Since February is the month of love and many people celebrating Valentine’s Day, I decided to search for some ideas around love and relationship inspirations. Last time, I have written about inspiring couples with humanitarian spirit. In the process of researching those couples, I’ve stumbled across a nice website that talks about relationship.
This website, relationshipstalk.net, is founded by Joseph Mutisya. Apparently, he has been married for the same woman over 20 years and work as marriage mentor! Whew, I can’t believe that I came across a very inspiring person in the relationship area.
Long story short, I decided to ask about some inspiration about relationship. Thanks for his help, I was able to post the result into this article. If you are in need about some inspiring life journey and also a good source of relationship inspiration, scroll down to see our chat
A Little Inspiration from Joseph’s Life Journey
Q: Hi Joseph! Thank you very much for sparing some time for me and the readers. So, can you tell us about who you are?
Sure. My name is Dr. Joseph Uvai Mutisya, the founder of Teaching & Restoration International Ministries (TRIM), a non-profit organization helping rural churches in Kenya. Prior to the founding of TRIM, I served as a pastor with churches in Kenya, Michigan, and Texas.
I have also taught Bible, Theology, and Christian Education in Ukamba Bible College in Machakos, Kenya; and International Leadership University, Kenya; formally called Nairobi International School of Theology in Nairobi.
I hold a Bachelor of Education from Daystar University, Kenya; Master of Divinity, Nairobi International School of theology (International Leadership University), Nairobi, Kenya; Master of Theology, Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan; and a PhD in theological studies, Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas.
I have been married to the same woman, for over twenty years and we love each other deeply.
Q: Wow I didn’t expect it! You have a really good background there. Care to tell us a bit about how you make a living?
I served as an associate pastor at Upendo Baptist church for five years. That time I taught theology and Bible Study in adult Sunday school classes. Prior to my appointment as associate pastor in Upendo, I wrote and implemented the church’s policies and procedures in 2006.
Now, I am a pastor-teacher and my specific area of interest is marriage relationships. In my years of church ministry, I have been involved in marital and premarital counseling.
My wife and I are certified marriage mentors and certified trainers for an organization called Prepare and Enrich, which basically helps both premarital and marriage couples navigate some thorny issues in marriage.
I love what I do and I enjoy it. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than to see a couple that was headed for divorce, turn around and recommit to each other.
Also, I have written three books: Victorious Life: Ephesians from a Spiritual Warfare Perspective (2010); and with my wife Veronica, we have written Not about You: The Mystery of Negotiating the Rough Terrain of Marriage (2011); For Better for Worse! Or Too Naïve to Care! (2015); and one academic article, “God’s Grace: Resistible or Irresistible,” published by Imperium Testimentum Journal. Currently, I am working on a fourth book, Relationships: The Function of the Image of God in Humanity.
Q: OK That’s really great! Now, I’ve been a little curious about your website. Can you tell us about it?
What inspired me to start the blog, relationshipstalk.net, was my desire to help married and those thinking about getting married, by raising issues that they will need to understand as they relate with their significant others.
The idea came from seeing the struggles that a lot of marriages are experiencing in this era. As I interacted with couples in marriage counseling and with young people in premarital preparation, I realized the need for a broader awareness of the challenges in marriage. I also realized that the problem is not in the marriage; rather, it in issues that were not addressed prior to the marriage.
The main goal of this website to raise issues and have discussions with both married and single people who are thinking about marriage for the purpose of debunking some myths that people have that become problems in their marriages. The earlier these myths are addressed the better.
Q: Sounds an inspiring goal you have there. Just a little more about your website before talking about relationship inspiration. Do you have any struggle when building it and is there any achievement so far?
My major struggle in building a website was the lack of know-how. I would ask experts to do it for me and that meant I had to write content and send it to them before they could publish it in the website. This was very frustrating. So I decided to learn and do it myself. One still in the process of learning. In fact, this is my first website that I have done by myself and as you can see I am making progress.
