2018 Valentine’s Day Message: What Impact Should Hard and Challenging Times Have On Your Love and Relationship?
In the book, The 3 Loves We Need, I included a chapter entitled ‘when to be strong’ (page 113). In that chapter, we found out that the right time to show strength, reveal faith, and present a good or positive attitude is when things are tough and body is weak. Inspired by verses like Ecclesiastes 3:1 (there is time for everything), Proverbs 18:14 (it’s important to keep a good attitude when sick), we agreed that when troubles hit our lives and most things aren’t going our way, it’s the right time of putting our faith to work and wait on our God. Yes, I am saying that when things are tough, your love should grow tougher!
Wait on our God? What did I say Patience was? See it here
It has been said by many that their lovers or partners decided to let go of the relationship when things were tough. Yes, truly, some relationships have broken up because of sickness, poverty, lack, disagreements, ‘rumors and the desire to safe-guard names or status’ and so many other challenging issues. And I have always argued that, in case that happens, that is an indication that actually love was never there in the first place.
Yes, here is how I stated it in the song ‘Jesus Teach Me Love’; “if love is capable of ending, it means it never existed.”
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All I am saying is this; when it’s cold, it’s times to get closer to each other. When sickness strikes, it’s time to care. When poverty and lack hit your love, it’s time to hold on and comfort each other. When rumors and ill-talking strikes your relationship, it’s time to shine even more. I mean, that is what true love is; when life strikes, it stands and hopes and never fails.
Winnie and I during challenging times!
I have, on many occasions, confessed that Winnie and I loved each other when we really had nothing. For the case of Winnie, her family had something but I and my family really had nothing. When I and Winnie started out the marriage journey and actually lived together (2014), we had nothing and yet took such a bold step. Even though Winnie had everything at home, she left it all and lived on nothing with me. We didn’t have plates, no bed, no sauce pans, no enough clothes and shoes, no money, no stable jobs, no-nothing! We had nothing, but ourselves (mark that).
We lived on little; a small cup of tea and one bread would be enough for a night, a shoe with some small hole would be enough, a 2000 shirt and trouser would be great (oh no, Winnie had many clothes herself), a bed (small mattress on the floor) was enough, and, yes, our outings were usually in open gardens that costed nothing or less and our foods and drinks would be maybe a small plate of cereals or chips with a soda (that would be a great day for us).
We didn’t have stable jobs; we struggled for about a year before we could have stable jobs and earn our first stable salary. What I and Winnie went through before we could finally have jobs is beyond expression; you won’t believe it. We suffered, hustled, walked up and down, tried here and there, and really struggled. And yet we never gave up on each other, not even once!
Actually, whenever we set our eyes back to our past days, man, they are some of the glorious times of our love and relationship. We had ourselves, ourselves only with little or no distractions at all.
We were together always, sharing the moments, eating the little together, walking the long distances conversing and smiling, no movies to watch but watching ourselves in the house, and, yes, sleeping too close to each other in the very small bed or on the very small mattress we had (we didn’t have a bed at first). And yes, love was so sweat, so flourishing, so marvelous, and so fulfilling that we sometimes yearn for the same moments. Can you imagine that?
Challenging and trying moments in our love and relationship started when we declared love to each other as early as our college times; people talked ill of each one of us, the college’s administration didn’t like it and fought each one of us day and night. The environment was volatile and hostile to us both and their (friends, administration, fellow students, and everyone else except our parents) demand was this; separate, finish it off. But we didn’t. Our love grew stronger and stronger till we finished college. Isn’t it Michelle Obama who said this; “when they go high, you go low”.
Of course, we have upgraded a little bit. We now have almost everything, at least all the basics in plenty and, yeah, our bed is a 6 by 6 now. And our love and relationship that tasted the hard and challenging moments in our past can only grow stronger and stronger, better and better. What are you holding onto during trying moments in your marriage, love and relationship? Can love, I mean true love really be intimidated by hard times? Of course, yes, but it’s a war we, I mean you should win. God will help you.
