We need to talk: Connection Vs Clarity

It’s Saturday afternoon, girl has taken boy home to visit. John (so we don’t keep calling him boy) has been there a couple of times so Jane’s folks think it’s pretty serious. So as Jane is in the kitchen with mom, John is seated in the living room with Jane’s dad –not a very nice experience 🙂 After a long awkward silence, Jane’s dad asks him “what are your intentions with my daughter?”

John shrugs and responds “Oh, I don’t really have a plan right now,” then goes ahead to explain “it’s nothing serious, we’re just having fun”. Jane’s dad calls his daughter and goes “Baby, so John here tells me you guys are just having fun. That this (whatever this is ) is not serious”.

You can guess how this story ends –John gets dumped!  🙂 sorry I meant 😦

That is not a true story (thank God) but I needed it to illustrate my point. Seriously though, how many times do we girls find ourselves in this awkward place? You meet this guy, hit it off great, exchange phone numbers and begin to spend time together. He’s funny, great to be with and treats you really well. He takes you for coffee coffee date1every now and then. You’ve been hanging out for the last 6 months and you’ve enjoyed every bit of it! You like him and he seems to like you too.

Then one day your big bubble bursts. For some, he introduces you to his girlfriend and you feel like you’re going to die (OK, that’s extreme). For others, you discover he’s just having fun (like Jane in our story above) and was never interested in anything serious.

You can’t believe it. What about all those days you’ve spent together? He even took you to his sister’s wedding! Isn’t that supposed to mean something?

4 months after I met Drew (my husband –then he was just some guy), I realized I was beginning to really like him. We were working on a campus magazine together and attended the same BS (Bible Study) group –although he insists I joined his group because I liked him which I vehemently deny 🙂 What I mean to say is we were in each other’s space a lot! My heart began feeling things, nice things. At some point, I came across A girl’s guide to marrying well on www.boundless.org (you should check out this site!) and learnt about connection and clarity.

You can tell when you connect with someone. Your heart will always tell. But it is extremely important to have clarity, to be sure you two are on the same page. I cannot stress enough how much heartache this will save you.

So how do you get clarity? Ask! It’s simple as that.

There is no special formula or a book on “7 steps to get clarity”. If a guy is giving you all the signals that he’s interested in you but has not expressly said it, ask him. If you’re friends keep asking you “what’s up with you two? Are you dating?” then it’s time to talk.

Don’t agree to move forward based on assumptions. Let him clarify what it is he wants. If it’s friendship, that is OK. You will proceed knowing there is nothing more. If he wants to date/court you, let him come out and outrightly ask you out.

Don’t fear that you will get embarrassed. Even if you do, imagine how much worse you will feel many months later when you find out this guy had no intention of asking you out. Embarrassment should be the least of your concerns. There could be another guy really interested in asking you out but every time he sees you, you’re hanging out with someone who isn’t sure what he wants.

Any man worth his salt will not be offended when you ask for clarity. He will go ahead to explain his intentions because he respects your time and because he knows a lady should not be taken for a ride.

So, go ahead. Ask. Because you are worth it and you deserve to know.


What’s in a name? Its rightful place in Marriage

This post is motivated by the responses I have received on my previous post What’s in a name? First of all, let me say I’m extremely grateful and awfully humbled by your comments and questions. I’m terribly honored. It’s possible to write and have nobody read your work. I know my place-am where I am because of the people who read my blog.

Following the questions and comments I’ve received, there a few things I want to say. You may call them clarifications or points to note-whichever makes you happy 🙂 Here goes.

#1 Changing your name is not proof of your love and submission as a wifename 2

I cannot stress this enough. In my previous post I mentioned that changing my name is one way of showing my man that I’m willing to submit to his leadership. Let me say here that his is just the beginning. It shows my willingness to submit but is certainly doesn’t mean that I’ve conquered submission. It is not an end in itself; we could say it’s a means to an end. For instance, you can’t speak disrespectfully to your man, disregard his opinions and leadership, embarrass him in front of his friends, disrespect his parents and still think you’re submitting just because you changed a name! Submission goes a lot further than getting a new surname. It is a state of the heart, it is a decision only a wise woman makes because she understands her place. She knows that submitting does not mean she’s a lesser person but it’s appreciating God’s order ad way of doing things.

#2 Changing your name will not guarantee you a happy marriage

As a wife, I should not imagine that changing my name will automatically give me a happy marriage. Being called Mrs. Kihusa does not guarantee me a good marriage. It’s like trying to suggest that calling your child Solomon automatically means he will be a wise man. Naming your son after the wisest man who ever lived does not exempt you from doing your job as a parent. You have to teach, encourage, nurture and even discipline him. Then, by God’s help he may turn into the well grounded adult you want him to be. I digress. Point is, even with a new name, I still need to work on my marriage. I have to practice kindness, forgiveness, wisdom, careful speech and all other things that build a marriage.

