Words!

I used to have a friend who I considered an intelligent and highly creative writer (well, he actually is). The guy rights effortlessly well. Be it fiction or non-fiction, always making sense.

On the other hand, I was a rigid & (struggling) writer. You could call me a good writer as far as constructing meaningful and grammatical sentences was concerned. But no more. My writings usually lacked the flourish/finesse required to make an interesting read. 80% academic & 20% creative.

So each time I wrote a piece I had spent a great deal of effort on and considered quite good for publication, I sent it to him to critique. However, I observed he mostly downplays them: “No substance, lacking in this, devoid of that, bla bla bla. I can’t remember anything positive he ever said about them. And when I ask him to suggest areas of improvement, he merely makes a joke of it and ‘moves on to other matters’.

I remember writing a short story that I was so excited about. I was sure I had done a good job of the storyline, characterization, plot structure and all. I believed it was going to make an interesting read . But alas, when my good friend read it, he couldn’t see any big deal about it.

It turned out to be one of my best work of fiction.

By the way, I minored in literature so I understand what constructive criticism is and I’m all for it. It brings out the best of a writer. But what my friend kept doing was everything but constructive criticism. More like devaluation. I wasn’t looking for someone to rob my ego. Just someone who could point out

I wasn’t looking for someone to rob my ego. Just someone who could point out what I was doing wrong and how I can do it better.
Each time he makes his comment, I become displeased with what I had written and no longer felt enthusiastic about it. All of a sudden, I start to see from his point of view and begin to consider the writing as no good. His words were getting to me and sowing the wrong seeds.

But thankfully, I came to my senses before real damage was done. I realized that this friend was more of a clog in the wheel of my writing pursuit. As far as getting better with my writing was concerned, he would be of no help to me. There and then, I quit sharing my works with him.

Perhaps his manner of feedbacks was his own approach to helping me with my writing skills. Perhaps he meant well, in his own way. But in reality, with his constant dose of negative words, he was sowing seeds of discouragement in me.

Dear friends,

Words are powerful. They dominate our lives. Be careful the kinds of words you allow to come at you because they create your realities.

Man is a product of words. What he hears, when he hears it long enough, settles in his mind, informs his thought pattern, dominates his consciousness and consequently affects his life and decision making.

Words (whether positive or negative) are like arrowheads. When shot with precision hit the target 🎯 with such a force that leaves a lasting impact.

Negative words have the capacity to….

🎯Set you on the path of discouragement & frustration

🎯Make you devalue yourself

🎯Make you lose your sense of self-worth/esteem

🎯 Cause you to be fixated on what seems to be wrong and lose sight of the wonderful things about you.

🎯 Breed inferiority complex and the need to (over) compensate.

🎯 Limit a man’s progress and make a shipwreck of his goals, dreams and aspirations.

When you have accommodated people who complain about how dark you are long enough, you’ll stop thinking black is beautiful and start considering bleaching your skin.

When you tolerate folks who consistently tells you about how your writing lack form, very soon, you’ll start thinking you are ‘not destined’ to write and quit writing entirely.

When you permit those who never fail to impress on you your supposed lack of business acumen, you end up thinking you are not cut out for business and give it up eventually.

Be wary of

❎People who are quick to point out what you do wrong but hardly talk about good things you do

❎Those who (by their words and actions) make you feel bad about things out of your control – defects and all

❎Highly opinionated folks – your opinion can never count with them

❎People who often downplay your ideas, efforts and activities

❎Cynics and pessimists – everything is wrong in their opinion

❎Bitter people – they speak from the abundance of their bitter hearts

❎Folks who peddle in stereotypes – they are hardly intelligent lot

Rather, surround yourself with

❤️Folks who can criticize you constructively

❤️Folks whose words bring out the best in you

❤️Folks who are full of words of affirmation and encouragement

But more importantly, remember this:

You are what God’s Word says you are. God’s Word should have the greatest influence on you and your life.

Give no room for negative energy. Be particular about the words that come at you!

P.S. This post was inspired by the post of a fellow blogger @theafterthought titled: “The healing Power of Words” You can check out her blog for that post and more refreshing writings.


©IBUKUN

THE “SEE FINISH” SYNDROME 👀

Some time ago, I did a job for a friend who needed my writing service. We’ve been friends for a while and she has come to know me quite well. We agreed on terms and conditions and I began the work immediately.

