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The FAT Principles of marriage – TOLERANCE (Part 3)

Tolerance in marriage is the secret of many marriages that are surviving and moving into bliss today. For marriages that have broken apart, most have been hinged on the irreconcilable difference. Meaning the couple are unable to accept their differences and cannot even tolerate one another. We are by nature different, each person designed by God.

We have different experiences growing up and we are shaped by the different environment and household we grew with. Therefore, couples should expect they are going to have differences. It is the recognition, awareness, and the ability to accept and work with this in mind that is crucial to the survival of their marriage. Even though we need to learn to tolerate each other, the ideal in any marriage is for couples to move from tolerance to acceptance and this is where thriving begins. 

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As defined in the dictionary, tolerance is the ability and willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs that are different from your own, even if you disagree with or disapprove of them. It is the ability to bear something unpleasant or annoying or to keep going despite difficulties. Tolerance means you put up with, you go along with, you stick with and turn a blind eye to events and circumstances you may not be comfortable with. 

In marriage, couples are going to have annoying behaviours and you will have to bear with one another

You cannot fully know your spouse during courtship and so you will find out their idiosyncrasies and eccentricity, peculiarities and irks only when you get married. Little things, ideas and behaviours that bothers you, which you may only be finding out when you are married. 

For example, some women love to moisturise their skin and indulge it in oils and lotions of all kind, if I see a skin that is rough or white because of lack of moisturising, it annoys me a lot. However, some men also moisturise their skin and yet other many charming princes may not like to moisturise their bodies as well as women too. Some people wear socks to bed! Snoring, mouth and body odour, the way people eat! Neatness in your house may be different from another person’s idea of neatness. I am obsessed with clean toilets and if I see a speck it must go. Lifestyle and choices, you will make may be different from your spouse, if you cannot tolerate and accept them, then there will be an issue in the marriage. You may have to tolerate her family, her friends, and other people in your spouse’s life. If you equip yourself with this knowledge and be intentional about it, your marriage will move quickly into understanding and wisdom.

Two things happen when couples refuse to acknowledge or tolerate their differences. 

Resentment

Anger bitterness and poison that begins to erode their love for each other. If not dealt with it will lead to the ruin of their marriage. When you resent your spouse, everything they do begins to irritate you, you will not find anything positive, but the negatives will be exaggerated. If you cannot see any good in your spouse today, you should check that you have not harboured resentment over the years due to behaviours and attitudes you may have refused to accept or tolerate and possibly want to change. 

Control and abuse

Result and will be inevitable if one partner is trying to change the other. We are all aware and should know that one person cannot change another person. We can influence and help people grow out of a bad and annoying habit, but the change comes from within the person. A positive change is achieved through love. Look at the example of our Lord Jesus Christ. God has the power to change anyone, but He chooses to love us and wait for us to turn our hearts to Him because He first loves us. Any draconian means of forcing a change in one’s partner will not result in true love even if achieved. 

Principles of Marriage: ACCEPTANCE (Part 2)

Recently, as I was listening to one of the marriage counselling programmes, a man asked a question, which many people may have asked in the past. He said the l …Read More

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A good way to become a more tolerant person is to educate yourself more deeply about other people and cultures. 

Often when people display a lack of tolerance for somebody, it is in part because they feel alienated or uncertain about what the other person is doing or saying.

Lack of understanding or refusal to understand the differences we bring to the marriage. Frustration and having a small view of their world. Intolerance breeds hatred, hatred leads to distrust, distrust causes disunity. That is why the bible admonished that we should “always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love” – Ephesians 4:2. Make allowance for each other’s faults in your marriage, marriage is a marathon and not a sprint, so do not for a moment think short term and expect your partner to change. 

The serenity prayer should be your guide if you are desiring a peaceful and happy marriage. 

Serenity Prayer- God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Stress tolerance is the capacity to endure pressure or uncertainty without becoming negative, hopeless, bitter, or hostile toward yourself or others. People with strong stress tolerance can withstand and may even thrive in high-pressure situations. Why do organisations ask for this skill during job interviews? How well do you cope with stress or work under pressure? It is because you need to be able to continue to work productively, even if your colleagues and office environment are hostile. You cannot refuse to work and cooperate in a work environment due to stress; it is, therefore, important that you develop the skill of tolerance. 

How do I become a tolerant husband or wife you may ask? Below are ways to develop and become a more tolerant spouse. Have healthy self-esteem – know who you are and have a conviction of who you are. Form your own opinions and make that positive. The more comfortable you feel with yourself and your opinions, the less defensive you will be. Oftentimes, people have trouble tolerating opinions that threaten their worldview. Being more comfortable with yourself, and how you see the world, can lead to more positive interactions with people different than you.

