Marriages are special, and great marriages are even more special in this age of deteriorated family values. My husband, Pastor Sunday Adelaja, and I have been blessed with 21 years of marriage. We don’t take this for granted. We are very grateful to the Lord, whose hands have kept us together, against all odds.
I must confess that not all the days in those years have been rosy (at least for me, a woman and the so called “weaker” vessel), but as a couple, we cannot deny that most of them have been great and blissful. We had more sunny days than rainy days. We have witnessed blessings, friendship, grace, breakthroughs, life in abundance, commitment to values, dedication to each other, and many more good things. We have precious memories, and had always had reasons to be thankful.
Our life together has taught us many things, we have had great opportunities to challenge each other to be the best we could be, we had been supportive of each other in trying times, we have learned to be grateful to God, to trust Him and depend only upon His word as we fulfill our purpose in marriage and in life as a whole.
As we celebrate our anniversary today, it’s a joy and honor for me to congratulate and celebrate my man, a rare husband, without whom there would be nothing to celebrate today. I respect the man God has put by my side as a priest, protector, provider and lover.
Pastor Sunday is a man of faith, a man after God’s heart, a fighter, who despite his personal challenges and general pressure, still strives to please God and be the best he could be for me and the family. Thank you Pastor Sunday for all you have been, for all you are, and for all you will be for me. Thank you for your dedication to people and to the Kingdom of God. Thank you for never giving up. I purposefully love you! I’m totally committed to you as long as God will permit.
As I have written in the first part of this piece, dedicated to our 21st wedding anniversary this week, I am also happy to share some of our marriage/family values with you. I have already shared about the fundamental importance of spending time in a relationship.
Spending time together in any relationship is easier said than done. Many people would love to spend time together, but dread the stress they encounter, the frustration of the fact that it often doesn’t work out. However, things can be changed with the required knowledge and skills.
We need certain interpersonal skills to keep the communication line open in our relationships. Most of what people do when they spend time together is talking and communicating. Communicating is the medium of passing ideas, virtues, values, tradition, passion, feeling and other things across. Couples need to keep talking for the relationship to be healthy. To keeping talking effectively in a relationship is like putting wood in a campfire to keep it burning.
Good communication skills allow us to meet the emotional needs of people around us. Emotional needs are not always visible. It may take a second look to see them.
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t being said. The art of reading between the lines is a lifelong quest of the wise.” ― Shannon L. Alder
To communicate well, the general rule of not interrupting, being polite, being sensitive and the Golden rule: “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” come in handy. These rules are the foundation for goodness, sincerity, mercy and similar virtues among people.
However in the building of a deeper relationship, we find out that these general rules are not sufficient. We have to recognize that some people are different from us, so they need a different treatment from us. We have to study them to know their peculiarities and the best way to deal with them.
It is so natural to want to change the people in our circle to become more like us. But, we shouldn’t always give others what we want, or what we think they need, we should give them what they really want and need. This takes a lot of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is needed to communicate well by meeting the emotional needs of people.
To spend time better with our loved ones and communicate clearly, we need to discuss our expectations with them, allowing them to sincerely respond by sharing their thoughts, feelings, and probably their fears with us. This will help us to adjust our expectation to a more realistic one.
You will get to know your spouse better by spending time together effectively. It is amazing that there is still so much to know about our partners. Some things will still be unfolding even many years after marriage. It is also important to note that we, humans, are constantly changing depending on what we are going through at the moment. There are just so many things going on in peoples’ lives, including our loved ones’, that they can’t always find the time, strength, and expression to share them with us.
Once the basic needs of food, cloth, and shelter is met, the next thing a man cares for are his emotional needs. Many people may not be conscious that they have emotional needs, but all humans do. They are not just what we want or desire, they are part of who we are, they are at the core of our being. If those needs are not met in a healthy way, you will seek to have them met in other ways.
Some of our emotional needs depending on personality types could be a need for attention, affection, approval, acceptance, loyalty (active support), sense of control, achievement, getting credit for good work, sensitivity to feelings, support, space, silence, peace, and feeling of self-worth.
These are all expression of love, and we must find a way of communicating these to our spouses. Communicating effectively is not just talking, sharing ideas, or speaking to others. It is a two way street. We need to capitalize on our strengths in communication and work to overcome our weaknesses.
“Nothing lowers the level of conversation more than raising the voice.” —Stanley Horowitz
We cannot change other people but we can change the way we approach them. People will often misbehave to get these emotional needs met. However, when they are accepted as they are, it is easier for them to change.
So, skills like the ability to listen, not raising your voice, staying on track during conversation, asking rather than demanding, speaking positively, thinking positively, showing excitement, expressing opinion, opening up are some of what we can use, depending on our personality strengths and weakness, to improve the quality of the time we spend together.
“With the gift of listening comes the gift of healing.” —Catherine de Hueck
A greater part of good communication skills is the ability to listen. Few people can listen, but our loved ones need listening ears. Let us heal people who are dear to us by allowing them to talk uninterruptedly while we listen wholeheartedly. When we use an effective approach when we deal with our loved ones, we heal and enrich their lives and they will love and cherish the time we spend together.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” ― Philo of Alexandria
In conclusion, let us not forget to make spending quality time together as couples through effective communication and emotional intelligence one of the core values of our marriage and family relationship. Let us treat our marriages with care, daily investing the right values in them, in order to reap good harvest of true love, trust, and acceptance.