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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

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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

facts_part1

Principles of Marriage:  FORGIVENESS (Part 1)

Marriage is the university of all offence, do not marry if you cannot forgive. Lifeworks on principles and you cannot be breaking principles and claiming blessings. Many marriages are in trouble because of a lack of application of principles. If you are going into marriage, be ready to forgive and accept forgiveness. A good marriage is made up of two good forgivers.  

I have been hurt many times within and outside my marriage. No one has not been hurt by the actions and words of other people. Those we love dearly will hurt us. Even as a new-born child we were hurt by the slap on our bottom to make us cry and take our first breath. Sometimes the actions we find hurtful are meant to help us especially, by those who are close to us and love us. In a marriage, husband and wife will hurt each other, it how we process that hurt that makes the difference. Offences will come but do you forgive easily? Do you overlook an offence, or do you take offences personally and store them up? When we refuse to let go of offences, we store them up and they become toxic to us. 

I heard of a story of a father who wanted to teach his son a lesson on unforgiveness. He gave his son permission to pick a tomato and put it in a bag each time he was offended and could not let go of that offence. He was to carry that bag around with him as that is how we carry the offence with us if we do not let it go. After a few weeks, he should come back with the bag of tomatoes and share his experience. This boy kept filling his bag with tomatoes each time he got offended. As you and I can imagine, after some time, the bag became heavy to carry around, not only was it heavy to carry around, it started to smell and maggots started coming out of the rotten tomatoes. This young boy realised that he cannot carry this smelly and putrid bag around anymore because he was smelly and disgusting and no one wants to be around him. This is the picture I want you to have in your mind if you are struggling with unforgiveness in your heart and your marriage. 

Who hasn’t been hurt by the actions or words of another? Perhaps a parent constantly criticized you growing up, a co-worker sabotaged your work? or your partner committed an unpardonable offence? You may have had a painful experience, such as being physically or emotionally abused by someone close to you, when you were young. These wounds can leave you with long-lasting feelings of anger and bitterness and a desire for vengeance.

But if you don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude, and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Many people have misconceptions about what forgiveness really means and they may avoid it. Others may want to forgive but wonder whether they truly can. Forgiveness does not necessarily come easily, but many of us can achieve it if we have the right teaching and are willing to put in the effort. 

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Forgiveness is defined as a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge.

It means to release, grant freedom, liberate, discharge, give amnesty, grant mercy, pardon, indulgence, exemption, acquit and setting free those who offend and hurt us. 

Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for improved health and peace of mind, which makes a marriage to thrive. 

Ephesians 4:31-32 says “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” It is an action you and I must take; it is not passive but active stance to do away with any unforgiveness.

If you are single, practice forgiving people now, if you cannot forgive yourself and others you are very likely not going to forgive your spouse. Love will not remain in face of unforgiveness. If you are already married, you must learn to forgive, you cannot continue to carry toxic waste around. It is like drinking poison and waiting for someone else to die.

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10 Reasons You Should Work on Your Marriage and Make Sure it is Healthy

Forgiveness leads to:

  1. Healthier relationships improved mental health, Less anxiety, stress and hostility and lower blood pressure.
  2. When you forgive you relieve yourself of unnecessary load and rid your body of the stress that leads to illnesses and diseases.
  3. You are obeying God and will be in right standing with God.  

Unforgiveness leads to:

  1. anger and bitterness which kills love in a marriage, it pulls wool over your eyes and you will not be rational in the way you think.
  2. You cannot enjoy the present; you are tied to the past and unable to move forward.
  3. You lose valuable and enriching connectedness with your spouse; intimacy cannot survive when you harbour unforgiveness.
  4. Living in disobedience to Gods command thereby exposed to the attack of the enemy.

If you are engaged or single, before you say “I do” to that man or woman, please check that they are the forgiving type. I had a story of a man who was dating someone a lady, he has never forgiven his friends who hurt him in years and said that openly to his girlfriend. She casually dismissed it and thought because they love each other, he will readily forgive, but realised it was not so when they got married. That is a tell-tale sign we should not dismiss when considering who to marry. We often do not consider these signs and allow falling in love to help us take our eyes off it, or believe because we love each other, that can never happen to us. What a myth, your spouse is going to annoy you the most and if you are unable to forgive people now, you will not be able to forgive your spouse. 

