Archive for ‘family’

June 26, 2010

He Cheated, She Stayed: Was That Weakness?

If you are Nigerian, you are probably thinking ‘he cheated, she stayed…ehen? Kini big deal?’ Well, IF you are Nigerian, there is probably no big deal. Men cheat most of the time (there are exceptions, of course) and their women stay. Life goes on. BUT if you are not Nigerian – or belong to this new generation of Nigerians with ‘funny’ ideas, it is a big deal.

The African expectations from marriage are a bit different from those of our western counterparts. When a woman gets married in Africa, she expects to build a home with her husband; she hopes that they will be happy and looks forward to being happy. She prays he will take care of her and believes without much hope, that he will stay faithful. (At least in the time of our mothers.)

In the US for example, it is a bit different. Most women when they get married, expect to build a home with their husbands and also that they will be happy in the marriage. They might not put much stock by his taking care of them BUT he had better stay faithful! And if he is not…see you later, Alligator!

Which is why when one woman decided to stay even after her husband cheated on her, it became headline news and was even on Oprah! (dot com) You can read it here.  You see, I think that most western women give up too easily when it comes to marriage. So this article definitely caught my attention. What held me though, was the verbal abuse that went on in the comments section. She was literally vilified for daring to stay, like she had violated some unwritten code. She was called several things including weak. The general opinion (from about-to-be-divorced and divorced commenters mostly) was that in staying, she was NOT being strong for her children and was enabling abusive behaviour.

OK. I was mystified. In my own opinion, deciding to forgive and remain with a partner who has cheated, in the USA is a VERY strong thing to do.  The society makes it easy to walk out. I mean, it is the only thing to do. You watch it in the movies, read it in novels and magazines…he is not allowed to make that kind of mistake. The decision was made the first time he took the conscious step to cheat.

Now I am not advocating for cheating men (heaven forbid!). I am just saying that a good marriage is not good because it is perfect. It is good because both parties (or maybe even just one party?) put in a whole lot of determination and perseverance liberally sprinkled with forgiveness. So maybe this does not work for everybody and some men are just serial cheaters. There is no need to put yourself through an endless emotional bashing. However, if one person has shown the strength of will and determination to make it work against the odds, and if she is rewarded for that by having a good marriage, she does need to be applauded. There is no need to take out our frustrations on her.

I do not believe all men cheat. Neither do I believe that most people who have good marriages in the western world, have them because no one ‘cheated’. Many people do not talk about the intimate details of their marriages so we really do not know what goes on. I admire this lady, not for ‘staying’ per se – really, it is not a big deal in Nigeria – but for being honest and coming out and letting other women who have decided to make their marriages work know that they are not foolish. There is life at the other side of cheating, and that life can be good.

Conversely, deciding to walk out in Nigeria might be a big deal because the society makes it difficult for a woman to walk out even when she is being abused. I admire a woman who can take her children and walk out of an abusive relationship – anywhere she is situated. It takes a strength of will to do that.

The trick is finding the balance. Do you stay and keep getting physically and emotionally abused or do you walk? Then again, are you willing to fight for what you have or do you walk out at the first sign of trouble? It is a question I really cannot answer honestly, because I have not quite been there. However, I will not presume to judge anyone who has either chosen to stay or to walk. And that is what I think those women-commenters in did. My own two cents! Or kobo, as the case might be.

February 3, 2010

Quotes About Family Ties

I love these quotes on family and since February is the month of ‘ties’ I thought I would share about one of the most important ties in my life. I’ll just post these quotes for now and write about my family late. Maybe.

In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.
~ Alex Haley

In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony.
~ Eva Burrows

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.
~ Erma Bombeck

Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible — the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.
~ Virginia Satir:

The most powerful ties are the ones to the people who gave us birth it hardly seems to matter how many years have passed, how many betrayals there may have been, how much misery in the family: We remain connected, even against our wills.
Anthony Brandt

Great Inspirational
July 16, 2009

Doing Church – on Betrayal

vintage church pews

vintage church pews: ours are not this bad. Honestly

I decided to spend Saturday night at my parents. They were alone in the house and I just thought to keep them company. It had been a hectic week for me and I was praying that by some miracle, I’d be able to sleep in. No such hope. The next morning, my dad came and pounded on my door and reminded me that Church was in 30 minutes so I needed to get ready. Oh yeah, now I remember why I don’t spend Saturday nights at home.

