A — M
Dedicated to all Lovers 🤍
Of what use is a fantastic job, business or social life if your home is perpetually in turmoil? What wouldn’t you do to come “home” to bliss, peace, warmth and love where you can be just who you are?
Relationships require work and the work must start with you. Relationships are a learning curve. Relationships are to your advantage, an advantage to move you unto the next level of your life, whatever it may be.
Relationships are inspired by numerous factors such as love, hate, sex, revenge, greed, politics, the need for security, material things, an arrangement, ego, the need for control and so forth. What are your reasons for going into your relationship?
Going into a relationship for one reason and pretending to be in it for another reason is a major cause of personal stress as well as anxiety in relationships.
Whatever relationship you may be in, whatever you may do in life, do not lie to yourself. Be true to number one!
A for Agreement
A relationship between couples is an agreement. Most often an unspoken one until you take your vows of marriage and that’s where the truth of the matter is revealed.
An unspoken agreement is un-communicated, creating a false impression to either party. One party may want a deep lasting relationship whilst the other party may want a casual relationship. One party may want the security of marriage, whilst the other party doesn’t find it necessary. One party may want children, whilst the other party doesn’t.
How do you agree and resolve these differing goals? By communicating your intentions and desires and by finding out if your goals and dreams are in agreement with one another’s. If your dreams clash or are completely opposite to one another’s aspirations, you need to come together and talk about it in depth.
Be truly open and completely honest with each other. Agree on something without feeling that you’ve been forced into doing something that doesn’t feel right for you. You must be completely honest with yourselves and with one another.
A relationship based on mutual communication and a well thought out agreement will fare better and will be more fulfilling than one that is drifting day by day with un-communicated wishes, desires, hopes and expectations.
Review your relationship. What do you want from the relationship? What does your partner want from the relationship? Does your partner want similar things to you? Don’t assume your partner wants the same things as you and don’t want things for your partner.
Share and communicate your goals and aspirations and agree on something. You may need to compromise on some things, but you and only you can decide on what you wish to compromise on and what you’d never compromise on. For instance, if you really want children and your partner doesn’t, can you compromise on that? Don’t gamble on having children hoping that your partner will eventually come to love them. This situation might cause such a strain in your relationship and eventually lead to a break up without you realising the true cause of the break up.
Just as an example, if you can’t agree to be childless and your partner cannot
compromise on that, you’ll be better off in another relationship where you can fulfil your dreams.
A relationship, just like your life, must have purpose and direction. For your relationship to be truly fulfilling, both of you should be heading in the same direction.
Think your relationship through thoroughly. Are you heading in the right direction? Is your relationship leading you there? Can you make it work?
Can you agree to disagree?
B for Blessing
“He who finds a wife finds a good thing”, says the Bible.
That’s very true if you are in a relationship for the right reasons. You and only you are capable of judging if you are in a relationship for the right reasons. No one is in any position to judge for you. Most importantly is that your reasons are true for you. If you don’t wish to be in a relationship or you are in one for the wrong reasons, you may find your relationship a catastrophe. But it is your responsibility to make your relationship work or follow your heart.
The right mind set is extremely important to make a relationship work. Many arranged marriages work because both parties are prepared for such a relationship and have the mind-set to make it work.
Other people, who’ve been forced into relationships or who have ended up in a relationship in error, have their minds outside the relationship. Thus they may be physically in the relationship, but spiritually, they are elsewhere.
Where is your spirit in your relationship? Do you find your relationship a blessing or a place you do not wish to be?
Reflect deeply. It is your life and life never stops. List out the pros and cons of you being in this relationship.
Make a decision for yourself to make it work or follow your spirit. The decision and responsibility is yours.
It is your life.
C for Children
Children are a precious gift and a blessing, no matter where they might have come from, no matter whose they may be: be they children of previous relationships, foster children, adopted children, children of relatives etc.
Children must never be used as bones of contention, threats, punching bags or as any form of settlement. Children in your care must be protected.
Children are designed to be loved and cared for. It is your responsibility as an adult to guard and guide the children in your care until they are old enough to exist independently.