Do you desire or want a healthy marriage? Then learn to forgive.

Why you may find it hard to forgive? Some people are naturally more forgiving than others while other people have been taught how to forgive as modelled by their parent’s forgiveness level.

If you are finding it hard to forgive, it is because you have not understood the forgiveness God gave you. The Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6:9-15 tells us to forgive others, as God forgives our sin. If you do not forgive others, how then do you expect God to forgive you?

Some spouse finds it easier to forgive people who offend them but find it difficult to forgive their spouse because of what I call “Misplaced Priority” – because you are close to me because I love you so much, you ought not to offend me this way. You should have known me better and not act that way. These are statements that a spouse who has misplaced perception and misplaced priority will make in holding onto offence by their spouse. Your spouse is the person who will offend you the most because they are the closest person to you. It is therefore important that they are the ones you pardon the most and easily. Luke 17:3-4 says: “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

Marriage is the university of all offence, do not marry if you cannot forgive. 

How can you learn to forgive and live a life of obedience to God and improve your marital relationship?

If you find it hard to forgive, I want you to reflect on the five points below:

  • Reflect on the numerous times you’ve hurt others and those who’ve forgiven you.
  • Read and memorise the “Parable of The Unforgiving Servant” story in Matthew 18:21-35.
  • Be ready to start practising forgiveness now, learn to overlook hurts and offences of your spouse, parents, siblings, and friends. It will become a learned behaviour and will make it easier to forgive when you are married if you are still single or engaged.
  • Ask God to help you to be merciful, you are enjoying Gods mercy and grace daily.
  • You are living in disobedience to God Colossians 3:13 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Does forgiveness lead to reconciliation? If the hurtful event involved someone whose relationship you otherwise value, forgiveness could lead to reconciliation. In a marriage, forgiveness should lead to reconciliation otherwise how do you build your marriage? If you are not ready to reconcile then what have you forgiven? There are cases where if the other party does not want reconciliation, you may have to forgive and let go. However, when God forgave and pardon our sins, it was to reconcile us back to himself. 

Reasons why men need to build their homes4

Reasons why men need to build their homes

If you want a healthy and thriving marriage, you will let your forgiveness lead to reconciliation. 

There is no sin too great for you to overlook is God can forgive you all your sins and allow you to be heirs of the kingdom.

Forgiveness is a process and it can require time, so allow yourself to process and deal with the hurt. Settle it with God and you will be able to settle it with men. 

To become a forgiving spouse, below are practical tips you can begin to use to help you:

  • Start exercising, increase dopamine, and reduce stress hormones. It will help you build your feel-good hormones, the more you feel good about yourself, the better you will feel. Practice smiling at other people etc. Giving love when you don’t have to, making it easier to show compassion toward everyone.
  • Remove bad thought by replacing it with good thoughts, no vacuum. Put a picture of the person you want to forgive on your phone and pray for them. Refrain from talking negatively even if you cannot say good things yet.
  • Check why you are hurting, what exactly have they done and why did it pain you so much. Your spouse’s imperfection or behaviours? Those are normal if you understand marriage itself. Your parents, colleagues, neighbours etc. it may be how you internalise things, be sincere with yourself. If someone says to me, you are not brilliant or you are not beautiful, I will find it hard to get offended because I am aware God made me beautiful and wonderful. You may be able to do this accounting on your own, or you may need the help of a therapist. However, you approach looking at your pain be sure you do it in an environment that feels safe and supportive.
  • You must become empathetic to forgive someone. Empathy means to put yourself in the other person shoes for a moment and forget about yourself.
  • Ask questions like, why did God allow this? And not why me? Sometimes we have to go through sufferings to get a story that can change our life. Find meaning for your suffering, did it empower you? Are you braver? What are you doing that you wouldn’t have done if this didn’t happen to you?
  • Realise you cannot forgive in your own power; you need the help of the Holy Spirit and the word of God. Are you happy disobeying God because of your hurt? Will you gain this world and lose your soul? Lose your peace, your health, your inheritance, your joy, your marriage
  • Forgive yourself, recognise you are an imperfect being too, don’t have an expectation that they may take you back. But, a sincere apology, free of conditions and expectations, will go a long way toward your receiving forgiveness in the end.
  • Forgiveness and gratitude are closely linked – when you are grateful for what you have and where you are, you will realise, after all, what happened to you could have been worse.

