It was Oluwaseun my friend who first introduced me to the romantic ambience of the Botanical Garden at the University of Ibadan. It was there he had invited Aanuoluwapo (now his wife) to, read her a beautiful poem he had composed and then popped the question.
The garden has two beautiful sides filled with different trees and flowers and a sparking green lawn. The two sides are separated by a long walk way where you can hold hands with your beloved and just have good fun looking into each other’s eyes as you walk all the way. There are several small roofed cubicles where different couples usually colonise for their congress. It’s a good place to get both privacy and sufficient environmental accountability that can stifle sin in one single menu.
By now myself and Iyebiye have become frequent visitors to the garden. Anytime we wanted to pray and also have some good long talks mixed with fun, we go there. On this occasion, I had a mission for our visit. I wanted to make some progress with the synchrony of our minds. That was the agenda of the day.
There is this hymn that very well captures my mindset on what my relationship with community should be. I got the ideology from my grandfather actually. He is one of my greatest ‘idols’. It was the song that summarised his philosophy of life and how he lived his entire life. The hymn is titled, “While the days are going by.” Please search it out. The summary is to live everyday seeking out lives to help and touch, lonely hearts to cherish, fainting smiles to renew, grieving hearts to reinvigorate. The hymn is ridden with urgency, the need to do the good we may do now, because our days are going bye. We will soon be history.
So I taught her the hymn. And we sang the song together. I then picked every line of the hymn and did an expository teaching of each line to show the scriptural foundation of the words. I wished that we could agree that this was how we would live our lives consciously seeking out our friends and families and neighbours to be sure they are fine. “If a smile we can renew as our journey we pursue, oh the good we all may do, while the days are going by.”
Since we both respect the authority of the word of God, agreeing on anything is much more easier. Each person only needs to cite the authority of scripture to back up the idea or thought or mindset. If it agrees with scripture, the other party aligns and drops other contrary views. You all need to take note of this. Even though you have several disagreements, you need that common ground from which you can easily align each other. For Christians, that common ground ought to be the bible. Whatever cultural believe or ideology or other mindsets that you may hold, the moment your partner is able to show how it violates God’s word, you should be happy to drop it and align.
When I was done speaking, I listened to know what she thought about the idea. She shared her own thoughts too. She agreed. We agreed. We now sing the hymn together often. It’s now our creed.
The reason why it’s important to grow one mind with your partner is because you need their agreement at all times for your prayers to be answered. Whatever you’re doing, no matter how glorious, that doesn’t have the signature of your partner cannot attract heaven’s blessing because you are co-signatories to your grace account in heaven. 1 Peter 3:7. You know banks won’t honour a single signature on an account that has the mandate, “two must sign”. Exactly what the bible says about a couple. None can draw anything from God without the signature of the other.
Now note that synchronising your mind sets is an herculean task. Never a day’s job. It is also when your mind is set in the same way on several issues that your thought pattern regarding those issues will be the same. In other words, mind set determines thought patterns.
The mind of a person is generally influenced and set by the environment he has grown in, by the norms and value system of his immediate society. Everyone’s family as his first society goes a long way in setting his mind. The association he maintains, his peer groups, all the books he reads and the messages he listens to, the philosophy he studies and the entire educational system (formal and informal) he goes through, all work together to form a person’s mind on several issues.
A person’s mind is also set by those he admires: his mentors, heroes and fans. The mind is like a blank sheet until the ideas, thoughts and philosophies that come to it repeatedly set it in one way or the other.
Through the influence of all of these things we have interacted with, the product of which we are, each person’s mind has developed over time certain rules of interpretation, standards of judgment, against which every action is weighed and judged. What you consider insulting, appropriate, decent, right or wrong are all a product of your mindset. Some things are insulting to you but are not insulting to some other people because their mind is set differently. This is where arguments and disagreements stem from.
Now maybe you need to first appreciate the near impossibility of you meeting anyone who has exactly your mindset on every issue. It would mean the person through their growing up interacted with exactly the same agents of indoctrination as you. Impossible. Maybe this understanding will help you to be calm about your disagreements. It’s normal. It’s not a big deal. And maybe this will help you to temper your anger when your partner appears to think so differently from you. Now you understand what’s responsible.
How then do you gradually synchronise? First, have a common ground like the bible that you both respect and can agree with. I’ve explained how that works above. This is why you can’t joke with bible knowledge as a believer who wants a successful christian marriage. Two, gradually agree to listen to the same set of messages and read the same sets of books, especially the ones that your partner thinks are most influential for their core mind sets. Ask for their titles and read them up. And make sure you don’t arrogantly claim your position is superior until you’ve read those materials. You need to show interest in them and read them up. You are better able to influence your partner from within if they are sure you have a deep understanding of their persuasions and the rationale behind them.
When you’re done reading, try and create the best atmosphere for you to discuss. Let it be a relaxed atmosphere. Let those usual sweet words and inflation of each other’s head with words lead. When you’ve had good fun and achieved a good atmosphere, introduce the subject. Discuss first from each other’s perspective and see how to both arrive at a common perspective- a common way of looking at issues.
As you give ample chance for this deliberate marrying of your thoughts and perspectives, there will be a progressive development of like-mindededness between you.
Anytime I see any debate online about an important subject, I copy it and forward it to her WhatsApp. That’s discussion for the night. I want to know what she thinks about it. And then we can discuss it and grow a single mind on the matter. Please copy my example. Use every opportunity to grow like-mindedness with your partner. You’ll enjoy the reward: sweet bliss that stems from oneness and agreement and the resultant peace in your relationship.
Finally, going forward, ensure you harmonise the sources (or anchors) of your mind-setting. You can’t be following two different men of God who are preaching different things for instance. You must agree on who you’ll follow, which authors you’ll now be reading, who your mentors would be. Remember it has taken years to resolve the effect of your different sources of mind-setting through the past, don’t create fresh work for yourself for the future.
Finally brethren, if there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love…fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Philippians 2:1&2.