Businesses Lesson No 1: Doing business with a friend can be tricky. If not well managed, you could end up with both a ruined relationship and a bad deal. Be wise about how you engage in business with people who are close to you.
I held up my end of the bargain. Gave the work my best and finished it in good time. Meanwhile, I didn’t charge her the standard fee for the kind of service because I was being nice and friendly. After all, it’s not all about the money. 😎

Business Lesson No 2: Unless you run an NGO, try to not to carry over friendship sentiments into your business dealings. While it’s reasonable to give special considerations to friends, it shouldn’t be to the detriment of your business.
What is more, I didn’t bother to ask for a down-payment (which is standard business practice) before committing to the work. I mean, she is my friend and shouldn’t default in paying. She’ll pay up as soon as I’m done with it.

Business Lesson No 3: Unless you are working pro bono, do well not to commit to a business bargain without a down-payment. People can be funny.


So I finished the work and delivered it to my dear friend even before the time agreed upon. She thanked me profusely for a job well done and then dropped a bomb on me:

I have to be ‘sincere‘ with you. But I’m not sure I can afford the fee. You are my padi (friend) na. You of all people should understand. Just let me pay you XYY (way below what I charged for the job)”.Note that I had already undercharged for the service while putting more finishing touches than what is generally obtainable. Meanwhile, she knew all along she couldn’t afford the agreed fee but chose not to say a word about it until the work was done and delivered. And why is that? “Isn’t it my friend ABC? What can go wrong?”

To cut a long story short, she didn’t pay me the much devalued fee until weeks later. What was more baffling was her attitude to it all. ‘I’ll pay you when I can’ 💁‍♀️. And why is that? She knows me too well: ‘Mr Nice Guy’ who will turn the other cheek when slapped.I chose not to take offense or let her conduct cause a rift between us. Took some doing though. But one thing is sure. She had lost my goodwill as far as business dealings with her was concerned. I won’t be doing business with her anytime soon.

By implication, she has lost out on:
📌 Having a friend who can get the job done promptly.
📌 A fellow who will execute the job as if it were his own.
📌One who won’t rip her off but will  charge her reasonably well.
📌 Someone she can fall back on to help her with the kind of service even when she is broke.

You see, it’s not a cliche when folks say too much familiarity breeds contempt.


I believe familiarity, in the real sense of it, shouldn’t breed contempt. After all, how can you claim to have a good relationship with someone if you don’t have a level of familiarity with them? But then, my people will say ‘when a handshake goes beyond the ankle, it has become something else’.

It’s great display of wisdom and maturity when we don’t allow the privileged information or access we have to people cloud our sense of value and regard for them.I believe it’s a terrible lack of judgment when we treat those close to us or care about us with less regard while we worship at the feet of folks who care less about us.

You go out of your way to treat an outsider nicely and respectfully while you disregard those you know closely. Seriously?

There is an Algerian proverb that says “there is an excess of familiarity at the root of all hostility“. I think it’s not far from the truth.

Remember what transpired between Jesus and his kinsmen? They couldn’t receive the blessings he had to offer because of the background knowledge they had of him: “Who does he think he is? Isn’t he the son of the carpenter we’ve always known?”

Someone once said that too much familiarity makes us devalue those we love the most because we are used to them being around. 💯

Nigerians have a colloquial way of referring to this malady. They call it SEE FINISH.

Oh, you mean Mr. XYZ? I know him too well.”

” Don’t mind her. Isn’t she the same girl I know? She doesn’t have much to offer.”

SEE FINISH is why
📌A family member of a man of God fails to receive healing from him while other church members do.
📌 A wife is bemused when outsiders speak highly of her husband 😏
📌 A friend fails to take another seriously and misses out on a vital information passed on by the friend.

I can go on…

Whatever you do, avoid being too familiar (SEE FINISH) with people. You will lose value for them and not make the best of your relationship with them. You will shoot yourself in the leg!
Thank you for reading.


©IBUKUN

LESSONS FROM MY NIGHT WATCHMAN

Night watchmen are scams!

Well, maybe not in your part of the world. So I shouldn’t generalize…

However, in my clime, we hire them just to fulfill all righteousness & have a sense of security and not because we rely on them for safety.

