Baby Step 3: Embrace the Face Towel

I’m still towelling as I did as a child, same towel for face and body. I need to change that. The face towel isn’t meant to be a handkerchief or whatever else we use it for. It is a FACE TOWEL. Facial skin is sensitive and needs to be treated with special care. No more sharing. Body towel for body, face towel for face!

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Letter to My Friend, The Bride

The Bride

Girlfriend,

I’m so thrilled that you’re getting married, and I absolutely must share with you some things I knew before I got married, and a few others things I wish someone had told me before I got married.

First off let me say that while marriage can be challenging, it can also be delicious! You’re not going to get everything you’ve ever wanted in one man, I’m sure you’ve figured this out.

You need to believe that you CAN be happy in marriage, and this may require you to challenge conventional thinking and make your marriage your own, not a replica of your parents’ or friends’. That you should resist the temptation to compare him with other men or past boyfriends goes without saying of course. Sure there are things they could do that he can’t, but there are also things he does for you that they can’t, so don’t get carried away or let yourself be deceived.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Dwelling on things like leaving the toilet seat up/down and all such will drain your joy. Focus on the good stuff, the things your husband does well, the ways he makes you laugh. Don’t expect to get everything right straight away — allow yourself room to grow into wifehood.

There’ll be days when you’ll still feel single, and others when you’ll be very aware that you’re married. That’s okay, nothing is wrong with you. You are normal. If you ever find yourself longing for the freedom of your single days, or missing your cute little flat and the sleepovers we enjoyed so much, remember how much you wanted to be married and how in love you are with him now. Some days you won’t feel that love but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Love is being a good student of your husband, looking out for his physical, emotional, and spiritual needs so that in some way you can remove the burden, support him as he carries it, or encourage him along the way. So respect him and be sensitive to these needs. It won’t always be easy to meet them, but do your best and his happiness and joy will reward you.

Don’t hold grudges. Try to settle quarrels quickly and make up as soon as you can. Don’t rush the process but be quick to remember that you’re on the same side. Forgive him. Forgive him. Forgive him. Discussing your issues and arguments with other people is an easy way to give the enemy a foothold. Master the art of settling your issues between you both. It’s your marriage, after all.

I know you have a hard time talking and I’m not sure if he’s as good at prying things out of you as I am (in fairness I have two decades of experience in my pocket) but you must make every effort not to bottle things up inside. Communicate, talk about everything: money, in-laws, sex, everything. If you feel uncomfortable about something always tell him so, and encourage him to do the same. This alone will work wonders for your marriage.

Don’t let yourself go, even when the kids come. Keep exercising to stay fit and healthy, and don’t stop paying attention to your personal grooming for any reason. Know the way he likes you to look, and work with what you’ve got to always look that way. Never forget that men are visually stimulated, and there are women out there willing to do anything to please him, get him and keep him, but he’s yours so you must stay on top of your game. You cannot fail God.

And about sex — you’ve heard many times how important it is, so I’m going to tell you something you’ve never heard; it’s SUPER important! And not just for him but for you too. It’s not just about physical release; sex in marriage creates a spiritual and emotional bond that you simply can’t get any other way. It also clears the air after a quarrel just as well as it relieves stress. That said, it’s a basic physical need for men in a way that it isn’t for most women, and your response to him has a direct effect on his ego. So, say “no” sparingly and caringly. True, you won’t always be in the mood, but you’ll find that if you open your arms to him you’ll find yourself warming up and maybe even getting your groove on.

Read, ask questions, and keep learning.  If you aren’t enjoying what he’s doing, gently steer him away to something you like. Don’t just lie there and let him think you’re enjoying it when it does nothing for you. Show him what you like and let him know when he’s doing something right — he’s not a mind reader. Be creative, but more than that be enthusiastic. Few things please a man as well as a willing wife. Even God loves a cheerful giver.

You’ve always been a good girl, but trust me that won’t score you many points in bed. A fulfilling sex life is more vital to a happy marriage than I can say here right now, but you can be sure I’ll mail you again. For now just let go and allow yourself to feel, to explore and to enjoy your husband, and all the wonderful joys and pleasures that marriage has to offer. Big Brother is not watching you.

Love,

Joy.

Baby Step 2: Cleanse Thoroughly

The second thing I’m making a habit is the step I mentioned in my previous post- thorough cleansing. I haven’t bought any cleanser yet; I’m still using my beloved, mild Dove Bar. However when I do get a “real” cleanser though, it will be the liquid, rub-in-and-rinse-off type.

The point for now is to wash my face using circular motions for 2 full minutes. How will I time it? I’ll find a song that lasts about that long, and play it every morning in the bathroom. 😀

Let’s Talk About The Wife Who Wasn’t Loved by Her Husband

Do you know what it feels like to be married to a man who doesn’t love you? Maybe you do. Maybe your marriage is the result of parental matchmaking gone wrong. Or maybe you were just dating and getting to know each other and you fell pregnant. Now you’ve “trapped” him with pregnancy and he believes he would not have gone to the altar with you otherwise. Or maybe he did marry you willingly, but only because he couldn’t get the woman he really wanted. Whatever may have happened, you’re in a marriage with a man who doesn’t love you, and probably loves someone else.