You must never expose children to any form of harm. You must protect children from any form of molestation or abuse even if this means breaking up your relationship.
In the event of a separation, the needs and what’s best for the children must come first, at the compromise of the adults. Do not use children as bargaining tools. They are not objects.
If you know deep in your heart that you cannot protect, love and care adequately for children, then do not have them.
If you know that children are not going to be safe in your presence or in your partner’s presence and you would rather stay with your partner, then give them up.
If you already have children and you know they are not safe with you, find them alternative safe-havens immediately. There’s no shame in that.
You are your children’s heroes. Children look up to you. Act as good heroes. Protect all children.
D for Discussion
Do you discuss or do your argue? Do you accuse and apportion blame on others or do you address the root cause of the problem?
It is of paramount importance that couples learn to discuss and not argue. You are building a life together, in the same way that you are building a business partnership. You need to have a plan, discuss your plan, agree on your plan as well as smooth out any rough edges along the way. A family that prays together stays together. Family discussions are meant to forge a bond of togetherness.
Set aside a time each week specifically for discussing your plans, misunderstandings and hurts. If you can, schedule it away from home so you don’t get caught up or distracted by what is happening at home.
If you can’t, probably because you have children, schedule some of your discussions to include them and keep it at their level. Make sure that all distractions, such as the television, computer, music sets, phones are all turned off.
Listen to one another very, very carefully. Use this forum as an opportunity for everyone to express him or herself or air their grievances. Explanations should be given without arguing and apologies meted out where necessary, holding nothing back. Situations should be addressed. Accusing fingers shouldn’t be pointed or blame apportioned.
Be very careful with the language you use. Don’t belittle or dishonour your partner. Don’t use abusive or foul language on your children. The words that leave your mouth can make or break a relationship.
Words can bring harmony or absolute turmoil. Words can create a long lasting impression, be it good or bad. Choose your words very carefully.
Remember, a family is not in competition with itself. A family is a collaboration of a united force.
Learn from your discussions and ensure that the same errors are not committed again.
Forge a plan to move ahead and live your dreams in peace and bliss.
E for Ego
Ego, power tussle, control, the need to be right all the time, the need to convince others that they are wrong, are some of the major elements that create so much stress in individuals and cause relationships to fail.
If only everyone will let go of their ego; if only everyone will let go of their need to control other people; if only people would let others be right for a change, there’d be no wars, no conflicts and very few problems in our world.
What would it take for you to let go of your ego? Many people have confessed that when they decided to relinquish control, to accept people for who they are and just let things be, they experienced a sense of peace.
You don’t have to be right all the time. In fact, more often than not, neither you nor the other party is right or wrong, you just view things differently. You don’t need to force your views unto your partner, nor do you have to accept your partner’s view. Just let it be.
Agree to disagree.
Don’t be too proud to say you are sorry. “Sorry heals a thousand wounds”.
Don’t be too proud to tell your partner they are right, it may be greater than any gift or compliment you may offer.
Don’t be too proud to say “I love you despite everything”, because that is the truth and that’s what life is all about.
Don’t let your ego chase your love away. You’re better off chasing your ego away and keeping the love of your life.
Love has no ego.
Love is neither right nor wrong, it just is.
F for Friendship
Relationships cultivated on true friendships are stronger and last longer, even after the couples decide to go their separate ways. The friendship never ends. Children from such relationships also fare better.
Amongst true friends, there are automatic rules for respect, acceptance and love. You never order your friends around. Your friends are always different from you and you accept them willingly and easily for who they are. You never try to change them to become like you or to be what you’d like them to be.
When a friend calls for help, a true friend drops all they are doing to respond to their friend’s need and help in any way they can. A friend in need is a friend indeed.
True friends listen. True friends offer advice when asked or when absolutely necessary, never out of a superiority complex. True friends never abuse their friendship.
True friends laugh and joke with each other all of the time. You are always happy to a see a friend because you know they’ll put a smile on your face and laughter in your heart.
When you ask true lovers about what they like the most about their partners, a top response is, “They make me laugh. They make me feel special”. That’s a great ingredient for a great relationship: lots of laughter, true friendship and being that special someone.