Opinions are cheap, convictions are real – do not take people’s opinion as personal, learn to be objective it is easier to be tolerant of opinions if you can see them objectively. Try to see your spouse’s opinion as separate from how they judge you and your character. This will help you to be able to disagree with people but tolerate these disagreements. Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 – Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you have cursed others.

The Golden Rule – do unto others what you want them to do you. Whenever you feel intolerant to another person’s opinion, pause, and reflect on the Golden Rule. Just as you would expect someone to consider your perspective without judging you, extend this same courtesy to someone else.

Refrain from being judgmental – be more open and less disapproving, the bible says “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37.

Tolerance is the key to becoming an understanding spouse. When you understand and your partner knows you will understand, it becomes the force that holds your marriage together for decades. If you as husband and wife can understand each other, then it is far easier for you to avoid problems in your marital relationship. Thus, your love becomes stronger and lasts longer. 

As you can see, tolerance is the force that helps you reinforce your relationships, and eventually, it will transform into acceptance which turns into a long-lasting marriage. Now all that we have said cannot be achieved without the help of the Holy Spirit, they are fruits of the Holy Spirit. For example, if you love as Jesus commanded, you can never live in unforgiveness nor refuse to tolerate your spouse. With the help of the Holy Spirit, you will be able to persevere, be gentle and kind, you will accept and tolerate people. 

Therefore, if you are struggling in this area, you need the help of the Holy Spirit and you need Jesus in your life to have that peaceful and blissful marriage.

Say this simple salvation prayer with me: Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Saviour.

Please let me know in the comment if you are blessed.

Are you longing for inspiration for your life and marriage? Learning new skills and acquiring knowledge can greatly improve your relationship with your spouse. When you know better, you can do better and make a big difference in your relationship. Subscribe to updates from Abi here!

Abi Apalara loves sharing insightful information that helps couples flourish in life and their marriage relationship. I have enjoyed both good marital pleasures and challenging times in my marriage. I came to realise, the points where I missed it, were areas I lacked information on how to.

Making it up along the way, only meant I was going the wrong way. Desperately seeking to get back into marital bliss, I started exploring and reading about those areas of challenge. I also reached out to counselors and began to see what I was missing.
After a surprising move into relationship study, I have found peace of mind and happy with my marriage. I have authored the book Are you ready? Marriage expectation versus realty to share my experience and encourage men and women to work on their
marriages, by seeking knowledge and apply it to their marriage relationship.


My latest book, Are you ready? Marriage expectation versus reality focuses on discovering some of the unrealistic expectations we bring into a marriage. It comes with practical advice and a guide on how to get it right before and after getting married. You can also preorder the book here

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5 ways to solve problems in your marriage

Problem-solving skill is not just useful at work but vital to having a happy and harmonious marriage. Marriage is a learning journey, and couples need to develop skills and tools to help them overcome the many challenges they will face in their marriage. No marriage is problem proof, the difference between those couples who are thriving in marriage are those learning, unlearning, and re-learning what it takes to enjoy their marriage. It is therefore important for men and women to understand the need to develop many soft skills needed for a successful marriage.

“It only takes a few minutes to get married, but building a marriage requires a lifetime” – Myles Munro

I used to struggle with resolving conflict in my marriage, I wanted a win-win solution most times and whenever I don’t achieve that, it meant pain for me and as you can imagine trouble for my husband. But I soon realise, in marriage, one cannot and may not reach a win-win all the time. So how did I overcome my predicament?

I learnt about the five styles of conflict resolution – a course I took at work. Organisations are training team members and equipping staff to acquire the necessary skills to build a functioning and performing team. It is imperative that couples are taught how to develop the skills needed for working together as a team. 

The knowledge and skill gained have since helped me to avoid unnecessary pain, that I would have previously inflicted on my marriage because I wanted a win-win solution. 

Let me share them with you, I am sure you will find them useful in your relationship whether you are single or married. 

The Five Styles of Conflict Resolution

Avoiding the Conflict

It is not all fight that is worth fighting, there are many times that couples fight over incidences that could have been easily overlooked by one or both. If your partner will nip and pick fight over evert little matter, be the one to avoid the fight. I have found this useful; it is just like giving way first when you are driving. 

Giving in

As a wife, you may need to give in a lot. But I will advise our husbands, learn to give in too for peace sake. Even though you may be in the right, I encourage you to cherish and protect your relationship over and above winning an argument. There is nothing worth losing your beautiful marriage relationship for. 

Standing your ground

There are situations you may need to take a stand. This should be sparingly used by both spouses. If you are being abused whether physical, psychological, economical, or emotional, you will need to take a stand and seek counsel fast before you are drained or find yourself in a precarious situation. If you feel threatened in your marriage, please do not wait until you are in complete danger, seek intervention. 

