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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

SUSTAINING THE FLAME IN YOUR MARRIAGE



       SUSTAINING THE FLAME  IN YOUR MARRIAGE... !!!

TITLE:              THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES
AUTHOR:         GARY CHAPMAN
PUBLISHER:   Northfield Publishing
YEAR:               2010 (Revised edition)
PRICE:              $7.25          
PAGES:             202
REVIEWER:    NKECHI OBIANIGWE

When you see the award winning Bollywood drama film “Baghban” we wonder whether the love that existed between the couples, truly exists. With 4 married sons and grand children, the 60 year old couples love still exhibited newness every day. Gary Chapman in this book “the 5love languages” affirms the fact that love can indeed blossom but he points out the fact that for this to happen, there has to be some form of hardwork as it is not automatic. 

There is the ‘in-love” experience that takes place when you fall in love with the opposite sex up until two years afterwards or earlier than that. Since this is the case according to Gary, there has to be something else that would keep this love going. Most individuals at this juncture opt for divorce or seek succor elsewhere but the trick to sustaining this passion is what Gary discovered to be ‘the love language’.

These love languages differ and it is on rare occasions that both partners share same love languages. He also points out the fact that a partner could have more than one love language, while the first is core, the others are secondary and must still be met. He points out these love languages to be: Words of affirmation, Spending Quality Time with partners, Receiving Gifts, Perfoming/ demonstrating Acts of Service and Physical touch.

He explains that this might not come natural to anyone but it is necessary to perform these acts to preserve your marriage and relationship. It is important to understand the language your spouse understands better to be able to communicate effectively in this regard.

Gary points out the fact that the one your partner complains most often that is lacking in your relationship is that partner’s love language. The moment one gets it and consistently works towards satisfying the other partner in that light, the more the relationship blossoms and your partner would then be able to understand your love language when you make your own request.

In all, communication is key and the manner in which a message is passed across is what matters. From the counseling sessions Gary had with the couples, one would easily discover that more often than not, these couples were not aware of the emptiness in the emotional tank of their partners as this was not verbalized or was verbalized in an appropriate manner.

The book is a must read not for married couples alone but also a guide to individuals who are thinking of making that move soon. As we are often told, every stage in life is a school where there are experiences and lessons to be learned; marriage in itself is also a school that requires some degree of diligent study and dedication.; Gary has clearly demonstrated that here and this could be one way of reducing the rate of divorce in our society.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH IN CURBING INVOLUNTARY SINGLENESS!


THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH IN CURBING INVOLUNTARY SINGLENESS

TITLE: NO SEX PLEASE!(until we’re married)
AUTHOR: IAN GREGORY
PUBLISHER: LIFE JOURNEY COOK COMMUNICATIONS MINISTRIES
PRICE: N600
PAGES: 191
REVIEWER: NKECHI OBIANIGWE

In this modern parlance, virginity (sexual honesty as Ian puts it) is a subject that we would rather not discuss as it is filled with notions of hypocrisy and Christians tend to over spiritualise it to a great extent, while also considering those that are not in that cadre as being immoral. Ian Gregory in this book, tries to explain the role of the church in curbing ‘involuntary singleness’ that thrives amongst the singles in our churches; how the church can take adequate care in ensuring that the number of believers are not perpetually on a decrease and how these singles could avoid being ‘unequally yoked’; with unbelievers.

He makes reference to other religious sects like the Sikhs, Greeks and Hindi, who take this responsibility upon themselves to ensure that their single believers are not joined with unbelievers, either through a match making process initiated by the parents or social events that provide an enabling environment for these singles to mix. According to Ian, this could be done by events, Christian dating sites can be created and the traditional means where the religious leaders could match make their members should be reinitiated. Also, singles should be accorded respect, these issues should be discussed as the ‘marrieds’ enjoy the respect and attention, while the subject of singleness is swept under the carpet.