We used to have two of them in my neighborhood, back in the day. They always began their watch anytime from 11:00pm. They make their presence known by the sound of their gongs. Yep. They would bit the gongs with a stick for a couple of minutes.

By the way, they don’t just bit the gong randomly. Rather, they bit it in a rhythmic manner, in a manner that communicates a message that says “stay indoors y’all’.

But I digress…

So these men would go around the neighborhood disturbing the residents, most of whom were long asleep, with the noise from their gongs. After a while, they would stop constituting nuisance and ‘get down to business’. Their job was to keep alert throughout the night and go around the neighborhood intermittently to ensure nothing went amiss.

Unknown to us, the minute they were done with their routine of gong beating, they would find themselves a prime spot to lay their heads and do some sleeping. Only to wake up an hour before the end of their watch in order to do another round of gong beating about the neighborhood. Just so we’ll think they have been up all night doing the Lord’s work.

How did we know they slept through the night? Simple. We had a couple of night crawlers in the neighborhood who caught them in the very act a couple of times.

Anyway, we didn’t realize that we were on our own (as far as security is concerned) until one fateful night when men of the underworld decided to pay us a courtesy visit. I’m talking about the type that come heavily prepared for any form of gunfight.

At the sound of the shot from the AK-47 rifle from the bandits, our blessed night watchmen abandoned their dane guns and took to their heels. 😁

Those armed men had a field day in our neighborhood that night.

Interesting narrative, isn’t it? The experience was not a pleasant one for the victims though.

Meanwhile, I shared this account to say one thing: ”

Never put your faith in men!

Whatever you do, never put too much reliance on people or overly depend on others to get things done. You’ll end up setting yourself up for series of disappointments. While, you wisely discern reliable/dependable folks and count on them, take responsibility for your life and put your faith in God.

Cheers.


P. S. Even as I type this post, I can here the sound of the gong coming from our current night watchman. Funny lots.


Image Credit: udemy

©Ibukun

THIS THING CALLED BAD ATTITUDE…

Ethan was clearly a brilliant chap. He aced all of his courses and finished on top of his class with a first class honours in information technology. As an undergrad, he had added two internationally recognised certifications to his feathers. Occupying himself with online trainings in key aspects of his field of interest was his extra-curricular activity.

Meanwhile, while he strove to achieve academic excellence, he engaged himself in a couple of side hustles as well. The idea was to boost his pocket and resume alongside thereby getting ready for the cooperate world.

Smart move you’ll call that. In a country where businesses required a minimum of 3-year working experience from a fresh graduate, anyone with as little as a grain of sense should begin to save for the rainy day.

This position is mine“, he affirmed as he prepared himself for the interview he had that day with ITech the most relevant IT firm in the country, and his dream workplace too.

Yea, he had just returned from the compulsory one-year youth service program (NYSC). A pure waste of good time in his opinion. Anyway, he landed on his feet upon his return and got an invite for an interview for the post of UI/UX designer he had applied for a few months to the end of his service year.

“The interviewers can try all they want. I’m the man for this job”.

That same morning, on the exclusive part of town, Mr Smith was in a frenzy, trying desperately not to be late for work. He hurriedly arranged his papers in a bid to dash out of his apartment. He had worked late into the night dealing with some office work and finally slept off a few minutes to 3 only to wake up with a start just before 6:45am.

Locking up the front door of his apartment, he made for his car and tried to start it immediately. But much to his chagrin, the engine refused to come alive after several attempts. Unknown to him, he had forgotten to turn off the tail lights upon getting home the evening before. The light was on for hours until it finally drained the car battery.

Damn“! He cussed in frustration. “This is a bad time for this ride to develop a fault, not when I’m already running late“.

Meanwhile, it was still way too early to get his mechanic to come fix it. “Thank God for Uber”, he sighed as he reached into his pocket for his phone. He began to navigate through the Uber app in order to hail a cab but discovered he couldn’t connect at all. Upon closer look at his device, he realised there was no single bar on his network.

Phew! Heirtel has done its worst“. At that point, he knew he had only one choice – an unpleasant one at that: Take public transport aka ‘danfo’! He hadn’t taken a public transport in 4 years. As far as he was concerned, those buses are mobile contraptions to be avoided.