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

the_king_advisers

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

Most of us will know the story of Queen Vashti in the book of Esther, it is used to warn women of the consequences of disobedience to authority. However, there is another lesson that we can learn from this scripture. The king advisers gave the advice and reasons why King Xerxes should remove his wife. They encouraged him to break his marriage over a matter that he can forgive easily. They encouraged him to depose Queen Vashti so that fear can grip other women. Their main concern was that which stem from protecting their own interest. They had no compassion for him, and he was eventually sorrowful after the event. King Xerxes acted foolishly and he was in a state of mind that we cannot consider as sober. They had been drinking and wanted the queen to come and parade her beauty before them. No one took into consideration the dignity of the queen and the sanctity of marriage.

Who are your advisers in your marriage? 

Are they helping you to mend your marriage or are they helping you to pull it apart? Have you sat down to consider the advice people that you surround yourself with are giving you? They may say they are doing it to boost your ego, is your ego worth losing your marriage? The king’s advisers had no thought for the marriage; the woman and how she may have felt when she was called up. Nobody hesitated or advised King Xerxes to save his marriage and bear with his wife. 

The people in your circle of influence can help you destroy your marriage if you allow them. 

Choose who your advisers are wisely. 

It is a known fact that, most people pretend to be who they are not to prove a point outside of their home. 

We have seen cases of men and women who are accepting untenable situations in their marriage but pretend to be having a good marriage to mislead the naïve. 

The king acted in anger – a furious state and the advisers helped him to be even more enraged by telling him all other women will start to disobey their husbands. Do you make rash decisions when you are angry? Who do you go to when you are in despair? Where you seek advice, has a lot to do with the outcome of your marriage. 

Look around you and soberly consider some of the advice people have given you in resolving issues in your marriage. 

I have seen and heard of many cases of spouses who do everything for their partners and will run errands at their beck and call, yet they advise another person to ignore helping their spouse. “You should stop doing anything good for her, if she suffers enough, she will come round crawling and begging for your forgiveness.” Oh, the hearts of men are evil.  

I belong to many marriage groups where some of the advice that men and women offer to situations being discussed are aimed at nothing but the destruction of the marriage. 

We can see in the book of Esther that King Xerxes foolishly followed the advice of his counsellors and divorced Queen Vashti but it was an act that he later regretted. The advisers probably knew that when King Xerxes becomes sober, he will want to reconcile with his queen, they ensured that the decree was irreversible. They were quick to advise him to marry another woman. We talked about the danger that is involved whenever someone gives you their advice, or you read some words of advice, they may indeed be good advice, sometimes the intentions are wrong. 

I will implore husbands and wife to be careful who they go to for advice. Your family, friends and foes are all advisers, but you must decide and weigh the advice given to you before implementing it. 

The best place and person to go for advice first is GOD, use the word of God to decide how to act in your marriage. 

Your spouse offends you what advice has the bible on that- simple forgiveness. Your wife is acting up, the biblical advice is to love her, wash her and present her to yourself as Christ did for the church. If you are offered advice by people and you do not first pray about what they have advised, you will ruin your marriage. Many homes have been broken by advisers in the king’s court and I pray that will not be your case. 

I pray to God to give us wisdom in this area, whatever advice is given to you that will not bring you closer in your relationship to your spouse reject it. If the advice you are being given will bring harm to your spouse, reject it. If the advice you are being given will break your marriage vows, reject it. It is alarming to see how people advise husbands to go and have extramarital affairs to punish the wife, that has broken the marriage vow. It is not uncommon for advisers to advice people in their marriage to go and have children outside and so on. 

The evil and atrocities being committed against marriage are huge and we also have those who will aid and abet the spouse to destroy their marriage. 

Marriage is God’s idea, the best place to go for advice if you desire a good and loving marriage, is to look into the scriptures. Follow only godly advice that will improve your relationship and bring you and your partner closer rather than advice aimed at separating and hurting your spouse. 

Remember it is your marriage that will be destroyed, and you are the one that will regret it. King Xerxes regretted his actions in the end.

I pray that God will give husbands and wives wisdom needed to build a good and lasting marriage. 