I smiled wryly and stood up, very grudgingly getting ready for Church. I let them go ahead and took my time to savour a cup of coffee. It’s not that I don’t like Church, I just don’t feel it has to be mandatory. But I’m always conscious of that ‘honour thy parents’ thing and I would never disobey a direct instruction without first letting them know why I would not be obeying it. So I went to Church.

The text was from Luke 22:24-62 – Peter’s denial of Jesus. From what I got, it is so easy to betray a loved one. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines betrayal as:

  1. to lead astray
  2. to deliver to an enemy by treachery
  3. to fail or desert especially in a time of need
  4. to reveal unintentionally

If you’ve ever been betrayed, then you know the hollow feeling it comes with. The Pastor gave a few reasons why he felt it was easy for Peter to betray Jesus.

  • Over-confidence. This was the first one. Even when Jesus had warned him, he was just too sure that he could never do such a thing.
  • Confusion and Disappointment. At that time, Peter did not know what part of all Jesus had said was true. I mean, the guy had just told them that He as the Saviour, surely a saviour would not allow himself to get treated that way!
  • Distance. When all that was going on with Jesus, Peter who was supposed to be like his best friend kept his distance. He followed ‘from afar’.
  • Location. If he had not sat by the fire of those people in the first place, he probably wouldn’t have had that experience. He was at the wrong place, with the wrong people; folks who were mocking his master

Going through the list I discovered that it’s really easy to betray the Lord and even a close friend. Sometimes, by not standing up for that person, by keeping quiet when we should have spoken, we become guilty of betrayal. I’m timid. I’ve finally come to accept that. I was not always that way, but I am now. I will not go out of my way to talk about Jesus (and maybe that is a betrayal too), but I don’t think I’ll hear people mocking him and keep quiet. No.

Still, I had quite a lot to digest by the time I got home from Church. I had to say a quick prayer of forgiveness. I even learnt 3 things to do so that I don’t fall into betrayal

  • Keep close to Jesus (read my Bible and Pray)
  • Avoid bad company
  • Divine positioning – putting myself where God wants me every-time.

I might have gone to Church grudgingly, but I was grateful by the time I got home. That doesn’t mean though, that I’m not going to try to get out of going to Church next week. I think I have enough lessons to last me two Sundays.

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July 14, 2009

30 Day Neatness Challenge

I was reading a novel this morning where there was this extremely neat lady who was studying an untidy man and envying him his ability to be gloriously untidy, with abandon! OK. It’s obvious of course that I was not only reading fiction, it was romantic fiction. Neat people NEVER envy untidy folks, if anything; they are smug about being so perfect. [From the tone of this post, it’s easy to know that I’m not one of the neat ones]

1081186_clothes_washer__I have tried so hard for years to learn that art of neatness…if you do not think it is an art, try being unwillingly untidy. My mum complained and moaned; it just wouldn’t work. I tried for my mum; no progress. I tried to be tidy for my fiancé; even worse. So I just gave up. I really couldn’t be bothered to iron my clothes before putting them on neither could I be bothered to fold away my clothes after taking them off. As long as I could do clean, what did I care about tidy?

But it bothered me a lot. Made me feel like some sort of failure (I like to think that I can do and be anything I set my mind to). I even spoke to God about it, but somehow, I just couldn’t seem to get the hang of it. See, it would have been fine if I actually loved being untidy. But I wanted to be tidy almost desperately. Then, something happened a few days ago.

My mum usually complains about how I didn’t do this in the Kitchen or how I did that in the living room; somehow, I never seem to get things right. Or that’s what I thought. Well, a few days ago she let it drop, veeery casually you understand, that with all she’s seen of me in the past year I’ve been home, she’s confident that I would make a good homemaker!!

Now, from an African woman, that’s high praise indeed. From my mum? I was working on air. But I couldn’t help but wonder why she had so much to complain about if she felt I was doing fine. I guess that’s how mothers are – when it comes to training their daughters, they aren’t ever satisfied. But that comment made me think; if I could get a hang of this housekeeping thing, maybe I could manage the neatness thing too.