But since when did beggars become choosers. He found his way to the bus stop and joined the teaming number of workers struggling for spaces on incoming busses. After a seemingly endless period of struggle, he finally got into a physically battered one with bare woods as seats.

As he made his way to the rear seat where there was available space, he stepped inadvertently on the well-polished shoe of a young man. The victim moved his leg immediately and railed at him.

Are you blind or what? Don’t you know you just stepped on my shoe? Why can’t you watch where you’re stepping”?

Wow! Mr Smith was dumbfounded. All these just because he stepped on a shoe? He took a good look at the assailant. The young man looked too well-groomed for his ill manners. But rather than hit back at him, he simply apologized and took his seat.

Sorry for yourself“, the young man re-joined, hissing perfunctorily.

An elderly woman was unlucky to sit beside him. Because she was closest to the door and was barely sitting with a pair of her butt, she turned to the young man and appealed to him to “kindly ‘adjust’ a little” (move over) so she can sit a bit more conveniently.

And where do you want me to move to, he responded. You shouldn’t have joined the bus if you knew the sitting position was inconvenient for you“.

Other commuters tried to make him see reason but he shouted them all down. He even used the f-word on one. Mr Smart took all these young in and wondered what the world has come to. The younger generation and their ways.

In the meantime, he decided to alight a walking distance away from his workplace so he could

Fast forward to an hour and a half later, that same morning, Ethan had already successfully gone through the first phase of his interview and was left with the final and determining interview with the head of HR.

After waiting for a couple of minutes to see the boss, the secretary ushered him into the office of the HR boss. Upon hearing the door open, Mr Smith looked away from the system he had been staring at to see who the newcomer was.

Alas, standing before him was the young man from the bus, the rancorous one. His personality was too striking to be easily forgotten.

Small world!

Interestingly, Ethan couldn’t recall having an encounter much earlier with the man who was about to decide his fate as a potential employee in the workplace of his dream.

He offered the young man a seat and asked if he recognized him, perusing his CV.

I don’t think so, sir” was Ethan’s courteous response.

That’s strange. Just a couple of hours ago, on the bus going to Kingsway, you lashed out at a man who stepped on your shoes. Remember“?

Ethan looked closely at the man before him for a minute and then his countenance changed, looking crestfallen as reality dawned on him.

Yes, I was the one you lashed at. Now that I think of it, I may have overlooked your verbal assault at me and considered you for this position regardless. However, your overall conduct on that bus showed that yours is a case study in vulgarity, one that is impossible to overlook”.

“I must confess you look good on paper and surely have the technical skills required for this post. However, there is more to the job description than the technical-know-how. It requires a person with a human phase – one who is empathetic and can relate well with people”.

“I’m afraid I have to turned you down“.


Someone once said that a bad attitude is like a flat tire. It won’t go anywhere until it’s fixed.

Physical endowments and unique abilities are great requirements. However, a right attitude is a necessity.

Many times, folks need only to look in the mirror to check what the problem is.


Image Credit: Scruggs Auto

© ayansola ibukun

DEAR BELIEVER

Dear Believer,

The Bible is already inspired (by the Spirit) – don’t inspire it. It is birthed in such a way that its understanding and application is singular, from one saint to another. Hence, your bias will never make it mean what it never meant.

God’s Word is the same yesterday, today and always. It’s not subject to variation with respect to time/space or individual outlook. If Jesus or His apostles (in their epistles) didn’t teach it, it can’t inform your conduct.

Therefore, resist the temptation to use God’s Word to validate your whims and caprices. That urge to intentionally misconstrue/twist the scriptures or interpret it out of context to justify dishonorable/ungodly actions/conducts is not of God – fight it.

Never get to that point in your Christian walk where you get comfortable using the bible to explain away or create excuses for wrong doings. Quit trying to cherry-pick from God’s Word: identifying with parts that sooths you and discarding/ignoring those aspects that addresses certain flaws in your life.

As a believer, you have no right to a personal opinion outside the purview of the Written Word. Thus, allow God’s Word to entirely influence your heart and consequently your life(style). In the place of prayer and diligent studying of God’s Word (in the local church), you submit to the training of the Spirit such that your selfish interests give way to God’s desire and design.

God has blessed you!