The achievement as far as this website is concerned, I have had people write in response to my posts and ask if they could get my contact information and that we would discuss their issue offline. I have had a few of such conversations. To me, this is a great achievement because my desire is to help people and it gives me the opportunity to do just that.
“The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are but in what direction we are moving.”
– Oliver Wendell, Joseph’s Favorite Quote
Celebrating Valentine’s Day
Q: OK, let’s move the first main topic. For you, what does Valentine’s Day mean?
I am not sure I know what to say about Valentine’s Day. Being a child of my times, I definitely do celebrate Valentine’s Day. However, you know as much as I do that when you look at the history of Valentine’s Day, it is a day that has undergone significant metamorphosis through the centuries.
Originally, it was a day to honor Bishop Valentine who went against Emperor Claudius’ law against the marriage of soldiers. According to the Emperor, married men could not make good soldiers. But Valentine went against this law and married soldiers and that is how the day began.
Romance was introduced to Valentine’s Day in the Middle Ages. In 18th century England, the day evolved into a lovers’ day, limited only to romantic couples. It was celebrated the use of gifts, hand written cards, and flowers to express their love.
By the end of the 19th century it was commercialized with mass printing of Valentine’s Day cards and it began to be celebrated by everybody as a way of expressing love towards all those who make their lives special. Today, it is only young lovers who exchange romantic love on Valentine’s Day.
Q: Is it wrong to ‘celebrate’ Valentine Day with your beloved one? If not, what kind of ‘celebration’ they should do in this day?
There is nothing wrong with celebrating Valentine’s Day. The question is, ‘Does Valentine’s Day help people cement their relationships. The answer obviously is ‘no’.
Celebrating Valentine’s Day does not add any value to the relationship. It cannot mend a broken relationship. A friend of mine took flowers to his estranged wife in her office. She threw them at his face and the relationship deteriorated into divorce.
It is ok to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but just remember, celebrating the day cannot enhance your relationship. It is simply a statement of the condition of your relationship.
Q: How do you perceive relationship between humans these days? Is Valentine Day required to be a ‘reminder’ day for humans to preserve their relationship with each other?
It is clear that relationships today are not holding up very well. Divorce is increasing at an astounding rate. I do not see Valentine’s Day helping this trend. If Valentine’s Day was a “reminder” day for the preservation of relationships, the people are not listening. They are too engrossed in themselves to take note of the ‘reminder’.
About Dating and Healthy Relationship
Q: Do you see any trend of dating these days? For example, do people tend to choose online dating rather than offline? Know why it happens?
Online dating is becoming the main dating method for contemporary youth. Statistics show that since 2006, online dating has been growing at the rate of approximately 16% per year.
Two reasons can be cited as reasons for this trend. First, online dating has become a multi-million business. Every day there are new dating sites on the internet. The service is not free, you have to pay to get into the dating site and find a suitable date. The availability of the internet on smart phones. Anything happening online is readily available to anybody, anywhere, and any time through the use of cell-phones.
Second, it reduces the degree of anxiety that you experience in meeting a new person for the first time as a date. By the time you meet the person offline, you already feel you are meeting someone who is familiar to you.
Q: What kind of mindset do we need to avoid in order to have a healthy relationship with someone we love? This is not limited to couples, but also for friends and families.
The following are some ‘mindsets’ we need to avoid if we are going to have healthy relationships with people we love:
- Selfishness: In today’s culture, there is a strong tendency toward selfishness; individuals think in terms of receiving rather than giving. Along with the selfishness, people lean toward blaming others for and excusing themselves of faults and mistakes. Such indulgence in self-pity only short-circuits their relationships. As judgment increases love decreases. God can work out problems in a marvelous and redemptive way even when there seems to be no hope.
- Stubbornness: By stubbornness I mean wanting one’s own way. This mindset will not help your relationships; rather, it will destroy them. You should be a relationship for what you instead of what you get. Learn to respect other people’s points of view and let go of your own at times for the sake of the relationship.