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 counsellors 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

20200902_123308_0000

10 Reasons You Should Work on Your Marriage and Make Sure it is Healthy

What are the reasons why you should work on your marriage and make sure it is healthy, blissful and sweet? A good and peaceful marriage will give you peace of mind, body spirit and soul. Whenever a marriage is not working, the couple can never reach their full potential in life, they will be both damaged and have a lot of negative incidences. They may be covering up with other activities such as work, friendship outside of their marital relationship and bury themselves in a religious activity such as prayers and groups etc. All of these may take their focus and attention from the immediate pain of living with a spouse they consider trouble, however, the toll it takes on the body is revealed in their physical, emotional and spiritual health.

I am not in any way trying to insinuate that everyone who has one illness, or the other is as a result of bad marriages, we are all aware our bodies are broken because we are all in a fallen state. Many factors can cause illness in one’s body, genetic and other issues. However, there are illnesses that are triggered due to marital stress which would and may have been delayed or not surface at all if the marriage was peaceful and loving. 

“Stress doesn’t only make us feel awful emotionally,” says Jay Winner, MD, author of Take the Stress Out of Your Life, “It can also exacerbate just about any health condition you can think of.”

The people who advocate exercise state that, when the body is in a happy state it secrets a hormone called dopamine that relaxes the body and makes one be in a good mood. Also, when someone is constantly in a state of stress, the body release stress hormones (cortisol) that are harmful to the body. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose. When stressors are always present and you constantly feel under attack, that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on and this does great harm to your body.

Imagine if a wife or husband is constantly living in unhappiness and secrets these harmful hormones daily, an accumulation of these hormones will one day be a level that it will cause damage to vital organs in the body leading to the development of illness and diseases. Therefore, if husbands and wives are aware of these types of damage they can and maybe causing each other by living in an unhealthy marriage, shouldn’t they resolve their issues for their health sake? Many men and women have destroyed their lives and body because they refused to work on their marriage.

Your marriage is your health thermostat and you have the power to turn it up or down to give you a healthy environment to grow in. 

We must decide to work on our marriages and make sure it is happy fun and full of laughter so we can increase the good hormones and live long.

These are some of the reasons why husbands and wives need to work for peace, it is a must, there should be no offence, conflict, or ego too big that you should allow to cost your life. Unforgiveness and holding offences in the mind has been a major cause of heart attack for some people. When you can release any heavy load, you are carrying in your mind, please do, your life, your health is worth much more than your reputation, image, ego, or position.

I have decided a long time ago to always release forgiveness to my husband or anyone at all who may hurt me, not only because God commanded me to do so as His child, but because I have made this quote by Marianne Williamson my mantra. When I came across this statement, it brought a light to my heart, I held onto it to help me know that when I hold grudges, I am not doing myself any favour. Let me share it with you today, it may help you realise that not holding grudges is more for your benefit than the other person who hurt you, even when they refuse to acknowledge or apologise.

“Unforgiveness is like drinking poison yourself and waiting for the other person to die.”- Marianne Williamson

Have you noticed that when you are not happy with someone and they are around you, there is this uneasiness and you probably lose your smile too? Why would anyone want to be in such a state perpetually living with a spouse you are unhappy with?

Some of the physical illness that can result due to marital stress include: Cancer, lack of regular sex in men can cause prostate cancer. High blood pressure when the mind and body are always stressed. Sexually transmitted diseases for those who go into adultery because of bad marriages.

Studies have found many health problems related to stress. Stress seems to worsen or increase the risk of conditions like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and asthma.

¹ Below are 10 Health Problems Related to Stress That You Can Fix by working on your marriage. I have taken these from WebMD please visit the website for more information.