Compromising

This is what most couple default to initially in a marriage. Just giving in and not meeting your own need often leads to resentment and bitterness. When you compromise, make sure you are partially satisfied. 

Collaborating

This is the best way to solve a conflict, find a workable solution for yourselves. It may not happen all the time, but it should be your goal most of the times. Seek a win-win solution for any issues. Do not go ahead until you have both met each other’s need. This is love and sacrifice that makes a marriage work. Marriage should be collaborative and care for the other person. If you as a spouse is concerned about the welfare of your partner, you will not make a unilateral decision or be inconsiderate to the need of your spouse. 

There is power in learning, gaining new skills and knowledge which when applied becomes wisdom. Women and men need the wisdom to build their home and make their marriage experience a pleasant and joyful one.  

Don’t allow what you don’t know to deny you the opportunity, of creating and having a great marriage. But don’t just acquire knowledge, the joy of it is applying what you have learnt as wisdom.

Are you longing for inspiration for your life and marriage? Learning new skills and acquiring knowledge can greatly improve your relationship with your spouse. When you know better, you can do better and make a big difference in your relationship. Subscribe to updates from Abi here!

Abi Apalara loves sharing insightful information that helps couples flourish in life and their marriage relationship. I have enjoyed both good marital pleasures and challenging times in my marriage. I came to realise, the points where I missed it, were areas I lacked information on how to.

Making it up along the way, only meant I was going the wrong way. Desperately seeking to get back into marital bliss, I started exploring and reading about those areas of challenge. I also reached out to counselors and began to see what I was missing.
After a surprising move into relationship study, I have found peace of mind and happy with my marriage. I have authored the book Are you ready? Marriage expectation versus realty to share my experience and encourage men and women to work on their
marriages, by seeking knowledge and apply it to their marriage relationship.


My latest book, Are you ready? Marriage expectation versus reality focuses on discovering some of the unrealistic expectations we bring into a marriage. It comes with practical advice and a guide on how to get it right before and after getting married. You can also preorder the book here

facts_part2

Principles of Marriage: ACCEPTANCE (Part 2)

Recently, as I was listening to one of the marriage counselling programmes, a man asked a question, which many people may have asked in the past. He said the lady he wants to marry does not speak good English and he is embarrassed whenever she comes around to see him. He was asking if he should marry the lady or not? This is what happens when we are not able to accept our spouse with their flaws that we recognise before marriage or the ones that will be discovered after marriage. 

Some partners are embarrassed and possibly nurse the idea of changing their spouse, if they have not yet made up their mind to change them. 

I was happy that this person realised they would have issues with being proud of their spouse if they went ahead and marry out of pity or for other reasons. They will be unable to accept this woman with her level of education, and therefore will not connect emotionally and on other levels. 

Singles, it is important to consider the person you want to marry and assess the qualities and characters you can see now. Will you truly accept this person with all their flaws and without being embarrassed? If you are not proud to show off your fiancé or fiancée due to any flaws, please do not go ahead because you have not accepted them. 

Acceptance is one of the secrets to having a happy and lasting marriage. To accept means to be willing to tolerate someone or something. It is the process or fact of being received as adequate, valid, or suitable. It also means embracing, adoption and integration.

To accept your spouse means they become a member of your family, in marriage you and your spouse becomes one. That is the principle of acceptance, if you are not seeing your spouse as belonging to your group or as an equal, you are yet to accept your spouse. Some of the reasons why many marriages fail are the lack of acceptance of the wife or husband as a full member of the family, in some parts of the world. The wife is seen as an alien or intruder into the family and if not specifically told to their face, many actions from the extended family will boldly communicate this. 

Read part 1: Principles of Marriage:  FORGIVENESS (Part 1)

Some people believe and start their marriage with the intention that their spouse can leave them at any time. Therefore they never commit to the marriage. They have already broken the principle of marriage that says two flesh shall become one. They live with the conviction that they can never rely on, or trust their spouse with their all. If you have this mindset, please renew your mind. 

A marriage that will last, will not be started with the intention to go apart, but with the intention to bond and become one forever. 

The bible says in Romans 8:15 “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him, we cry, “Abba Father.” 

When you accept your spouse as a permanent member and equal member of your family which is made of husband, wife, and the children, then there should be no fear of treating your spouse as yourself. Sadly, many people do not consider their family unit as that immediate nucleus family. In its place, they focus on extended family members and give priority to meeting their needs and fulfil the desires of these people above and over their partners.  

In order to improve your marriage relationship if you have not fully accepted your spouse, become more accepting of your partner’s strengths and weaknesses. Rather than to continue attempting to get them to change fundamentally, embrace and grow together.

