. Couples that play together stay together. Many of the happy successful couples I know definitely know how to play and have fun. I recently met one such couple at the Beach playing jump the waves after which they joined their two children in playing a game of Beach volleyball in rotating teams. Fun, laughter, sun and sand is what they had after a tiring day but what they gained on that day will carry them through a stormy season. Successful couples play together and play often.

4. They are content with what they have and with each other – Successful couples practice and live out contentment. They are content with what they have and are not ambitiously driving each other crazy to get the latest and the best in order to be happy. They are happy with each other and what they have and many of them have goals that they work towards but they recognize that their marriage is more valuable than the stuff they can own or the money they can make. You can own a great home, drive the dream car and have all the money you need and to spare and still be unhappy, lonely and frustrated. I know couples who don’t have much or own much who have great marriages and enjoy themselves greatly, they value each other, they do not look down on each other and never tear down their marriage or their spouses. It is not the stuff, it is the spouse. Be content, be thankful and get on the road to a successful relationship.happy-elder-couple-black

5. They compliment and support each other – The successful couples I know do not depend on each other but compliment each other. Dependence is where one person completely relies on another, such a person does not have a life outside of the relationship and can almost be unable to face life without their spouse. Dependency is not what God intended for Adam and Eve, we were created to compliment each other, to support, lift up and build each other up. I know people that had great dreams, gifted with amazing abilities who got married and dependency killed their gifts and dreams. It is as though they stopped living and took on another life, another personality. Successful couples build each other up and instead of suffocating and killing the gifting and abilities they each had before marriage, the tend to flourish even the more because they fan each others flame to burn even stronger. Couples that support each other in pursuing their dreams, find ways to synchronize their dreams and who encourage each other to fully utilize their potential tend to be more successful in their relationship than those that muffle, put down and hinder each other. Be successful, compliment and support each other.

Are there other practices you would add to this list? I would love to hear from you in the comments section below. In the meantime, check out this list of fifty creative dating ideas and plan a date with your spouse within this week. Successful couples plan for dates or special time when they get to sit and talk. Make it a priority to plan a date this week and if possible, let me know how it goes. Here is the list, 50 creative dating ideas

I believe in marriage, I know very many successful marriages but I also know many that are struggling or in trouble. Many of those in trouble and struggling need help, they need encouragement and they need to be pointed in the right direction. To help marriages and relationships, consider sharing the link to this blog with others.

 

How To Know You Are In Love Or It’s Lust

Posted on : 18-07-2013 | By : Edward | In : Blog Home

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I met Charles and Molly at one of the coffee shops here in Mombasa recently and after greeting them, I headed to a different table to wait for the person I was to meet. As I waited for my coffee and appointment, I could not help but observe that the two were very strongly attracted to each other physically in the way they kept looking at each other, holding hands and a few other things I do not want to write about here. As I observed them, I wondered to myself, are they in love with each other or are they just lusting after each other.married black couple

I keep being asked by both single men and ladies how they can tell whether somebody loves them genuinely or is just lusting after them and I would like to give you several pointers that can help. Why is it important to do this? Well, Molly is hurting badly because after two months of dating Charles, they broke up four days ago and she feels so used and empty. Theirs was a hot relationship, they could not keep their hands off each other, they touched, fondled and went all the way. They had sex with abandon and thought they really loved each other but from my conversation with Molly, they never really had time to talk about anything thing else. They were badly lusting for each other and were never really in love, now they are hurting, feeling like second hand clothes and wondering what was wrong. Well, it was just lust and not love. Both Molly and Charles had committed themselves to only have sex after marriage but the commitment was broken and they did what they knew very well to be sin simply because they confused lust for love and thought if they give in to their lustful drive, their love would thrive. Truth is, lust never results in thriving love.

To avoid finding yourself where Molly and Charles are, where you are hurting, feeling used and disappointed in yourself, here are  five ways to tell whether it is love or lust:

1. Are you attracted to the person or just their body? If you are attracted to the person, you enjoy being with them, talking about the weather, sports, food or whatever other random topic that the two of you talk about then it looks like love. People lusting after each other get attracted to the body not the person. They like the hips or the muscles and if the person just wants to sit and talk, they find it boring and a waste of time. Couple taking a walkPeople who are in love enjoying going for walks together, serving in a community project, going for seminars or visiting with friends but people who are in lust like getting into the next available hiding spot to play touch and fondle.

2. Do you care for the person or you just want to feel the person? Lust has no other emotions attached to it apart from the driving force to hold the hand, kiss the lips and do other things. Lust wants to feel the warmth or even just stare at the photo marking out the physique and curves but love cares genuinely. Love causes you to thing about the person, you worry whether they are safe. If they don’t call, you wonder if they are well and if they need your help whereas lust wonders who they are with and why. Love will take action to care, protect and meet the needs of the other without thinking about their reward. For lust, covering her with your jacket on a chilly night means getting a hot sexual reward later but love will do it because you want her to be warm and healthy.Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

3. Do you look forward to communicating with the person? If you only talk when it is necessary and you can go through a day, two days or even a week without talking, then for sure, it is lust and not love. Love wants to talk, love will make you write a letter (Anybody still remember what those used to be?) yes, I have seen people write letters and send them even in this day and age. Love will send a text message, make a call during the day, many calls and emails. Hearing his voice or her giggle makes you have an enjoyable day because you realize he or she means so much more than just the physical.

4. Are you willing to sacrifice something for the person? Love gives, love considers the other person, love is kind and love sacrifices. If you cannot miss the football game to go help her out or are unwilling to give up time, cancel a commitment or even take a crazy bus ride to go see the person but only think about yourself, your projects and assignments, then let me say it straight, it is lust. Lust refuses to give up anything not unless their is a reward attached but love will take the night bus ride to travel long distance to go see somebody for an hour or two and then travel back again a whole night. Love will give up the game not grudgingly but willingly.black-father-and-daughter The Bible tells us, “Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it. If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth, his offer would be utterly scorned.” Song of Solomon 8:7

5. Do you dream of the person in your bed or in your future? If you only think of the person being close, being in your bed and such other thoughts without thinking of them in your future, then you do not need to think a lot, that may not be love but lust. Love begins to see the person in your future, talking a road trip, going on picnic, planning for retirement and other such things. Lust may pretend to speak about such things but as Molly shared with me, when they would meet with Charles, the future would diminish in importance and the fire of the present would become the focus.

Lust does not build up, it destroys. It has no dreams, no future and only leaves a trail of broken and damaged hearts and lives. If it is lust, walk away before your heart is hurt but if it is love, begin to cultivate it by caring, encouraging and building each other up in to be the best that you can be.

Are there other pointers of telling when it is love or lust?  would love to hear from you. Use the comment section below and let us share with each other. Remember, you might help a friend and sending them the link to this post.