Image Credit: The ladders

©ayansola ibukun

WHEN THE CHIPS ARE DOWN…

Such a flaw in human nature
Never to value what we have until we lose it.
The cares and love of real ones to neglect
And desperately seek to please the one who cares less.

“They’ll always be there” so he takes them for granted,
Until they call his bluff and live him deserted.
Gold in the hands of the undiscerning is a travesty
Pearls also should never be cast among swine.

He trades off his kin at his season of plenty,
Never to be regained in his period of paucity.
Such a sturdy cord it is that binds folk together
But then it snaps when it suffers the strains of mistreatment.

The river that forgets its source becomes history.
Love is not a caged bird…endearing yet unfettered.
Much is expected from whom much is given
So don’t lose the moon while counting the stars.

Time…attention…care…gratitude…empathy…
Nothing fans the flame of love and respect than these.
Love unrequited, feelings unappreciated, efforts unacknowledged…
Nothing bids true affection goodbye than these.

When you sell your brother to a stranger,
Even the buyer will trust you no longer.
When you relish a façade and shun the bona fide,
To whom shall you turn when the chips are down?


©ayansola ibukun

CARE, NOT CONTROL!

You don’t have to turn into a bird at night and fly to the coven before you practice witchcraft. You are into witchery each time you bend others to your will or make them feel inadequate.🦉

How about you killed that idea that you are the only one with the answer to people’s problem and quit trying to fix others. Truth is it’s manipulative when you always want to be the sole reference point to other people’s growth/success.

Here and there, you’ll find folks that are invaluable but never will you find a fellow who is indispensable. He is therefore a fine specimen of a man who knows when to get on the pitch and play and when to watch from the sidelines.

Your friend seeks your counsel over a matter and you give her your best. She however ends up not taking it and you become offended… She gets into a relationship with someone you don’t approve. You sit her down and express your misgivings about her choice. She however tells you to trust her judgment on the matter as she knows what she is getting into. But regardless of her assurance, you stick to your gun on the matter and begin to resent her so much that it causes a strain on your friendship. Tell you what? You were never deserving of her friendship in the first place.

Trust your loved ones enough to be able to make the right decisions now and then. Love is not manipulative and neither does it lord over. Trust their judgment on matters of choice. In essence, learn to respect people’s privacy, opinions and decisions. Why cry more than the bereaved?

When a handshake goes beyond the elbow, we know it has turned to another thing. It’s good to feel concerned, to be perceptive and caring about people who are dear to us. However, it’s out of place to make them live in your shadow. Love/care for folks should engender confidence in them and not make them tied to our apron strings.

It does you no good to be overbearing. We all get to learn on the job. So cut folks some slack. A breathing space now and then will suffice.

Consider the relationship between the tire inflator and the tire. When deflated, the tire relies on the inflator to get back to shape. There is however a limit to the extent of air pumped into the tire otherwise it blows up and becomes useless. But what good is the inflator without a serviceable tire?No one is an island. We all need each other to grow.

Learn balance – don’t choke people with love, care and guidance.

CASE STUDY

A parent’s job they say is never done. But at what point in life should a child begin to make his own decisions while the parent simply play advisory roles? At what point should the parent cease to think for them? Many a child today resents their parents for their lots in life. And why is that? They forced a lot on them: what course to study…who to marry and where to marry from…what church to attend and activities to engage in…and the list is endless.

In my own clime, you hear parents say to a grown child As long as you are under my roof, you can’t attend a different church…As long as I’m your father, you can’t marry that girl. Pure manipulation. A parent has failed when his child(ren) doesn’t outgrow the dependency stage.

If I care about you, I’ll respect your opinions/choices. While I’ll do my best to play a positive role in your well-being, I won’t presume to know what’s best for you than you know.

Be a mentor, teacher, guardian, provider, trainer, leader…but not a tin god.

There is a thin line between care and control. Never cross it.


©ayansola ibukun

WHEN A DOOR CLOSES…

Some Valid Rants For The New Year

I would like my car to fly and make me breakfast, but that’s an unrealistic expectation. Jack Tretton

I’ve learnt not to have unrealistic expectations of people and not to project my expectations on them either. It’s one reason i’ll never get bitter at anyone or hold people captives in my heart. Men are men I’ve come to learn. I’ll rather lower my expectations of people and be amazed when they deliver than expect much from them only to be disappointed when they fail to live up to my expectations.