Without making an attempt to justify the pre marital sex that is prevalent in our society, Ian wonders why this would not be practiced, since the continuum for the involuntary singles keep widening and the sexual urge becomes very difficult to tame. He urges the church to assist in ensuring that this sexual honesty is maintained till marriage.

He also points out the fact that one of the reasons for premarital sex is the loneliness (‘hug deprivation’) that is prevalent in this communication age, where face to face relationships are slightly bridged by internet social network sites and one hardly communicates with their neighbours. In this regard, people tend to find others who could help fill this space.

Ian also explains the evils of premarital sex and cohabitation. Where the man is comfortable with having his ‘presumed’ partner do all his chores without seeing the need to make immediate commitment. While thinking that they are having real sex, in their ignorance, it is just an illusion and it tends towards comparing the performance of subsequent lovers.

The author attempts to dispel fantasies that Christians assume. The fact that there is that one person that God would lead you to. It helps to reiterate the scripture verse that says ‘faith without works is dead’. There has to be a willingness to want to get settled, God would not automatically place the individual on our laps. He posits that if they (the men) are not coming and the females want them, they should feel free to walk up and ask them out, that is for the girls. In otherwords, the days were girls were viewed as desperate for asking guys on a date is long gone. Instead, you are seen as a ‘go-getter’.

Other fantasies that people have of their prospective partners as being good looking and sexy does not hold water. As the author puts it, it should not be the primary consideration. Alternatively, he introduces the 5C’s on what to look out for in our prospective partners; Christian; Compatibility; Conversation; Character and Chemistry.

At a first glance, one would readily assume another book that is hypocritical or tends to preach abstinence before marriage, ironically only one chapter is dedicated to the subject of ‘SEX’ in its entirety. ‘Sex is important but not all important, powerful but not impossible to control’..(pg 85) Ideally, this should be what the book should discuss, but the author does not dwell much on it until a latter part of the book. He places more emphasis on the role of the church.

The author’s use of scriptures and real life examples is commendable here. The book is not only recommended for singles or SINBADs’ (Single Income No Boyfriend And Desperate), also for individuals that are engaged or married as it would give a better perspective on how to ensure you marriage/relationship is a success


Monday, February 13, 2012

THE ENDLESS RIGOURS OF POLYGAMY!!


THE ENDLESS RIGOURS OF POLYGAMY!

TITLE: THE SECRET LIVES OF BABA SEGI’S WIVES

AUTHOR: LOLA SHONEYIN

PUBLISHER: CASSAVA REPUBLIC PRESS

YEAR: 2010

PRICE: N1550

PAGES: 244

REVIEWER: NKECHI OBIANIGWE

In a society where the relevance of a man is determined by the strength of his manhood, Bolanle finds herself a victim in Baba Segi’s polygamous home as her inability to produce a child causes a repulsive stench on the Alao family name. Baba Segi, whom the gods have blessed with seven children, finds it difficult to believe that despite his incessant thrust to ensure that his last wife Bolanle produces seeds, all his efforts have proved abortive. Baba Segi seeks a lasting solution to the problem and convinces his wife, Bolanle, to seek medical attention since she would not yield to his traditional solution. This action causes a major turning point in the Alao family as a gruesome secret is uncovered; Baba Segi’s manhood is no different from that of a child!

Lola Shoneyin gives a vivid description of what a typical polygamous family represents in Nigeria ( although using Ibadan as the focus);the challenges experienced by the wives and how each one of them tries to oust the other by employing destructive tactics. Here, Bolanle was considered the bad egg; firstly because she was a graduate, and no one really understood why such a person would settle for an old illiterate as against someone younger and same educational background. Secondly, her inability to produce a seed for Baba Segi gave enough room for them to put her in a negative light before her husband.

The wives exhibit different personality traits. The eldest wife, Iya Segi is considered meek and by far the wisest by her husband as she is “the wife of his youth”, ironically, she is the engineer behind the destruction of the home. Iya Tope represents the harmless serpent, who never contributes to the evil tactics; a coward, silent observer and a replica of a zombie. Iya Femi is the greedy one, who strives to oust anyone that attempts to avert her husband’s attention. From her words, we realize hypocrisy is her best companion. On the other hand,Bolanle sees this family as perfect comfort zone for self discovery. She is by far, the icon of what a true woman should be.