Like wine, friendships get better with age.
Be a friend. Cultivate a friendship relationship!
G for Give & Take
Every relationship is a give and take situation. You can’t give what you don’t have and you cannot keep taking without giving something in return.
You can only give what you have and wish to give. On the same note you must take back something in order to replenish yourself and let your partner feel valued.
For balance and to prevent one partner from resenting the other, or feeling superior to the other, or feeling cheated, giving and taking should be a 50:50 affair. What you give in one way, you receive in another.
Traditionally, the man earns the money and pays most of the bills. He should be able to come back to a clean, comfortable home and hot meals.
A woman who has kept and maintained the home, should be shown appreciation for her hard work and compensated such that she can have some degree of financial independence for her own personal pleasures.
If both parties go out to work and bring in the money, you should come to a mutually agreeable arrangement and apportion the bills accordingly, as well as the household chores. It may be easier to include a housekeeper on your payroll, freeing up more time for you to play couples and preventing you from feeling that one person is doing more household chores than the other.
Children are the responsibility of both parents. Each parent/partner must play their roles and permit one another to exert their roles for the good and protection of the children.
Love is unconditional. In order to give unconditional love to your partner, children and everyone else, you must love yourself unconditionally.
Love is a free flowing two-way traffic of kindness with full consideration for all other parties at all times.
H for Head of the Family
The bible refers to man as the “Head of the Family”. His role is to manage his family, provide them with shelter, feeding, clothing, education, healthcare and other necessities. Protect them from all harm and never inflict harm on them. If a man is not present in a family or is incapable of carrying out his role as the head of the family, then his partner must take over this role.
The head of the family is responsible for providing all the children in the family with adequate education so that they can grow up with the knowledge of how to earn a decent living and not grow up to be thieves or engage in unscrupulous activities. The head of the family is also responsible for their spiritual guidance until they reach a reasonable age of maturity and can make their own choices.
The head of the family must ensure the health and safety of his spouse and children, making sure they never come to any harm and protecting them adequately.
The head of the family is an example for the rest of the family to follow, thus you must address your partner and children with respect at all times, never using foul or any language that is unbecoming of you. You must be very careful about what you say, because what you say might come to pass.
Your partner is a helpmate, not a slave or a doormat and your children are blessings, not punching bags. A head of the family should be faithful to himself and to the family, maintaining honour and dignity at all times.
Keep outsiders and all external interference away from your family. Keep your affairs private. Keep your home sacred.
A head of the family is always humble. No job is too big or too small for the head.
The head manages his home with loving care, not with a controlling or fearful rod.
Just as a good driver, manipulates the steering wheel with care, safety, love and due diligence, so does the head of the family directs his family.
I for Intruders
How many of you are in your relationship?
At times you may wonder who you are in a relationship with. Are you in a relationship with your partner or your partner and their mother? Or are you in a relationship with your partner or your partner and their whole family. Or worse still, are you in a relationship with your partner or your partner and their ex, or their toys.
The only people you can never compromise with are the children in the relationship, irrespective of whose they may be. Children always come first.
“A man will leave his mother and his father and join his wife”, the Bible says. It doesn’t say anything about bringing his mother or family into his relationship.
Before you get too deep into any relationship, read any signs, which reveal your partner’s addictive attachment to something or someone else. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your partner will change when the relationship becomes serious or when you get married. Your partner will only change if they want to change.
It is your responsibility to weigh the facts and possible consequences and to decide if you wish to continue in such a relationship with all the extras or not.
Similarly when you have problems between yourselves, instead of taking your problems over to family or friends, some of who cannot even manage their own homes properly, you should sit together, think deeply, discuss and address the problem without accusing or blaming each other. Don’t be lazy. Think and act instead of waiting for people to tell you what to do.
There are situations in which you may need a mediator, but be very diplomatic about how much intrusion you wish to allow into your relationship. Keep your lives private. A public affair becomes public property for every Tom, Dick and Harry.
On the same note, adopt the habit of refraining from interfering in other people’s affairs. If you can’t help, don’t hurt and keep out.
J for Jealousy
Jealousy can be a nasty and destructive emotion, which you must eliminate from your relationship and your life.