Read this too: The Secret of Defeating Satan & His Tricks
This is the true nature of true love; it doesn’t fall with falling or challenging times but grows exponentially. Paul said ‘love never ends or doesn’t fail’ (1 Corinthians 13:8). What is holding you back? Can your love and relationship keep soaring high amidst challenging times? Seriously, it is when times are hard that your love should grow stronger.
But how do we do it? I mean, how did we do it? What made us stay in love with nothing exciting around us? How or why did Winnie stay in it with all the heartaches and lack yet she had it all at her father’s house? How do you make your love be the real center of your life when all other things are falling apart?
We hope to give a detailed reply to these questions in our new issue on Easter (1st April, 2018). As always, we usually offer two distinct messages on special days; purely theological (gospel related) and purely love and relationship related. Today, we have prepared this (for love and relationships) and we have another one for today’s Ash Wednesday. Make sure you access them both.
Hard or challenging times in our love and relationships come in various forms. Some come from within us (within our relationship) and others come from outside (eternal). For example, considering and I and my wife’s relationship, most of the challenges came or come from outside. Our love was and is stable but strong winds keep hitting onto us and we need to stay strong and not break down. Yes, we actually also have internal issues but these are really minimal and less dangerous unless solved as soon as they arise.
Talking about your love standing the test of hard and challenging times simply means being able to deal with both these internal and external winds and protect your love and relationship. In The 3 Loves We Need, I summarize what it means to be strong;
“To become strong means to put on all that it requires to being strong. This means to put on strongest weapons we have never used in simple matters and if ever used, then, this time, we are to double them up. This means that every weapon both spiritual and physical must be revised. Remember, some wars can be defeated with little weapons and others with big weapons.” (page 119)
“To be fully clear, when troubles come, there are tactics to be removed from our agenda and new ones to be used in. For example, if our partner in love likes to shout, we can choose to keep quite as much as possible though it may not be our wish. We can painfully choose it to show humbleness and this can cool down the hot air that was rising in our relationships. There can be coming home very early when we used to enter our homes very late, spending less money when we used to spend more and all other changes” (page 121).
Talking about tactics, changes, or weapons, there are many that have enabled us to have flourishing love amidst challenging moments; we are home people, don’t spend extravagantly, value gifts based on the heart strings and not their value in terms of money and elegancy, are contented and grateful for the little, focus more on loving each other than anything else, and, most importantly, are Christians with faith and hope in the promises of God that all things work fir the good of those who love God (Romans 8:28).
Seriously, there are no specific rules or guidelines I can offer you to help you have an even stronger love relationship during challenging moments and I believe God helps each one of us to have dynamic approaches and ideas to apply and implement in each and every situation.
There is a proverb that says; where there is a will, there is a way. And I pray that God graciously blesses your marriage or love or relationship or your hearts as individuals the will to keep soaring high and holding onto to each other even more closely than before amidst challenging and hurting times. And once that will and desire develops within you, surely, there shall even be ways to accomplish that.
Hard or challenging times in a relationship or marriage don’t call for break-up; they call for more uniting and growing stronger. In our first valentine’s message, I simply expressed gratitude for everything, particularly for the woman God blessed me with. In 2017, we released another valentine’s day message and we emphasized that all anyone needed was love, someone close to heart, and not just money and thinks to have a great valentine’s day.
And today, we are saying that actually hard times and periods of lack or even other evil winds are not here to break our relationships or marriages, but to strengthen us even more.
We are saying that when there is nothing so strange and exciting going on around us, we are left with less or no distraction and instead end up folding into ourselves and holding each other even closer than. That is what happens or at least what should happen. The state of your love relationship should even be better in times of lack; all you have is nothing but you yourselves!
As I say this, I and my beloved wife have made reservations and we shall be heading out soon (the pictures used in here are of the day!). Remember, it’s never about money or anything but two hearts in love. Have a great valentine’s day with the one you love.
God bless you