Don’t be quick to think of me as a cynic or narcissist. I hope/believe the best of people. People change for the better. Meanwhile, there are really great ones out there – some of whom I’m blessed to know. However, I do well not to live on/by chances.

Perhaps you are someone like me…the type who likes to spend and be spent for others but find it difficult to ask for help when there is need for it. And why is that: It somehow makes you feel like you’re trying to take advantage of them or something. However, there arise a number of occasions when there is a pressing financial need and you are forced to come out of your shell. So, reluctantly, you talk to Uncle A and Friend B about it.

Uncle A tells you he is sorry that he can’t help ‘at this time’ as he just offset some bills recently and is cash-strapped himself. As for Friend B, he really wished he could assist you but doesn’t just have the means to do so at moment. Phew! For someone who hardly bothers others with his personal issues, getting such responses eventually may feel like a slap in the face.

In such cases, you can either feel entitled and be bitter or take the outcome in good faith, move on and trust God to meet that need in His own way.

But Uncle A can’t be broke as he claimed. Didn’t he just purchase a piece of property and bought his wife a new ride while at it? Meanwhile, Friend B is just plainly tightfisted; he never wanted to give in the first place.

Consider this: What if neither Uncle A or Friend B didn’t have what to spare as they claimed? Perhaps they could do much more in the nearest future. And even if they had and wouldn’t give…so what? They aren’t responsible for me and neither do I labour for them. Why then should I hold a grudge against them for not being helpful?

Interestingly, in most cases, such needs are met through means I least expected.

Regardless of disappointing experiences I have in my dealings with folks, regardless of the unpleasant turn of events, it doesn’t change my resolve to always be the best of me. The truth is when a door closes, another opens. Unfortunately, the man who becomes fixated on a particular closed door may never notice when the other opens.

True, you get to have men (not spirits) minister to your needs. You however don’t get to determine who exactly will. Doing so may imply setting yourself up for a certain circle of disappointments and heartaches.

Tieing the nots

It’s a new year. Don’t have exaggerated/unrealistic expectations of folks. Enlarge your heart/mind. See beyond the limited sphere. Be intelligent with situations, experiences and actions. Never forget that there are always two sides to a coin. Believe/hope the best of people but never rest your hope on people. Rather than be the gimme guy, strive to be the giving guy. Do your best to take responsibility for your life and trust God to meet your every needs.

When a door closes, another opens!


Thank you for reading.


©ayansolaibukun

5 MYTHS ABOUT MARRIAGE YOU SHOULD DEBUNK

Hello good people! I’ve been wanting to put this out for a while but “some forces” seemed to be hindering its release. Today, the embargo is lifted.

I’m sure we’ve heard/read all manner of things about marriage and its entailments. While some are absolutely right, others are merely cock and bull. I’ll be addressing a few of those wrongs notions in this post. Let’s get down to business…

Marriage is a must

Shouldn’t wearing your shoes to bed be a must too?

Marriage, when done as God would have it, is honorable and desirable. To cast aspersion on the institution is to make an open display of one’s ignorance of its dynamic: God’s love and relationship with His church. In the same vein, to think of marriage as a 6-unit course that one must not fail (in the Lord) is to think overboard.

“Marriage is not a must; rather, it’s a choice – albeit a noble one” .

I’m yet to find out (from the scriptures) that a believing man is cast in hell because he refuses to get married neither have I discovered an occasion where God dealt with men variably depending on their marital status. God’s primary concern for man is his spiritual well-being. The Bible didn’t reckon with anyone according to their marital status. Whether a man marries or not is secondary and inconsequential.

Such an expression as a ‘a man/woman incomplete without a spouse‘ is a big fat lie. Marriage makes no one complete. The believer is only complete in Him (Christ). He/she needs no man or woman to be whole. And that’s why I’m often bemused when I hear folks call their partners their ‘better half‘. In a godly marriage, two (separately) complete individuals come together to become one (in the flesh). The word ‘one’ simply denotes unity, harmony, and singleness of purpose, not number.

Marriage is advantageous but not a necessity.

You shouldn’t be single at so and so age

Such statement as “your mates are now married” is one reason why many have rushed into hapless relationships/marriages today. The question is: Is your name/identity ‘your mate’?