So, I decided to try once more to be tidy; this time around, for me. Not for my mum and definitely not for my fiancé (he’s supposed to love me the way I am and that’s not just romantic fiction). I read somewhere that if you do something consistently for 30 days, it becomes a habit. So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to consistently, for the next 30 days, make my bed each time I get up in the morning. I usually jump out 1122196_bedtime_2of bed and hit the floor running, but I’ll take time out. If I can master that, I’ll try hanging or folding up my clothes. It doesn’t seem like much, but for me it is. I’ll tackle this neatness thing one chore at a time. [Maybe I should stop thinking of them as ‘chores’]

This is what I call my 30 Days Neatness Challenge!

I started yesterday and when I worked into my room after a hard day’s work, I had a broad grin on my face as I sank unto my made bed. I guess my dad is right; as you lay your bed shall you lie on it.

April 3, 2009

Motherhood – So Ready (Not)

My neighbours’ 3 year old son is haunting me. For some reason, he decided to fall in love with me and has become my self-appointed shadow. This morning he was at my house as early as 6:30 am and clambered onto my bed with me. I had to listen to his constant chat with semi consciousness. He even followed me to my office! Oh, lest I forget, it’s the start of the holiday season here. I had to think of a way to shake him off.

Shaking him off does not mean I don’t like him; he is adorable. I just needed some time to myself. My mum said I needed to get used to it. I disagree. I am not a mum, yet.

One great advantage of being a single lady, besides not being accountable to a husband, is not having to deal withbusy-mom-1 children every second. Once in a while, yes. Every now and then, no problem. 12 hours at a stretch? That is stretching things too far. I know that eventually I would have to get used to toddlers hanging on to my skirts, losing my privacy, even when I go into the bathroom, and learning to multi-task with dexterity. But not yet. I feel bad and so un-African (if there is such a concept), and a bit guilty too, but truly it gets wearying.

Anyway, I sent him home on an errand to his mum. On his way out he informed me that he was coming to see me when he was done. I closed early from work and had to scout around to make sure he was nowhere in sight then I went to my parents’ to hide out. Unfortunately I do not really feel relaxed until I am on my own bed so I snuck out again and made my way covertly towards my house. As I got near my house I relaxed my watchful stance and was actually giving myself a mental pat on the back for being so successful at evading him when there he was. He said he had been knocking on my door. I sighed in defeat.

So here I am on my bed with my laptop. I am typing this with the background sound of Right Here from Brandy’s Departed Album and incessant questions from a curious 3 year old which I am doing my best to ignore. Sigh.

August 16, 2008

When I trusted – Cafe Chat

Tell about one time in the past 5 years where you took a HUGE Step of Faith in your journey with the Lord. What was the outcome?

This is the question for this week’s Cafe Chat; if you would like to participate, answer the question on your blog, click the picture above and go leave your link. Remember to let me know you participated by leaving a comment here, that way, I can come over to your site and leave a comment.

The way God’s Spirit works constantly amazes me; in my devotions today, I read about Abram and God’s call on his life, I even jotted on it. Basically, what I learned from that passage of Scripture was learning to trust God. So I was excited to read today’s Cafe Chat question. Faith and trust go hand in glove; and I have more than one experience. The only thing is I’m not sure if they qualify as HUGE steps of faith.

Last year December, I was at a conference where I went through a 3 days fast. After the fast, I felt the Lord was calling me to leave my paid employment in Port Harcourt, Nigeria at the end of the year and go back home to help my parents in the Ministry. (My parents are missionaries). I couldn’t believe it. I protested and loudly too! I mean, the man he told me was my husband to be lived in Port Harcourt! How could it be his will that we should both live several hundred miles away? I just could not understand it. Then my fiance called me and said there was something he needed to discuss with me. He asked if I had thought about going back home at the end of the legal year. That he felt God wanted me to do that. I was desolate. There went my final excuse.

Well, the legal year here ends in August. I had (still have) no idea how I was going to survive as I do not expect to earn a salary. I was still going to be living far apart from my sweetheart. But when the time came, I took that step of faith and moved home. Thus far, I have not regretted it. And since the Lord is ALWAYS faithful, I trust him and know that I will never regret following his will for my life.