#3 To change or not to change is a woman’s prerogative

I totally agree on this one. This is one of those things that has to come from your heart. When I decided to change mine, I thought through it first then went ahead and made my decision. Don’t do it out of pressure or any sort of coercion – not even pressure from people like me J Don’t do it out of obligation. Or duty. It’s something that you should do willing and joyfully. Then some day (even the bad days) you will look back knowing it was your decision and not anyone else’s decision.

Today I toast all married women out there for fighting the good fight and being a voice in our generation that says marriage works. Today I don’t celebrate you as mothers (I know you do a great job). Today I celebrate you as married women. For loving and standing with the man in your life through the good and the bad. For being his number 1 fan in his job or business. For dealing with in-laws with great patience and love-even when they get in your business 🙂 For holding together your home even with a full-time job and a house help who refuses to cooperate and does an amazing job of trying your patience 🙂

A toast to you ladies. The world is a better place because of you!

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What’s in a name?

The other day a lady in the office asked me about my surname. You know the way Kenyans are always trying to figure out which part of the country you’re from by checking out your name. In a bid to find out what kind of name ‘Kihusa’ is, I mentioned that it was my husband’s name and not my dad’s and the discussion took an entirely new direction.

“Are you serious? You changed your name?” The lady asked looking horrified you’d think I had committed a terrible crime like stealing a baby – am not planning on stealing a baby, it’s just the first thing that popped into my head 🙂 name1

I said yes. When I mentioned that I was in the process of changing my ID and other documents to read Kihusa she looked like she was going to have a stroke –OK, am exaggerating. But seriously, she couldn’t believe it. She clearly disapproved and was not afraid to show it. She went ahead to suggest I was being naïve and shortsighted. I was on the verge of getting offended but I went on listening.

Here are her arguments and my responses.

What if the marriage doesn’t last and you have to get a divorce? Then you have to change back to your maiden name. First of all, who starts out marriage thinking of a divorce? Seriously, who does that? Most people I know get into marriage planning that it will last. If you already think it won’t, why get married in the first place? I’ve been married for close to a year now and I have consciously decided to close the back door called divorce. I’m not planning to run at the first site of trouble. Am not naïve, I know there will be trouble. There will be days when leaving will be an option but I choose now to stay. I have promised my husband to stay with him until death do us part and taking up his name is a way to put my actions where my mouth is. It is a show of faith on my part. A way to say “I’m here to stay”.

But people are used to your old name. Won’t it be hard on them? I don’t think this is even a valid argument but I answered the question anyway. Some of my old friends still call me Kiunga – my father’s name and I don’t mind it. It’ll take time but you have to start somewhere. Nonetheless, am not the kind of person who is keen on pleasing people – it’s an elusive goal I tell you. If your friends thinks it’s “hard” to learn your new name, they shouldn’t even be your friends. That’s just how I see it.

It’s a lot of work to change all your documents! Another invalid argument in my opinion. Since when do we do things because they are easy and convenient? In Kenya, if you want to change your surname, you have to go with your husband, a copy of your ID and your marriage certificate. I agree it’s a bit cumbersome, but which is better, to change now or later? You see, if I change my ID and passport now, all my new documents will come with the new name

You will lose your identity! You’re from now on going to be referred as his, not a person on your own. My identity is not lost at all. The things that used to define me before marriage have not changed. I was a hardworking, focused (among many other things) woman and I still am! True, I have a new identity. I’m his –which is a huge responsibility for him. But I’m still my own person, I don’t now have the same opinions as he does just because I have his name. I will keep seeing things differently (just like everyone else) because everyone has their perspective.

Plus, I have to ask. When I was called by my father’s name did it mean that my identity was lost, that it was his identity? No. my opinions and worldview was not tied to him alone. All it meant was that I was his daughter.  name

Changing my name is one way of showing my man that I’m willing submit to his leadership. That in our home, he is the head and I’m cool with it.  It is a way to say I understand my identity, that my place is with you now. And if that isn’t having an identity I don’t know what is.

Any achievement you have will be linked to him. First of all this is not true because of reasons given on the identity issue above. If I do a Nobel Prize (ahem) am the one who gets the credit. He gets to share in his wife’s achievement but I do not in any way lose the Prize to him.

It’s the 21st Century. I get it. It’s no longer cool to take up your hubby’s name. People keep telling me “if you really have to put it there then put a hyphen, let it read Wanjiru Kiunga-Kihusa.” No thanks. I’m old school and am OK with it. Plus, putting a hyphen just makes the name longer and it takes more time to write 🙂