What if he is 34 and does not think like one? What if she is 30 and still isn’t emotionally and spiritually mature? When God designed the institution called marriage, he didn’t attach an age bracket for admittance into it.

All we know is that marriage is a union between a MAN and a WOMAN. Meanwhile, the last time I checked, the age requirement into MANHOOD is relative. What makes a man or woman is not necessarily the length of years but the extent of maturity. Little wonder Elihu said, “Age is no guarantee of wisdom and understanding”.

This isn’t to say that a teenager should start considering marriage or that an adult should care less about his/her relationship status. Marriage is for those who understand responsibility and are ready to take it.

Disclaimer: I haven’t said you need to attain the age bracket of Methuselah before you consider marriage. When it’s the right time, you’ll know and you should go for it.

Marriage is incomplete without children

Trouble starts when a man sees a woman (his wife) as a glorified baby-making factory; when he cares for and maintains the factory (the wife) with the sole expectation that it (she) should churn out desired products.

No one prays to be barren. In fact, God is not pleased with such a condition. Hence, He makes a woman who is in a childless home a joyful mother – Psa 113:9. However, it’s shallow to think that a marriage is incomplete without an offspring. While bearing and raising godly seed is one of the reasons for marriage, it’s not the main purpose of the institution.

What then is the essence? Companionship of course. God created Eve so Adam won’t have to be all by himself. What’s more, the woman was designed to be a helper. The foundation/survival of a marriage is shaky once it’s built on the sole need to procreate. A marriage can survive all odds, childlessness inclusive, when the pillar that holds it is genuine love and a sound understanding of the essence of marriage.

I know of a very good number of childless couples who have enjoyed a long happily married life. Do they desire children regardless? Sure. Do they however feel something is wrong with their marriage because of their predicament? No – they know better. Is God able to grant their desire no matter the length of time? Definitely – it has happened before and it’s going to happen again.

Meanwhile, just so you know, not every couple wants children in marriage. Some are just fine with fulfilling purpose with each other. It’s not a sin. Last I checked, God didn’t reckon or relate with anyone (in the scriptures) based on their reproductive status.

He/she will change in marriage.

Whoever sells this idea to you doesn’t mean well.

I have good news for you: No miracle takes place on the altar. If he/she doesn’t measure up to a well-balanced standard, don’t go the long haul with such.

WYGIWYG is the case in marriage – What You Give Is What You Get.

During the course of courting, you keep seeing warning signals yet you keep ignoring them: “I know he has temper issues and can get physical sometimes. But then, he is a nice guy and all. I believe marriage is going to change him”. How about you run for your life before your life runs from you.

He claims to be a believer but is hardly interested in spiritual activities – prayer, studying of God’s word, attending a local church… However, he has sound morals and even ‘behave better than some so-called SUs. I’ll keep praying for him; I’m sure he is going to turn around (in marriage) with time. One can only hope the best for you.

Marriage is a blank slate. It’s a virgin soil that reproduces the seed sewn therein in folds. The marriage doesn’t make the couples but the other way round. What each party brings into marriage is what the marriage amplifies. Meanwhile, most times, folks get to relax on their weaknesses once they consummate the relationship. After all, they already have what they desire – the other party.

There is a special favour you have in marriage

If that’s the case, what happens to those who didn’t marry? The favor they enjoy from God is limited compared to their married counterparts? What happens to those great men in the scriptures who were highly favored of God and yet without a marriage certificate? I bet those who hold this thought use Proverbs 18:22 as a proof of their belief.

True, it’s easier and faster to get things done when two individuals of like mind are involved than it is for a single individual. However, it’s funny to think God dishes out his goodness variably on the basis of your marital status. God gives to all men generously and graciously.


Thank you for reading!


©Ayansola Ibukun

SPRING-CLEAN THAT COMPANY 👫

A couple of days ago, I had some free time on my hands so I decided to do some ‘spring-cleaning’. I used the term spring-cleaning in a manner of speaking though. There is no such season as spring in my part of the world. By the way, I hope I’m not the only one who finds cleaning therapeutic.

Back to my spring-cleaning activity, having cleaned the room, I set out to sort my clothing and arrange them properly. In the course of sorting them, a truth dawned on me: Just as we take time to sort our clothes now and then, we can/should do the same to the relationships we keep.