  1. Heart disease – Researchers have long suspected that the stressed-out, type A personality has a higher risk of high blood pressure and heart problems. We don’t know why, exactly. Stress can directly increase heart rate and blood flow and causes the release of cholesterol and triglycerides into the bloodstream. 
  2. Asthma -Many studies have shown that stress can worsen asthma. Some evidence suggests that a parent’s chronic stress might even increase the risk of developing asthma in their children. One study looked at how parental stress affected the asthma rates of young children who were also exposed to air pollution or whose mothers smoked during pregnancy. The kids with stressed-out parents had a substantially higher risk of developing asthma.
  3. Obesity – Excess fat in the belly seems to pose greater health risks than fat on the legs or hips — and unfortunately, that’s just where people with high stress seem to store it. “Stress causes higher levels of the hormone cortisol,” says Winner, “and that seems to increase the amount of fat that’s deposited in the abdomen.”
  4. Diabetes – Stress can worsen diabetes in two ways. First, it increases the likelihood of bad behaviours, such as unhealthy eating and excessive drinking. Second, stress seems to raise the glucose levels of people with type 2 diabetes directly.
  5. Headaches– Stress is considered one of the most common triggers for headaches — not just tension headaches, but migraines as well.
  6. Depression and anxiety – It’s probably no surprise that chronic stress is connected with higher rates of depression and anxiety. One survey of recent studies found that people who had stress related to their jobs — like demanding work with few rewards — had an 80% higher risk of developing depression within a few years than people with lower stress.
  7. Gastrointestinal problems– Here’s one thing that stress doesn’t do — it doesn’t cause ulcers. However, it can make them worse. Stress is also a common factor in many other GI conditions, such as chronic heartburn (or gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Winner says.
  8. Alzheimer’s disease- One animal study found that stress might worsen Alzheimer’s disease, causing its brain lesions to form more quickly. Some researchers speculate that reducing stress has the potential to slow down the progression of the disease.
  9. Accelerated ageing– There’s evidence that stress can affect how you age. One study compared the DNA of mothers who were under high stress — they were caring for a chronically ill child — with women who were not. Researchers found that a particular region of the chromosomes showed the effects of accelerated ageing. Stress seemed to accelerate ageing about 9 to 17 additional years.
  10. Premature death– A study looked at the health effects of stress by studying elderly caregivers looking after their spouses — people who are naturally under a great deal of stress. It found that caregivers had a 63% higher rate of death than people their age who were not caregivers.

¹ (source WebMD Feature Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on April 01, 2014) https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/10-fixable-stress-related-health-problems#1

Given this staggering evidence of stress and illnesses, I hope men and women would be informed and start working on their marriages.

Apart from physical illness, there are also spiritual implications that are even costlier for anyone living in disobedience to God’s law of living at peace and offering forgiveness to each other.

Couples who live in disobedience to God’s law of love and holiness will experience a broken relationship with God, they may be praying but God does not listen to such prayers. There are numerous bible passages that talked about prayers being hindered. They will be exposed to attack from the enemy because God’s law has been broken, when the accuser of the brethren shows up because they are still in sin, God cannot justify them. They will just be religious and have no power over the enemy. They will lack God’s special blessings for His children, they may be doing well but that is the common grace God gives to everybody. They will lose their glory and honour that God has prepared for those who obey Him.

The implication of living a life that does not please God in a marriage is enormous and it bleeds my heart to see that some husbands and wives are not informed nor aware of these, they live in oblivion and expect their lives to be ok. I pray for God’s mercy on us all. Amen.

Now we have only just scratched the surface of what stress can do to a married couple who chooses to live in sin. If you refuse to work on your marriage and choose to disobey God’s law that says in John 13;34-35. “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” Then you have your reward as you choose.

I hope you can allow God to work on your heart, whatever may be the cause of strife in your marriage, let it go and save your health for a long life of joy, peace and happiness.

If this post has helped you in any way, please leave me a comment and you can also send me questions, I will do my best to answer them with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

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 counsellors 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

Reasons why men need to build their homes4

Reasons why men need to build their homes

I want us to imagine a man who wanted to build a house in a notorious area where stealing of bricks was a major challenge. Each time this man buys and lay some bricks to build his house, thieves come in to steal the brick one piece at a time. The man will try and replace the stolen brick and go away. The next day, when he returns another set of bricks had been taken, this continues for a long time. He realised, if he was going to complete this house, he will need someone to keep watch while builds and even after completion, someone must always be on guard to keep the thieves away. This is the picture I had in my mind while pondering on this topic. A wise woman builds her house but when a foolish husband keeps tearing the house down, that house can never be completed nor stand. Therefore, a marriage that will stand will need both wise men and women working together to guard and ensure their marriage is working and happy. So, therefore, let us explore the reasons why a wise man need to build his marriage and not just be deceived by tradition and cliché that only a wise woman builds her home. 