- Un-forgiveness: We are all imperfect. None of us is a 10. Therefore, without forgiveness, relationships can’t.
- Lack of Trust: Without trust, relationships are impossible. It is important that you learn to trust others and present yourself as trustworthy. The issue is double sided here. Can people trust you? Can you trust others?
About Broken Relationship
Q: In your opinion, what is the best way to mend a broken relationship?
In my opinion, the best way to mend a broken relationship, first both sides must be willing to work at restoring the relationship. You cannot force a person into a relationship if they completely done with it. However if there is a willingness to work things out, they those involved should go through the conflict resolution steps proposed by Prepare and Enrich.
Below are the steps:
(1) Set a time and a place for discussion.
(2) Define the problem or issue of disagreement.
(3) How do you each contribute to the problem?
(4) List past attempts to resolve the issue that was not successful.
(5) Brainstorm. List all possible solutions.
(6) Discuss and evaluate these possible solutions.
(7) Agree on one solution to try.
(8) Agree on how each individual will work toward this solution. Be as specific as possible.
(9) Set a place, date and time within the next week for another meeting to discuss your progress.
(10) Pay attention to each other as the week passes. If you notice your partner making positive contribution toward the solution, praise his/her effort.
Q: Divorce seems to be a trend lately, especially among the celebrities. Do you have any tips about how to choose an ‘until-death-do-us-apart’ partner?
With divorce becoming a trend lately, how should choose an “until-death-do-us-part” partner? This is a very important question, but not easy to answer.
As a pastor, I am tempted to call everybody to the biblical teaching on the subject, but unfortunately Christians have been divorcing just at the same rate as the rest of the world.
Therefore, I am just going to give a few suggestions:
a. Don’t choose a marriage partner out of desperation for love. Know what you looking for and search looking for it. If you settle for anything, the result can be anything.
b. Don’t be fooled by looks or possessions. These are temporary. Look for character.
c. Don’t allow yourself to be blinded by sex. Somebody said, “Sex covers a multitude of flaws.” Don’t use your feelings as a filter for the right person to marry, use your mind.”
d. Watch your speed limit once you get into a relationship. If you move too fast through dating into marriage, you might be headed for disaster.
e. Character traits to look for in a possible marriage partner: faithfulness, honesty, commitment, forgiving, and giving. If any of this is lacking, think twice.
f. How do you discern a person’s character?
(1) Pay close attention to your possible mate when he or she is under pressure because character is revealed by crisis.
(2) Character is best revealed by how we behave when no one is watching. So, if you realize that your partner is not respectful in public, how will he or she be in private?
(3) Look into his or her friends. They are a nice window into his or her character. The people you associate with tell a lot of what you really are.
(4) Examine their prior relationships and patterns of behavior. Have they been disloyal, dishonest, or unforgiving in a previous relationship? Listen to how they talk about their ex- if there is one.
(5) Take your time. One of the problems with modern culture is the desire for instant gratification. The coffee takes too long to brew; the lights take forever to turn green. We want to have every to happen instantly. Please don’t rush. Take your time if you are going to have an “until-death-do-us-part” relationship.
g. It is your choice. If you don’t take the process of choosing the right one seriously, it will come back to bite you in the form of divorce or other relationship difficulties.
Q: Thank you so much Joseph! Lastly, do you have any words to share to the reader? Perhaps, about how to achieve success like yours or mindset that will hinder your progress?
Yes. The one mindset that was a major drawback in my progress was the fear of failure. When I perceived the possibility of failure in a particular pursuit, I would give up. I overcame this mindset by coming to a point where I realized that where there is success there is always a possibility of failure.
Now, I believe that failure is a stepping stone to success and I am willing to fail rather than to give up.
And that is our chat. I would like to say thank you again for him to spare some time for the chat. You can visit his website to get more inspiration about healthy relationship. If you have any comment, do leave one below in the comment section
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