Anyway, the cloths I sorted fell into different categories depending on their condition. Let’s see how each condition represents different levels of relationship…

👖Clothes that had already outlived their usefulness.

Back in the day, these set of clothes were my best outfits. However, with time, and due to wear and tear, they got obsolete and it became obvious I couldn’t wear them anymore – even to the next building on my street. Just as wear and tear happens to clothes, time and chance happens to every man. We need to understand that not all relationships we make are for all seasons. Truth is some friendships are situational hence the need to be perceptive enough to know when the purpose for it has been served and let it go.

For instance, at various points in my life, I’ve come in contact with people I didn’t know from Adam. However, early into the contact, I came to realise that those individuals actually had needs that God would want me meet and set out to meet it right away. Sometimes, it was the other way round. Meanwhile (sometimes), having met that need, we still try to continue occupying each other’s space until things start getting funny and it dawns on me that there was no point in the continued association. In fact, if I hadn’t consciously put an end to it, perhaps things would have gotten messy between us and what started as pleasant would end up being regretful.

Know when a relationship has outlived its usefulness and pull the plug on it with love.

👖Clothes in good condition but in need of adjustment.

These clothes still looks good on me. In fact, some of them still look as new as ever. I just needed to adjust them so they can fit perfectly. Interestingly, there are folks like that in our lives. They are like fresh wine; they get better with time. These set of people radiate positivity and are healthy company to keep. However, we’ve abandoned them due to some slight issues or challenges they are going through. We forget that our lives isn’t just for ourselves and that a friend in need is a friend indeed. A true friend is not self-seeking. Just as iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other. You are not a good influence to your circle of friends if you don’t leave positive impacts on them.

👖Clothes I felt emotionally attached to despite their terrible state.

Do you remember those clothes you were given as gift items by folks who are dear to you? Think about how much you cherished them. They may not be the best designer and all but you don’t give a hoot about that because you place more value on the thoughtfulness of the giver. Each time you wear them, they bring back good memories of those individuals. Unfortunately, no matter how much you cherish them, you can’t wear them forever, thanks to wear and tear. In fact, we may become worried if you keep wearing them when it’s obvious they are only fit for the trash bin.

The same analogy is applicable to some of the people we keep around: That ex with whom you had your first taste of relationship; that lady who went to hell and back for you when you were down; that senior colleague who sacrificed his time and convenience to bring you up to speed… Well thank God for them all. However, over time, you’ve observed that things are beginning to get out of hands between you, inordinate feelings are setting in, unnecessary drama rearing it’s ugly head… However, because of the history you share, you find it difficult to let go off them even though the relationship is becoming draining and toxic. Here is a piece of news for you: You not only lose what you cling desperately to but also lose yourself in the process.

👖Clothes that were excellent but I had abandoned.

Sometimes, in the process of ransacking my closet, I discover some clothes I haven’t worn in a long time. I’m even more surprised when I try them on and discover that they are fit to be worn for occasions. I ask myself: Why on earth did you put them away in the first place?

The situation is the same for some friendship/relationships we consciously or unconsciously let go of. I speak of kindred spirits, unconditional friends, folks who are beneficial and seek our good. Why do we shoot ourselves in the leg by drifting away from this lot? The sooner we find our way back into this blessed circle, the better the quality of life we’ll live.

👖Clothes that were obviously bad and needed to be discarded without delay.

Sometimes, I go out, buy myself an item of clothing and I’m excited about it; only to get home and discover it’s fake. At other times, Good ones get ripped to the point of disrepair. Funny enough, occasionally, I find myself retaining them.

Let’s call a spade a spade: what’s bad is bad. There is no vacuum in nature. Whatever/whoever doesn’t breathe positivity will eventually minister negativity to you. Appendages, counterfeits, fair-weather friends, leeches, non-committal and spiteful individuals are bad outfits for you. If you happen to have them around, bid them good riddance asap. Your life will be better for it.

LET’S WRAP IT UP!

Where I come from, we have an adage that says ‘people are the clothes with which we cover ourselves’. By extension, the kind of outfits we wear says a lot about us. In essence, we are what we wear. It’s no different from the kind of people we surround ourselves with: We are the kind of company we keep. Let’s take time to spring-clean that company so we get to know who is who in our lives.


Thanks for reading. Your feedbacks are well appreciated.


©ayansolaibukun