Read my article at vinemag.

Baby Steps to Better Skin

Right now I’m darker than I’ve ever been in my life. While fishing for culprits with my BFF, it occurred to me that women really do invest in skincare more than I ever have. As my best friend pointed out, I have no beauty regimen; neither do I have any trusty products to keep my skin healthy and bright. For a very long time- about 7 years- I used no moisturizer or cleanser on my face; nothing at all. Just shower, apply my usual “barely there” makeup, and go.

I believed I didn’t need moisturizer because I have an oily face. And as for cleanser, well…I just couldn’t be bothered. I use Dove Cream Bar and I consider it to be a cleanser. Soap is a cleanser, but the problem is that it is too harsh. But Dove Cream Bar is not soap; it is a cleansing bar, one-quarter moisturizer. So I felt I was getting good cleansing and moisturizing in one.

Anyway, I had an experience which would later change my point of view. 6 years ago someone gave me a gift- Mary Kay Timewise 2-in-1 cleanser set. It contained a cleanser and a moisturizer. The instructions were to apply the cleanser to a wet face, rub in a circular motion for 2 minutes, then rinse, pat dry and apply the moisturizer.

By the time I was half way through the set, my skin was visibly clearer.

Unfortunately, I was convinced at the time that I could not afford to continue with the product, so when it ran out, I stopped. However, I recently realized a couple of things about that experience.

1. Mary Kay products may be great, but my skin most likely improved because I was taking time to cleanse it thoroughly. 2 full minutes!

2. Again, I doubt that particular moisturizer had special powers. My skin improved because I was moisturizing it, period.

I’ve also learned a few things from other experiences. I’ll be sharing these eureka moments with you as I begin a journey to responsible skincare. Welcome to Baby Steps to Better Skin!

Letter to My Friend, the Husband Smitten By That Girl

pen-on-paper

Dear Friend,

I’ve been watching you struggle where this other woman is concerned. She came into your life at one of the toughest points in your marriage, and somehow she eased your distress at the time. Her understanding of your challenges only served to convince you that if the opportunity presented itself, you two could be far more than friends. Now you and Mrs. have addressed your issues and you’re both working on making your marriage better, so she thinks it’s all over with this woman who was nearly a threat. But you and I know that it isn’t. You still fantasize about her, and you would still talk with her all day if she would take your calls.

Let me call your attention to a few things.

First, a quick reminder- your wedding vows are sacred. You made them before God Almighty, and he expects you to be faithful. You know this, but in your current state you need to hear it over and over until it starts to sink in.

I recognise the strength of the temptation; she’s beautiful, smart, vivacious, ambitious, driven and passionate, and she just seems to “get you”, in a way that Mrs. doesn’t. And she is oh-so-sexy. The things you believe she can do to you, Mrs. can’t even spell. So your hair is all up in braids and you’re asking, “Where were you when I was getting married?!” even though in your case this doesn’t make sense because your sassy siren was still in a school uniform, but that’s never crosses your mind and I understand, infatuation is blind like that.

If you were in your right mind you would know that That Girl cannot replace your wife. Yet, the more you lean towards her, the greater the chances of you falling into her bed and putting your marriage and family at risk.

You want to know the truth? You are not just any man. Your wife possesses qualities That Girl lacks- and they are more fundamental to your wellbeing than you realise. You need to ask yourself,

“Does she share my faith and values?”

“Can she keep a home like my wife can?”

“Can she submit to me as her husband and head, with grace and poise?”

“Can she raise responsible, God-fearing children I can be proud of?”

“Does she have the patience and tact to accommodate my flaws and shortcomings?”

“Can she stand by me when there’s no money in the bank, and still respect and honour me?”

“CAN REAL LIFE WORK WITH HER?”

You think if only you were married to her, life would be pure bliss. Sorry sir; just sharing a home with her will burst your bubble. You’ll quickly be disillusioned to find that a life lived in tandem with her is a different ballgame from your perfect little world of dates, phone calls and BBM chats. You’ll be shocked by how divergent your life goals are; you’ll be dismayed by how easily irritated she can be. I could go and on, but the bottom line is, you will miss your wife.

You may not realise now what a buffer she is on your life’s journey, nor remember what an inspiration she was when you first fell in love with her and how she saw all that was good in you. All you can see is what you wish she was- namely, all the wonderful things That Girl is. You are not alone.

One of the themes in Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married is what he calls the 80-20 rule. It is based on the premise that on the average, you only get 80 percent of what you want in a mate, and that’s it. Here, the allure of The Other Woman is encapsulated thus; “20 percent looks really good when you don’t have it.”

My friend, grow up. Open your eyes and rein in your lust and emotions. Don’t even think about hanging around That Girl trying to be “just friends”, she really isn’t your friend and you know you will get sucked in. Don’t throw away your 80 percent for 20; that is, and forever will be, a dumb move. I can already picture you standing there holding your once glittering 20 percent, and longing for the 80 percent that you traded in. You look pitiful.

Love, Joy.