For many centuries’ women have been left with the burden of building the homes and this is often supported by the scripture that says “a wise woman builds her home “. Yes, a wise woman builds her home, but a wise husband is needed to help and support her to build that home. If a woman can build a home alone, then there should be no need for partnership in a marriage. However, this is not so, because for any marriage to thrive and for both spouses to be happy and fulfilled in their calling, they must both be ready to work for their marriage.

In the past, women were not allowed to do much apart from keeping the home, the man is responsible for providing food and everything the household need.  This often keeps the family income small and most households were living the minimal lifestyle. Where the husband needed more hands to help in providing for the family, in African culture, he simply goes out to marry another wife and create a larger family. Women endured this type of relationships and not necessarily enjoyed it. For those who were lucky to have a monogamous family, the women had no choice but to totally depend on their husbands to provide, so there was no need to share household chores as women will be at home looking after the family while the husband provides. 

Nowadays, that is no longer applicable, many women are now working and adding to the family finance pot. In some homes, women are the chief earner and provider. Some men are very comfortable asking for bills to be split and that their wives must contribute to the upkeep of the house. Yet some men see no reason why they need to help with chores or split the responsibility of childcare and every other traditional role attached to women. 

Also the idea of marrying for love was not common in the past generations, most people were given in marriage or betrothed, so they learnt to love and live the person they were given to, unlike these days where men and women choose who they want to marry. Therefore, enduring and learning to love their spouse though hardship is not on the agenda.  

Lack of understanding and staunch belief in tradition that women should build their home, made many marriages to end up in conflict and divorce. When women after carry so much responsibility of caring for the family, required to provide for herself, her children and contribute to the family finance, yet her husband decides to mistreat or maltreat her in the marriage, obviously there will be no reason why she can continue to endure such hardship and treatment when she can provide for herself, except if she is believer who fear and honour God and hold marriage as a covenant. 

In ancient days when women are maltreated or mistreated, they stuck with it, because they had no means of livelihood, the society will not approve of them and they just endured the marriage. No human wants to endure hardship if they can survive on their own.  

The prevalence of marital breakup in this generation has been helped by the society and some other culture. For example, in England where I reside, the government will support any woman who is being abused, even if she has no income. This is the reason why some women file for divorce and it seems no one can get to the bottom of the reason why? 

I do not support divorce in any marriage because it causes untold hardship on the couple, the children and the society. If living with a husband does not add value to a woman and yet she is subjected to harsh treatment by the husband and supported by the culture that says the woman needs to build her house alone, then the result is a broken marriage. 

Therefore, we need to change this narrative, as Christians, the Bible says except the Lord build a house the labourers labour but in vain. Many women have laboured to build their homes but met men who are busy destroying the marriage brick by brick with their ego, bad behaviour, harsh treatment of the one they ought to protect and some by sheer ignorance of what marriage means. 

Men need to take responsibility for building their home with their wife. Marriage today and ever since is a partnership and was created as a partnership by God. When God created Adam and Eve, he did not say to Adam to dominate Eve, rather God commanded them to be both fruitful and subdue the earth together. 

Men leaving the home has caused our society to degenerate to the state we are right now, and this started generations ago. We need to correct this abnormality by bringing men back into the homes. Men you must decide to work on your marriages, be a part of it and do whatever it takes to make your marriage work. 

The world is not going back to the dark ages but progressing forward to a place where men and women can deploy their talents in the society. Marriage must progress from women build your home to husband and wife build your home. 

For any marriage to work, both husband and wife must sit down to work as partners on their marriage, there is no controversy about who is the head and leader of the home. Man is the head and no woman want to contest that, but how to lead the home must move from – I am the head, whatever I say goes to taking responsibility and leading effectively with love. 

Leadership in the place of work have recognised those leading people in a certain way that devalues them no longer work. The productivity level of any organisation that fails to value their employee will be greatly impacted; loyalty will be zero. If organisations have realised that treating their employees well and respectably leads to good performance and productivity, then I believe we can borrow that idea into our marriages. Afterall a marriage is meant to be a place of peace, rest and succour. I am sure every man and woman that got married, did so with the intention of enjoying their marriage together. It is therefore important that men take up the leadership mantle and build their marriages.

The reality is most marriages are suffering due to lack of education on how to make a marriage work. 