The role of the teacher as a high priest cannot be undermined here as Baba Segi turned to him for help and advice at every point. Although not a perfect description of a guardian angel, he helps to put Baba Segi’s house in order through the spoken words of wisdom he offered freely to Baba Segi.

The decadence of morality and chastity is also present here. It shows itself through a mix of adultery and sexual pervasion that exists in our society. From the abuses experienced by Iya Femi and Bolanle at a tender age, the result that accompanied the greedy disposition exhibited by Iya Femi and Bolanle’s insecurity can to an extent, be justifiable. On the other hand, can Taju, Baba Segi’s driver be blamed for his sexual escapades with Iya Segi? Has it not been as a result of the environment in which his brother gave him room to enjoy himself as a “peeping Tom”?.

The proverbial inclination exhibited in this book is highly commendable. It makes the book fun to read and stresses the importance of what is being said.

The book is a beautiful piece carefully put together and is a true representation of what polygamy entails, nevertheless, the use of words that sound vulgar (like ‘fuck’) or is frowned upon must be avoided in subsequent editions. Although they tend to add some flavor to the story, but when the target reader does not exclude children, extreme care needs to be ensured.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

WHEN TRUST BECOMES ELUSIVE...!!!


WHEN TRUST BECOMES ELUSIVE... !!!
TITLE: PERFECT MOTHER
AUTHOr:UDUAK E. AKPABIO
PUBLISHER: ATHENA PRESS
YEAR: 2009
PRICE: N2150
PAGES: 333
REVIEWER: NKECHI OBIANIGWE

After 8 years of marriage, Ani and Celia Ubong are blessed with three girls Eno Abasi, Ekaete and Itoro; a wonderful achievement by Celia but not satisfactory enough for her mother-in- law. In an attempt to produce a male heir for Ani’s lineage, Celia loses her womb in the process and keeps this away from her husband and mother-in-law. To resist the insurmountable pressures from her mother in law, Celia turns to her friend Sandra for advice; while the best solution is for Celia to send her mother-in-law back to the village, some other disturbing news that cannot be avoided easily, awaits her. She is made to accommodate a step son that her husband presents after eight years. Heartbroken, desperate and in a bid to protect her family, she loses her last daughter, Itoro. She goes through several interrogations by disciplinary bodies, but will she ever be able to put together the family she had built or her husband’s trust, ever again?

Uduak Akpabio tells this simple story in a way that the reader keeps asking ‘What Next!’. A tale of deceit, betrayal, uncertainty, murder amongst others is well embedded in this 70 scene drama piece.

The cultural importance of a male heir in a typical Calabar tradition is shown here. Regardless of the enlightenment one has been exposed to as a result of Western education and interactions, the role of a male child in Nigeria cannot be left out entirely as that signifies the continuity of one’s lineage. It is in an attempt to ensure this continuity that Celia’s mother in law, Idorenyin, contributes to the instability and death in the family.

Here, the negative role of the mother-in-law is exemplified. In Nigeria, old age symbolizes wisdom and maturity; as it is popularly said that ‘what an elder sees while sitting, a child cannot see even when he climbs a tree’, instead of acting as the rock of the family, encouraging them and praying for their welfare as it should be and a source of wisdom that the family can turn to, Idorenyin helps to bring discord to the family.

The negative consequences of unemployment is also explored here as John readily jumps at an opportunity to act out as a “native doctor” with his degree in Theatre Arts, he becomes an accessory to murder. It shows the extent one could go in search of greener pastures when the opportunity to truly prove one’s worth is not available. Nevertheless, Uduak has shown through this piece that resorting to deceit is not the best measure.

The irony of the word ‘perfect’ yearns for recognition. Who is the perfect mother? Celia or Idorenyin? Both characters hardly qualify; although Celia exhibits tendencies of what a perfect mother should be but she hardly follows through till the end in her quest for preservation and self contentment.

