Saturday, July 27, 2013


The topic of 'World-Class' has been top on my mind for more than a month. Nobody wants a wishy-washy life. We all want 'world class' things. 

Marriage is one of the hottest conversations on earth any time of the day, with people from nearly all age brackets talking about their thoughts, their expectations, their hangups, their fears and their highlights of marriage.

Today's 'World Class' article is about marriage! Yaaay! It is brought to us by a great writer on marriage, relationships and 'intentional life'. It is a two part series that my dear friend Ngina Otiende has put together.

Ngina Otiende is a writer and trainer who loves helping others take charge of their lives. She's passionate about intentional growth and relationships and wants to ignite the same passion in others. She's married to her hero and they live in MD, USA. You can pick up her free E-Book when you subscribe to her Blog. You can also follow her on Twitter and find her on Facebook. Enjoy!


Can you remember your wedding day? 

Can you remember all the dreams and aspirations you had? The adrenaline, the dopamine coursing through your veins, the joyous expectations for the future? 

For a moment did you ever imagine that this person you were vowing your life to would one day make you so mad, hurt you so bad that you'd want hang them? Did you think that at some point your marriage would demand more than you thought you can give?

As for me I did not! When my mum and eldest brother walked me down the aisle on a sunny Saturday morning, I had no idea that the heartthrob of a man standing at the end of the aisle would one day  hurt me enough to make me want to throttle him.  

Truth is am yet to meet somebody who got married with the sole intention of being miserable (or making their spouse miserable). 

We get married because we desire happiness and joy and fulfillment which comes from spending the rest of our lives with the one we love.  

But before long, we begin to realize that happiness and joy and fulfillment isn't handed to us on a silver platter (for some reason that part eludes most of us in premarital). As we get along in fact, it begins to appear as though the one we vowed our lives to is the sole cause of our unhappiness. 

And that's where many of us get stuck, between the dreams and expectations in  our heads and the reality in our lives; the things we dreamed about when we got married and the reality of marriage. 

Most of us want to bridge that gap, we want to know how to make our marriage flourish. But sometimes we don't know what to do. And other times we just don’t want to apply ourselves.

So here's some ways you can get your marriage out of that ‘no-man's land’. For without world-class thoughts and habits, you can't have a world class marriage (Tweet this)

1. Understand that a great a marriage takes time to grow, it doesn't happen in a day

Most of us want our spouse and marriage to change like yesterday. We look at our friends who've been married 15 years and demand that our 5 year old marriage behave the same way. We come into marriage with a lifetime of baggage and hurts and pains and expect the same to be healed completely by the time we get home from work. 

What we fail to understand is that a strong marriage is not a sprint. It takes time. We must be willing to invest ourselves for the long haul, to give issues in our marriage time to heal and resolve. She won't be a proverbs 31 wife a few years into marriage (the proverbs 31 wife was a snapshot of a lifetime) and neither will he be the greatest dad in the world on the day junior comes home from hospital. We must be willing to invest, to exercise, to apply ourselves and build strong relationship muscles. Muscles are not built in easy seasons, but in tough ones.  Tweet this

So we must weather the tough moments, the days he won't talk and the day she burns your food. 
We don't have the luxury of checking out of the relationship (and finding 'refuge' elsewhere e.g work, other relationships) because our spouse has "failed" to deliver in a certain area within a given time. 

2. You must take personal responsibility for your happiness and relationship

I used to think that if my sweet husband would change or act/become/treat me a certain way, then we'd have a dream marriage. He was the problem as far as I was concerned. 

It took a while to begin to get a clue that I was responsible for my own happiness and the growth of our relationship.

A great relationship doesn't start when my husband changes, it does when I do. So often we hinge our happiness and growth on our spouses  A wife may think "If he could treat me better maybe I'd feel more intimate" A husband might think "If she'd take better care of herself, maybe I'd feel more attracted to her." The truth is, in marriage and if we all looked for reasons not to intentionally love the one we married, we'd find a bundle and then some. 

To move your relationship from that no-man’s land (the dreams in your head to the reality in your life), you must understand that God does not hold you responsible for your spouse's actions or in-actions. Only your own. In the same way, He does not hold back His rewards based on the actions of your spouse.

He will find a way to meet your needs in your marriage but only if you walk according to His ways and values. And His ways include taking personal responsibility for your life and marriage, going the extra mile, turning the other cheek, loving lavishly and extravagantly as He's loved you, taking responsibility for personal growth 

(of course am not talking about taking "personal responsibility" and keeping quiet when you should be talking and finding help, e.g in cases of violence in marriage. See point #6 for more)

To be continued in the next post...Feel free to add your own points in the comments section below!

Check out the next post in the series here for a full read


  1. Never discuss Past, stay in present and Plan for the future.

  2. Right on Parivartan. I love the part of planning the future. For the most part, I see couples frantically planning for their WEDDING...and when that is done, that's the end of planning. Thanks for your comments.

  3. Thanks so much for having me over here my friend, such an honor to share with your readers and spread this message.

  4. Any suggestions on how to get husband to stop dwelling on mutual hurts from past and start working on future? He is closed off from any believe that we can both change our present and future.

  5. I'm always blown away by the wisdom and maturity, Ngina. We all need to take personal responsibility for us, we all need to "gird our loins" for what our Father calls each of us to.

    I also think that it is the long haul, the work put into anything, including our marriages, that bring the sweet taste of gratification. Human nature can't really grasp the essence of truly grand things any other way. It would be like handing a a sixteen year old a million bucks without doing anything and expect them to appreciate it as if they'd earned it...