Jealousy bordering on possessiveness is unhealthy. The thought of possessing someone like an object is similar to a control issue. It is also a sign of insecurity. You may use the excuse that you love your partner so much that you are scared of losing them, but one thing is for certain, you cannot keep anyone who doesn’t want to be kept. You may be able to imprison them physically, but you have no control over their spirit. In the end, you become the prisoner of your own possessive behaviour. The person who imprisons another is just as imprisoned as their prisoner.
Ask yourself why you are so jealous and possessive. Are you so insecure? Don’t you trust yourself?
Do you have an inferiority complex?
Learn to control your feelings and to trust yourself. Project that feeling of trust unto your partner and unto other people.
Love is neither jealous nor possessive. Love is free.
K for Knight
Dear Men, do you appreciate the fact that your family look up to you as their knights in shining armour? Their lord, master and saviour! What an honour.
Look at the way wives look up to their husbands, like the sun shines out of them. Look at the way children look up to their fathers, like their greatest heroes.
Look at the way sisters look up to their brothers, like the most handsome creatures on earth.
Look at the way nieces look up to their uncles, like mini gods.
Do you live up to these roles? You ought to exhibit your roles as kind and loving redeemers, protectors, providers and never abusers or scroungers.
L for Listening
If the key to a good relationship is communication, then the key to good communication is LISTENING.
Don’t just appear to be listening, but really and truly listen. Really and truly hear what is being said. Really and truly connect to the other party. Really and truly empathise and understand what your partner is communicating to you.
There may be a big difference between hearing what you THINK your partner is saying and what they are ACTUALLY saying. So don’t just appear to be listening, but be truly interested, understanding and empathic.
It is just as important to express yourself clearly, properly and truthfully, so your partner can hear and understand what you are saying. Don’t say what you THINK your partner wants to hear. You may think you are deceiving your partner or saving yourself some aggro, but you are actually deceiving yourself and cheating yourself out of being heard and understood.
Many couples have adopted the habit of saying what they think their partners want to hear and listening to only what they want to know. They block themselves from the truth of life and the truth of themselves. They live day to day in a world of their own, out of touch with reality. Some of these relationships appear secure and happy on the outside, but these people are living in a false world, a world of lies and denial.
For how long do you wish to exist like this?
The most important aspect of “Listening” involves listening to yourself.
Listen to your voice, to your pain, to your intuition and most importantly to your own truth.
M for Money Management
Money is a major cause of rifts in relationships among people of all social classes: the very rich, the very poor and the middle-class.
Nowadays, there’s so much focus on money that it has been turned into an idol instead of a respectful means of transaction. A number of people look at the money element in their partners, rather than the human element. There’s a lot of greed in people and copycats: everyone trying to be like the Joneses.
How do you measure up in this respect? Who are you? Many have lost their real identity as a result of their quest for money. You often hear partners say “I don’t know who you are any more. I don’t know what you’ve become”.
Put money in its place. A lot of people in the civilised world have more than enough plus upkeep from their governments to make them comfortable, if they live within their means. But then, people don’t seem to appreciate what they’ve got until they’ve lost it.
Money should be a topic of discussion, not a source of argument between couples. Prepare a budget.
How much money comes into your household and where from?
How much goes out of your household and where to?
How much to do you put aside?
Are you living within your means?
Do you buy a lot of rubbish that you never use and hide it away from you partner?
Do you use your credit card without thinking carefully of the consequences?
Are you too lazy to get up and do more than you are currently doing to earn yourself more money?
Money is a serious issue and you should take time out to learn about your money habits. Learn to manage your money properly and learn to be disciplined with money.
Take personal finance classes. Read books on money and self-discipline.
Acquire your own identity and don’t be a copycat.
The ability to handle your money sensibly will ease some of the strain on your life as well as your relationships
Continued with N — Z in ABC of Relationships — Part II of II
‘Let all malicious bitterness and anger and wrath and screaming and abusive speech be taken away from you along with all badness.
But become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave you”.
Look out for other ABC Series:
ABC of Self
ABCs to Connections
ABCs to Avoid