The book is an aberration from the Nigerian literatures we usually find on our book stands. Uduak Akpabio fills the story with elements of intrigue, deceit, betrayal that probes the reader to get through to the end of the book. It is a most read for anyone who craves a better understanding of the importance of tradition in this present age.


Monday, February 6, 2012

ALL THE ANSWERS ARE BEFORE YOU...JUST LOOK CLOSELY!





ALL THE ANSWERS ARE BEFORE YOU…JUST LOOK CLOSELY!
TITLE HOW STUPIDITY SAVED MY LIFE
AUTHOR: OKECHUKWU OFILI
YEAR: 2010
NO OF PAGES: 162
PRICE: N1250
REVIEWER: NKECHI OBIANIGWE

Most times we are often told that the individuals who stand out in life are usually the ones who “think outside the box”, Okechukwu Ofili, in this book, has shown that it is not so in all cases, we don’t even need to look too far away for guidelines or solutions, we just need to look closely for answers and directions.


Through normal, every day life experiences, Ofili discovers that there are lessons that are inherent in them. One of which is his experience with his swimming coach, who almost got him drowned. It was not until that point that he realized he could swim effectively without much assistance. What he clearly tried to explain here is the fact that you will never know your capabilities until you try. Ofili moved literally from an "academic non-entity" in the early part of his high school days to what we would call graduating 'magna cum laude' in college, partly as a result of his mother's disciplinary measures and his personal convictions.


Some of the other lessons that are clearly outlined in this book include: one’s ability to rise above their fears; taking time to understand the entire individual than making judgments from a single aspect; seeking professional help; learning to appreciate ‘experience’ rather than ‘competition’; living out ones dreams regardless of physical barriers; being sensitive to other people’s feelings amongst others.


Most importantly, the author indirectly urges his readers not to be afraid to dream. This he explains in the last chapter, with the phrase “Just Write!!”. Here, he explains the fact that he had no flair for English Language as a subject, he was never really great at writing and compositions, but somehow, he was able to live above this fear and pursue his dreams as a writer and a public speaker. This has given rise to two great blogsites www.ofilisketches.com & http://www.ofilispeaks.com/.


The title of the book is catchy in itself; one quick look at it at the book stand, and one wonders the extent of the so-called ‘stupidity’. The author makes it more interesting by using topics like “Help! My Parents Stole My Testerone; “ The Bird that broke the Glass Ceiling “.


The use of historical real life examples here, is also worthy of note as it makes the book credible. The book is a must read for everyone who is desirous of a positive change in every sphere of life using simple experiences as learning tools.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome on board 2012!!!

Glorious New year guys!!!

I know I should have sent this message on the very first day of the month but the fun thing about a new year is the fact that, every day of the month of January is a new year, till perhaps, February (though we still have some extending to March…lol) so it is still permissible to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A new year gives room for a new phase of life; a new beginning, new goals /plans- in some cases, new relationships and a new career path. Here, everyone starts on a clean slate, mistakes of the previous year are forgiven... Indeed, it’s a brand New Day! I am glad we all made it and sincerely pray our heart desires come to fruition this year.

This blog also has plans for the New Year. But the plans cannot be achieved without you as its lifeblood is dependent on you. It is important to start this year with a little push in all spheres of life; moral, physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and the likes.

The best part to it is that there are people who have shared their experiences with us on the impact of this said ‘push’ on their lives. In order for us to be developed in every area of our lives and for our goals to be achieved this year, we have to be in close touch with these drivers and one of the easily accessible means is through BOOKS.

Let’s all start the year then with the appropriate tools for growth. We are here to read and learn from great minds. One of our goals this year is to leave you with at least two book reviews every month to aid your growth. We can help you with the purchase of this books or at least recommend where you can get them- for books that you would like us to review as well, we would be glad to have them.

SEE YOU AT THE TOP & HAVE A GLORIOUS 2012!!!