    Excellent post. Thanks!

  6. It is an honor to have you here at Life Signatures Ngina. Thanks for this amazing post. You need to link up with Worried above and help her where you can. Once again, thanks!

  7. Its good to read you Floyd...and I thoroughly agree with you. Ngina's wisdom is a blessing to multitudes.
    Your analogy about our input in marriage is awesome. That dispels the illusion that many singles have on both sides of the divide. For those who think marriage is a trap, they have an opportunity to "Work at it" until it is world class. For those who think it's a bed of roses, they have the opportunity to activate their desire of a world class marriage by taking personal responsibility. Thanks for your comments Floyd.

  8. Hello Worried. There is so much that can be said about your situation. First off, I think your situation is common to many...and I also know that a good number have had those tipping points that have changed their ashes to absolute beauty.

    There has got to be a will not happen overnight.

    It looks to me like you are the key to having the world class marriage you desire. As much as you have the hope and the desire to change it, that is the beginning point.

    What you might need to realize is that you cannot do this alone. You need God, and you need as much help and wisdom you can get from friends and loved ones.

    I would personally recommend counselling for yourself...and then for the both of you as a couple.

    Our advice here online might not suffice. The fact that you have written shows your desire to have it better. It shall be well.
    Thanks for writing.

  9. Most of us really do marry for the wrong reasons. We marry for "love" (or dopamine) or to find someone who completes us, fulfills us, and makes us happy. Granted these things are important. But are we supposed to find these qualities in people? Is someone supposed to "make" me happy. I am really glad for the balanced wisdom you bring here Ngina

  10. Personally making my family a top priority has allowed my marriage to be strong. I've learned my wife's love language is quality time together. Everyday and a significant amount of time when I'm off work I'm intentional about spending it with my wife and son. Great post and thoughts!

  11. Marriage does take work and we must be responsible for our own growth and leave our spouses in God's hands. No amount of nagging I do can ever change my spouse, but praying for him sure can!!!

    I love that you say it's not a really does take a life time to develop.

  12. There you go Dan Black. It has got to be intentional. Otherwise It wont be world class. Thanks for sharing.

  13. I couldn't agree more. Like Ngina said, I take personal responsibility for the success of my marriage...and not my wife. The same applies to her. Thanks for sharing Mike.

  14. When you said about nagging, I remember watching 'A Tale of Two Brains' by this guy called Mark Gungor. Extremely hilarious but very much on point. I love the part of leaving the rest to God. Thanks for sharing TC. It's been a while since you shared on Life Signatures. Welcome back!

  15. I'm with Floyd, Ngina - I'm always surprised and delighted by God's wisdom flowing through you. You have such a voice of maturity that is a blessing to all who read. Not to mention the fact that you describe marriage so well. :) Thanks for more good encouragement and advice today. Love the muscles line - so true!

  16. I love that analogy Floyd. it's something i think to myself on easier days :) - that for some reason, I never quite seem to appreciate the free things as much as I do the one's I work hard for.
    Thanks so much for your kind words, glory to our Father.

  17. With you Mike! Takes time to get the revelation, doesn't it? But it sure makes the difference when we finally do! Thanks so much for sharing and your kind words :)

  18. Amen Dan, that's awesome :) There's no better way to build a stronger marriage than to find out what makes your spouse tick and then go ahead and do it!

  19. I once heard someone say that that's why marriage is an institution, you never "graduate", you keep on learning :) The sooner we get that life-time-of-learning part, the better off we are!

  20. Thanks for your kind words Barb, they are a blessing to me. You (and I think almost everyone else here :) ) has been in marriage much much longer than i have.. it's such a blessing to receive that encouragement. Glory to God.

  21. Enjoy your blog, been a busy spring/summer. Haven't been able to keep up with blogging. Hopefully the fall will be better.

    Never heard of "A Tale of Two Brains" I enjoy a good laugh, I'll have to check it out.
    Have a blessed day!

  22. Worried, I echo Lawrence's thoughts.

    at least one person needs to be rooting for the health of the marriage, (should be both but sometimes that's not always the case) and it's great that you are doing just that.

    I know it's a hard place to be at and there are no easy answers. all of our situations are unique. Yet there are general things we can do and personalize them to our situations. The things that Lawrence has mentioned, i totally agree with.

    I'd just reiterate the point on change. the only person you can change is you, not your husband. the greater work is internal, not external.

    (do all that needs to be done yes, but keep that in mind)

    i wrote a post a while back about what to do when one spouse won't do their part. i think it can help

    i am available via mail, if you need more indepth help ngina(at)intentionaltoday(dot)com

  23. Amen, sister! I love all of the things you've pointed out, Ngina, because of course I was so much like you starting out in marriage. I came with that same faulty thinking and unrealistic expectations. I still have to tame them, but I see them coming now and pounce on them before they become full-grown! :) Oh, and I loved the insight about the Proverbs 31 woman--it was a "lifetime" achievement not something she came into marriage doing. Great post and thanks for linking this up with Wedded Wed. Thanks also to Lawrence for "handing you the microphone!" You've got so many great things to say, my friend!

  24. Great post, Ngina (as always :). I think the dream vs. reality is a huge deal. Additionally, because we live in a culture of instant happiness and gratification, this becomes a major issue in marriage if not careful. Like anything good in life, it takes time and is a process.

  25. I think your #2 point is probably about the most important thing you can grasp in a marriage. We naturally want everyone else to change, but asking the hard questions about how we need to change is what we're called to do.


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