If you are newly married or about to marry, as you continue to solidify and form a new identity with your spouse, negative thinking can set in and flaws become apparent. It is important to come back to this principle of acceptance. If you do not reign in negative thoughts such as “this is not the person I thought I wanted” they soon take over like weeds and destroy your very beautiful marriage. And that’s where a small strain can easily take hold of an otherwise happy and healthy marriage.

Believe it or not, all marriages, no matter how strong, or deeply connected, will experience strain when change happens. 

The difference between a successful marriage and an unsuccessful marriage is influenced by the level of acceptance by each spouse

Below are suggested and fundamental truths you can hold onto, to help you practice the principles of acceptance. 

You will be able to accept your spouse if you learn and practice these truths: 

  1. Accept you are in this marriage together for the long run. You are convinced and willing to live the rest of your life with your partner. You are no longer two but one flesh. Who hates their own flesh? 
  2. You have no control over your spouse’s behaviour, and you are accepting this person for who they are. You are set free because you will then realize that, you don’t have any control over them, just the choices that you make about being with them.
  3. Realise we are all flawed, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. You must realise there is no perfect human being. You are also flawed, and your spouse is living with that reality. 
  4. Set healthy boundaries early, decide what you can live with and that which will set you ablaze. 
  5. Leave room for personal growth, accept and believe your partner will undergo personal development in their own time and in their way. This requires patience and decide to grow together. If there is an area of weakness, instead of criticism and resentment, help your spouse to grow and develop in that area. We cannot be perfect, and we have blind spots.
  6. We must understand that we are different and have been brought up in a different environment. Actions and culture that are acceptable in my house may be a taboo in yours. Develop a win-win attitude where you differ.
  7. You must have the understanding that men and women are different in so many ways. This will help you come to terms with your partner’s eccentricities. 

Below are some of the different ways men and women show their differences, almost universally. 

Men value power, competence, efficiency, and achievements, but women value love, communication, beauty, and relationships. 

Men feel hurt and incompetent when you offer them unsolicited advice. Why? because asking for help can be seen as a weakness. Whereas to women folks, it is a sign of caring to give advice and suggestions.

The dilemma in men and women relationship is the lack of understanding and acceptance of our differences.

Men want to fix women, they want to offer a solution, when all a woman wants is for you to listen and empathise.

Women want to help men by offering unsolicited advice and improve men. Yet men want to fix themselves and find a solution by themselves. Can you see the need for understanding and acceptance? We must accept that men and women are different, and that does not mean we cannot live together in harmony. The principle of acceptance is to embrace our partner which can only be achieved with determination, discipline, and effort. 

John Gray in his book Men are from Mars women are from Venus said – 

When men and women can respect and accept their differences, then love has a chance to blossom.”

What will true acceptance based on the few differences between men and women, that I have discussed above mean to you as a man or a woman?

Man – Practice listening whenever a woman speaks. Have the sole intention of respectfully understanding what she is going through, without offering a solution. 

Woman – practice restraining yourself from giving unsolicited advice or criticism, allow the man to solve his problem or ask. 

Suggested Read: The king advisers – who advises you about your marriage matters?

It is not easy to do because it is opposite of what we are wired to do, this is the sacrifice that marriage needs. Acceptance is the highest level a husband and wife can operate on and begin to grow and deepen their love for each other. Sadly, because this has not been taught or explained properly to many, including to me. We are always seeking to change and modify our spouse, either by control or abuse. If you are reading this, and you feel that any of the issues above resonate with you, decide, and learn to accept your spouse, especially, if you are now married. There is no perfect spouse out there, you can work with who you have. The best time is during courtship, decide who you want to marry and make sure you can and will accept them with their good and not so good. Every human being has strengths and weaknesses. Focus on their strengths, celebrate that, and develop and work on your areas of weakness. 

Are you longing for inspiration for your life and marriage? Learning new skills and acquiring knowledge can greatly improve your relationship with your spouse. When you know better, you can do better and make a big difference in your relationship. Subscribe to updates from Abi here!

Abi Apalara loves sharing insightful information that helps couples flourish in life and their marriage relationship. I have enjoyed both good marital pleasures and challenging times in my marriage. I came to realise, the points where I missed it, were areas I lacked information on how to.

Making it up along the way, only meant I was going the wrong way. Desperately seeking to get back into marital bliss, I started exploring and reading about those areas of challenge. I also reached out to counselors and began to see what I was missing.
After a surprising move into relationship study, I have found peace of mind and happy with my marriage. I have authored the book Are you ready? Marriage expectation versus realty to share my experience and encourage men and women to work on their
marriages, by seeking knowledge and apply it to their marriage relationship.


My latest book, Are you ready? Marriage expectation versus reality focuses on discovering some of the unrealistic expectations we bring into a marriage. It comes with practical advice and a guide on how to get it right before and after getting married. You can also preorder the book here