Men leaving their marriages to commit adultery rather than work on their marriage is what some men know and some culture support that. We do not belong to that culture, if you are a Christian, you belong to God’s culture and in this kingdom, there is no justification for sin. You can and should not leave your marriage when broken, as a man when your car breaks down, you know how to fix it. You learnt how to fix a car, therefore please learn how to fix your marriage, no more abandonment. 

It is therefore important that men rise to build their marriages, when men are absent from a marriage the effect is clear in the findings of a research which looked at the effects of family structure on crimes. 

Over the past fifty years, the rise in violent crime is in line with the rise in families abandoned by fathers. 

High crime neighbourhoods have a high concentration of families abandoned by fathers. Aggression and hostility found demonstrated by someone likely to be a criminal are often foreshadowed in them as early as age five or six and this is as a result of what they have experienced in trouble and violent marriage. 

Whereas statistics show that when a family is stable, children raised in these homes are less likely to commit a crime, be influence by bad friends, and they do well in their own marriage and in life generally. 

A good and loving marriage has so many benefits for men, women children and society. I am sure we all want a better society; it must begin with the family as a unit of the society. If husbands and wives cannot live in harmony and peace, how do we expect the society to be peaceful?

Both husband and wife are responsible for making marriage work, it is even better when a man takes responsibility as the leader. Men and women need to work on their marriages and build your homes, to provide a loving stable home for the next generation. 

How can you build your home as a man? 

Firstly, you need to accept the responsibility as a leader of your marriage, just as any leader in any organisation accepts responsibly for the failure and success of his business. 

A leader that delegate the leadership and steering of his organisation to someone else, never comes to the public if the company is failing and says my staff are responsible for the failure of this business. He will never be considered a good and responsible leader if he said that. As a leader in your marriage, you must have its success at heart. The moment any man takes on the headship role as a leadership role, the marriage is bound to succeed. On the other hand, the moment any man takes the headship role as a boss and commander in chief with no responsibility for success but blames and punish the followers, then that marriage is heading in the wrong direction. 

Can I ask what type of head are you in your marriage? Are you the servant leader or you are the commander in chief with no care for your followers? Please it is never too late to take the right road and turn your marriage into a heaven on earth. Take responsibility for the failure or success of your marriage. A wise man builds his home. Together with your spouse, begin to work as a team and bring your marriage ship into a sea of tranquillity.  

You can also read: Value and Respect in Marriage (2): A husband that

Secondly, any leader will be very knowledgeable in whatever he is doing for him to achieve success and lead other aright. How many marriage books have you read? Where you may be having challenges and conflicts, have you picked up a resource to see how you can resolve the issue, achieve a working solution or are you just ignoring it? 

For example, if money management or lack of money is the problem in your marriage, there a book that talks about how to manage finance in a marriage. There are seminars and some are online today, you can attend in the comfort of your home. There is no shame in seeking to know what you do not know. 

Leaders are readers, and to have an understanding and live with a woman in understanding you need to learn about women. Have you read books about what women want? Do you know your wife’s love language and even if you know it are you speaking her language, or you blatantly and stubbornly refuse to speak her language? 

These are the changes you can make and see a great impact on your marital relationship with your spouse. Speaking a new language means learning and being deliberate to speak it, by default you are comfortable speaking your own language. 

For example, if your colleague at work speaks French and you want to communicate with them in understanding, you will have to speak French no matter how ridiculous you sound. Your wife likes physical affection, but you are comfortable kissing her inside the house and only to initiate sexual intercourse, yet when she asks you to kiss her outside of the house you refuse. Why? You feel shy? You feel too affectionate makes you less manly? 

Do you feel people will say he is head over heels and in love? But let me ask you this question? When you were dating her, were you not head over heels in love? So why is it now difficult to be openly head over heels in love, not with a girlfriend but your wife? 

It is important that we begin to look at some of the narratives that have and is hurting marriages. You can change in your marriage and one by one our marriages will be restored and family stable and reflect positively on our society. 

There so many ways you can build your home as a man, but I believe if you start with these two points discussed, you will discover many more and your marriage will be enjoyable. 

Instead of seeking enjoyment outside of your marriage, work on your marriage to enjoy it with the wife of your youth. 

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 counsellors 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